EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'12 Monkeys' premiere: 5 important takeaways

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Splinter” | Aired Jan 16, 2015

Syfy premiered its newest scripted drama tonight, 12 Monkeys, based on the 1995 film. There’s a lot to talk about.

James Cole (Aaron Stanford) is on a mission: to stop a mammoth plague from happening that ultimately kills off about 7 billion people. Cole is from the future—the year 2043—and he travels back in time to collect data to kill off the person (or people) responsible for creating the plague. In tonight’s episode, he meets Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), a supersmart virologist who left a cryptic voicemail from the past that offers up a very important name: Leland Frost.

So, what did we get from tonight’s pilot?

1. The girl takes the lead. It’s true, 12 Monkeys is mostly our leading man’s journey, but in this week’s premiere, Dr. Railly (or are we calling her Cassie or Cassandra?) really pushes the story forward. It’s 2013 when Cole first kidnaps, er, I mean meets Cassandra (yeah, I think I’m going with Cassandra). In short, Cole discovers he’s traveled too far back in time as Cassandra has no clue who Leland Frost is. Before time-jumping back to the future, Cole proves his story to Cassandra with a very special magic trick involving her watch (think Bill & Ted-style tricks). Cole sets a future “date” with Cassandra in the year 2015. He then gets shot by police and—poof!—disappears right in front of her. And now Cassandra is a believer from the get-go.

In the two years it takes to meet up with Cole again, we learn Cassandra loses her job—as everyone else thinks she’s nuts for believing in time travel. She meets Cole again and finally gets the full story about the plague and his mission. In 2015, Leland Frost is still a mystery name, but she’s been working hard to put the pieces together. In the end, Leland Frost is actually determined to be Leland Goines (does that name ring a bell, movie fans?). From there, Cassandra is the one who forms a plan that culminates in a face-to-face with Goines (Željko Ivanek).

12 Monkeys: Cassandra looking over Cole.

Cassandra is important. She’s not going to be just a love interest or assistant to Cole. I’m positive there is more to her story—and I’m excited to go along for the ride. The more strong female characters we have out there, the better.

2. James Cole is special. Yes, anyone who time travels is special … but there’s more. Apparently, Cole is physically special. He has quick-healing powers and super adrenaline-induced fighting skills, and he is once described in the episode as a “flesh-and-blood molecular computer.” I love my time travelers with a touch of superpower.

3. You must pay attention This is not going to be your average linear storyline. Not. At. All. It’s one big puzzle with pieces from multiple locations, people, realities, and alternate realities. Expect many time jumps. In this episode alone, we saw 2043, 2013, and 2015—plus 1987 was referenced as an important year. Who else is hoping we see some fun ’80s fashion in that time jump? Oh, just me? Moving on …

12 Monkeys - The chair

4. And here’s the plan for the rest of the season/series … In my book, direction is a good thing—and it’s a great thing to see after watching a pilot episode. In the end of the 12 Monkeys premiere, Leland Frost/Goines is killed. The problem? Nothing changes. As the pieces come together for Cole and his future crew, the realization smacks them upside the head that Goines was just part of the equation. After all, there’s an “army of 12 monkeys” out there. So—does this set us up for many time jumps to kill off each and every one of those 12? I see where you’re going, and I can follow that path.

12 Monkeys - Leland Frost

5. Jennifer Goines—what’s going on there? The very last thing we see is Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire), aka the female version of Brad Pitt’s character from the Twelve Monkeys movie. It’s 2015, and Leland Goines is dead. His attorney meets with Goines’ heir—his daughter, Jennifer—as she is set to inherit a lot of money to hopefully continue her father’s work (i.e., the plague that wipes out 7 billion people). Oh, but Jennifer is currently in a mental hospital (because she’s nutso). And what’s that she’s sketching on the wall? The mark of the 12 Monkeys. In the 1995 film, Jeffrey Goines was more of a distraction, a decoy. The final scene leaves me wondering what role Jennifer will play in this TV reboot.

Based on tonight’s premiere, 12 Monkeys could be a fun, cerebral ride. It retains the setting and basic characters of its big-screen predecessor, but serves up plenty of questions and plot points to keep us sticking around for a TV season (or more). Plus, I’m a sucker for speculating on theories, but I’ll keep those to myself for now …

Memorable quotes/terminology:

Jones (2043 scientist) to Cole (about Cassandra): She is not your mission; she’s just a puzzle piece.

Cole: I didn’t meet you in 1987.
Leland Goines: Not yet—but you will.

Splintering: the act of time traveling

12 Monkeys airs Fridays at 9/8C on Syfy. Watch the premiere episode exclusively on EW.com. 

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like