Review of 12 Monkeys 3.5-7

"A Thing for Asimov"

Review of 12 Monkeys 3.5-7

A superb, punching, philosophic triad of episodes 3.5-7 of 12 Monkeys last night, with Jennifer's most memorable line coming in 1953, "a thing for Asimov". This has almost nothing to do with the story, but it's meta-beautiful, since Asimov's The End of Eternity -- from around three years in the future, in 1956 - has always been, to my mind, at least, since the day I first read it back in 1959, the best single time travel novel ever written.

But there were other great lines in these three episodes -- epitomized by Cole's musing "sometimes I think we're just stuck in a loop, creating the problems we're trying to solve," and Cassie's "we don't get to change the past and keep the future".

Cole thinks the only way out of this is to kill the Witness, their son. Cassie wants to find a way to break out of the loop by somehow saving their son and the human species from the fate they all can see. She wants it all -- the planet saved as well as their family. And in a great blow for optimism, she convinces Cole, who's better than Ramse. Cole's convinced when he looks into his son's eyes -- Ethan's. And though Ethan's off somewhere in time with his protector, it was good to see Cole and Cassie on the same page at the end -- as they were at the end of the first four episodes of this wild roller-coaster season.

Unfortunately, they now have a new set of enemies -- Jones and Deacon. So we now have three forces in mortal conflict with each other -- the insane religious zealots, Jones and what's left of her forces, and Cole and Cassie. Jennifer's on their side, but I'd bet on them anyway.

Two nice, relatively minor but significant additional touches in the story. Agent Gale back on the case in 1953, and Cassie (and Cole) warning him of his death in 1960s Berlin. It's a great move, and an example of Cassie trying to change history. And the scene between Cassie and her mother was pure gold, too.

This season is very different and very much better in some crucial ways than the first two. Many more nose bleeds, as our main characters get their pasts changed, and the ability to time travel without that big, glubby, Frankenstein-monster lab in Jones's facility.

And I'll be back with more tomorrow.

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Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson
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Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages.

See all posts by Paul Levinson