The first season of 12 Monkeys was great, a new time travel series with apocalyptic world and interesting characters. The second season started slow, but gained a huge momentum in its second half, until the reveal of Titan and the future. The third season? Well, this was a roller coaster from the beginning to the end. Moreover, SyFy’s decision to air it in one weekend was good, and the way the episodes were divided, it made a lot of sense. So, let’s use those “arcs” and discuss this season, shall we?
Episodes 1-4: Getting the gang back together
If you remember, even vaguely, at the end of the last season, our favorite characters were scattered all over time. Jennifer was sent to France during WWI, Ramse was sent to 2044’s distant place, Deacon was badly wounded, Cassie was captured, and Jones, Cole and Hannah made it back to HQ. It took them entire 4 episodes, and a lot of months, plot-wise, to made it back.
Cole combed the futuristic land, finding nothing (what actually disappointed me, because it had potential of some new places and groups, but there was no place for it, so the future was completely empty), with Jones’ and Hannah’s help. Jennifer practiced theater, unsuccessfully, but it was enough for her to be found by Cole and Jones. Deacon was nurtured back to health by one of Titan’s head guards, in order to help Cassie escape (after they took her baby), and they made it back just after Cole had to kill his best friend, his brother, Ramse, for trying to kill past Cassie, in order to prevent the Witness’ birth.
Ramse wasn’t always the good guy. He was the perfect example of an anti-hero, a person who does everything he believes is best for the people he care about, be it Cole, or the entire Earth. He didn’t care if innocents were to die, because the greater good prevails. I liked his character a lot, and I was sad to see him conspire with Olivia. I surely hope he’ll return at some point, because, you know, time travel.
Talking about unfortunate things, Titan is a huge city made of futuristic time-travel technology, and we barely scratched the surface of the place. Is it all rituals and ceremonials? Isn’t there anything more? How was it built? I hope we’ll get to that.
Episodes 5-7: The young witness, and the secret
This part was the most light and cool. We got a Jennifer episode, in which Jennifer, Deacon, Cassie and Cole traveled back to steal the Witness’ “Word”, some sort of map of time. It was the most amusing episode of the season, filled with humor, which is scarce in 12 Monkeys. When Olivia (virtually) spoke with Jennifer’s voice and got electrocuted by the fence, I was laughing out loud, seriously.
Later, they recruited Gale back, to help understand the connection between the 12 Monkeys and a small town in Hope Valley. It turned out the Child Witness’ guardians were selecting grieving people for some mysterious purposes, though we’ve seen the kid’s mixed feeling about his purpose. The boss woman of the guardians was the worst influence on the boy, while a young guardian supported the kid.
Once Cassie returned in the first arc and told Cole their son is to be the Witness, they both had to keep it a secret from the rest of team. At first, it was manageable. But after Olivia was starting to cooperate with Jones, she began to suspect. Eventually, a trip to when Cole killed Ramse revealed the true behind Ramse’s death, and since that point, Cole and Cassie became time fugitives, jumping around with their splintering vests. Jones tends to prioritize the mission above everything else, but, given the fact that her daughter was saved and survived last season, she should have known better, than to decide the fate’s of her teammates’ son.
Cassie asked Jones to visit her own late mother (played by lovely Kristin Booth), who psychologically analyzed the Witness’ word, only to discover the boy is truly unsure about his purpose. Cole led a mission to kill the boy, but at the moment of truth, decided to save him. He saw Cassie in the kid’s eyes, just like Jennifer thought him. Since that point, we’ve got to groups who hunt the witness, but for different purposes.
Episodes 8-10: The rise and fall of The Witness
Meet James Callis (Battlestar Galactica, Eureka), our Witness. Being stuck in London, in the end of the 19th century, took its toll. He wished for the future, but learned to be his own man during this time period. While Cassie and Cole searched for him, they also had to elude being captured by Jones. When Jennifer, once again, helped them escape in a crazy fireworks show (she never stops surprising me), the last guardian was killed, and the Witness had the vest for himself. Unfortunately, it broke, and the crooked watchmaker only wanted Ethan (The Witness) money, pretending to failing at making the right part.
Episode 9 centered around Ethan, who found a woman to love when he was stuck. She was a thief and a doctor, and he had resources and charm. We’ve spent so much time with them, that we’ve even began to like them. And of course, we should root for the villain, are we? Her inevitable death (he tried to time-save her hundreds of times) put him back on the Witnessing track. Just when he decided to return to Titan, his parents kidnapped him, and returned him to the house of cedar and pine, where he was(n’t) created.
That led to the standoff of the last episode, and the biggest twist of the season: Olivia is the Witness. Ethan was supposed to die, thus making her the witness of everything. Olivia’s entire arc this season, supposedly becoming one of the good guys, was just a plot to revenge the army of the 12 Monkeys and their beliefs. She Cole (to kill the guardians), Cassie (to find her son) and Jones (to kill him). But her control of Titan was short-lived, since Jennifer, yet again, helped The Witness heal and get back to Titan, to kill some of the army and help our team escape. Olivia killed him, but he will probably return, as he promised to Cassie.
At the end of the season, it seems Olivia had the upper hand. But what did she wish to accomplish? Was it only revenge? Controlling Titan? Or is her mission still, to end all of time? Since she is the actual Witness who contacted Cassie and the others all the time, she was (and will be) the mastermind behind everything. It’s hard to grasp, but she even helped herself get to her stand of power now.
What’s so genius about this series, is the fresh view every season. Expanding a single movie into 4 seasons of television isn’t easy at all, and creating such an astonishing TV series is no less than pure genius. The coherent plots, the dynamics of the characters, and shifting missions (the plague, the red forest, The Witness). It is never boring, never taking a step back.
The series is also great at shifting characters. Up until mid-season 2, Jennifer was unbearable. On purpose. because since then, she’s been the heart and warmth of the series, while both being a comic relief, and suffering from her visions and voices. Deacon was a little bad guy in season 1, a pawn in season 2, and now, he’s a full-on team member. Olivia, on the other hand, was a villain, who we almost started to care about, but immediately we discovered her real plan. Hey, 12 Monkeys writers, stop playing with out feelings! Killing ramse wasn’t enough?
Cassie and Cole are still the rock of the series. Though they’ve spent some of this season apart, they got their moments in past London, and managed to accomplish great things together. Everyone must listen to them, because even if it doesn’t seem like it, they know what to do.
Hopes for the last season: More Ramse; More Agent Gale; More Titan; More time travel shenanigans.
See you around, keep commenting and liking!