This episode is one of my favourites from the entire series. So many little revelations. So much to mull over. But by far my favourite thing is to see when effects become the cause.
Betrayal is a theme of Fatherland. A wheelchair bound Olivia visits a derelict apartment in Berlin. One bitter glance from her towards a ratty stuffed toy gives away the room’s secret. This is personal.
At the 2044 facility, team Splinter is divided. Time is running out. They have to choose their mission wisely. In five days, the red storms will decimate Raritan. No more machine. No more tethers.
Cole has misgivings that the intel they gained of the 1957 paradox is from the enemy, yet banks on it. Cassie and Ramse (Camse) show their crisis of faith. “Nothing ever works when she [Jones] plays God,” opines Ramse. Though it pains Cassie deeply, she owns her lack of faith in Cole’s judgement.
Camse want the Witness’s head. They trust the CIA document and convince Dr Adler to blindside Jones and send them to 1961 to find the Witness. It turns out that Adler is not willing to lose his last chance to get his vengeance for his child’s death.
In 1961, Camse drug Cole and skip town to Berlin. Cassie is cut up about deceiving Cole. However, she throws herself headlong into their new mission. Cole follows hot on their heels, thanks to Agent Gale’s help. In a throwaway comment, Gale accidentally let slip that him and Cole have developed a mission history over the past two decades. That might explain the disheveled state of room 607.
It was easy to miss, but Ramse experiences an epiphany about how right Cassie and Cole are for each other, when she pulls a little stunt a la Cole to buy time to grab Dr Kirschner. It wasn’t enough though, as they all fall into the hands of Israeli intelligence. Cassie takes a good beating, and Ramse threatens to kill the agent hurting her – because now he ships Casserole, too?
Speaking of Casserole, can we take a moment to feel sorry for Deacon? He confesses that he’s loved Cassie since seeing her on TV every night during the apocalypse. And he’s still on about that one night stand! Cassie just wants to close that book. It’s no surprise that Cassie had sex to self-sooth, but poor Deacon. I’d be so annoyed with Cole if he gets mad about ‘them’. He can be sad, but not mad.
Back to the hunt for Titan. I suspected since Hyena that this CIA document is a lure. It turns out that the document is a transcript of Camse’s interrogation by Mossad agents. In a simple time travel story, this discovery would mean that their mission is a waste of time, because Kirschner will just be a wanted Nazi scientist, not someone with connections to everything. But of course Kirschner is connected to all of it!
It’s priceless to watch Cole’s face go from sanctimony to stunned humility, when Cassie takes Cole’s roasting for ‘chasing her own tail’, then spots the 12 Monkeys medallion around Kirschner’s neck. With Agent Gale sacrificing his life to get the group across the Berlin Wall, Kirschner leads them to his lab, and drops three huge bombshells.
Bombshell one: the Witness encouraged Kirschner in eugenics. His experiments in the death camps, guided by the Witness, lead to the creation of the ultimate übermensch – Olivia. She is immune to sickness, fast to heal, and resistant to ageing. Sound like our guys with the time serum?
Bombshell two: Olivia was created from the eggs harvested from the Messenger Vivian – who is herself created from Olivia. The mother is the daughter, and vice versa! So Palid Man is her brother, nephew and uncle. Gross? Kirschner was referred to as ‘father’ by Vivian, but he is definitely not her biological father. So he might not even be Olivia’s biological father, if she even needed one.
Bombshell three: Kirschner did know about Titan all along. He has the original word of the Witness, which gives the coordinates to Titan. 38°32’45.7″N 102°28’55.4″W points to a farm in East Colorado. Remember when Aaron was tortured into revealing that the 12 Monkeys had a bunker – a sanctuary – in Colorado to ride out the plague and bring up the 12 babies?
Speaking of the map, under Ramse’s name, it looks like it says ‘1933 – the Mask is presented at the Sanctuary’. This could be huge! If the mask refers to the Witness’s mask, then this lends itself to various theories that the Witness is someone close to Ramse. He could still be in running to be the Witness, if the effect can be the cause!
Ramse makes a split second decision to go for the corner of the Witness’s map with the information on Titan before splintering back to 2044, instead of helping Cole stop the child Olivia from getting away, and thus stopping the creation of the messengers.
After all of this, is getting his son back still more important than undoing the plague and undoing the destruction of time? No wonder Ramse’s love for his son is long and storied, according to Olivia’s mother.
Let’s take a lesson from Hyena and watch for the hands. I’m looking at the Keeper and Hannah, the two people responsible for Camse gaining that CIA document. My question is whether the hand that guided them to 1961 is on their side or not.
Kirschner being at the lab with Team Splinter was not by chance either, because little Olivia announces that mother said he would come back to say goodbye for one last time, moments before he was ambushed and killed. But that still doesn’t tell us if good or bad hands guided them there.
Adult Olivia is alone in the lab, remembering her mother telling her that she is stronger than anyone, and destined to lead them to the red utopia. But Olivia knows she has been abandoned by the Witness, and that the Witness put Palid Man in charge. She is not taking this betrayal lying down. She gets up from her wheelchair. Apparently you can’t paralyse this übermensch.
Back in 2044, Cole is livid. Finally, we see Cole’s patience run out. He’s been all noble all season, but Cassie joining Ramse in throwing him under the bus and costing Gale’s life was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Cole is so crushed by her betrayal, he tells her that there is no ‘them’, not anymore. Cassie is crushed, but also looks like she feels she deserves this. Ramse looks mortified when Cole says those words to Cassie. Does Ramse know something about how Cole behaves when his long fuse finally blows?
Camse are marched off to Splinter prison while Deacon downs a bottle of whiskey on the rooftop to welcome sweet nihil from the red storms. Is this the end of everything? Probably not, or how else will Cole and Agent Gale meet each other again like they’re supposed to in a future-past? But what will it take to hold the red storm at bay? Will Olivia be the one to do something spectacular to buy them more time?
Catch up on Season 1, streaming now on Hulu with exclusive special features, or buy the DVD / Blu-ray. Watch Season 2 of 12 Monkeys on Mondays at 9/8c, or on Syfy.com, Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, Youtube and XBox.