A moment of happiness may be worth more than a lifetime of anything else in 12 Monkeys. It’s Christmas 1959, and Cassie and Cole have made this house their home.
Cole is nervous when it’s Cassie’s turn to open her present. He has never given a Christmas gift before. It’s a beautiful butterfly hair clip, because Cassie once said that not every caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
Cassie has one more surprise for Cole. They’re going to have a baby. It’s a perfect moment of happiness – everything they could hope for and more.
Cole is in a happy daze. He’s going to start a family with the love of his life. So time picks this moment to crack. Time freezes, but Cole can move freely. The only other movement is from a mysterious woman, announcing darkly to Cole that “it isn’t over.” Someone presses play on time again, after she splinters into thin air.
Cole finds her at an asylum, when time freezes again as he passes by. Lilian is her name. She’s allegedly been in for 34 years, since murdering her family to spare them from the red forest. Cole quickly assumes that she’s a Primary. Is she though? She doesn’t draw monkeys. She ‘splinters’. Suspicious.
Lilian sends Cole to a specific spot where he encounters his first 1959 temporal anomalies. He brings back red leaves. She crushes the leaves into Cole’s hand and tells him he doesn’t need a time machine. He can use the leaves to send his consciousness back up his own timeline. Cole’s choice is to fix time and lose his life with Cassie, or stay here with her until the red storms consume them.
Did Lilian just work some juju on those leaves to get Cole out of 1959? What if she is just a face the witness has chosen to wear? In any case, Cole finds his way back to 1957 via the red tea express, and stops Charlie from paradoxing Melinda. As Jones predicted, this resets the timeline.
Cole and Cassie’s domestic bliss now exists only in a memory of a lost tomorrow, as they get pulled back to 2044. Jones is alive again! She remembers being engulfed in the red storms from the doomed timeline. But with the serum, time shifted around her. She fended for herself for a whole year, waiting for their return.
Cole mentions that a mysterious Primary had told him Ramse and Hannah die at Titan. He probably didn’t tell them about the 1959 part. Lilian had told Cole not to go to Titan, because the Army is waiting for him to continue a cycle that must be broken. But as we’ve seen before, a really good way to get Cole to do something is to tell him not to.
Jones has trackers on team Titan, and has them pinned to a location near the coordinates. The only way to get to Colorado instantly is to use the time machine, to travel the way Ramse originally planned to.
This time Jones is coming. She’s not going to let her daughter die again. It is good fun watching her splinter for the first time. They find Jennifer and the daughters, minus our fanatic four at Titan.
Jennifer has frustratingly little credibility with the daughters, who won’t listen to her. Upon Cole’s insistence, Jen tries to convince them to come to Titan to fight the army and save the lives of Cole’s friends.
Jennifer is so awkward, weirdly quoting Braveheart and Independence Day in place of a speech. The daughters definitely see her as a fraud. It’s only when Jennifer turns her back on them for being jerks that they change their minds and come willingly.
It’s Groundhog Day at Titan. This time, Jones, Cole, Cassie, Jennifer and the Daughters take the fight to the Army and save Deacon, Hannah, Whitley and Ramse from execution. But Ramse loses it on Cassie when he realises that none of the cloaked figures are the Witness. He blames Cassie for leading them to Titan.
This time, there is no doubt who Cole chooses, as he leaps in fiercely to push Ramse off of Cassie. “Don’t make me regret coming back for you!” Even Deacon stops mid run, as he recognises what he is seeing. Cassie’s expression freezes, as if remembering two versions of her memories – one where ‘they’ never had a chance because they were busy saving the world, and the one other, where they became each other’s world.
Cole and Cassie walk together. Their connection reflects a deep muscle memory of their other life together. Cassie suddenly remembers everything. The butterfly gift. Their home. That they were in love – no, that they are in love. Cole cannot believe his luck, that the serum has protected both their precious memories.
There is no time for happiness right now though. A deep horn sound reverberates as the towers of Titan power up. Jones recognises the technology from her ex-husband, and realises that Titan is a giant time machine. It’s going to splinter. They have to get out.
Ramse is being selfish again and splits from the group, his bloodlust for the Witness still driving him. Someone dressed like an acolyte saves Ramse from another hooded figure. He tells Ramse to follow him if he wants the Witness.
Cole and Cassie make it out of Titan. Phew! They’re safe! Not so fast. When Cole realises that Jennifer and Ramse are still inside, he leaps right back in. Cassie follows hot on his heels, because he’s her family now.
In a moving realisation of Deacon’s character arc, he sacrifices his life to save Jennifer’s. Unfortunately, Jennifer gets sucked into one of Titan’s time portals and ends up in the French trenches during WWI. She can’t stay there, because it’s too far back if she’s to be Mother Jen.
Ramse is in a forest. The mysterious man leads him to Olivia. She is no longer with the Army of the 12 Monkeys. And it was her that met Sam on the other side. How was it Olivia there, when it was the Witness that took him? The simplest explanation is that Olivia was still working for the Witness at that point in time, but has since gone rogue. Will Sam have aged or stayed the same? We still don’t know how he splintered without the serum.
Back at Titan, Cole and Cassie are surrounded by a large group of acolytes. One of them kicks Cole out of Titan’s doorway, while the rest pull Cassie in. Cole tries to leap back in, but is thrown back by a powerful force field. He watches helplessly as the whole of Titan splinters away right in front of his eyes.
Cassie is gone. Cole is devastated. Jones tracks the temporal signature of Titan’s splinter to 2163. It is not a discussion. Cole is going there. He’s going to get her back.
In 2163, Cassie is dragged into an auditorium full of creepy cloaked men in plague doctor masks. In the middle is the Tall Man. He must have hitched a ride with Titan to this place too. Is he the Witness?
No. The truth is worse than that. The Witness is safe. The Witness is born to travellers outside of time. The Witness is Cassie’s unborn child. Looks like time moved around baby Witness too. What will Cassie do?
Season 3 of 12 Monkeys returns in 2017. Want to know what’s in store? Read what Terry Matalas has to say here.
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.