Syfy’s ’12 Monkeys’, now in its third episode of Season two, turns up the quality in an episode your great grandfather would appreciate. If only he weren’t scared of televisions…and monkeys.
The following review contains basically no spoilers… you guys know me better than that.
After two decent episodes of Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, both featuring their own distinctive strengths, the time-traveling saga breaks out of the cage with its best episode of the season.
Why did it have to be down there-James Cole
The episode, simply titled One Hundred Years, is almost a completely different show, ran by completely different creatives. While I did extremely enjoy the previous two outings of 12 Monkeys, Year of the Monkey and Primary, One Hundred Years is on another level Fright Fans.
Why is One Hundred Years better than Season 2’s first two episodes. You crazy ape, I’m glad you asked.
To start, the script is as sharp as the claws of a courageous cougar. After initiating its plot with an amazingly poignant cold open, the One Hundred Years begins to boldly build with a meeting between the minds of the show’s core characters. This meeting sets up the tight plotting of the episode, and while Primary also featured breakneck pacing, Monday’s episode is a whole other Ape entirely.
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Save for a few slight character moments; situations, mind you, needed to service the remainder of the season and good ones at that, the rest of One Hundred Years’ running time is dedicated to the plotting of stopping The Messengers in the year 1944. It’s highly focused and I imagine you’ll never take your eyes off the screen….NOT EVEN TO CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA!!
On top of its strong plotting, through a mostly lean script, One Hundred Years has a tone that balances the serious with the silly. Much like the opener, Year of the Monkey, the newest episode knows when and where to have a characters appropriately crack a joke. Just like I did with the premiere, I laughed more than once during Monday ‘s episode.
Then there’s the direction. Directed by David Grossman, One Hundred Years is by far the sharpest shot episode of the season. There’s decent composition, some nice camerawork in the episode’s opening, as well as other parts of One Hundred Years. While it’s not mind blowing direction, it’s certainly respectable for a Syfy show; No disrespect of course.
The acting is also the best of the season in One Hundred Years. While I’ve praised the main stars for their weekly solid work, other cast members, and some guest stars, really add to the episode’s overall quality.
Barbara Sukowa as Katarina Jones in ’12 Monkeys’- courtesy of Syfy
Among the many talented actors, Barbara Sukowa (M. Butterfly, Lola) is great in One Hundred Years. Playing Katarina Jones, who created time travel in the series, Sukowa turns in her best scene of the season with a tense confrontation with Ramse. The emotions run high as she points all ten fingers at Ramse for his involvement in the virus, and while watching the scene, I felt when she felt. It was great guys.
Also, Scottie Thompson (Before I Wake, Skyline) is sadistically stunning in the episode. Portraying Vivian Rutledge, one of the Army of the 12 Monkey’s messengers, the actress is menacingly magical in One Hundred Years. Throughout the episode, there’re many moments that show just how great the actress is and how her performance truly effects.
So, will Cole and Cassandra stop the Messengers in 1944? Will Ramse come to pay for what he’s done? Will Jones finally come to terms with her new husband? You’ll have to tune in to find out you crazy Monkeys.
David Grossman’s One Hundred Years is the best episode of 12 Monkeys Season two. It’s tightly plotted, hilarious when needed, and pushes characters further than in the previous two outings. With its intricate, but not overly confusing plot, 12 Monkeys is the way Sci-fi shows should be. If you’ve been enjoying Syfy’s time-traveling tale of viruses and vengeance, you will eat up One Hundred Years like as cluster of bananas. Now off into the jungle you go freaks. Enjoy hanging around.
THE GRADE: A-
Check out a preview of next week’s episode, Emergence, courtesy of Syfy:
Enjoying Syfy’s 12 Monkeys? Did or didn’t like what One Hundred Years had to offer? Sound off with your comments below and let’s get as many monkeys as we can to get the conversation going. Don’t forget to tune into 12 Monkeys Mondays at 9/8c, only on Syfy.