12 Monkeys was better the second time (and I watched it)

monkeys3The second episode of the Syfy’s Channel’s 12 Monkeys was great, and even better than the first episode.  It had action, drama, the hot Amanda Schull, and some excellent guest-stars.  This has to be one of the best shows on TV right now.  Either that, or I’m completely bonkers.  

monkeys10In “Mentally Divergent”, Cole tries to find out about the army of the 12 Monkeys, because the people in the future apparently have no clue.  This is only the second episode, but the show’s simple patterns are already clearly established.  They work very well.  Cole is a time traveler and he goes back in time using this laser machine jump thing, in order to put right what once went wrong.  It’s so simple he gets a pal to tag along this time. 

 Cole’s pal is played by Kirk Acevado, who gets to show some badass-ness while teaming up with Cole.  He supports Cole, unlike anyone else in the future, but there’s this edge about his character which makes him interesting.  Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines also plays a character with a dangerous edge, which works even better in her case.

monkeys8Cole tracks down Jennifer to a mental institution, but before he can get information about the monkeys, she is kidnapped.  The kidnapper is played by one of the most famous character actors in television, Tom Noonan.  His slow, threatening dialogue delivery is one of his hallmarks.  He isn’t given a lot of time to show off, but he does have a few moments to shine.  At the end.  In a climax.  Imagine that, a television show building to a climax like real cinema with a real script.  Amazing. 

monkeys11Maybe I’m overstating the talent of Tom Noonan, but I don’t think so.  I remember him from the X-Files in 1996, where he played a serial killer.  His character chops served him well there, and he’s been in a lot of good shows since.  His appearance here limits the time we have with the gorgeous Amanda Schull, but she’s still around, and is shoehorned in to get Cole out of the hospital because she’s a doctor.  Maybe they planned it that way.  What a concept.

The good things about this episode were the guest stars, and the dialogue, even though a lot of it was exposition.  I didn’t mind though, because Emily Hampshire has to deliver most of it by acting like a crazy person, and she’s allowed to be as intense as she likes, which works well.  She’s not as over-the-top as Brad Pitt in the movie version of 12 Monkeys, but she knows how to turn up the crazy when needbe.  

The things I didn’t like were the slow start, and how dark this episode/series is getting.  They added some witty banter between Cole and his pal to lighten it a touch, but Kirk Acevado doesn’t do anything else but stand around.  It’s sorta disappointing.  Also, I know it’s only the second episode, but they could focus on Cole’s relationship with Cassie a touch more.  I say more Amanda Schull.  Hell, put her in every scene—but that’s just me.

Those little things didn’t detract anything from this episode, because it was good stuff.  I can see how they’re building this show, adding things that need to be beefed up, like the supporting cast, and creating more drama because that’s what they’re good at.  It’ll be interesting to see if future episodes get mired in exposition, or if they can truly become something more.  Meanwhile, I’m happy to see where it goes.