12 Monkeys Review: “Nature”

We continue with our episode-by-episode review of Season Three.

After last episode’s heist romp, 12 Monkeys returns to its regularly-scheduled dark and weird.

A very special guest star does not want to save the clock tower.

Title: “Causality”

Written by Kat Candler
Directed by Ian Sobel and Matt Morgan

Aaron Stanford as James Cole
Amanda Schull as Dr. Cassandra Railly
Christopher Lloyd as The Missionary
Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines
Jay Karnes as Agent Robert Gale
Todd Stashwick as Deacon
Barbara Sukowa as Dr. Katarina Jones
Alisen Down as Olivia
Hannah Waddingham as Magdalena
Scottie Thompson as Vivian Rutledge
Andrew Gillies as Dr. Adler
Murray Furrow as Dr. Lasky
Jeff Teravainen as Agent Stack
Dylan Colton as Sebastian
Jack Fulton as Boy Witness
Scottie Thompson as Mantis
David Kirby as Bartender
Emily Klassen as Chosen Woman
Alex Cruz as Bellboy
Avaah Blackwell as Alabaster Woman
Nicholas Fry as The Pallid Kid


Cole and Railly head to 1953, where they enlist the help of Agent Robert Gale to investigate the origins of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jones builds an ironically-named escape route, and Jennifer, Deacon, and a paradoxical turtle become involved in a secondary plot that possibly makes sense.

High Points

The episode reintroduces Agent Gale with an amusing false lead.

Lloyd may be stunt casting, but he does an excellent job in the role, and the recruitment scene quietly chills the blood.

Low Point

Our heroes have the place and time of a key event, and they make no attempt to research what might happen there before going? Even if they have no records in 2046, Jones could send someone back to google a bit beforehand. The facility apparently has enough power that Goines can go back in time to save the wee turtle. Why not a research run before a critical mission, so that the principals would be, you know, prepared?

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 6/6 They had a little extra in this episode’s effects budget.

Acting: 5/6

Story: 5/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6 The show’s creators do a great job of creating the recent past—and they avoid the error of having all cars and fashion choices being exclusively from 1953. Time changes gradually.

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Nature” receives 35/42

Lingering Questions

Most of the phenomena the grieving people witness could be easily faked, while the message the Missionary delivers is a shallow and obvious appeal to their hopes and fears. Are we really supposed to believe that intelligent people would fall for cheap tricks and obvious appeals to emotion?

Right. Okay. Next question:

“I don’t know what a douchebag is, but I’ll definitely call you something.”

He might not know it as an insult, but why doesn’t a worldly fellow like Agent Gale know what a douchebag is?

I’m not even going to bother asking where Jennifer’s plot is going.