Just when you think that you are catching on to 12 Monkeys, that you are somehow “in the know,” the writers pull the rug out from under your feet and you are left alone, with your hands flailing in the air, desperately trying to grasp a stable surface, but unable to find purchase. Episode Five really is a game changer, starting with the title of the episode. There is no clever hidden meaning, no obscure word. The title tells you exactly what you are getting into for the next hour. It is such an important discovery and an essential point to the mythos of Cassandra’s and Cole’s word that it does not require any sneaky wordplay. “The Night Room” is the big pay out after the first few episodes. The break in the style of the titles not only signifies how important the episode is to the overall story, but may signify a turn stylistically for the entire show. This is by far the goriest and most edgy episode to date. Is this a trend we should come to expect in future episodes? It may just be scratching the surface of what is to come later. This episode begins with Jones, Cole, Ramse, and Max sitting around the facility, bonding over booze in a pre-splintering moment. This allows the characters to bond with each other and for the audience to bond with them as well. We are more likely to become emotionally invested and care what happens to these characters if we see their vulnerability and humanity. We steal another small glimpse at Jones’s past. We find out that she was briefly married. Perhaps her husband died due to the plague? The careful observer also sees a blanket with the name “Hannah” stitched on it. During Episode Four, we found out Jones’ name is Katarina. Maybe her daughter and husband both fell victim to the plague and that’s what fuels her desire to stop it in the first place, or maybe the death of their daughter ripped them apart? Just when Jones seems to become more human and less cold, we are introduced to the ugly side of time travel and Jones’s past. Even though this series has taken pains to depict splintering as grittier and more realistic than other time traveling shows have in the past, until this episode, we have not really had to think about what happens if there is a problem when someone splinters. Ramse finds photographs and reports of subjects that did not successfully splinter. During what we are to assume was the development of the science behind splintering, several subjects were not only killed, but died in brutal and seemingly torturous ways. Obliterated and twisted burnt bodies that are missing body parts, and faces still wearing masks of silent screams fill ordinary office folders. Jones attempts to defend her past attempts — attempts Ramse sees as cruelty — by arguing that she is dedicated to saving Mozart, literature, and culture by preventing the plague. Ramse is too young to have heard of any of these concepts. I find it interesting that as a scientist, Jones is dedicated to preserving artistic and creative ideals instead of referencing any type of scientific endeavors. In addition to the dangers of Cole changing the past to the point Cassandra does not leave the initial message in the future that leads to building the time machine or dying while in the past, Cole also faces the possibility of being ripped to shreds when splintering. We also learn that time and each splintering degrades the core of the time machine. Cole splinters back in time where he and Cassandra locate the Night Room. While in the past, Cole is noticeably not feeling well. He believes he is immune to the plague, but he feels off. It is unknown if he is sick, suffering some type of physical effects of splintering, or if he is coming in contact with himself in some way. This show has a trend of Cole traveling back in time only to cause the very thing he is attempting to change. Anything we see could be an easily overlooked clue. Of course, it cannot be that easy. Our friend the Pallid Man is also there and he wants access to the vault where a portion of a corpse that holds the origin of the plague has been preserved. Enter the key to the vault, Jennifer Goines who knows all of the codes to access the vault in the Night Room. In a previous flashback involving Goines, we learn how the clean burn technique works. One person must push a red button in a control room overlooking the lab while another must push a button in the actual lab. Remember this scene, kids, it is important later. Not only is Goines completely nutso, she has fallen head over heels in love with Cole. She sees him as her savior and says his voice silences the other voices. If you thought that Pallid Man was evil before, we see him elevated to a level of evil that surpasses even the Cigarette Smoking Man. In an effort to access the vault, he implements bamboo torture methods by shoving sharp bamboo skewers into Cole’s fingertips, ripping off his fingernails. The visual and sound effects are remarkable and make this scene more cringe-worthy than words can express! Of course, Goines is tortured too. During her interrogation, she demonstrates a fraction of how looney she is. She cackles and laughs at the Pallid Man and even summons a pretty good Clinton impersonation. She is not scared of creepy crawly bugs or from a rat being dangled over her face. When the Pallid Man reveals that Cole killed her father, she is even more delighted and in love with him. Somehow, sneaky Goines grabs a necklace from around the Pallid Man’s neck and he does not notice it all. I hope the significance of this necklace is revealed later. It could just be another characteristic of Goines’s madness. The Pallid Man finally realizes how to coax Goines into opening the vault. He threatens to kill the only thing that matters to her, Cole. While Cassandra is in the control room with the Pallid Man, she and Cole manage an entire conversation spoken silently by their eyes and eyebrows in which they press the burn buttons. As usual, both survive unscathed, but nameless henchmen and the corpse are completely destroyed. Although she plays second fiddle to Goines in this episode, Cassandra is still has some significant growth in this episode. She finds out the Cole killed Henri. Even though he insists he did not have a choice, it causes Cassandra to question her trust in Cole. In an interesting parallel, in the future, Ramse and Max try to get Cole to question his faith in Jones. So far, at least, both go with their gut feelings and continue to fight the good fight, but the doubting Thomases awaken a skeptical beast within this viewer. Just before the end credits, Cole splinters back to the future, but the future has been altered. The time machine seems significantly worse for the wear. The time travel room is draped with clothes lines and seems to be an abandoned shack with no sign of Goines in sight. The Roman numeral VII is painted on the wall. Then the credits fill the screen and we are left in limbo for another week! 12 Monkeys 1.05 "Night Room"4.2Overall ScoreReader Rating: (2 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.