12 Monkeys Review: “Paradox”

12 Monkeys reaches the penultimate episode of Season One and, once again, changes our understanding of what has been happening.

Title: “Paradox”

Directed by Dennie Gordon
Written by some very talented people whose names I cannot find

Aaron Stanford as James Cole
Amanda Schull as Dr. Cassandra Railly
Barbara Sukowa as Katrina Jones
Noah Bean as Aaron Marker
Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines
Jack Fulton as Young Cole
Patrick Garrow as Matthew Cole
Demore Barnes as Whitley
Alisen Down as Striking Woman
Tom Noonan as the Pallid Man
Ramon De Ocampo as Oliver Peters
Andrew Gillies as Dr. Adler
Richard Waugh as Markridge CEO
Jordan Claire Robbins as Jennifer Goines’ Assistant
Todd Stashwick as Deacon
Mark Margolisa as Jones’s father
Kirk Acevedo as Ramse
Nicholas Hamzea as Young Ramse
Andreas Apergis as Ghost Soldier
Boyd Banks as Scientist
Courtney Deelen as striking-looking board member who also appeared in Orphan Black


Railly contacts 2015 Jones in a desparate attempt to save Cole’s life, and the two head out to find the child he was in 2015. In 2043, future Jones learns more about the mysterious red plants—just before facing a grim threat.

Jennifer makes a surprise appearance; Aaron tries to make his mark.

High Points

The episode handles the first meetings of Cole and Jones and Cole and Ramse effectively.

The staging of the episode’s climax creates appropriately creepy, surreal, and suspenseful moods.

In a show with some much gravitas, it was great to see Jennifer Goines’ hilariously crazy corporate takeover. This week, Flash and 12 Monkeys showed that scenery-chewing characters can work, if scripted and performed by the right people.

Low Point

Given that Railly had the technical information for Jones to peruse, why did she pull a gun on initial contact? It was dramatic, but risky and unnecessary.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6

Effects: 5/6 Science works more like magic in this show, but then, what do I know about time-travel? The explosion of light made for a great visual moment.

Acting: 5/6 The episode features strong performances overall, and excellent work by Sukowa as two versions of herself. Kudos for finding credible child actors to play younger versions of Cole and Ramsay.

Story: 5/6 We have answers now to some earlier questions, but the ep begs others: Why didn’t Dr. Jones, in the first place, send Cole back to her old self to jumpstart time-travel? Given what she appears to know, why did she continue down the particular path that she takes? What other knowledge is she hiding in 2043?

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 6/6

In total, “Paradox” receives 36/42

One reply

  1. Jones’ actions don’t make too much sense to me either, given that her goal is to change the future. Perhaps she has some idea of the implications of a paradox misuse of that information might bring and, like the Striking Woman’s team, feels it necessary to let some things play out and only to make changes where they might lead to the virus not being released.

    If so, then we possibly have our three groups all taking a different tack to how they treat their knowledge of the timeline; the Striking Woman seems dead set on letting things play out exactly the same; Jones wants to make a few critical changes, and I get the distinct impression that Jennifer Goines couldn’t care less what effect her actions might have.

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