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The Beginning Part 1
The Beginning Part 2
Back in the early parts of 2017 when we first started reviewing TV shows on the site, 12 Monkeys was one of the first we watched and reviewed, based entirely on its intriguing premise and the fact the motion picture had such an interesting concept at its heart. Skip forward a year and a half after bingeing all three seasons last year and 12 Monkeys finally closes its curtains on one of the most under-rated sci-fi shows out there. Closing all plot threads and boasting some of the most intelligently written time travel drama ever seen on television, 12 Monkeys concludes its run perfectly with an ending fit for the legacy of this incredible show.
After a year hiatus, the story picks up with an intentionally confusing opening (which does make sense later on down the line) before jumping forward in time where we left our characters, the final battle looming on the horizon. In control of Titan and fully realizing her purpose as The Witness, Olivia sets her sights on 2043 and more specifically, eliminating Cole, Cassie and the others while trying to figure out how to fulfil her purpose. As they desperately try and formulate a plan to thwart Olivia and the Army Of The 12 Monkeys, the group skip forward and backward through time before learning of a weapon that could stop the cycle and The Witness once and for all.
To give too much more away would be to do the story a disservice but for those a little hazy on all the intricate plot details shown through the first 3 seasons, we strongly recommend going back and re-watching these before jumping into the final fourth season to really refresh your memory on what’s happened until this point. With no recap at the start of the episodes (save for the finale), a lot of throwback scenes and flashbacks throughout, 12 Monkeys certainly doesn’t make it easy to pick up the story after a long break. The wait is certainly worth it though and especially late on, 12 Monkeys manages to bring the story full circle, produce the goods in an incredibly emotional 2 part finale.
From the opening episode through to the final two-parter, 12 Monkeys ups the stakes, tension and production value of the show with dizzying, mind-bending episodes that showcase just how cleverly written and thoughtful this show really is. During its early seasons we criticised 12 Monkeys for its constant reliance on saving characters at the last minute and intentionally leaving plot threads dangling but having watched the fourth season, it’s hard not to look back at this as an intentional ploy, ready for a final season that somehow ties up all loose ends, gives a compelling ending all whilst producing an incredibly endearing season of time travel action.
Jennifer’s role is toned down slightly this year too and although her maniacal, mentally unstable perspective as a Primary still garners plenty of amusing quips, it’s a lot less in-your-face this time around, allowing the spotlight to shine on Cole and Cassie whom the story predominantly focuses on. The acting is generally decent all round again although Olivia’s descent into an evil overlord does feel a little contrived and one-dimensional, especially given her cunning, psychologically driven shifty personality last year. Thankfully her ending during the finale is perfectly executed and one that gives her character the perfect closure. Revealing Olivia as The Witness last year helps to focus the show on the action and drama rather than relying heavily on the shrouded mystery the show clung too for a little too long during its early seasons.
While the opening few episodes show some exhausting action and set the tone for the rest of the 11 episodes to follow, it’s ultimately the way 12 Monkeys manages to close its show out with a stunning 2 part finale that will leave you most impressed. The final 4 episodes in particular are simply breathtaking and up there with some of the best time travel drama ever written, driven by an incessant need to shock and wrap up loose ends in a satisfying manner. Expect plenty of plot twists, surprise revelations and clever time travelling this year, with the best possible ending to solidify 12 Monkeys’ place as one of the most under-rated and impressive sci-fi shows out there. If you haven’t already you really owe it to yourself to check this one out and along with The Expanse, this is one of the best shows Syfy have ever produced and a fitting send off to an incredible show.
Verdict - 10/10