12 Monkeys Review: “Year of the Monkey”

Twelve Monkeys returns, with a pair of would-be heroes in the present and a pair a’ docs in the future.

Title: “Year of the Monkey”

Directed by David Grossman
Written by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett

Aaron Stanford as James Cole
Amanda Schull as Dr. Cassandra Railly
Kirk Acevedo as José Ramse
Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines
Todd Stashwick as Deacon
Barbara Sukowa as Dr. Katarina Jones
Brendan Coyle as Dr. Benjamin Kalman
Alisen Down as Striking Olivia
Demore Barnes as Whitley
Andrew Gillies as Dr. Adler
Scottie Thompson as Vivian Rutledge
Andreas Apergis as Ghost Man
Billy MacLellan as Rodell
Brian Quinn as Dale
Craig Burnatowski as Scav
Mitchell Verigin as Wasp
Benjamin Meranda as Samuel Ramse
Madeline Stowe as Recap VO


In 2043 Railly and Jones retaliate against Deacon, who have seriously underestimated Jones’ nasty side. Meanwhile, back in 2016, Cole and Ramse rally to stop Jennifer Goines from gleefully destroying the world.

High Points

The opening action sequence, while over-the-top, is highly entertaining. Speed-dating with the beautifully and hysterically deranged Jennifer Goines, however, bests everything else in this engaging Season Two debut.

Low Point

How does “go to New York and find a specific crazy person” work as a plan?

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The Season Two premiere, understandably, focuses more on the conventional action heroics and less on the show’s byzantine backstory and mythology. I’m impressed they simplified the Season One recap as well as they did.

Effects: 5/6

Acting: 5/6

Story: 4/6 I’m impressed by the component parts, even if aspects of the story don’t quite hold up. Jennifer could have been anywhere in NYC, and Cole’s excess of conscience, while foreshadowed (it has been his character’s journey), seems a little too convenient in this particular instance when, you know, they’re trying to save the world. However, it remains fascinating to see a humane Cole up against a mercenary Railly. I would not have predicted this twist when the series first started.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6 This episode features some interesting camerawork.

Overall: 5/6 I encourage you to watch Twelve Monkeys, if you like SF action/drama, but don’t start with Season Two. This series could challenge Orphan Black for confusing mythos.

In total, “Year of the Monkey” receives 33/42

2 replies on “12 Monkeys Review: “Year of the Monkey””

  1. Re. the low point – they actually gave Manhatten and Chinese New Year for when and where it starts, so the location of the celebrations in Manhatten would help narrow things a little, although it’s still a stretch. That does lead to another nit though; Chinese New Year in 2016 was indeed for the Year of the Monkey, but it was in early February – making the scenes in Budapest and NYC beforehand seem somewhat unseasonable warm, don’t you think? No sign of any snow, lightweight clothing with short sleeves…

    • Good point. As for the meeting– unless I misheard– it was simply timed for the Year of the Monkey. It didn’t have to be specifically at that particular celebration (though a crowded place, with some tourists, would be a good starting point for an epidemic). And, as you say, even if it is….

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