Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.
–Jennifer Goines

Even more so than usual, the last two episodes of 12 Monkeys cannot be understood separately of each other. The first half of “Emergence” revisits “One Hundred Years,” as Cole and Railly try to prevent a time-paradox from occurring in 1944. Dr. Jones takes mind-expanding tea with Jennifer Goines, and we learn the Monkeys’ ostensible goal– and the origin of the Pallid Man.

Titles: “One Hundred Years” and “Emergence”

Directed by David Grossman
Written by Michael Sussman

Aaron Stanford as James Cole
Amanda Schull as Dr. Cassandra Railly
Kirk Acevedo as José Ramse
Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines
Barbara Sukowa as Dr. Katarina Jones
Michael Hogan as Dr. Vance Eckland
Scottie Thompson as Vivian Rutledge
Erik Knudsen as Thomas Crawford Jr.
Todd Stashwick as Deacon
Jay Karnes as Professor Thomas H. Crawford
Murray Furrow as Dr. Lasky
Mitchell Verigin as Wasp
Peter DaCunha as Samuel Ramse
Jeff Teravainen as Agent Stack
Demore Barnes as Whitley
Andrew Gillies as Dr. Adler
Carlyn Burchell as Janice Thompson
Michael Ripley as Professor Crawford
Tara Koehler as Glennis Applebaum
Morgan Lever as Russell Applebaum
Tom Noonan as Pallid Man
Trenna Keating as Nurse

Premise

Cole and Railly travel to 1944 to prevent a paradox-creating assassination, and then Ramse follows them to straighten up the chaos they create.

Jennifer Goines hosts Dr. Katarina Jones for tea.

High Points

“One Hundred Years” gave us an excellent time-travel adventure. The first half of “Emergence” did a great job of revisiting that episode from a new perspective, while the second half solved some of 12 Monkeys‘ lingering mysteries.

Low Points

Cole has time to prepare for Railly’s arrival, and develop a plan. He doesn’t bother to shave or cut his hair in order to avoid drawing attention to himself. Surely someone, prior to the social gathering, would have said something that reminded him how conspicuous he looked; Railly was called on her appearance upon arrival in 1944.

Our intrepid FBI agent learns a great many things in a short time– but he can’t track Cole to his very public living quarters at a prominent hotel?

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The show certainly had its odd takes on time travel. Revelation via psychedelics is a bit of an overused trope at this point, and Dr. Jones’s vision wasn’t particularly original or necessary, even if it looked great.

Effects: 5/6 They do well with mostly low-tech effects.

Acting: 5/6

Story: 5/6 I appreciate the complexity of the story, and seeing how various elements found their place in time. I’m still not certain how the effects of time-travel work (wouldn’t the consequences of past actions have already happened in the future?), but any time-travel story requires a certain number of hand-waves, particularly of those things we can’t really know.

Series-long narrative arcs permit depth in storytelling, but result in episodes that, watched separate of each other, would be absolutely incomprehensible.

Emotional Response: 5/6.

Production: 6/6 I enjoyed the show’s recreation of 1940s. They avoided the trap of having everything minted in 1944 (or 1941, in the case of the cars. The mise en scène contrasted nicely with Agent Carter‘s polished, hyperrealistic comic-book 1940s.

One hundred years later, Dr. Jones’s time-travel works remains effective and underlit.

Overall: 5/6 The episode features many nice touches, including the swing funeral dirge in “Emergence.”

In total, “One Hundred Years” and “Emergence” receive 34/42