Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer DVR Dump: 12 Monkeys 1.01: “Splinter”

“Where are you right now? Warm, safe? Next to someone you love? What if all that was gone and the only thing you could do was survive? You would right? You’d try. You’d things, horrible things, until you lose that last thing you have left, yourself. What if you could take it back? All of it. A reset switch. You’d hit it right? You’d have to.”
- Cole

So I have not seen the movie which this show is based on (it’s in my Netflix queue) but the concept was very intriguing to me. Things kicks off with a bang in 2043 as two men who we later lean are Cole and Ramse head into what used to be the CDC. It’s pretty much run down and empty at this point. And as Cole gives a voice over basically explaining in the second person what his life has been like, they come across a skeleton with a watch. Cut to the year 2013 where Dr. Cassandra Railly wearing the same watch is giving a speech on needing to be prepared for the next epidemic (whatever it may be). It’s a little creepy knowing she’s dead in thirty years but hey, things are a little more complicated than that. Cassie leaves her speaking engagement and his on the phone with her boyfriend, Aaron, when Cole pops up in her back seat and basically kidnaps her.

As he tries to avoid the police (which are called because Aaron is the aid of a senator) he rambles on about what he knows of Cassie’s background. And he needs to know where to find a man named Leland Frost. Cassie is clearly freaked out and has no clue what he’s talking about. She definitely thinks he’s crazy when he starts going on about how he’s from 2043 and he got sent back too far (he was aiming for 2015). But he does what could be called a trick with the two watches. He scratches the face of the watch Cassie is wearing now and with some lights flickering and some shaking, the watch from the future also gets scratched. This still isn’t enough to convince Cassie. Unfortunately, Cole is running out of time and after getting shot, he tells Cassie to meet him in two years on the same date in a Philadelphia hotel. Before Cassie can agree or disagree, he just disappears.

The next time we see Cassie, it’s 2015 and she’s dutifully sitting in the bar at the hotel waiting for Cole. She’s about to check out of her room, assuming this was all in her head when Cole staggers past security, still suffering from the gunshot wound she saw him get two years earlier. She escorts him up to her room and while she’s tending to his wound, we see how he got involved in all of this in the first place. A woman named Dr. Jones finds him in a cell and tells him that she thinks his destiny is to save humanity. She and her team of fell scientists give him injections to allow him to splinter through time and they set him on his mission to find Cassie and use her for what she knows about stopping the hell they’re living in. In 2015, he wakes up after three days of recovery and is ready to go but Cassie demands some answers. So Cole gives her what he knows. In 2017, a worldwide plague hits, killing 7 billion people. It’s still around in 2043 and it’s mutating. Some people, like Cole, were immune and a lot of people turned to scavenging and taking advantage of survivors. The reason he had to find Cassie becomes clear when they find a recording form her when she was working for the CDC trying to find a cure. Hence the need to find Leland Frost (it was in her recording). She also named Cole specifically. So in a way, she’s put him on this path. Too bad she still has no clue who this Leland guy is.

After visiting a friend of Cassie’s dad in Baltimore, Cassie and Cole learn that they’ve been looking for the wrong person. Leland Frost doesn’t exist. The person they need to find is Leland Goines, head of a big biotech company whose internal designation is “Frost”. Well that makes sense. Cole is eager to find Goines and put a bullet in him but Cassie thinks they need a game plan first. They’re going to head to DC because Goines will be attending a benefit there. It seems Cassie still has some connections in that world and manages to get her ex, Aaron, to get them into the benefit without an actual invite. I have to say that was pretty clever. Oh and I also like how they weave in the building blocks of how time travel and everything works. On the way to the benefit, Cole explains that once the plague is stopped (he thinks killing Goines is all he needs to do) he will cease to exist and the future he came from will be gone, replaced by something better. It makes perfect sense to me.

At the benefit, Aaron and Cassie get into an argument about why she left and his not supporting her while Cole procures himself a gun and attempts to shoot Goines. That just causes a huge scene and Aaron drags Cassie to safety while Cole gets arrested. Since they were at the benefit together, Cassie gets arrested too. Unfortunately, Goines has men grab them on the road and then separated. Goines orders his top guy, Oliver, to examine Cole and they find that not only is his physiology really strange but his adrenaline is pumping constantly and his brain activity is also way more than it should be. Goines throws Cole back into a room with Cassie and then shares a little tidbit that Cole doesn’t know. At some point in Cole’s future, he’s going to travel back to 1987 to meet Goines in search of the Army of the 12 Monkeys. When Cole refuses to tell Goines what makes him (Goines) so important that the laws of physics would shatter, Goines orders both Cassie and Cole shot. Cole buys a little time by putting the present and future watches together to create a paradox. It doesn’t rewrite history or anything but it does give a pretty big boom. Time does slow down enough for Cole to get Cassie out of harm’s way. Like Cassie predicted, even after Cole shoots Goines, he’s still there. Well, that sucks for him!

Cole is about to splinter back to his time and he sends Cassie into hiding in the hopes of protecting her. Clearly they were wrong about everything related to the plague and their work is only just beginning. While Cole fills in Dr. Jones about the Army of the 12 Monkeys, we see one of Goines’s men tell his mentally ill daughter, Jennifer, that her father is dead. And as we cut to black we see Jennifer drawing the symbol of the 12 Monkeys. Overall, I thought the pilot was good and it left me wondering where the story would go next. I think they did a good job setting up the rules of the universe quickly and made our protagonists interesting and relatable, even if we don’t know everything there is to know about them, yet.

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