It is always difficult when a new show is introduced. You cautiously sniff the air, peak into the episode, and taste a small sample of the new series. Right now, 12 Monkeys, SyFy’s latest offering — based on the 1995 Terry Gilliam film of the same name — is teeter tottering up in the air. It has the capacity to go either way, but I am a television optimist and hope for the best. As with any show about time travel, so far the entire show makes limited sense. It is all about being introduced to the main characters and giving us a glimpse of the plot. Not only does the pilot serve as a small introduction to all of these new folks, but it raises enough questions to peak our interests and guarantee that most of us who sat through the first episode will tune in or set our DVRs for at least the next couple of episodes to try to figure out what the hell is going on. The first episode of 12 Monkeys may not be mind-bogglingly impressive; it is at least intriguing and has piqued my interest while giving very little away. Cole (Aaron Stanford) travels from a post-apocalyptic 2043 in which millions have died as a result of a nameless plague back in time to 2013 to meet Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull). All he has to go on is an incomplete recording from Dr. Railly saying that Leland Frost (Zeljko Ivanek) is responsible for the outbreak. Pssst…we later find out his name is Leland Goines, a much less menacing and less cool name! Just like other time travelers before him, Cole has trouble convincing Dr. Railly that he is from the future, but she loses her practice and respect when she tries to convince others that a disappearing assailant is the time traveling Cole. Unfortunately for Cole, he had leapt too far into the past before Dr. Railly knew Leland Goines. Cole returns two years later, hoping to time things just right — sorry, I am allowed at least one pun here — but Dr. Railly STILL knows nothing about Leland Frost. Cole and Dr. Railly join forces and crash a swanky benefit filled with gowns, suits, and who’s whos. This time, Cole is more on the mark and runs into Goines. Cole smoothly gets a gun from a bodyguard, but botches killing Goines. There is more than meets the eye with Goines, though. The police turn Dr. Railly and Cole over to him. After some tests, it is revealed that Cole’s body is some type of molecular computer and is like nothing Goines and his scientists have ever seen. In the future, Cole is a prisoner that an unknown to us for now, but seemingly powerful woman plucks from his cell. He is configured by some type of machine that “splinters” him throughout time and space. His mission is to stop the plague at all costs. At the end of the episode, the viewer is left with a laundry list of questions, but that is not surprising and at least the show is entertaining. One episode in and we are already connected to the characters. 2043 is enough in the future to allow for several possibilities medically, scientifically, and socio-economically that the world itself could be much different than our present. It is close enough in range, however, that it still takes place in our lifetimes. This is such a smart setting because there could easily be an epidemic that wipes us all out. Decades worth of news stories have warned us of our impending doom ranging from the AIDS surge of the 80s to flesh eating disease on to swine flu and fast forward to Ebola. We cannot see germs, yet they are real and can infect us at any given time. This fear of the unknown and an enemy invisible to the naked eye can make daily life terrifying. The millions that die from the plague in 12 Monkeys could realistically be all of us. So far, we are just told that Goines is evil; that he is responsible for nearly wiping out the entire population, but we have not been able to see that he is evil. We know he is powerful, which in television and cinema often couples with evil villains. For us to truly despise him, we must see him in action. Only once we feel that he and future characters are awful can we believe that Dr. Railly and Cole are our saviors are really the good guys. Expose the evil and that will make the good shine. When Cole shoots at Goines and misses, it shows the humanity of Cole. He is a regular guy that has no training. We do not know why he is in jail and what he has done. Just because he is the “hero” right now, does not make him infallible. Just like Dr. Railly probably thought, “How do we know that we can trust him?” The botched assassination on Goines forces us to question, “What would we do?” I have attempted to shoot a gun once as a kid. If I was suddenly chosen to travel through dimensions to save the world, I know I would have missed. The most intriguing character of the show, however, has the least amount of screen time. A disheveled woman who is scratching out a Rorschach image with charcoal on a wall in the closing scene, is revealed to be Goines’ daughter Jennifer (Emily Hampshire). I cannot wait to find out why she is seemingly in a mental hospital. She may be the evil I was looking for. So far, 12 Monkeys is a noble effort. I cannot wait to tune in to see what happens next and, hopefully, get some answers. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.