Season 2, Episode 9 “Hyena”
Directed by Bill Eagles
Written by Christopher Monfette
12 Monkeys is science fiction by default. It has people traveling through time and a machine to do it with. There are elements of horror, as well, with madness and things that only barely make sense. Now it clearly has an element of fantasy because Cassie (Amanda Schull) and Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) have to visit the Truth Wizard before they can make the trip to Titan.
The Tall, Pallid Man (Tom Noonan) visits the institution where Jennifer (Emily Hampshire) used to be held. He’s in charge I suppose, since he’s in charge of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys now. Jennifer has left him a message in the form of a dead body and a phone. Then there’s a little montage of Jennifer waltzing through the hospital releasing women from their rooms while we hear the message to the Tall Man. One of the women, Vanessa (Eve Harlow), gleefully kills the psychiatrist. You can tell from how much she enjoys it that she’s going to be trouble. (By the way, Eve Harlow played Maya Vie on The 100). I love this montage, despite the blood, almost as much as the Mary Tyler Moore Show sequence in an earlier episode. Jennifer is happy, confident and I like the schoolgirl/commando outfit. Very French resistance. The hyenas are coming for the monkeys.
In 2044, Whitley (Demore Barnes) is giving a situation report to Jones (Barbara Sukowa), Adler (Andrew Gillies) and Cole (Aaron Stanford). He tells them about a survivor’s camp that is now full of decayed bodies and one dead baby, who three hours ago was a grown man. There are time storms everywhere. Jones says it is “Time, driven insane,” in a clinical voice. They conclude that they need to find the last primary to stop time from unraveling, but they don’t know where or when. Cole decides to visit old Jennifer to see if she knows. It’s nice to see Whitley again. We haven’t seen him for a while.
Ramse does have the sense to tell Cole about Titan. It’s probably only because he wants him to ask Jennifer about it. Ramse is clearly still in agony over the loss of his son.
Cole is impatient with Jennifer. He must have used all of his patience up last week with Cassie. Jennifer does the cups and balls magic trick (badly) to show him the art of deception. She tells him to watch the hands, not the cups. She doesn’t know the information about the primary but says the Tall Man does. She says that the path to Titan leads to death but he needs to stay the course and find the primary. He should have listened to her and not been so impatient. Everything she says is something he needs to hear. In retrospect, that memory must have been very uncomfortable for her. She calls him Otter Eyes.
Cole tells Cassie and Ramse that he will help them with their quest when he returns. They are bitter and angry and don’t care. Cassie accuses Cole of putting his need for vengeance above hers, since the Tall/Pallid Man is the one who killed his father. Cole quite justifiably looks at her like she has lost her mind.
Cassie, Cassie, Cassie. You are a mess.
Jennifer makes a Jennifer-type speech to the troops. She talks about all of their successful missions, and she starts talking about the next one. She pins a picture of the Pallid Man — I should call him the Tall Man, since that’s what Jennifer likes to call him — onto the board. This is important, because it means what follows might have happened even if Cole weren’t there. Cole shows up and easily takes out their guard. “Otter Eyes!” Jennifer greets him. He is uncertain of the hyenas and they don’t like him either.
Hannah (Brooke Williams) shows up at the facility and pretty much rejects her mother and all she’s done. Jones doesn’t appear to care much. I wouldn’t either. She’s alive, who cares if she’s going through a stage where she needs to declare her autonomy? She tells Ramse and Cassie about the Keeper, someone who knows about Titan because he keeps all knowledge. The daughters are forbidden to trade with him. He deals in truth.
His House of Truth is an observatory, and two dead people are hanging upside down in front of it, like film ripped out of a camera when you’ve taken pictures where you aren’t allowed to. Christopher Heyerdahl is the Keeper! He’s suitably impressive and scary. He ties Cassie and Ramse up and hooks them up to lie detectors. He sees that Cassie and Ramse hate each other. Cassie finally tells the truth, that she hates Ramse because Cole chose him over her. Ramse says the same. They pass the test and are given what little information exists about Titan.
This part is fantasy. This is the keeper of the bridge of death, the little tiny dog on the larger dog saying none can pass by me, the sphinxes asking riddles and blasting the people that can’t answer. The traveler has to answer the question correctly before they can pass and continue on their quest. In this case they are given information and the sage advice that trying to lie about their hatred is more destructive than the hatred itself.
Cole, Jennifer and the hyenas come up with a plan to find the man who created the virus, Dr. Peters (Ramon De Ocampo) and use him as bait to draw out the Tall Man. They alert the press and pretend they are going to tell the world about the virus. The hyenas actually want to tell the world about the virus, and Vanessa takes over the group. Jennifer and Cole are left behind under guard, and stage a mock fight and take out the guard. They capture the Tall Man. Cole beats the crap out of him. It’s brutal, deliberate and very hard to watch. I keep telling myself this is the man who killed Cole’s father. The Tall Man tells them 1957, upstate New York, a paradox that permanently damages time. Who knows if it’s true. He is being tortured. Cole could use the Keeper’s lie detector. Cole realizes too late that all this is a distraction. The Tall Man has planted a bomb. It blows up the hospital and the hyenas. The Tall Man slips his bonds and they lose him. Cole consoles a devastated Jennifer at the Emerson and he tells her that the right ending is the one you choose. Lucky for him old Jennifer told him the right thing to say. He is pulled back to the future, and says he will see her soon. He does. There is a knock on the door and he is there, looking like death warmed over.
Hannah comes back and talks to Katarina. This time it goes better. She tells her about her father (Peter Outerbridge). Next we see her father, talking to the Tall Man, who wants him to build Titan for him. Another time machine, or something more?
Also, in this episode, we do see Olivia (Alisen Down) again, in a wheelchair. The Tall Man proves to her how easily he could snuff her out, but doesn’t do it. He needs to quit reading my recaps.
Poor, poor Cassie. She has a bad case of bad breakup blues. I’m not sure that Cole has gotten the message that they’re broken up yet, although maybe he has after the last episode, where she shot him down so completely. On top of everything else that’s going on, culture shock and bad training by Deacon and being possessed by the Witness, she doesn’t trust Cole and feels betrayed by him and is jealous of Ramse. It’s an old story. The best friend and the girlfriend, both in love with the same man. (In an entirely platonic way, of course, in Ramse’s case.) Ramse thinks she’s suicidal. He is finally showing a little bit of concern over whether she lives or dies. For the first time I think this quest might be good for them, if they survive it.
Jennifer was so much fun to watch. Delighting in the destruction they caused, totally unable to handle the mix of emotions when the hyenas she loved threatened her friend-or maybe getting tangled up in possibilities-and genuinely mourning and feeling responsible for the women she turned into hyenas. She may be unstable but she is not a psychopath. Now she needs to start again and keep looking for her purpose.
I would like to see The Keeper again. He’s insane in a totally new way. He believes that lies were what killed everyone in the viral apocalypse, that the government betrayed everyone and let them die. I could see him becoming an integral part of the team or just be in this episode due to the circumstances.
Dr. Peters was secretly working on an antivirus. Since he got blown up, it seems unlikely that that one will be created.
If Katarina’s ex builds another time machine, will they be able to make it work without Katarina? Or is he going to try to steal her research? What will this do to causality?
12 Monkeys airs on the SyFy channel on Mondays 9pm/8c.