12 Monkeys - Arms of Mine

12 Monkeys concluded its successful first season with an episode that, while it didn't leave us with any thunderous revelations, I think it our mental apple cart was upset enough to leave plenty of macs rolling across our respective cerebral floors.

The above frame of Cassie is one of my favorites.  It's the look of incredulity she flashes to Cole when he claimed he could handle Ramse and talk him back from the apocalyptic edge.  She's thinking endgame, while much to  our delight, Cole is thinking outside the box.

Breaking the Cycle of Fate

Shall we start at the end?

That's where most of the "apples" rolled.  I don't think anyone guessed Cassie would be the one launched into the future.  If there was anything that sent ripples across the cycles, circles and fabric of the space/time continuum, this was it.

Here's another look of incredulity.  Ghost Soldier number one (Ray!) looks on with shock and dismay as the Splinter machine comes to life.

Sometimes the "best laid plan of mice and men," eh my pasty blue friend?

The "Army" put a lot of faith in their machinations and oddly put it down to fate.  How could anything go wrong when you knew everything in advance? 

Of course it helps when you have a time machine at your disposal and someone from the future that has utilized it.

They also possessed the ultimate wild card in "The Witness."  How could things go wrong when your favorite ephemeral being is passing along crucial little tidbits to guide your way along the chronological frontier?

Fate versus free will played a major part in this episode and I was glad to see free will take the upper hand.  With all the scientific minds represented in this show, it was surprising to see so many ascribe their paths to fate.

 I was dismayed to see Jones admit to defeat.  When she declared to Deacon and the Blue Man Group, "You can't change the past" I started smashing furniture in my living room.  (But not the TV.)

When she took one last look at Hannah and let go of the locket she had reached her nadir.

However, Team Splinter had a wild card of its own.  "No one has to die today" to paraphrase what  Cole said.   This was something the "Army" didn't count on.  (I'm referring to Olivia, The Pallid Man, The Witness and The Blue Man Group as the "Army" in order to bunch them together in opposition to what Team Splinter is fighting for.)

This was a significant and heroic moment for Cole and it elevated his character greatly in the mythology of the 12 Monkeys pantheon no matter how small a sampling one season has given us.

It also reduced the infallibility of The Witness and the Army.  They were so sure of their "fate."

As I said, I was particularly delighted to see "Free Will" take the high ground.   As a disciple of the TV show Fringe, I've always thought a little courage goes a long way.  If you have enough faith in yourself and your friends then nothing is insurmountable.  That's why I was so saddened to see Jones lose her faith.  Fortunately, Cole still had his and ultimately he didn't give up on Ramse and for his part, Ramse still believed in his brother Cole.  Ramse knew Jones would do the right thing in saving Cassie and, to wit, the cycle was broken.

There's no such thing as a sure thing!

Why did the "Army" so firmly believe in their "fate?"  If this was truly a cycle then shouldn't they have been down this road before?  The fix was in.  As a viewer of this show I led myself to believe with all the references to cycles and circles the Army had foreknowledge of events abetted by The Witness who seemingly sat outside the "Flat circle of life." (A True Detective reference.)

Hold on.  That splattering noise you just heard was my "mind blown" experience when I just realized the "Flat circle" proponent from True Detective was named Cohle which is virtually the name of our circle breaker from 12 Monkeys, Cole.

Splat!  There it goes again.

Perhaps Cole is like Neo from The Matrix movies.  Unbeknownst to him, he too had traveled down the same road many times before.  Only to have the Matrix machine delight in his futility.  

Too bad Machines and their respective Armies don't count on such variables as love, friendship and faith.  Neo broke his cycle when he chose his love for Trinity.  Cole broke his when he chose his love for Ramse and Ramse recognized this and chose to sacrifice himself.

When did we ever hear any mention of love from Olivia and her ilk?

Never.  (Well, she did say you try to save the ones you love.  But I think that was just to manipulate Aaron.)

The irony of their situation is they relied on the paradox of time travel.  It took time travel in order to create time travel.  What they didn't count on was the paradox of love in choosing the one versus the many and still getting a win.  The Army spent so much attention in closing the circle they forgot the smallest factors that made it mutable in the first place.  Such is the weakness of absolutism.

Oh, and, to those who felt Cole should have kissed Cassie when he place her on a the pedestal, I disagree,  I would have kissed her a loooong time ago.  (Too pretty not to right Chris?)

So, this leads us to two major dimensions of the seasons end game.  The identity of The Witness and the Army of the 12 Monkeys.

The Witness

Thank goodness.

As many of us suspected, Ramse is not The Witness.  It's okay to be a Traveler.  You make a lot of money, see a lot of things no one else has and you make friends and influence people.

So who is The Witness?

Crackpot theory time!

 It's Cassie! 

Pfft, even I'm having a hard time swallowing this one.

But it makes sense doesn't it?

Olivia said the vegetation turns red when "he's" been around.  It turned red before Cassie a few episodes ago when she was talking to Cole and he vanished.  It's red before her now in the above frame.  (A vagary of time travel.)  She too is a time traveler now and, oh, the things she's witnessed.   Plus, she's had the serum!

Cassie's The Witness!

Isn't she too pretty to wear that Haz-Mat outfit we usually see The Witness in?  You dare cover her with that get up?  (Don't make me start smashing furniture again.)  Maybe she doesn't want Cole to see who it really is.  But isn't The Witness working for the "Army?"

Not if you're playing a long game and you're secretly working against the Army to foil their plans out of love for Cole and the rest of humanity.

Oh snap!  Cassie is the Witness!

I guess when you look at someone like this you'll do anything.

I'm actually hoping Cole is The Witness.  I've got this theory where Cole has time traveled so many times that he has created an entity that has splintered off from himself.  A "Time Ghost" if you will.  A being that sits outside the plane of time and space and can witness anything from a fifth dimension.  (If you've seen Interstellar you know what I mean.)

If it's Cassie I hope this is teased out for a long time. (But not as long as it takes for Cole to kiss her.)

Remember the last time Cassie visited the Red Forest?  I wonder if Cassie bore witness to her own efforts into breaking the cycle,  building and rebuilding the metaphorical house she has set in motion?

Nah, my mind has gone splat enough for one day.

The Army of the 12 Monkeys

So beautiful, right?

 Not so much when seen in this context.

The future of humanity is pasty faced monks with a bad skin condition and aversion to sunlight?

No thanks.

When Olivia went to meet he 12 babies and we then cut to the twelve dudes seen above. ( I got the feeling they are not all male btw.) We were led to believe this was the Army of the 12 Monkeys.  Created in the past, honed in the future and "destined" to return to the past via the Splinter machine in order to wipe out the survivors of the plague and create a new world order.

Well, that was my inference.  This isn't my first TV rodeo so could be another red herring (bluish herring?)

I guess we'll find out more about them next season.  They can't be to happy to see Cassie and they claimed to need Jones.  Ramse is still alive.  I think the Army is going to have a little combat fatigue.

I've got a ton more to write about including quite a few odds and ends but I need to edit myself and wrap things up.  I'm also write up a report card specifically grading the major players and the actors that portrayed them.  So look for that.

But not before we get to one last item.


I liked you better when you were still a little cray, cray my friend.

Therein lies the reason she betrayed Cole to the Army.  I wasn't surprised when she picked up the phone and revealed she had set Cole on his path to kill Ramse and complete his circle.

She's on her meds.

When Cassie and Cole sat in the audience of the Markridge forum Cassie remarked Jennifer had found the right balance of medication.

To her detriment I am saying.

Jennifer can no longer look outside the circle much as her mother did. Call it an intuition or a vision thing but Jennifer has a gift and I think her mother had it before her.  Something that labeled both of them as insane.

Now, Jennifer works at the behest of the Army and I can't but feel she is being used by them.  She has become the mechanism wherein the virus is to be distributed about the globe.  I think Jennifer sincerely believes she is doing the animal kingdom a favor by acting against the species that is supposed to be it's caretaker.  Sadly, the Army is using her to rid the world of the scourge that is humanity and fulfill their new world order.

Future Jennifer knows it isn't too late to change this.  She revealed as much to Ramse when he went to visit her "Daughters" encampment.  I guess you could say the "Cycle" showed a few cracks even then.

We opened the episode with Jennifer ascribing events to fate.  The off-meds version of Jennifer would never say that.

So, like I said, I've got a few more things to discuss but I will leave that to later plus issue my report card for the season.

Until then, feel the burn!

Sorry Noah Bean, I had to go there.


  1. Great review. Really interesting thoughts. I can't wait to read your other analyses coming up.

    1. Thank you AndeaPell. I'll get to work on the next post soon!

  2. Hi Dave,

    This time I will be a bit shorter.

    I was shocked that it was Cassie who shot Ramse. It looks like Cassie and Cole changed places. Cole is the compassionate one (later in the episode) and Cassie the intense, determined, ready to do what it takes character. This shows how they have influenced each other over the 13 episodes. Brings back Cole’s (Ramse’s) ‘wolf quote’. I like it!

    I felt so bad for Jones. She was so defeated. But I’m glad she doesn’t try to cover up her role in the Spearhead attack.

    I loved Cole’s decision to rescue Ramse and cannot wait for season 2 to see how their relationship will be now. With this decision, Cole changed fate! Or did he not? I hold Ramse in high regards for his decision to let Cassie splinter instead of himself to save her. He knows how much she means to Cole.

    Love, the ultimate cycle-breaker!!!

    I don’t think that Cassie is the Witness. The ivy turned red during time travel to 2043. It was green when they sent it. I’m glad I was right about the ivy coming from the past. 

    Concerning crackpot theory. I will throw out my own now: Aaron is the Witness! No, Jones is! Could you imagine, Jones being the Witness. Hehe! Please don’t ask me for proof about Jones. I have none. I got the idea about Aaron because Terry said something in his recent interview about season 2.

    I love your “Time Ghost” idea!

    Interstellar? Okay, noted that on my growing list of movie recs. ;)

    At least the 12 ‘monks’ are polite; brutal, deadly but polite. LOL

    Blueish herring! You crack me up! *giggles*

    I’m looking forward to your report card and more info you like to share about the finale.

    Oh and one last thing! Jennifer better keep away from Berlin!!! :P

    Take care


  3. All right Ms. Will, let's fight.

    I'm being dramatic. There is nothing to fight over but we can argue a few points.

    Let's start with the red ivy. Yes, it is from the past. (Or is it the present?) I'm happy you were right about that. I thought it was a cool idea inserting "Mr. Jones" and having him run the Splinter tests. (Ivy is safer than humans too!) But, why is it all red when Cassie is making her way to the Splinter room? Why save red ivy? Is it from tests they conducted in sending ivy a couple of minutes into the future? That wasn't apparent. I think it turned red when she appeared. There isn't much evidence for that but it has happened before.

    Aaron as the Witness? I hope not! He just doesn't have the agency as a character on this show. He is too secondary. A supporting character. I wouldn't want to see him elevated to a character of such evil import. He he should be waaay dead after that fire. Waaaay dead.

    Good point on Cassie being more like Cole. Remember that talk between Cole and Aaron about "Feeding the Wolf?" It's ironic she got her Wolf fed from Cole and not Aaron. He's a bad influence!

    So, what did Terry say about Aaron? How can he not be dead????

    If only I was there for Jones at her low point. I would have lit her another cigarette and broke out the whiskey.

    Who do you think will time travel next? Cassie, Cole or Ramse?

    Good points Eileen, thank you!

  4. Really enjoy your reviews! And I too am looking forward to you report card.

    I would argue, politely of course :), that Cassie was fed by both Aaron and Cole

    Aaron was her partner until Cole showed up. But when arguably one of the craziest things EVER happens to her, he does not believe her. He just wants to fix her. After an experience with a crazy guy from the future having the one person you thought you could count on - not give you the benefit of the doubt has to rough. Especially when you're no where near a crack pot to being with. And yes once he SAW the proof he was supportive but the second it did not go to plan he felt he defaults again to not supporting Cassie and feeling the need to rescue/fix her. And t caused death, destruction and a final loss of trust.

    Cole on the other hand, shows up, scares the crap outta her sure but once they believe in each other, they are partners. For Cassie it has to be relief to finally have validation of the last 2 years and for Cole...well, he likes his ladies 'clean' ;) So while Cole was being fed compassion & empathy by Cassie, Cassie was fed by Cole to stand on her own, believe in her convictions and fight for what she believes. Even before she shoots Ramse, Cole just says 'please' - not that he needs to save her from her self or that she doesn't have cause. It's and equal relationship.

    She doesn't listen, but that to me was simply a woman who has had a really bad day and not processing well. Or brainwashed by her Red Forrest....

    Here is what Terry Matalas had to say about Aaron as the witness:
    You burned Aaron alive! Just to confirm, he is really dead, right?
    I cannot confirm that.

    He was burned alive!
    I know. If he were to survive, and I’m not saying he did, I think he’d have a very strong point of view on the world and Cole. I think he’d be a really interesting character. There are lots of theories. Does he need a mask, maybe? Who wears a mask? There are all sorts of places you could go with him.

  5. Whew....that was a bit of a rant but I couldn't read the preview so it when straight to publish :)


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