If you are a devotee of time travel...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

12 Monkeys series 1.3: Paradoxes, Lies, and Near Intersections

Well, I broke down and watched the next episode of 12 Monkeys - 1.3, available on SyFy On Demand for just 24 hours from midnight last night.  Hey, why shouldn't I watch a show earlier than it's being aired, it's a show about time travel, right?   But be forewarned - or warned, or whatever the proper usage - to either not read this review until after 10pm Eastern next week, January 30, or get a few soft spoilers here.

First, and this is not a spoiler, I've been meaning to point out the coincidence of 12 Monkeys on television as a series so soon after the Ebola outbreak that dominated much of our news in the real world this past Fall.   This obviously trumps and is much more significant that the fortuitous North Korean coincidence in episode 1.2 last week (or, actually, yesterday).   Indeed, the nearness of Ebola to 12 Monkeys gives the series an urgency and verisimilitude that it wouldn't have had just last year, in January 2014.

And a lot of the action in 1.3 takes place in Haiti, as Cassandra goes there in 2014 to stop a plague that could be THE plague but turns out to be just river fever, whatever exactly that is.   But the real action here is Cassandra (and Jones) telling Cole to keep clear of Cassandra in Haiti - he too is on a mission there - so as not to contaminate i.e., bend the timeline which Cole will need from Cassandra in the future. Back in Haiti, Cole also manages to scar the Tom Noonan creepo character, thereby closing that little loop, as well as kill someone that Cassandra slept with and was beginning to really care about, but Cole doesn't know this (until later, in the future, when he lies to Cassandra about killing Andre).  All of which is testament to the care that this series is taking in following the logical consequences of the paradoxes that time travel engenders - keep the paradoxes ever in mind, and steering clear of them whenever possible - which as I said in my review of the first episode is a hallmark of good time travel science fiction in my book.    I should also say, apropos Cole and Cassandra, that Aaron Stanford and Amanda Schull are both doing a really excellent, appealing, and convincing job in those lead roles.

Meanwhile, there's also some important action taking place in the 2040s future of the story - much more than in the movie, by the way.   Ramse (played by Kirk Acevedo of Fringe fame) is a major character in this future, where we learn that the time travel facility may soon be under attack from some kind of human group not sick, as far as we know.

At this point, I'm enjoying the television series about as much as the movie - including the differences, which is saying a lot indeed, because the movie was superb.  But the paradoxes, lies, and near intersections through time are making 12 Monkeys exceptional television.

See also 12 Monkeys series on SyFy: Paradox Prominent and Excellent ... 12 Monkeys 1.2: Your Future, His Past ... 12 Monkeys 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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