12 Monkeys has truly shucked off its cinematic forebear, and is forging a new future for itself by changing the past and righting wrongs. As the story presses onwards with its attempts to find the cure for the Plague that has destroyed humanity, it becomes ever darker with more risks needing to be taken and plenty more casualties caused.
Possibly the biggest problem with the series so far is the exposition. It rarely seems to slot in coherently with the rest of the dialogue, leading to a disconnect from the action. Of particular note is our first proper introduction to the West VII Scavengers, which involves Ramse telling tales of their dastardly deeds directly the Scavengers. This feels like it could have been solved by changing the recipient of the story, one of the guards or scientists from the Facility, for example, as opposed to the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.
That’s not to say the episode itself is poor. The acting is well done, and the action sequences as the Scavengers attack the base are tense and exciting, as are the parts of the script that aren’t explaining who’s who and who did what. The sequence which sees Cole having hallucinations that flicker between various characters and places he’s been to is utterly beautiful, with the characters melding into one another to create an almost amorphous person. The show’s title, Atari, is also worked into the show very subtly, and also possibly to the consternation of gamers.
Next week sees a return to 2015 and tracking down the Night Room. There there are also hints dropped about a possible ending for Cole after his mission is complete, but that’s not likely for a while. 12 Monkeys is a thoroughly enjoyable show and has plenty to work with. If they can just sort out the sometimes clunky dialogue, they could really be onto a winner.