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12 Monkeys – S1E2 – Mentally Divergent

Previously, “Splinter

I’m excited about this week’s episode. While I’ve seen some mixed reviews, I like what they’ve changed and what they kept the same, and I like where things are going. So let’s start the show.

12 Monkeys | "Mentally Divergent"

We open up in present day with Cole and some guy named Ramse checking out the mental institution that Jennifer stayed at. I don’t really know why it matters and I thought most of the world was dead, but they’re all whispering and espionage-ish about it. Turns out the file they’re looking for is missing, and despite only looking for about 8 seconds, Cole knows it’s the only one that’s gone. A couple of masked dudes pop out of nowhere to attack them but get their asses beaten. A third one pops up, and they kill him, too. Considering everyone is mostly dead, it’s pretty suspicious that these guys just happen to be there, but okay.

Back at the lab, Ramse says Cole is “different” since he got back. Cole denies it, but we all know he misses the pretty doctor. And cheeseburgers.

In the past, Cassie has called handsome ex-boyfriend Aaron for help. He takes her to a store her grandparents used to own, so she can hide out. Despite the store being abandoned, it’s neat and tidy with electricity and some booze. Nice. Aaron says she’s still crazy; Cassie pours a drink and tells him he’s wrong.

In the future lab, Jones thinks the plague was administered with a pattern – hitting cities of power first. Well, duh. So they’re sending Cole back to 2015 to find Jennifer and try to decipher the pattern. He casually suggests Cassie can help, but Jones says “Nope.” Sorry, bro. But you can at least have a cheeseburger.

Except he lands in North Korea in 2006. Oops.

The lab does something to get him to where he needs to be, and he disappears / slingshots just as the North Korean dude is about to knock him the hell out. Convenient. He lands at the mental hospital as planned and apparently looks sufficiently crazy to be kept there. Is it seriously this easy to be locked up? The man has no insurance and no money and no ID. He’s basically a weird homeless who’s now getting meds, food, a bed, clothes, and a roof. Why aren’t more homeless people doing this if it’s an option?

Anyway, Cassie is desperately trying to get in touch with Jeremy to get some info on the 12 Monkeys but he’s not responding. I think maybe he’s dead, but Cassie just feels ignored. Despite needing to “lay low”, she grabs a notepad and her bag and heads on out. In broad daylight. Without even a hat or sunglasses. She knows nothing about sneaking around.

At the nut house, Cole finds Jennifer. Rather quickly and with no effort. He is both the luckiest and unluckiest man in the world. She spits out her meds – red and blue, it’s like The Matrix in there – and she tells him she “likes colors.” He grills her about the 12 Monkeys, but she won’t tell him at first. She is, however, deliciously insane. I like this girl. She ends up telling him there were a dozen experimental monkeys in her father’s “kingdom”, and she set them all free. And by “free” I think she means she killed them because she makes these “bang, bang” noises. Then she sets off an alarm and tells the orderlies Cole tried to kill her. Clever girl.

Jennifer is drawing again, in charcoal, despite how she “likes colors.” The doctors are asking her questions, but she makes no sense. She asks where the “night room” is, and the doc sends her off to be drugged up. He makes a phone call about Jennifer and gets a deposit into his account for some sort of arrangement he has.

12 Monkeys | "Mentally Divergent"

Cassie heads over to Jeremy’s house and lets herself in when she finds the door unlocked. There are some flower petals that lead to his dead body. Told ya. And then some crazy, old, white dude with a palm full of petals comes in and declares that he killed Jeremy for asking questions for Cassie. So, Cassie, you’re next. You better run. And you better not be in heels this time. Old dude says he won’t hurt her if she’ll just stop asking questions. He asks for Cole, but Cassie says she doesn’t know where he is and runs away. I find it hard to believe he’d just let her go that easily, especially when she already knows the 12 Monkeys exist, but the guy has lost a few marbles, obviously, so I’ll go with it.

Handsome Aaron pays her a visit and is starting to believe that maybe she isn’t cray-cray. But he still is definitely anti-Cole. He dug up some pictures of when Cole popped up in North Korea and tries to convince Cassie that he’s a nutjob activist, but she doesn’t want to hear it. She sends him away but keeps the pictures and finds the one with the address of the mental institution. Well, that’s pretty convenient. There’s a lot of that going on here.

Back at the institution, Jennifer is visiting Cole in his room, where he’s chained to the bed. He tries to get her to talk about the Monkeys, but she says it’s locked up in her head. But she starts talking anyway and tells him about the night room: a secret lab with the virus locked inside. She watched all the scientists she worked with get killed. In the flashbacks, we see the same flower petals as in Jeremy’s house, so we know it was crazy, old dude. One scientist got away, and it was just Jennifer and old dude in the lab. He spares her, and she blames herself for the murders. Well, I guess I’d go a little nutso, too, if I had to witness what she did.

Just as the bad doctor and some orderlies bust in on them, she tells Cole the virus is buried “deeper than daddy”, and they haul her away. Then they haul Cole away, saying he’s “going back to county.” Except when the elevator doors open, Cassie steps out. How did she get in there? Isn’t she wanted or something? She’s just traipsing all over the place undisguised and using her own vehicle and ID and stuff. She’s either totally ballsy or totally stupid.

Either way, she’s smart. She’s cooked up a story and the documents to go with it to get him out of there. She claims he’s got some mental issues due to a virus he’s caught, but it’s okay, because his family has given her custody. She asks for a word alone with her “patient”, and he tells her she’s gotta go. She says she ain’t going nowhere. She tells him about Jeremy’s death, and he realizes it’s the same guy Jennifer talked about.

In Jennifer’s room, crazy, old dude comes to visit. He whisks her away just as Cassie and Cole come down the hallway. Really? They can just wander freely around the place when a minute ago he was going to jail? This is the lowest security hospital in the world. Cole tells Cassie to hold off security, so he can get to Jennifer first, and he runs off to find her down a dark stairwell. Because that seems like a super-safe environment, and he should be just fine alone and with no weapons.

12 Monkeys | "Mentally Divergent"

Old dude shoots at Cole and shows him a scar across his cheek that Cole apparently caused. Jennifer steps away from a masked dude who was supposed to be restraining her (he was barely even touching her; worst accomplice ever) and jams her scalpel into old dude’s back. See? No security in this hospital. Homegirl is absolutely batshit crazy, and she’s just got a scalpel in her pocket all the damn time. Cole and the masked dude battle it out, but old dude’s got backup, and they knock him out, take Jennifer, and leave. Because, as long as you go down a stairwell, you can just waltz out of a mental institution with a patient; no problem.

Back at Cassie’s place, she’s conveniently got Jennifer’s file. It reiterates what she’d told Cole about one of the scientists having gotten away, and then Cole heads back to the future. It’s just not as exciting without the Delorian.

Jones is grilling him and being ridiculously pompous. Considering she does nothing and Cole does everything, she’s awfully high on that horse. But Cole has had enough, and he tells her to shove it up her butt. She wails on about how she remembers the death and tragedy of the plague, but he was too young to understand what was happening. She wants Cole to trust her (read: follow her orders), but he still insists on working with Cassie. And Jones relents.

Old dude’s got Jennifer in some dark cell or warehouse or something and is whipping up a little drink for her. Without question, she takes a sip. Come on, Jennifer, you know better than to take candy from strangers! She starts seeing things; a weird vision of a man in a mask and then things go black.

Another solid episode. Another slew of coincidences to make it all work. But I’ll still just take it with a grain of salt. I like how it’s still focused on plot movement and action and that air of mystery. It keeps things exciting. But I’m going to need some emotional and character development in the upcoming episodes to truly connect with and care about these people. It’s entertaining, but it needs to move deeper. Just a little. And I don’t know where Emily Hampshire (Jennifer Goines) has been all my life, but I absolutely adore her. She plays crazy with a delicate, calculated grace that is irresistible. The highlight of the show for me. Although the rest is pretty damn good, too.

Until next week…

12 Monkeys | "Mentally Divergent"

About Maya Maldonado (43 Articles)
Maya Maldanado is the author of the Lust (The Immortal Shadows Trilogy).

1 Comment on 12 Monkeys – S1E2 – Mentally Divergent

  1. This ep was better than the first.

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