Remember the early scenes of Man of Steel, featuring Jor-El and Lara in Krypton? Remember how most folks who saw that must have thought how cool a film or TV show set in that time period would be? Well, your wish has come true. Sorta.
Scifi TV geeks have been waiting for a long time for a series that matches the epic sweep of Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica. Thus, when it was announced that Syfy was adapting James SA Corey’s Expanse series, there was palpable excitement amongst geeks that perhaps the wait was over. Based on the pilot, there is enough evidence that The Expanse may have a shot at emulating the greatness of the aforementioned series.
Got to hand it to the folks behind 12 Monkeys – not only have they managed to deepen the emotional resonance of the characters in the series but they have continued to used the time travel plot device to heighten the dramatic tension well throughout. In recent weeks, the series has given due focus to the ‘present day’ scenario of 2043 and in this episode we are introduced to Colonel Foster, the leader of Spearhead (a military colony where Jones and Whitley once lived) who stands in the way of the repair of the time machine and the recovery of Cole from the past.
Yes, Cole was not killed – though the reason why is probably worth the price of admission – as was suggested in the previous episode. There is superb misdirection in this respect as Dr. Raily attempts to find out whether Cole survived the airstrike or whether he was successful in altering the future. What do you think?
Things come to a head in this episode as we move ever closer to the finale. The ambitious Amy makes her play against Michael – the result of which is discovered by Julia thirty years later! Amy also figures in negotiations with Sarah to secure the return of her immortal child (in one of the creepiest sequences thus far).
The Coast Guard returns to St. Germain with its officer-in-charge spouting cliches after cliche and the CDC team – now led by Alan – head out to get to the bottom of the pantagen, once and for all. Meanwhile, in the future, the plot gets more and more convoluted. Hopefully, the loose ends will tied up soon.
Even as I find the leading actors utterly unremarkable (it is obvious they were cast purely for their good looks), I am enjoying Syfy’s re-imagining of 12 Monkeys for its proper exploration of time travel implications. Sure, even that is not perfect but one can appreciate the genuine effort. This episode seems to superficially wrap up the series (it does not of course, in reality) but it was intriguing the manner in which we were led to believe it was. The mechanics of time travel for James Cole (it is all past for him) and Cassandra Raily (living in real time) is that their shared experience may not be linear and that is the beauty of the story-telling. With the various changes in time that Cole is effecting, surely the question must arise is whether there is one timeline or are we witnessing the splintering of various alternate timelines. One suspects that the latter is a tad too sophisticated for a TV audience, even for a scifi drama series but wouldn’t it be nice?
The 2nd season of Helix has done very well in shifting focus on different characters and casting as protagonists and antagonists in equal measure depending on particular perspectives. Amongst Alan, Peter, Michael and Amy it was never clear who was the actual villain of the piece. But finally, the role has settled on Michael. Yes the placid, seemingly even-tempered cult leader is actually a 400 year old immortal, who has lost touch with his humanity decades ago and despite appearances to the contrary, appears to be aware of every single machination within his community. Enough to be constantly ahead of the game, so to speak. Rather masterful writing, I must say. Discovering the truth, the CDC team now have to thwart Michael as he executes his horrible endgame.
That all said, it is strange that Julia’s story seems to have fall out of the narrative almost completely. What happened in the 30 years later timeline? Will we get back to that? Too many questions in that respect. But definitely worth finding out!
Definitely the most intense season 2 episode thus far as Amy ramps up her plans to get away from Brother Michael and the island. One cannot blame her considering the outrageous revelations made concerning the relationship between Brother Michael and herself. The most unlikely villainess but kudos to the writers for making it so. The CDC team is not in good shape either as the mistrust bred amongst them threatens to destroy them, even as Alan Farragate plays his role as agent provocateur to perfection.
On Julia’s side, the writers chose to tell her story not from the ’30 years later’ perspective but a background tale on what happened after Julia joined the Ilaria Corporation. Disorientating to say the least. Not sure why the writers decided to make that jump as it does not seem to add anything to the ‘present day’ narrative whatsoever. Am just wondering how long it will take for Brother Michael and/or the CDC team to figure out that Amy is behind everything.
Yes, I will admit it – I am getting a little jaded with the TV versions of James Cole and Cassandra Raily. They are just too picture perfect for their own good. Also, I am wondering whether this plot device of going back in time to recover the ‘original’ timeline is going to get tiring soon. I mean, it was fun when it was done in Back to the Future 2 as Marty McFly did his best to avoid himself in the past but considering that this is the 2nd time it’s happening in 12 Monkeys? Ho hum.
But as usual, 12 Monkeys introduced a new element in the plot that pique my interest. What was the whole ‘red forest’ acid trip that Raily went through? What was that about? Another mystery – who is the Witness? Will they reveal this mysteries soon or will they end up as unresolved plot lines like Lost? And how does one keep track of the alternate realities Cole is setting up? Wait and see or give up – what do YOU think?
Continue to be seriously on the fence about Syfy’s 12 Monkeys. This latest episode basically was a one location (The Nightroom) shoot as Cole and the Army of the 12 Monkeys came ever closer to their goal – the deadly virus. There was quite a bit of people sitting around and waiting for something to happen. The Pallid Man played mind games and tortured Cole as the Army was kept away from the virus by a lazer force field.
Jennifer Goines was reunited with Cole and her contribution proved crucial in the scheme of things. Actually, I am making all this sound more exciting than it actually was. Which made me resolve to give up on the series when once more, the show pulled a rabbit out of the hat with its mysterious ending. When a show is about time travel, there are a lot of possibilities for courageous writers to take narrative risks and it seemed at the conclusion that 12 Monkeys had done just that. Wait and see again, I guess.
Alright, so we are spoiling season 2 episode 5 with the above image which reveals that cult leader Michael is actually an immortal. But of course, that was hinted by the scores of portraits on his wall and the different generations of women advisors (they are all his daughters apparently). So, is Caleb (from the 30 years later storyline) also Michael’s son? Who knows? This revelation needed to come as the plot lines were steadily going nowhere.
As it was, the fact that certain cult factions were working against the CDC team without any consequences or concern from the ‘benevolent’ Michael seemed a tad too convenient. So maybe this revelation accounts for Michael’s constant placid demeanour. Elsewhere, Alan and Peter sort out their differences without satisfactory resolution with Peter once again keeping his cards close to his chest. Sure, I understand that secrets keep a story intriguing but too much is not a good thing either. In any case, we need some answers and soon.
Remember when I said the strong point about the second season of Helix was the two parallel storylines? (present and future) Well, that only holds true if the storylines keep things interesting. And while more information was given about the disease (something to do with bees), the future scenario was awfully cliched even if it contained a kickass fight between Hatake and Julia.
The whole plot with Hatake seemed irrelevant even if his re-appearance initially suggest exciting possibilities. No answers there whatsoever. The episode ends with a cliffhanger as two characters from both timelines lay dying in a pool of their own blood. Yeah yeah nobody’s going to die but at least there’s incentive to tune in to episode 5. Just about…
A cute installment of 12 Monkeys. In the sense that whilst it dwelt primarily on a sci-fi trope (going back to time to change events), it utilized it as an intelligent plot device to reveal more of Cole’s character.
Focusing mainly on Cole’s present (i.e. 2043), flesh was put on Cole’s bare-boned characterization and the extent of Cole’s relationship with Ramse. Although it deviated from the primarily storyline that involved our present (i.e. 2015) – “Atari” was well worth the ride. A little convenient in parts but overall, a fun episode.
Despite changing its setting completely and introducing a flashforward narrative to its plot, Helix has been slowly introducing familiar characters from the first season to the current one. This time (in “Scion”), it’s Dr. Hatake (above) – a key player first time round, to make Julia’s job of saving the Immortals that much more complicated.
Alan gets more involved in the present and the CDC team is discovering that there is more to the cult than meets the eye (duh!). There are double twists at the end – one we probably saw coming and the other that will keep us guessing till the next episode.
Quite a few plot developments in the latest 12 Monkeys episodes that suggests that things will get complicated in the weeks to come. This time round, Cole has to go back to 2014 to question a co-worker of Railey’s in Haiti about the location of the nightroom, before the Army of the 12 Monkeys get to him.
Syfy series Helix is back and while it retains much of the key features of season one (i.e. deadly pathogen, CDC involvement, death, gore, immortality and conspiracies), season two differs significantly in having two separate storylines (one in the present, and one in the future). Yes, the LOST flashforward is back!
Curiously, there are a few parallels with LOST – besides the flashforwards, the CDC team is trapped on an island, there is a cult group headed by an enigmatic leader and secrets kept within secrets. Two episodes, there is much to recommend the show with — after one absorbs the disorientating changes from the season one finale.
Created by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett.
Starring Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo and Noah Bean.
Regular PoP visitors should be aware that 12 Monkeys is probably my favorite movie of all time. See why here. So you can imagine my trepidation when I discovered that SyFy had done a TV series based on the Terry Gilliam-helmed classic.