12 Monkeys “The Keys” Review (Season 1 Episode 7)

The quality of an episode of 12 Monkeys tends to increase the less screen time is spent in 2043. That’s not to say there hasn’t been good material in the future, but too often the show grinds to a halt, especially when the West 7 rear their irrelevant heads. So, with “The Keys” taking place entirely in 2015, it’s no surprise this stood as one of the show’s strongest episodes.

The great thing about 12 Monkeys is that you never quite know what sort of adventure you’re in for each week. That applies both to where Cole will end up – I hear Chechnya is lovely this time of year – and exactly what kind of time travel narrative we’ll be following. This time out, no sooner had Cole splintered than Cassandra received a call from a Cole that was already mid-mission, attempting to stop the virus.

It was a twisty plot, though one that wasn’t too hard to follow. The bigger focus was on the impending sense of doom that fell over this episode. Right out the gate, Cole was still dealing with the news that all of his time travelling would eventually killing him. He was uncharacteristically reflective in the opening scene, and it was a nice change of pace for the episode. He just wanted a chance to enjoy the past and his friendship with Cassandra.

It was an appropriate way to start things of, as the heart of this episode really was the relationship between Cassandra and Cole. Though there have been several episodes where the two were separated, their relationship is the central one in the show, so it was rough seeing it put through the wringer here. Both characters were put in positions where they were hiding the truth from one another, with Cassandra essentially sentencing Cole to die in order to prevent an outbreak of the virus.

And, if the previews are any indication, it’s not a decision that’s going to be brushed off lightly, with the consequences of Cole’s death seeming to drive next week’s episode. I have no doubt that, inevitably, Cole will be brought back, but it’s good for the show to explore the outcome of such a loss even a little bit.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!