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Friday, January 23, 2015

12 Monkeys series 1.2: Your Future, His Past

12 Monkeys continued its story on SyFy tonight, with a phrase that captured the predicament of Cole and every time traveler.   When he asks his boss, Jones, how someone could say Cole was responsible for a scar, but Cole has no memory of even meeting that person, Jones replies that you'll meet him in your future but his past. That's about as neat an explanation of twisted interconnected timelines as you're likely to get in a time travel story.

And we don't even know the name of the guy that Cole will scar.   We know he's played by Tom Noonan, who has a pretty good beat on the weird, creepy, slightly psychotic, having played one very well back in Hell on Wheels - in everyone's past, that is, in the 19th century, unless you haven't seen the fine series as yet, in which case it also will be in your future.

Meanwhile, there are other significant conversations between Cole and Jones.   He doesn't like taking orders from her, but who does (like taking orders).  And although she starts the episode strictly forbidding Cole from interacting with Cassandra - lest he throw off the timeline that resulted in the future first finding out about a possible way to stop the plague - she comes to realize that the mission may need Cassandra, after all.   So Jones, like all good heroes in time travel stories, including the scientists behind the missions, is willing to risk paradox on behalf of the mission's success.   If they weren't, they likely wouldn't have gone into time travel in the first place.

Speaking of missions, this episode of 12 Monkeys had a brief gambit that was positively prescient about what recently happened in our own off-screen timeline less than a month ago.  Cole ends up for a few harrowing moments in North Korea, in, what was it, 2006?   Now these kinds of misfires are common enough in time travel stories - we saw them in Quantum Leap, and, for that matter, in the 12 Monkeys 1995 movie.   But North Korea?  Are you kidding me?  Unbelievable coincidence with our reality - I half expected to see Seth Rogan in the scene with Cole.   It's a good thing the North Koreans didn't hack the SyFy Channel and start making demands, though maybe I shouldn't be joking about this.

But there were lots of interviews in this episode - sorry, I couldn't resist - the best being the one with Cole and Jennifer, who looks like the best kind of nutcase character, or one with some very serious, not crazy, information.

Looking forward to next week, which I may or may not see in the next 24 hours, on SyFy On Demand.

See also 12 Monkeys series on SyFy: Paradox Prominent and Excellent ... 1.3: Paradoxes, Lies, and Near Intersections ... 1.4: "Uneasy Math"

podcast review of Predestination and 12 Monkeys

 three time travel novels: the Sierra Waters trilogy

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 three time travel stories (with more to come)

The Chronology Protection Case movie 

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