12 Monkeys Season 4, Night 2 Reviews (Episodes 4-6) [SPOILERS]

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Here we are for the second three-episode night. All three episodes are great, but I feel the second (while bringing in my favorite guest star) is the weakest. I’ll explain in more detail in its personal review, but there were too many retcons and ‘coincidences’ to make it feel completely settled within this universe. The third episode–woah boy, that was one of the best episodes of the show, I think. But without further ado, let’s get into it!

 

404- Legacy

Legacy is an episode that I truly enjoyed–it’s one that both moved the plot forward and gave us some lovely character moments. It’s clear at this point that the show is trying to bring back everyone from previous seasons as a last ‘curtain call’. Since this is a time-travel show, anything is possible, and up to this point, it doesn’t bother me. As I’ll note later, though, there are limits.

We see a flashback to Katerina Jones and her husband Elliot, working on an early prototype of the machine with their students. It created a mini version of the Red Forest, something that a particularly brilliant student, Emma, sees (note her for later).

Secrets abound still, as Jennifer is refusing to let on to anyone that she can’t hear the Primaries anymore–I truly hope we get an explanation for this later. Cole is hiding as well; only Cassie knows that the story that helped him unlock the key came from his mother.

Hannah, Jen, Cole, and Cassie go to Montana to seek out whatever answer the key has provided. I really love any episode that has the characters adapt to a time far removed from their own. They have to find ways to get appropriate clothing (which provides some great comedy as Cole is not comfortable speaking in old ‘western speak’), and try to find their bearings.  Interestingly enough, Hannah notes that the people in this town aren’t settlers, but scavengers; it’s an interesting observation, and not one I fully understand. It isn’t something that’s fully expanded upon either. I wouldn’t say it’s a missed opportunity–more something that wasn’t necessary.

As they settle into the saloon, Jennifer notes that nothing about this place is right: so much is anachronistic, from the music, to some of the clothing people are wearing. That means that the people around them are Travelers like themselves. Hell, the pianist is playing Oingo Boingo…and when he stands, he reveals himself to be Elliot Jones.

So yeah, things are about to get even weirder, as the Pallid Man (Olivia’s brother) is back, and it’s revealed that Elliot was the person behind Titan. It makes sense; only someone who understood the machines could build something as intense as Titan–and only the Joneses knew how to do that.

Hannah sends herself and her father back to speak with her mother, and what follows is some great character work by all of the actors, delving into the pain of broken relationships, the absence of parental figures, and the importance of doing the right thing in the end.

Back in Montana, Jennifer’s secret gets out, and surprisingly Cassie stands up for her. Cole has always stood by her, but I guess in his drive to find this weapon, he’s starting to see the mission as the most important thing, and Cassie’s more compassionate side is starting to come back.

They run across a Native American man who assists them, warning Jennifer not to drink from the red tea, as the Witness is looking for her. He also tells them that a clue to the weapon is, “Climb the steps, ring the bell,” a saying Jennifer used to hear in her head, all the time.

While I like the concept of this character, having him around for only one episode, only to impart a bit of knowledge and disappear–it reminds me a bit too much of the ‘magical native’ trope to feel fully comfortable. It would have been better to use Native Americans earlier on in the series, or change this character entirely, I think. Right now it feels a bit ‘token’.

Everyone attempts to destroy Titan here, but of course it goes south as Deacon shows up, killing Elliot–but not before he gives the plans for Titan to Hannah. While it’s sad that Elliot’s dead, nothing has really been lost. Titan is as it was prior to the start of this excursion, and none of the main team has been lost; it’s basically just another exercise in futility. Running in a circle, as it were.

Back at base, Jennifer is still trying to have faith that Deacon is a good person; I love that she believes in their family in ways that no one else will. Cole, surprisingly, gets bitchy with her, and tells everyone about her inability to hear the voices. That causes an entire spiral of events, and Jones reveals she’s dying…and her dying wish is that the team act like a family, because they are one. It makes everyone else realize they are being stupid, and Cole tells the rest of the team about his mother.

Oh, and remember how I said that you needed to remember that girl Emma from the beginning of the episode? Yeah. She’s Olivia’s daughter. So that’s not a good thing.

—–

405 After

 

So this episode brings back a couple of side characters that, while I love, just…I’m not sure were brought back in a way that doesn’t smack of over-convenience. Out of the 5 episodes we’ve seen this season, I feel this one is the weakest.

We open on Shaw (Christopher Lloyd), telling the story of the Old Man and his Wife who died too soon, who is his main drive for wanting the Red Forest. While it’s nice to know the why, and it will matter later in the episode, I’m genuinely not really pleased with what all results in this episode.

This episode is also our first real proof that Cassie and Cole as a couple are still going strong, at least physically. Despite the tribulations, they still love each other. Cole is still so focused on finishing the mission, while Cassie wants to know what happens after all this is done. Of course, the ‘after’ means they will most likely not know each other. But if they save the world…isn’t that worth the sacrifice? I think so.

A series of events leads them to believe they need to go back to 1966, where a ‘Climb the Steps, Ring the Bell’ sign was found in a motel room with a few dead Russians. Only Cole and Cassie go this time, and of course things go south quickly.

This episode is really reminiscent of some of the past episodes that had the characters going in circles to change a mistake, jumping back and forward in time to avoid copies of themselves, to avoid a paradox, and all of that intrigue. Cole ends up poisoned so Cassie has to jump around in time to try and save him, which ends up having Jennifer jumping through time to save both Cassie and Cole…with the assistance of my favorite FBI Agent, Gale.

And look, I’m really happy Gale is back, but him beating his death (the one we saw) by wearing a bulletproof vest, something we never saw in previous seasons…was just a little too convenient for me. Again, I’m so excited he’s back (he’s my favorite–I clapped when he was on screen), but I felt there could have been a better way to do all of this.

We also find out the Pallid Man has a son? Which is new. … I don’t know if it’s going to matter, but again, it seems a little too convenient.

ETA: Ah I’m sometimes wrong guys! Timey-wimey shows can even throw me for a loop, and I forget things as well. Readers correctly pointed out that Shaw’s son is The Pallid man–which is whom we saw, here. So not a convenient thing after all!

I think the thing that matters the most in this episode is that Jennifer runs across Deacon as he is escaping with the ‘weapon’ (because of course Deacon showed up), and he winks at her, leading her to believe that he’s not all bad. Honestly? If Jennifer trusts him, I trust him. Out of all the characters on the show, even with her mistakes, Jennifer has proven to be the best judge of people.

We also see that Cassie is…apparently starting to believe the Red Forest might be the right way to go, as she is so desperate not to lose Cole to time if they stop the Witness. Which, I’m sorry, is bullshit. It’s incredibly selfish, and I get that she loves him and is tired of losing people, but she’s already been down this road before, and I’m really tired of this idea. I trust the writers of the show, but that little reveal made me roll my eyes so hard.

So onward to the last episode of the night, to WWII, to get the weapon, to fight Nazis!

 


406 – Die Glocke

I genuinely think Die Glocke is one of the best episodes this show has ever produced. The stakes are incredibly high, and as Jones says, they have to descend into Hell to gain the weapon against the Witness. The show has put off using Nazis until now, and man this episode was satisfying in a way I haven’t felt since last season’s Thief. This episode has everything. French Resistance plots, Jennifer singing P!nk, and of course what every time traveling show needs: killing Hitler!

Each member has a part to play in this, with Jones, in her dying state, using her German heritage to its full capabilities, weaving a perfect story, manipulating the Nazis about her, and showing why she is such a vital member of the team. Jennifer’s time in France is also helpful, as she can use her French to work with the servants.

This episode also has Deacon reveal himself to be truly working with our good guys, having been playing mole the entire time. See? Jennifer is always right. Cole finally believes in him, and we get to see the two of them working together for the first time since last season.

Part espionage, part heist, the team works together to gain the weapon, each playing their part, saving lives and narrowly escaping death at each turn. We find out the weapon is a monkey-head shaped bell…and the Deacon in 1966 delivered the Witness nothing more than a prop bell in the weapons case.

And yes, Hitler gets exploded, as Jennifer pushes a button to set off explosives. In a very convenient turn of events, nothing really changes about the timeline (though it really should), as Himmler simply takes over for Hitler.

Of course, the weapon/bell thing has another clue on it, this time saying they must go to 1491 Hertfordshire, England.

Deacon and Jones won’t be going with them, though. As the voiceover of Jones speaks the words of John Donne’s poem, “No Man is An Island,” we see Jones and Deacon return to the Witness. They are both people bound for death, with nothing to lose…and a plan. Whatever it is, we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

 

8 comments

  • Correction: you incorrectly identified Christopher Lloyd as the Pallid Man. His character is Zalmon Shaw, and he is the father of the Pallid Man

  • The story of the Old Man and his wife is not of the Pallid Man, but of Pallid Man’s father, “The Missionary” or Christopher Lloyd. I think Terry just really wanted the legendary Christopher Lloyd (who was Doc in BttF) to have some of his iconic monologues, hence why that story was there in the first place. But yeah, his son was Pallid Man himself and I guess he has a bit of a name “Mr.Shaw” or “my Pallid friend” :’)

    • You’re right! I rewatched and realized I got that wrong. I’m editing that now. Thanks so much for replying. This show does get a little timey-wimey and man sometimes it’s a little hard to keep things straight so I appreciate the help.

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