12 MONKEYS (2015) – S01E06: ‘The Red Forest’ Review
Alternate realities are inevitability with stories about Time Travel. Episode 5 of the new show, ’12 Monkeys’ is no exception as we deal with the first, but most probably not the last, alternate reality story of the series. A continuation of last episode, ‘The Red Forrest’ starts when Cole returns back to his time, to find it drastically different than the future he knew.
Tracking down Jones, Cole discovers the reason for the changes is because Cassandra was killed in the past, right after he splintered back. It’s at this point in the series that we find out just how important the character of Cassandra Railly really is. Her presence and actions, in the past, the timeline that we’re watching with her experiences with Cole, allows her to leave a message that Jones unearths in the future, causing her to recruit Cole for the mission in the first place. Without her, there is no mission, and the future is how we see it in this episode.
After run ins with an alternate Jones and Ramse, Cole convinces them to send him back to the same day as the one in ‘The Night Room’ to prevent Cassandra’s death. Upon arriving in the past, Cole recruits Noah Bean’s Aaron, Cassandra’s ex to help him save her. A fumbled action scene where past Cole gets accidentally shot, shows exactly how past to future paradoxes are created as the bullet from the past affects the body from the future, with quick flashes explaining how the bullet was sutured in the past before he came back to find Aaron. It’s a very visually effective sequence that fills in the blanks of how the past changes the future, and we get quick glimpses of the organic flow of changes, and not just a *poof: bullet scar* affect.
Cole & Aaron are able to save Cassandra, and in the process finally getting Aaron to believe the story about Cole being a time traveler from a desolate future. Hopefully Aaron will now become a major player in the show, and another resource for Cole in the past, along with Cassandra. I just hope they don’t spend too much time on rebuilding the romance aspect between those two characters, otherwise things get very soapy. Aaron’s significance is further solidified given that Cole gets new information about the plague from alternate Jones, regarding an ‘Operation Troy’, which has something to do with Aaron’s boss.
While Cassandra was captured, she was drugged and made to experience ‘The Witness’, someone the Pallid Man referred to last episode. It was a weird sequence where another member of the Army Of The 12 Monkeys was introduced, played by Alisen Down who almost kind of hypnotized Cassandra to see him. The weird thing is that The Witness only appeared to her while in Cassandra’s drugged up state. It’s almost like he didn’t exist in the normal plane but could only communicate with her through the use of mind-bending (maybe time bending) chemicals. We know that the injections Jones gives Cole puts his body in a state of temporal flux, allowing him to travel through time, so maybe what Cassandra took allowed her to do the same? The main bad guy in ’12 Monkeys’ could easily be from the future or another time traveller like Cole. Cassandra is told that she knows him, so it could even be someone we’ve already been introduced to.
Once everything is resolved, and Cole returns to his own time after saving Cassandra and fixing the past, our suspicions are confirmed about Cole’s health. Extended use of the machine will eventually kill him, so now the show has another stake in the aspect of Cole’s deteriorating health which just gives the story more hurdles to work against. ’12 Monkeys’ continues to raise stakes while telling a compelling story each episode that is progressive to the overall story of the series. Best new show of the season!
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