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12 Monkeys – S1E4 – Atari

Previously on 12 Monkeys, ‘Cassandra Complex’

Last week we closed the episode with some plotting, what I am going to call “nomads” for now, which is what I assume is an attempt to make present day more interesting. But, considering the show takes place in several different decades and jumps from one year to the next, I’m thinking we’ve got enough storylines. But let’s see where this week takes us.


We start out in 2015 and Cassie and Cole are going through possible sites of the Night Room. Then things get deep and she asks to know him better. He diverts and she pouts and then he conveniently pops back into present day. Don’t you hate when guys do that to avoid emotional conversations?

Ramse and Cole (but not 2015 Cole that just popped back, this is present day Cole in almost present day – it’s 2032, not 2043. Confused yet? Yeah, this show makes you use your noggin) are prowling around and find a dog. Cole aims and Ramse says to take the shot. The dog looks really pitiful and wasn’t causing any harm but Ramse is starving, so he takes aim himself. Okay, I know things are dire in these times, but come on.

Thank goodness, they don’t shoot – or eat – the dog. They sit around a campfire talking about video games and then the dog barks, alerting them of danger. See? Aren’t you glad you didn’t kill Lassie?

Back to actual present day when Cole pops back in, Ramse informs him that they picked up a couple of scavs, short for scavengers (I prefer my term of “nomads”), that morning and they know girl who jumps from trees (Max) lied. It’s their old crew and they warn Jones about how dangerous the group is.

The boys stand watch and have some bro chat about Cassie and such. Then they load up some guns and head out.

Flash back to 2032 where the boys kick some scavenger ass thanks to Lassie’s warning. But there are a whole bunch of ‘em – they’re called Western 7 (or also the scavengers) – and they end up being recruited by head scav, Deacon. Flash back to 2043 and the boys are in the midst of a shoot-out. Some scavs are breaking into the headquarters. All the scavs get taken out relatively easily and the boys realize it was just a diversion. The scavs have found their way in through the tunnels are they’re taking over.

Back to 2032 and Deacon is showing Ramse and Cole around their new home. Deacon tells Max to give them the full tour and Cole declines. Max takes it in stride and I sense these two will be getting it on at some point later.


Back again to 2042 and there’s still lots of shooting and fighting. Ramse ends up getting caught in a room surrounded by the scavs and Cole hears his best friend get shot down over the walkie talkie. Cole wants to run and avenge Ramse’s death but Jones convinces him to go back to 2015 instead. He splinters just as the scavs break in and shoot the place up.

Now we’re in the year 2035 and the scavs – including Ramse and Cole – are raiding some town. Lots of fighting and shooting and stealing. These scavs sure are violent. And Ramse isn’t enjoying his new pirate-ish lifestyle. But Cole seems all right with it, because when he gets stabbed by one of the townsfolk, he shoots the guy dead without hesitation.

Max is sewing up Cole’s wound which requires him to be half-naked. Making out and getting it on is on the horizon for these two. They chat for a while – their faces awfully close to each other for people who do not seem to have toothbrushes – before the making out I predicted ensues. But Deacon walks in to kill the mood. He says Ramse has to go. And by “go” he means “die.” Cole doesn’t even put up a fight over it.

Then we flash to…some year. Cole doesn’t know where he is and neither do we. But it’s definitely in the future, though not the present time. Max and Deacon find him and we realize just as Cole does that this is present day Cole that was supposed to go back to 2015 but didn’t quite make it. Uh oh. Turns out they’re in 2043, but a few weeks prior to the big ambush. Good job, Jones. You were supposed to send him back 30 years and you sent him back 30 minutes. I never liked that lady.

And we’re back to 2035 where Cole enters Ramse’s tent with a gun tucked into his waistband. But Ramse instead hands him a knife, knowing what Cole had come there to do. Ramse gives a lovely speech and Cole caves in. They decide to run away together but Max sees them as they scamper away. She does not seemed pleased that her make-out partner has decided to abandon her.


We flash into “a few hours ago” 2043 and Max splashes water on a tied-up Cole to wake him up. It’s been about 8 years and she’s still feeling jilted. Girl, it was just a couple kisses. Calm the hell down. But Deacon is even more pissed than she is. He beats on Cole a bit and asks how to get into the compound. Cole spits in his face. Deacon slices him open a bit and pours powder on his chest. From Cole’s bug eyes and grunting, I’m guessing this powder is really unpleasant. Cole begs Max to help him and his visions of her start to blur. He sees Cassie and Max in alternating flashes until he loses his shit and starts screaming. He ends up telling Max about the tunnels in the hopes that Max will warn Ramse. But alas, no such luck.

Which is where the time-traveling paradox headache sets in. Because if he HAD been able to somehow stop the ambush, and the ambush never happened, how would he have ended up where he was? Just by being there, the ambush has to go down, otherwise, his current self could not possibly be in the “few hours ago” 2043. Which begs the question: if future Cole is able to stop the 12 Monkeys in the past, doesn’t that change the existence of future Cole, therefore making it impossible to have gone back in the past in the first place? Does your head hurt yet? Yeah, mine too. But let’s put that aside and just go with it.


Deacon has gone to raid the compound and left Cole tied up with a lone guard. The guard goes to have some “fun” and slice into Cole’s face when Max pops up. She knocks him out with a bucket to the face a couple of times. Man, it’s been 8 years and she’s still got a thing for Cole. He must be one hell of a kisser. She acts like she wants to kill Cole herself but we all know she doesn’t. Cole claims he left her behind to “protect her” and asks for her help to take Deacon down. And she does. Women. Always making irrational choices for the men they love. (And I can say that because I’m a woman that has done it many times.)

They head into the ambush and first Cole saves Ramse and then Max saves Jones but Deacon and some of his men get away.

Later, Ramse and Cole have a heartwarming little chat where poor Max is getting jilted again cuz we all know Cole wants Cassie to have all his babies.

Back in 2015, Cole comes back to Cassie and he starts to open up and talk about himself. Cassie seems flattered, but it’s not Cole’s moment; it’s her. She’s found the Night Room.

While this episode was pretty jarring with its constant flip-flopping between times and years, it was ultimately a satisfying one. For the most part, the future has been an almost irrelevant detail, so it was nice to develop that world and time a bit more. Getting to dive into Cole’s character was also nice. I much prefer the “past” world of 2015 but this episode has successfully created a present world that is also engaging and entertaining. I would’ve liked more of a balance between past and present times because it’s really the past that’s fascinating and driving the series, but it was still a good episode on the whole. Judging from the last scene of this episode, I think it’s safe to say that next week will dive right back into the action and suspense of finding the 12 Monkeys and I look forward to it.

Until then…

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

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