12 Monkeys Season 4 Premiere Review: Breaking the Cycle

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It's so much easier to understand larger parts of the 12 Monkeys' story when you don't have to wait hour by hour to receive additional information.

As 12 Monkeys Season 4 Episode 1 kicked off, Olivia had barely had time to wear the robes of the Witness. She was grasping at straws to find her endgame before even warming up to the idea that she was the thing she had once despised.

By the end of 12 Monkeys Season 4 Episode 3, Olivia was fully entrenched as the Witness thanks to Cassie's need for vengeance, but the heroes had also made their first step in putting an end to her reign -- forever.

The Final Conflict Begins - 12 Monkeys

Without airing the full arc of that development with the inclusion of 12 Monkeys Season 4 Episode 2 in addition to the others mentioned above, we would have received the story, but it wouldn't have felt quite as satisfying.

The three episodes together told a complete chapter from beginning to end, and it's time to turn the page. 

Related: 12 Monkeys Season 4: Terry Matalas Says It's Like Three Movies and a Blockbuster!

It couldn't have been scheduled more beautifully if we had planned it ourselves. And unlike 12 Monkeys Season 3, we don't have to jump right back in but have time to digest and converse about what we witnessed (ha), and play around with what could be upcoming. 

This is going to be a very enjoyable month. For all of you watching for the first time in the future on a streaming network, give yourselves time to breather after episode three. No, really.

Going Solo - 12 Monkeys Season 4 Episode 3

Discovering that Jones had been working all along on a plan to move the facility in the even they needed to escape and play mini-Titan shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was. 

Don't be surprised, though, when I tell you I looked at the mapping of the beams and had no idea what went down and how some (my Deacon!) were left behind and most of the important stuff went with the facility to the Emerson.

The beloved Emerson Hotel is their home away from home and remains so even when they don't expect it.

Cassie's hope was for everyone to split up and splinter off into the past to live, much like she and Cole did in 1957. They were ready to do that until the Titan army broke through. Signs of what was to come for her and how she might effect time were planted with this seed:

We may have saved Athan's soul, but I am losing mine.


If there's one thing we have learned through watching 12 Monkeys, there isn't a lot of personal choice involved with their actions. They are just as likely to be subjected to things as they are to take actions themselves.

Related: Enjoy UNLIMITED access to thousands of Movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video

So when Deacon was out causing a commotion to take Olivia's eye off the ball while Lasky focused on moving the facility, we should have known nothing good would come of it.

That didn't make it any easier when they were two of the casualties of the shifting facility. 

Cassie: Deacon!
Deacon: Don't leave me.
Cole: We have to go!
Cassie: No, we can't leave him!
Cole: We already have. Come on!

The pain on the faces of both Deacon and Cassie had me right in the gut. But what I didn't understand was why Deacon didn't fly like an eagle and whip through the beam right after Hannah. There must have been time if she did it, right? Help me, please.

The losses of Lasky, Whitley, and Deacon led to great things to come.

Confronting Olivia - 12 Monkeys

Jennifer's scene with her dual dueling gray matter pulling off a bank heist was one of the funniest things I've seen in ages. I seriously thought she had been doing some kind of training of late and pulled off something of a different kind.

Then the guard started watching on the camera and it became clear what was happening. God bless Emily Hampshire. That must have been one of the best days of filming for the rest of the cast and crew.

Related: 12 Monkeys Season 3 Finale Review: Will The Real Witness Please Stand Up

The way that artifact made its rounds was pretty clever. Not only did something finally tie into the story Cole's dad always told him, but it's been around since the Primary guys at Westeros gave it to someone back in the dark ages. 

Jennifer steals an artifact, takes a chance on losing her life because an agent chasing her is hoping to get his hands on it only to turn it over to the man who saves her from her dramatic death-defying stunt. It's crazy!

Fighting Together - 12 Monkeys Season 4 Episode 3

There were so many of those clever trails during the premiere. Jennifer wishing for her friends while watching Cassie on TV in 2018 while Cassie was watching 2043 Cole queuing up the same 2018 footage on the computer while the woman he had yet to meet stood behind him peering in on him.

Cole and Jones watching Jones preparing to send Cole off on his first splinter, reminding him that everyone he would meet would be dead and nothing was as important as the mission. Find and kill Leland -- that will fix it all!

They were so naive and it seemed so easy, that daunting task they had set before them all the way back on 12 Monkeys Season 1 Episode 1.

Whitley taking to his grave the knowledge Jones had suffered terrible radiation poisoning and Jones then sharing it with her past self, only to ensure she'd never remembered so she'd do it again in the future.

Ghosts of the Past - 12 Monkeys

The facility while they were trying to steal from themselves (and only in the future do they realize why their first trip had so little energy) is full of so many wonderful but bittersweet memories, and one that really cut was Cole addressing Ramse about being unable to forgive himself for killing Ramse.

Whitley: There may be scavs inside. My job is to keep you safe.
Jones: I may never say so, but I am grateful for everything you have done, for everything you will do.

Ramse inadvertently forgiving him in the past by assuring Cole that only the dead can forgive and to stop being so hard on himself must have felt like a one-two punch to Cole. 

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The combination of memories and present story lined up perfectly and nowhere did that work better than when it came to understanding Olivia accepting her place as the Witness.

You two want to chase visions. I can't. I'm going to go to 1971, I'm going to find Olivia, and I'm going to kill her, with or without you.


Thanks to Cassie's need to avenge Athan's death, to try to stop it in some way as if she had learned nothing of time travel in all the time they'd been doing it so far, she gave to Olivia exactly what she needed to embrace the darkness in herself as far back as being a teenager.

Becoming Primary - 12 Monkeys Season 4 Episode 3

The child that was once going to be a sacrifice then became a purpose. So what purpose will it be? And how will the newly anointed Primary acquire the Red Forest for her followers?

Now that you've seen the cunning way the time streams are being tied together, how do you believe some others will play out?

What do you expect will be found in 1852? What effect will opening the ouroboros have on stopping the Witness? Will it only lead to further clues?

Deacon wasn't killed when the facility was moved but he's been given a new position in Olivia's army. Will he accept it willingly and if so, how much will he reveal about his former friends? Does he blame them for leaving him behind even with the pain on Cassie's face??

I'd love to hear from all of you, so jump in and start talking with me. What did you think of the beginning of the end?

You can watch 12 Monkeys online if you need to get on board. It's not one to miss!

The End Review

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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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12 Monkeys Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

We may have saved Athan's soul, but I am losing mine.


Deacon: Yeah, you can throw blame around all you like, but your boy...
Cole: Athan wasn't the Witness. It's always been Olivia. And right now we need to be ready. She knows where we are and she knows when we are.
Deacon: Jesus Christ. How much time do we have?