12 MONKEYS -- "Meltdown" Episode 207 -- Pictured: (l-r) Michael Hogan as Dr. Vance Eckland, Barbara Sukowa as Katarina Jones -- (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy)
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12 MONKEYS Recap: Time for a Horror Episode


12 MONKEYS -- Picture: "12 monkeys" logo -- (Photo by: Syfy)
Season 2, Episode 7 “Meltdown”
Written by Richard Robbins
Directed by Grant Harvey

This is a horror episode. It’s full of dark corridors, the unknown around every corner, and some viscerally disturbing images. It also turns out to be an incredibly sad story.


All of this happens because the thing we have been waiting for occurs. Cassie (Amanda Schull) turns into the Manchurian Candidate. In the last few episodes we know her mind has been messed with and that the Witness feels that she has completed her preparation. From her point of view, she is seeing the Witness, or what the Witness wants to look like, from outside of herself. She feels that he is real and actually present. We find out in this episode that the reality is quite different.

The story starts with soldiers in 1959 in the same facility that our time travelers use. It’s called the Raritan National Laboratory. They are playing cards, and are talking about their new dogs and have no clue as to what is being worked on in the lab. Their lights start going on and off, and they start blinking in and out of existence. We can be pretty sure that they are about to go on a time trip.

12 MONKEYS -- "Bodies of Water" Episode 205 -- Pictured: Amanda Schull as Cassandra Railly -- (Photo by: Ken Woroner/Syfy)
I don’t see any phantom tethers. (Photo by: Ken Woroner/Syfy)

Dr. Jones (Barbara Sukowa) and Eckman (Michael Hogan) are having a card game in her bed. Very cozy. They are interrupted by Cassie’s arrival. She is not very responsive when she first arrives, then claims to have seen the Witness. They have a discussion about it, and their ideas are similar to what the psycho primary said. The Witness could be a time traveler. A time traveler, however, without a time machine because if he’d had a time machine he wouldn’t have needed someone to build one, and wouldn’t have needed theirs to send the messengers back in time to kill the primaries.

Cassie goes to her quarters to rest, finds herself in the room with the time machine, sees the plague doctor Witness, and is back in her room again. She finds Cole (Aaron Stanford) to talk to him about it. She goes blank when asked direct questions, though, so it doesn’t get far. Cole brings up Deacon (Todd Stashwick), says it doesn’t bother him, and she says that she didn’t think that it did. (I don’t care. You can’t hurt me. Well, I don’t care right back). The thing is: when she says that, or when she got offended when Cole said she had lousy taste in men in an earlier ep, I think she may be saying that she’s not as involved with Deacon as he thinks she is. But she doesn’t come right out and say it. Keep your assumptions to yourself, I’m not sleeping with Deacon! I know I would like to hear it. But she says that they don’t really know each other like they used to, which is really really sad.

Sam shows his dad a model of the facility that he built out of scraps. The core is at one end and the time machine at the other, so if one blows it won’t take the other with it. The core is over an underground river which cools the conduits. This is a clever way of showing the audience the layout. They could have put a map on the wall and explained it all to people off to shut down the core later, but this is cute and gives Sam (Peter DaCunha) and Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) some bonding time.

Jones and Eckland find another tether anchored to the here and now in the records of Cassie’s return. Unfortunately, at that moment, the machine goes haywire. Bolts of light go shooting through the facility, taking things away and leaving things behind. A one armed thing rises up in the hallway. They quickly find out that it’s sabotage. The safety measures are disabled and the lens array was put in backwards.

The thing arrives, grabs a gun, and tries to shoot Dr. Jones. I don’t blame him. With a leg over his shoulder and holding onto his intestines, he’s got every reason to shoot her. He was an earlier test subject from five years ago. Cole shoots him. Cole must be very sure of his aim, because he shoots him in the head from behind and he could have hit one of the others if he had missed.

Jones concludes that the idea is to create a temporal meltdown, which would destroy the facility and do damage to the time stream. Cassie and Cole go off to shut down the core, and Deacon and Eckland are off to find an old array to repair the machine. Eckland refuses a gun because he’s a pacifist.

Cole rounds a corner and finds another really messed up guy. He calls for Cassie (probably to get her medical assessment on the guy?) but she is not there and he shoots him. It’s a mercy killing. This adds more to the feeling of horror. You could turn a corner and run into anything. Ramse is attacked by an animal. It’s the German shepherd from 1959. While he is distracted, Sam disappears.

Deacon and Eckland together are one of the lighter sequences in this episode. They run into the soldiers. Deacon tries to level with them, which works about as well as you would expect. He talks Eckland into taking the gun, and he pops off a round or two. Eckland gets grazed in the leg, and a grenade rolls towards him. In a panic, he picks it up and tosses it away, taking out most of our Army guys. He is horrified when he sees the results, though. They get back with the array and Deacon leaves to help Cassie and Cole.

Cassie is the one who has kidnapped Sam. She reaches the core room. When she does, Cassie finds that she is trapped inside the house that is at once there and not there. Ramse and Cole are right behind them but locked out of the core room. The outside Cassie is a zombie, holding a gun on Sam, while the inside Cassie tries to fight her way out of the room. Sam points to the floor and Ramse looks for ways to get underneath. The river is beneath them, though. Cole persuades Ramse to let him do the risky part so they tie a rope around him and lower him down.

Eckland distracts Jones and goes into the room to fix the machine. It’s a suicide mission. He says it’s a great way to go, a grand gesture in the name of love. She yells out that she doesn’t love him. I think only Jones would yell out to someone she loves that she doesn’t love them in the hopes of stopping them. He is not fazed.

12 MONKEYS -- "Meltdown" Episode 207 -- Pictured: Michael Hogan as Dr. Vance Ekland -- (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy)
What do you mean, I drew the short straw? (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy)

Deacon finds Ramse and helps him with the rope holding Cole. Unfortunately, the Army guys show up and keep them from holding the rope, endangering Cole.

Eckland completes the repair but is phasing out. He disappears in smoke and sparks like the unfortunate messenger that Jones killed in an earlier ep. The completion of the repair sends the remaining soldiers back and saves Cole. Cole gets into the core room and tries to talk Cassie down but can’t get through to her. Deacon decides that Ramse needs to be in the room to do what has to be done, because Cole can’t and Deacon can’t either. He’s right. Ramse will kill Cassie for his son. It’s interesting that Deacon can’t do it, because he really does love her, but he can help someone else get into the room and do it

Cassie sees what looks like a missile facility in the red forest outside the room. Titan is written on something. The witness is walking towards it.

Cole talks Ramse into shooting him in the hopes of waking Cassie up. This actually works. The minute Cole goes down the door opens and Cassie sees him in the real world and runs to him. Cassie runs to him, Ramse runs to Sam, and Deacon beats on the door and reminds them that the core needs to be shut down, which Ramse does easily. Some splinter energy backfires into the control room and Sam gets hit and disappears.

Ramse leaves. I don’t think this is a good idea because if your child is possibly stuck in time, I think it would be a good idea to stick around the time travelers.

Dr. Jones prepares a series of, you guessed it, injections, so that Cassie can’t be controlled again. She tells Cassie it is not her fault, but her own, and can be fixed.

We see Sam in a forest. A gloved hand reaches out to him and he takes it.

This episode was really spooky and scary and an unmitigated disaster for our time traveling crew. I guess the only thing that mitigates it is that it could have been worse. The world didn’t end and the facility didn’t turn into a crater. But Eckland was killed and Sam was lost. Cole was shot but Ramse shot him in the only area of the body that is more or less safe. Once again, good aim.

On second viewing, every time an act of sabotage occurs or something else happens, Cassie has disappeared. From her point of view she sees the Witness or loses time, but from the outside point of view, she is alone or not where she was supposed to be.

I’m wondering, from the previews, if Jones is planning to send Cassie back in time to kill Jones herself. She was staring at the cardboard model like she hated it. She had the horrors she’s committed thrown in her face this episode. She lost Eckland. She may have been willing to let Ramse get killed, but she never meant to deprive him of his son or cause harm to the boy. She has plenty of reason to hate what she’s done, but more than that, at this point in time the time machine is more of a danger to the world than a help. The Witness’s recent efforts required her to perfect time travel, which she did to prevent the virus. The messengers’ killing of the primaries couldn’t have happened without the machine. To prevent total annihilation, she may be willing to give up her dream of saving her daughter and ninety percent of the population.

So who did Sam go with at the end of the episode? Was it the Witness? Olivia? The Pallid Man? I hope it’s one of our people who went back in time in the future to the point where he landed and that he is safe. I suppose it’s possible since Sam is lost in time that he could end up being the Witness himself.

I will really miss Eckland. I hope they find some way of bringing him back.


12 Monkeys airs Monday nights at 9/8c on Syfy.



Teresa Wickersham

Teresa Wickersham has dabbled in fanfic, gone to a few conventions, created some award-winning (and not so award winning) masquerade costumes, worked on the Save Farscape campaign, and occasionally presents herself as a fluffy bunny or a Krampus.

2 thoughts on “12 MONKEYS Recap: Time for a Horror Episode

  • Good recap. Great episode. Great show that everyone should be watching!

  • Thanks. I agree!


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