12 Monkeys Review: “The Red Forest”

Up until now, time-travel between the present and Cole’s future has been more “Assignment Earth.” This week it becomes a “City on the Edge of Forever” Situation. Can Cole save Cassandra Railly to save his future so they can save the….

Time travel gets so confusing.

Title: “The Red Forest”

Directed by Alex Zakrzewski
Written by Christopher Monfette

Aaron Stanford as James Cole
Noah Bean as Aaron Marker
Amanda Schull as Dr. Cassandra Railly
Barbara Sukowa as Katrina Jones
Kirk Acevedo as Ramse
Alisen Down as a Mysterious Woman
Bill Timoney as Senator Royce
Ari Millen as Adam Wexler
Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines
Tom Noonan as the Pallid Man


Cole convinces alt-Ramse (no goatee, but he wears an eye-patch) to send him back to 2015 to save Cassandra Railly in order to save the future.

High Point

The partnership between Cole and Marker made for the best worst mismatched cop pairing in recent television. Marker is a skilled individual on his own terms and a semi-hopeless tool when he’s out of his element. Cole can be badass, but he desperately needs a guide through our unfamiliar time.

Low Point

Cassie gets locked up, and our villains have the convenient conversation nearby that allows her to hear critical yet cryptic information.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The episode echoes many SF and time-travel shows that have come before.

Effects: 5/6 The episode features some interesting low-tech effects used to depict Dr. Railly’s delirium.

Acting: 5/6 Acting varies, with Barbara Sukowa standing out this week as two divergent versions of Dr. Jones.

Story: 5/6 This week’s ep felt strangely like old-school SF television, with a very quick set-up and a puzzle-of-the-week to solve. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but merely an observation. Overall it was well-written. We have some new stakes, with uncertainty about how the plague starts, how long the machine will last, and how long Cole has to live.

I’m still wondering if this show won’t fall down on its uncertain concept of time-travel.

Emotional Response: 4/6 I enjoyed Cassie’s visions—and I’m going to be seriously pissed if they’re pulling a Battlestar / Lost and don’t actually know the solution.

Production: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 We have to admire that Jones and Ramse haven’t lost their moral compass in the Even Worse Alternate Future.

In total, “The Red Forest” receives 31/42

Lingering Questions

What is Operation Troy?

What is significance of the Red Forest?

Where does Dr. Jones get her cigarettes?