12 Monkeys is a prime example of everything wrong with a quest show. The first season had a quest, to find a way to stop the plague from being released. They accomplished that at the beginning of the second season. Then they had to find another quest to go on and as expected, it has to be bigger and better than the first quest. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t that exciting.
But was it good enough to keep me interested through the season, or did it fall apart? I guess the only way to find out is to read on.
Cole, Cassie and Ramse manage to stop the plague by convincing Jennifer to make a different choice, bringing her to their side, but now, there is a cult of the 12 Monkeys that hijacks the machine and sends cultists back in time to create temporal anomalies and thus destroy the timeline. So now, everyone has to go back to various points in time to stop these cultists from murdering “primaries” with knives made out of their own body parts, thus destroying time itself.
The problem with all of this is, while the first season was largely science fiction, it swung way too hard toward fantasy. Instead of trying to stop a plague, they moved to trying to stop a philosophy and a quasi-religious cult and when they started saying they were trying to end history, part of me just signed out. Part of the appeal of the first season was seeing the interaction between the future (Cole) and the present (Cassie), but they go rid of that, everyone is really part of the future now and the past and present are just places to run around.
And don’t get me started on the whole Witness nonsense. I have no interest in any crazy cults or any ridiculous cult leaders, especially cults that are essentially suicidal. It was bad enough when the 12 Monkeys started the plague, but to have them trying to end all of history too, I just give up. And no, the reveal of the Witness wasn’t a twist, it wasn’t a surprise, my wife called it the second that we found out that Cassie was pregnant. It’s all far too predictable. And what happened to the idea that only Cole could travel through time? That got thrown completely out the window this season, anyone who wants to jump in the chair can go now. I mean, the Witness has an entire factory/town that can travel through time, including the future! But hey, nobody even needs a time machine anymore, you can just eat some of the red foliage and you can wish your way anywhere in time that you’ve been! But it’s science fiction, really!
Yeah, a lot of people seem to really like this show but I think it’s gone the entirely wrong direction this season. I noted in my review of the first season that there were a lot of moral choices that had to be made, but those have largely gone away. Now it’s just killing people because you can and none of that even matters because you can just keep going back in time to the same spot and change the outcome any time you want. That’s the biggest sin of time travel stories, to make time travel so ubiquitous that it magically solves all problems. Nothing matters anymore because it’s just a quick “splinter sequence activated” away from a better solution. When you can undo anything bad that happens, what point is there in caring about what happens at all?