12 MONKEYS (2015) – S01E09: ‘Tomorrow’ Review
The events of the last episode directly continue onto a climactic episode 9 of SyFy’s ’12 Monkeys’. Titled ‘Tomorrow’, this episode is all action while drastically raising questions about some previously established plot points, creates new conflicts and flips the characterization of some on the show. While not the best-written episode, ‘Tomorrow’ does change things up quite a bit but whether it’s good or not is up for debate.
The episode opens with Aaron Stanford’s Cole in 2017, two years from where he should be, where the plague has been set into full swing. He experiences the devastation and desperation first hand until he finds Amanda Schull’s Cassandra. This Cassandra, keeping in mind that she is two years older than the ‘main’ one, or the one that Cole’s been interacting with the whole series, is dying and does so in Cole’s arms. But not before revealing that a future self of him came back and provided her with information he needs; a secret address that he has to keep with him always. This is the coolest thing about ‘12 Monkeys’ as a show, the time travel elements allow unlimited plot points where crazy things can be written in as being done from the future that is yet to unfold for the audience. Since we’re tethered to Cole’s perspective, if he hasn’t seen it yet, the audience won’t either. Of course this is assuming that the Writers don’t have the whole thing planned out already, which seems likely, given how good the writing has been thus far.
While Cole is stuck in the past, Barbara Sukowa’s Jones is doing everything she can to power up the machine again. This includes convincing everyone that Xander Berkeley’s Foster, the leader of the alternative community known as Spearhead, is lying about finding a cure to the plague in the future. After convincing everyone, she plans to attack and take the power core forcefully. Kirk Acevedo’s Ramse scrambles to save his long lost love Elena, played by Amy Sloan, along with the son he never knew he had from Spearhead before the raid. But Elena is convinces Ramse that Foster had indeed found a cure, as she witnessed it herself, planting doubt within Ramse about Jones‘ claims. I said in my Review last week that something needs to dramatically happen to remove Foster & Spearhead from play, otherwise it’ll be an open alternative to the mission that will always appeal to the members of Project Splinter. This removal comes when Foster is surprisingly killed by Jones who then storms and succeeds in taking the power core, but not without sacrifices of her own men, like Whitley’s father.
This subplot in this episode was all over the place. It’s confusing how freely Ramse, Whitley and Jones are able to enter and leave Spearhead so easily, given the tight security and pomp and circumstance that was established last time they arrived. Given the security, how is Jones even able to enter Foster’s office with a loaded gun? The raid itself is confusing and jarring, as it all happens rather quickly and without much opposition. We’re shown that Jones’ forces were waiting right outside the gates of Spearhead, awaiting their signal, but is that not conspicuous that a hostile force is waiting outside your gates preparing to storm the compound? No one saw that coming? Demore Barnes’ Whitley and his father’s story is underwhelming again, as the father-son tension is so quickly glossed over and, apparently resolved, in a 1-minute scene. In previous episodes we were led to believe that Whitley left Spearhead at the expense of his relationship with his father, who is Foster’s head of security. Last episode Whitley conveys to Ramse that any resistance will come from his father, who then simply just obediently escorts them to Foster and wasn’t seen again until this episode. Apparently Whitley’s father was involved in the violent coup where Foster took control, but we’re expected to believe that he is so easily convinced to betray Foster after 10 years of being by his side, just because his estranged son shows up and calls him a liar? It’s too simple and doesn’t follow the character motivations set up by the show itself.
In the end, Jones is able to secure the power core, and bring Cole back to their timeline of 2043, but not before burning evidence of the fact that Foster did cure the plague, making everything she did this episode a shocking manipulation of everyone that trusts her, simply for her to pursue her own way of doing things. Elena points this out to Ramse, as Ramse is now convinced that Jones did lie. Earlier in the episode, we’re shown that Elena is looking for something in the files that would prove to Ramse of the cure. It seems Jones took the file and burned it in the last scene. Ramse’s new found outlook on Jones causes a major clash between Cole and him.
‘Tomorrow‘ also contained flashbacks showing just how Ramse & Cole hooked up with Jones & Project Splinter. It’s kind of a redundant storyline, given that we’ve heard about this many times already. But I think the intention was to show just how resistant Cole was to being used by Jones for her mission. Seeing the devastation in the past first hand, and having a future version of Cassandra die in his arms, Cole is now completely dedicated to saving her and the past. This creates some tension between Ramse and himself because Ramse now realizes that if Cole & Jones succeed in resetting the past, he will lose his new family. The friends almost come to blows as the episode ends on this ominous note.
This has to be the worst episode of ‘12 Monkeys‘, but that’s not to take anything away from it. The series is still a brilliant piece of work, but this episode contained way too many holes and the execution was not as tight as the other episodes have been. It’s disappointing that this episode comes on the heels of the announcement of the show being renewed for a 2nd Season, but here’s hoping that things improve and go back to the same level of quality the show has held so far, this episode notwithstanding.