12 MONKEYS (2015) – S01E08: ‘Yesterday’ Review
The latest episode of ’12 Monkeys’ is all about everyone but the lead characters of Cole played by Aaron Stanford and Cassandra played by Amanda Schull. The history of the future is further developed and a lot of back story is provided for the already amazing supporting cast of characters that round out this world and the over all show as being fully comprehensive and not just a formulaic premise.
While stuck in time in the rubble of the explosion in Chechnya, Cole is trapped as Barbara Sukowa’s Jones tries her best in the future to bring him back. Most of Cole’s story this episode is being trapped underground, only to be released realizing that it’s 2 years after the explosion and that Plague wasn’t stopped by his actions in Chechnya. Not that this is a surprise for the audience, as that happening would mean the end of the show, so he obviously still needs something to chase. While Cassandra has trouble accepting that Cole changed the past and goes to Chechnya to verify herself and comes out satisfied that the Plague was stopped, setting up an awkward conversation between the two in the next episode. That is Jones finds the power in the time machine to even bring Cole back.
To re-power the machine, Jones sends Whitley (Demore Barnes) and Kirk Acevedo’s Ramse to a place called Spearhead to get help. This is when a pretty big revelation about the future is given as we discover that there is another civilized community that exists in this post apocalyptic future and this is where Jones and the other scientists came from originally. This was hinted at during the alternate reality episode. Spearhead was the first community after the plague hit 30+ years ago, and is now run by an over zealot Colonel who took over with a murderous coup. While Jones and crew want to change history, the leader of Spearhead, Foster played wonderfully by Xander Berkeley, wants a cure despite not succeeding for the last 20 years. This difference in ideology is what drove the two leaders apart.
Expectedly, Foster refuses to help and his interaction with Jones provides much backstory to both characters as well as how things got to this point. One thing that’s a little disappointing is the under development of Whitley’s backstory, when his leaving with Jones and his strained relationship with his father was built up previously. While Foster offers Jones a deal to loan her his power core to bring Cole back, the catch is that she has to return to Spearhead and abandon the time travel mission to help him find a cure. Later on, Jones reacts to this by wanting to take his core by any means necessary.
So an all out fight between Jones‘ and Foster’s forces may seem like a badass idea. If not for one hitch. During this trip to Spearhead, Ramse finds his long lost love as well as his son that didn’t know existed. Buying into Foster’s cure concept, Ramse now seems hesitant to continue Jones’ time travel mission. So I can only imagine Ramse’s reaction to Jones wanting storm into the place where his lover and newfound son live. I foresee a lot of conflict, given that Ramse has always been a bit of a loose canon in the story thus far. Unleashing his wild side as a parent protecting his kid may not be good for anyone.
It’s a very cool episode, which provides a lot of insight and exposition into the world as well as a key moral conflict. Which is more important: a sci fi time travel reset the past mission to bring back the dead? Or a scientific one that involves protecting what little remains of the human race? It kind of puts into questions the motives of Jones given what we know about her previous experiments. Also seeing how little time Cole has left if he continues to travel through time, wouldn’t joining Spearhead be the best course of action for everyone at project Splinter? The following episodes needs to use some sort of drastic plot device that removes Spearhead from the equation otherwise it wouldn’t make sense for Jones and Cole to continue with their self destructive and, if Jones goes through with her plans, almost villainous plans.