“12 Monkeys” Season 1 Episode 1 “Splinter” aired on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, at 9:00 p.m. Syfy. The television adaptation to this Terry Gilliam classic film kicks off its first season slowly and steadily. Find out what happened in the recap below.
The pilot episode establishes that the present time is the year 2043 and the world is a cold and ugly place. Seven billion people apparently died from a plague years before, and James Cole (Aaron Standford) is one of the very few survivors. He’s looking for something or someone, as he narrates about finding a reset button to change things. He comes across a watch that he’s very familiar with and says to no one in particular, “See you soon.”
It’s 2013, and Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) is holding a lecture about epidemic and plagues. She’s wearing the very same watch Cole found from the future. As Railly leaves the lecture, she calls up her boyfriend Aaron (Noah Bean) and boards her car. But someone at the backseat surprises her by pointing a knife at her, and she starts to freak out. Her boyfriend at the end of the line calls up 911, and her assailant knows he does not have enough time. The assailant is actually Cole, and he wants to know if she can lead him to Leland Frost (Zeljko Ivanek). She’s frightened and confused. What is the guy talking about?
Running away from the cops, Cole leads Railly to an abandoned building where he tries to explain to her that he’s from 2043, and he’s sent back to make a course correction that would change the history of the human race. To convince Railly that he’s not delusional, Cole pulls an identical watch, hers actually, from the future, and proceeds to show her that by scratching it, the watch she’s currently wearing will bear the same mark. She’s dumbstruck, but Cole doesn’t have enough time. The police is coming, and he feels he’s about to be teleported again. So, he sets a new date and time with Railly in the year 2015. By then, she has to make sure to find Frost, the guy he believes is responsible for the deadly plague. The police arrives, and Cole is shot, but he disappears right before Railly’s eyes just as the police gets to her.
It’s 2015, and Railly has been holed up for a week in Philadelphia at the John Adams Hotel. Deciding Cole would be a no-show, she prepares to check out, but just then, she hears a scuffle in the lobby and finds Cole, bleeding through his stomach, so she brings him to her hotel room.
It’s only been a matter of days for Cole since their first encounter in 2013, but for Railley, the last two years have been nothing but unfortunate. She lost her job, she lost her boyfriend, and people thought she was crazy for talking about the man who traveled time.
As Railly patches his wound, the two get to work in finding Frost. Cole’s mission is to kill him, believing that when this is done in 2015, then the plague will not happen. The plague is supposed to set off sometime in 2017.
Cole also explains that the name Leland Frost actually appears in Railly’s report from the future. She survived the plague enough to do more research on it, but when she died, and a group of scientists continued with her work. They recruited Cole because, as he tells her, it was Railly who gave this assignment to him. She named him in her report from the future.
Unfortunately, Railly admits that she has no real leads on Frost. But a friend of hers, Jeremy, from a government agency, may have something. True enough, Jeremy pointed out that Leland Frost used to go by name of Leland Goines. Finally, they have their guy!
Goines/Frost, at this time, is in a high-profile party in Washington, among bigwigs in the political and business circle. In order to get inside the party, Railly and Cole try to bluff their way at the reception, but the girl with the list cannot find their names. Thankfully, Aaron is at this party too and spots Railly, whom he hasn’t seen since their break-up.
Once inside though, Cole immediately spots Frost and attempts to open fire at him. He fails, of course, as there are guards everywhere, and they get arrested. The police whisks away Railly and Cole, but in the middle of nowhere, their car stops. They’re led to a different vehicle, this time, bringing them to Frost’s compound, where tests are administered to them.
The tests bring surprising results that indicate abnormalities in Cole. He’s physiological make-up is off the scale. Frost eventually admits that he’s met Cole before, in 1987, looking exactly the same as he is now. Cole doesn’t remember this though, but instead talks about the Army of the 12 Monkeys. No one understands what he’s trying to say.
Frost is intrigued by Cole and wants to do more tests on him, which could essentially kill him. But before this happens, Cole sets up a paradox using the watches from 2013 and 2043. He lays this down next to each other, which causes friction and blows up, killing everyone in sight. Railly and Cole narrowly escape this, as he explains to her that what he did caused the distortion of time. With two elements from the past and the future next to each other, the force is so strong that it eventually leads to an explosion.
With Frost already dead, Railly notes that Cole should’ve disappeared by then, as the course correction should’ve been set. But Cole is still with Railly in 2015, which means that there’s something else at work, something else that caused the plague. But before they could find out more, Cole disappears again.
He is back in 2043, and the team of scientists working with him asks if he was able to kill Frost. While he replied with the affirmative, he gives them the bad news. The plague doesn’t stop with Frost. He then looks at a couple of photos and figures that he has to start tracking down the Army of the 12 Monkeys, whose graffiti is all over the place.
Back in 2015, Frost’s next of kin, a daughter named Jennifer Goines, is advised about his death. It’s not sure whether she understands this though, as Jennifer is incarcerated in a mental facility. She’s keeping herself busy drawing graffiti on the wall. It looks awfully a lot like the face of the Army of the 12 Monkey’s logo.
— 12 Monkeys (@12MonkeysSyfy) January 17, 2015
That’s the recap for “12 Monkeys” Season 1 Episode “Splinter,” which premiered on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, at 9:00 p.m. Keep following Movie News Guide (MNG) regularly for the updates, recaps and spoilers.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons/Thibault