It has taken a little while to warm to this version of the 1995 Terry Gilliam film, but “12 Monkeys” grows on one, like an itchy sweater suddenly gone soft, the television series about James Cole and time travel has become a personal favorite. “Lullaby” shows why the series works so well, it allows a plot device used in other productions to dictate the plot in this episode. While “Groundhog Day” did it comically, “Edge of Tomorrow” did it like a video game and regardless of the “how;” the subject of a “loop” where time repeats itself makes for a riveting watch.
(Before readers start pointing out other scenarios where time repeats itself till the right path is chosen, there was also an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” which had a “deja vu all over again” plot line.)
In this episode a disheartened Jones (Barbara Sukowa) sends Cassie (Amanda Schull) back to 2020 to kill her earlier self to prevent the discovery of time travel. Railly returns, shoots Jones in the face and she is still in 2020 afterward. James Cole (Aaron Stanford) arrives to stop her from killing Jones which she insists has already happened.
It did, but it also did not as time reset itself immediately when Cassie killed Jones. Jennifer sees her two “old friends” and relates what happened the day before, which has just now repeated itself, and explains that they are caught in a loop, or as she says, a reboot.
“If tomorrow comes, they’re gonna put a bullet in my head. Bang… Bang, bang, bang, bang!”
After James arrives, Cassandra’s days become harder and regardless of who does what, the end result is the same. The day restarts, even when Jones is not shot in the face, and finally Cole gets a hint from “primary” Goines who tells him that time does to want Jones dead or altered in any way.
She also reveals that in order to do something, they must do nothing. Each reboot reveals more about the day. Hannah, whose death causes Jones to develop time travel, did not die from the virus but bacterial meningitis. At one point Railly tries to save the young girl only to have the day reboot again.
Each time Cassandra and James start the day over, the toll on their bodies increases. The loop is killing them and Cole tells Cassie they need to come up with a solution soon.
In the end it is Goines who provides the clue and Jones survives her assassination attempt leaving Cassie and James to return to 2044. Once there, an irate Jones demands explanations. As their answer, Cassie, James and Jones all go out to Goines’ camp and Jennifer produces the now grown up Hannah who meets her mother.
It is a tearful reunion.
Jones finds herself a rejuvenated and more hopeful individual and Cassie almost dies at the hands of a grief stricken Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) who wants to kill her and himself afterward. She convinces him to stop so they can kill The Witness.
“Lullaby” was an excellent episode. The opening, where a solemn Jones reads Shakespeare, the “To be or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet while Ramse, Carrie and James move across the screen was a brilliant scene.
James and Cassie are more of a unit by the end of this episode and next week’s episode “Hyena” should be interesting if Jennifer Goines’ brief description in the holding cell is anything to go by.
“Oh, wait, I got to figure out which version of you two this is. Okay, Night Room, total… What comes to mind when I say, “the hyenas“? [imitates explosion] Nothing. It hasn’t happened for you yet. “
Kudos to Kirk Acevedo for coming in during the epilogue, for all intents and purposes, and almost stealing the entire episode. Talk about acting those little cotton socks off…
“12 Monkeys” airs Mondays on SyFy. Tune in for this one and prepare to be entertained.