Cole is addicted to Chopin (and finding Titan) #12Monkeys on TV
Apparently the 12 Monkeys love classical music as much destroying the world, and our hero is ticked off in this one, as he tries to unravel a conspiracy while fighting off womanly crazies. Cole has run the gambit this season and he’s pretty much delayed the inevitable evil or paradox explosion at every turn, like any good serial that repeats itself over and over. However, like Jennifer says, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result really is crazy. But don’t worry, because Cole has a brand new mission this time around: to find The Tall Man, learn where the city of Titan is, and go kill the Witness. Easy, right? Well, he gets halfway there.
Like Captain America, Cole is a “Man Out of Time”, a guy who really doesn’t fit in the future, but is heroic nonetheless. Other trends also continue in this episode. Cole doesn’t understand details like how the Witness broke time using the Primaries. Frankly, I don’t quite understand it either, but suffice to say that Primaries keep time together and killing them breaks it. Simple, right? Cole is looking for the last Primary. Maybe it’s Jimmy Buffett he’s looking for. Or Chopin.
Episode 8 entitled “Hyenas” opens with music by Frédéric Chopin, a classical composer from the 19th century. You can hear one of his pieces as The Tall Man walks around talking and later in the episode when the Keeper is talking to Cassie and Ramse. Chopin wrote music during the Romantic era, a period characterized by gentle lullabies and beautiful motifs, lush with extravagant runs of notes, much more stylized than the 18th century music of Bach and Handel. I think Chopin is a strange theme music for The Keeper, since he hates liars and all things flowery and exaggerated. He sounds like a Bach man to me, the master of the logical. Maybe he’s trying to analyze it or something.
The egotistical Tall Man likes Chopin too. Chopin’s music shifts tonality and harmony quickly, like The Tall Man shifts his plans for Armageddon. The best way to learn and play Chopin is to practice hand-positioning and finger-technique, which The Tall Man has down to a science, albeit his technique is not piano playing, but elaborate conspiracy planning. He traps Jennifer’s pals in a building and blows it up, hiding the bomb under his trenchcoat. Pretty crafty. That’s a big trench coat.
There’s plenty of Jennifer in this episode and that’s a good thing. Emily Hampshire is doing a great job on this series and she plays Old and Young Jennifer in this one, which works for the most part. The Old Jennifer bit comes off as a little corny, but it fits her personality. You can see Cole squinting the whole time, like he’s Wolverine waiting to hit somebody. Frankly, Cole is on edge for most of this episode, which works really well for him too, because his character should be the Rebel Without a Cause, not just Captain America with a cape.
Chopin’s Nocturne in E Flat is the music heard in the episode. It was composed when he was just a young man and has a mellow and sad tone in places. It begins softly and climbs the register quickly, like The Tall Man’s surprise bombing. A lot of people have characterized this piece as reflective, which fits a lot of the villains in this series. It’s easy to picture them all sitting around contemplating their next evil scheme while sipping evil wine with Chopin playing in the background. Totally evil. (Actually no evil wine sipping was in this episode. Too bad.)
Anyway, the 12 Monkeys formula works really well in this episode, with Cole leading the way and Jennifer providing the color commentary. There’s even a little character development with Jones and her new daughter, Tree Lily, which is what I’m calling this backwoods Armaggedon girl. She’s learned to survive with The Crazies, so she must be a really strong person. I guess we’ll find out. Ramse is back being spiteful and angry, which is awesome, but it’s James Dean Cole who really drives the 12 Monkeys formula by scratching his head at all this crazy stuff. I’m pretty much doing the same, but I love the drama in this episode in particular. And the Chopin.