TV Club: 12 Monkeys: “Cassandra Complex”

“Cassandra Complex” opens with Cassandra Railly pointing a gun at James Cole. It should be a potent image, but Cassie’s gun is empty, and so is the scene.

In its first two episodes, 12 Monkeys neatly conveys the mechanics of its particular form of time travel, and it continues to do so in “Cassandra Complex.” The hasty conference as the technicians bicker about where—and when—to send Cole on his next mission gives even greater detail about its possibilities and limitations.

Jones refuses to send Cole back to visit Jennifer just before her abduction or to interrogate Leland once more before killing him. “At the risk of proximating his previous self?” she asks. “That is out of the question!” But it isn’t out of the realm of possibility, which tells us something valuable about this technology: paradox doesn’t prevent excursions to the past, only makes them …

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