12 Monkeys - The Paradox of Love

"You save the people that you love."

And who doesn't love Barbara Sukowa?

Sorry, for that little aside.   My TV crush on Ms. Sukowa always defaults my attention towards her.   However, the character of Jones and many others from 12 Monkeys became firmly entwined in what I think was one of the two main themes from this past episode, "Paradox."

I think it was Olivia, The Striking Woman, that said to Aaron, "You save the people that you love." But this particular premise flies in the face of one of the other main themes that 12 Monkeys has explored this season and that is the one of, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."  (Thank you forever, Star Trek.)

We have a paradox.

How do we reconcile these two conflicting ideas?  This particular episode gave us many examples of choosing the one over the many.  Cassie went to great lengths to rescue Cole. Aaron went to Olivia for Cassie.  Cole's father chose sacrifice to save his son.

And there was this.

We once again saw Jones' fixation over the loss of Hannah.  A wonderful scene by the way.  So touching and there was no need for words.  Jones brought the Hannah blanket to her nose as the sense of smell is the most evocative for memory.  She held the blanket close to her face and embraced it as she would a living child.  

Earlier, Jones had told Adler memories were just "A million firing neurons, given meaning by the human mind."  It seems memory is a little more than the physiological disposition as outlined by Jones.

As we head into the season one finale of 12 Monkeys the concept of "The needs of the many versus the needs of the one" will be sorely tested.  As Jones and Cassie left the social service building after dropping off the younger Cole, she revealed to Cassie that she was keeping her unborn child.  She imparted these words learned from her father.

"Love is never a mistake."

Will love conquer all?  Or will it lead to a selfish decision?  If we are to reconcile the competing themes of the needs of the many versus the few or the one, then we will have to see love as the wild card.  To embrace love is to recognize sacrifice and when you do that you realize that saving "the one" will lead to the needs of the many.  

As the season comes to a close, who will be the "one" that chooses the sacrifice of love for the needs of the many?

The other theme explored by 12 Monkeys was that of fate versus free will.

Boy, that is a tough one to reconcile.  As the young Jose Ramse approached Cole you had to believe these two were fated to meet.  (I bet the "Bromance shippers" were happy.)  In the episode "Divine Move" Old Jennifer cemented the relationship between Ramse and Cole by saying they had to undo what they have done.  And that Jose was a good friend and it wasn't too late to be one again.  

It's hard to argue with that kind of fate.  

Hmm, love and it's sacrifice, does that bode ill for Ramse in the last episode?

Just before Jones left Cassie and Cole she told Cassie, "I'm a scientist Dr. Railly, I don't believe in fate."

Great.  It's hard to argue with that concept also.  When you have a time machine at your disposal and knowledge of what was and what will be, then fate takes a back seat versus the manipulation of chess pieces on the playing board of time.

Odds and Ends

The Blue Vision

We finally got all the answers to the "Blue vision" that has been haunting Cole.  I had guessed it involved Cassie shooting Cole as a cruel twist of fate.  Instead, it was younger Cole's traumatic memory of the moment his father died.  Too bad.  I hoping for something twisted and sublime that would propel the greater mythology of 12 Monkeys forward.  Not that this wasn't important, this memory did help shape the younger Cole into the adult he was to become.  And, of course, it fits into the theme of sacrifice and love for others.  But the evil cynic that lives inside me wanted something more.

Homage Versus Easter Eggs

I had read on either Twitter or Facebook to be on the lookout for Easter Eggs in this episode.  To me, one man's Easter Egg is another man's homage.  Especially when it involves this guy.


Oh man, how great was it to see Mark Margolis.  I hope you've all had the opportunity to see the science fiction classic, "PI."  Margolis played, "Sol Robeson" the mentor to another man punished by the fate of a cruel machine.  Here's the trailer.

"There will be no order.  Only chaos."  God, I love this movie.  If you want a primer of fate versus science see this movie.

I got a "Terminator" vibe from seeing the naked Cole after his bout with his future matter mixing with the matter of the younger Cole.  You can't have a time traveler appearing on the scene without a little nudity!  The other Easter Egg in this scene is the "Repair" sign seen in the background.  I'd say Cole was repaired by the injection.  (But no longer able to travel through time Jonsey?)

Pulp Fiction also came to mind when Aaron stuck Cole with a needle full of epinephrine.  Uma Thurman got a similar treatment when her character, Mia, went into cardiac arrest.  Hey, Bruce Willis was in that movie as well as Twelve Monkeys.


Anyone ever see the movie "Dark City?"

The Pallid Man reminds me a lot of "The Strangers" from that movie.

More Lions

In the past, we've seen lions as drawn by both Sam and Jennifer.

The subtitles on my TV actually said "Roar!" as the new CEO of Markridge growled at the board members.

Olivia also referred to Mark as a lion protecting his pride.  What's it all mean?  Nothing necessarily, but I hope to see more.

Jennifer Love

We got some more great love for Jennifer when she made her grand entrance as the new CEO of Markridge.

She plays the part so well and I love the faces she makes.  I had shared a couple of tweets with Emily Hampshire long ago and remarked I can't wait to see "CEO Jennifer."  Ms. Hampshire didn't respond to that last tweet probably because she didn't want to give anything away.

She didn't disappoint and her comic timing was as impeccable as always.

Planting the Seeds for Season Two

The red plants only appear when The Witness has been about right?  Adler notes the red English Ivy is not from his time.  Is it from the past?  Doubt it!  I think most of this thought this greenery, er, "redery" came from the future.  Someone or thing coming from the time beyond 2043?

The Army of the 12 Monkeys

The elder Cole told Cassie James' mother was going on about some monkey army the last time he saw her.

The White Walkers are real!  Does this mean Game of Thrones is real too? 

Ah, wait, I didn't get to count how many of these guys are but may they total twelve in all, yes?  I've gone round and round with whom the 12 Monkeys really are.  From the twelve that died during Jones' earlier splinter experiments to twelve actual monkeys sent out after Oliver Peters revived the plague.

This guy did refer to his interest in the Splinter room and appealed to Deacon for his help to get in.  Are they marooned time travelers that need access to Jones' splinter machine?  Did they at one time menace Cole's mother Marion and countless others through time?  What is their agenda?  Do they really just want Jones the expert in molecular biology that can extend human life as her father noted at the beginning of the episode? 

I hope it's both.

There's a lot to wrap our heads around but I'm getting a stabbing headache just thinking about it.  I have more but I've got to learn to edit.  Look to Twitter or Facebook for more Odds and Ends from me.

Or, I'll see you next time after the finale, "Arms of Mine."

Maybe it's about The Remains and his quest to finds his missing limbs.


  1. Hi Dave,

    Sorry, I'm a bit late... again. Uhm...

    I also loved Jones a lot. But who am I telling this. Barbara is just awesome! And how young she looked! I want to know how they did that. Will need that trick later in life! ;)

    The scene with her holding the blanket was so emotional. As you say, no words needed. The soundtrack was very moving. Jones talks like a true scientist, but deep within she is a desperate mother, as emotional as everyone would be. :)

    Cole and Jones and in a way also Cassie have an advantage when justifying their decisions: Saving the needs of the few or one in their case also saves the needs of the many. That's different for Aaron, Olivia, ATMo, Ramse, etc. Here the needs of the few stand against the needs of the many.

    Matthew recognized the sacrifice and embraced love. He saved Young!Cole to hopefully save 7 billion.

    I think it doesn't bode well for Ramse. He will probably sacrifice himself for Cole. I hope that's not just „wishful thinking“ on my part.

    Concerning the blue vision, I had a similar idea. But I thought it was Young!Cole's mother being shot. Instead it was his dad. Evil cynic? There is nothing evil in you! :P

    I last saw Mark Margolis in „Constantine“. I wonder what his connection to German is. I think I'll need to watch „PI“. Thanks for the trailer!

    I guess most of us had to think of the Terminator scene. I'm bad with Easter Eggs because I barely watch movies nowadays. I'm a TV series girl. But this I knew! Yippie! And wasn't that scene something else! WOW!!! I don't think we will see Cole stop time travelling. He will most likely find a way to go back.

    Concerning the Aaron – Cole scenes I have to say that Cole's seizure was OMG. Way to go, Aaron Stanford! *applauds* And did Aaron have a tiny smile on his face when Cole's heart stopped? But he knew he couldn't just let him die. He is so conflicted.

    Oh yes! I loved „Dark City“! You're right! LOL The Strangers do remind you of Pallid Man. They also reminded me of The Men in Grey (aka the time thieves) in Michael Ende's „Momo“. I loved that book! LOL

    Lions! What are they up to?

    Jennifer? I only say 'gun dress'! OMG! What an entrance! :D Wonderful Emily at her best!

    I don't think the ivy plants only appear when The Witness is about. I think it has to do with time travel in general. Remember the plants turning red in the bar when Cole splintered? I hope I'm at least a tiny bit right here. LOL

    The ivy seems to be from the past. Dr. Adler explained that it came from a place with „significantly higher amounts of greenhouse gases.“ So I guess it must be from the past, before the plague or just after it started. Or could there be more greenhouse gases again in the future after 2043? Well, it's 'The plant out of time'. Haha.

    Who would have thought! Cole's mother knew about the ATMo! I read the theory (IGN?) that Cole's and Jennifer's mother could be the same? What do you think?

    What did you think about the Cole – Matthew scene? I had tears in my eyes and expressed my feelings on Twitter. :) That scene, especially knowing what is about to happen a few moments later. *sniffles*

    I love your theories about the 'White Walkers' or how I read somewhere else 'The Blue Man Group'. :P I couldn't count them but from what I read there are 11 of them. Maybe they are looking for their 12th member?

    The scene with the head.Yikes!!! And poor Whitley couldn't even let go of the head. Damn knives!
    When Whitley is scared, it's time to freak out! Sh** is about to his the fan in the finale!

    Dave, you crack me up! Of course it's all about the arms. Well, they can have the head back, too.

    Take care


    1. Okay Eileen, where to start?

      The beginning!

      How is Barbara able to look so young? The serum of course. It's real!

      You're right about the musical score during the "Hannah" scene. Very powerful. It really added depth to a very emotional moment. Poor Jones. I wonder if we'll see Jones make a decision involving Hannah versus the welfare of the others.

      Yes, please do see "Pi." One of my favorite movies. It really strikes a chord with today's paranoid culture.

      Go to Mark Margolis' IMDB page. That man is one busy dude. We're so lucky to have him.

      I thought I saw some glee enter Aaron's face when he saw Cole enter into his seizure. I think Cole's saving grace was Aaron realizing how Cassie would take it if he let him die. Aaron definitely wants to stay on Cassie's good side and that meant saving Cole. Too bad for Aaron he over played his hand later on. No doubt he will compel Cassie to come with him next time. By whatever means necessary.

      Jennifer is a real gem isn't she? Emily Hampshire plays her so well. My twitter feed exploded Saturday night when I was out at a concert. As I drove home the notification tones kept going off endlessly. When I finally had a chance to look I saw that Emily had responded to one of my tweets to her. People jump all over that. Favorites and retweets galore. We are lucky she is so accessible.

      Olivia did say the plants turn when the Witness has been "there." After Cole left at one scene the plants turned red in front of Cassie and I thought, "Oh no, Cole better not be the Witness." I don't feel they've firmly established the rules about plants turning red. Some of the info we've gotten seems a little contradictory. (Maybe we should ask Terry.)

      My first thought about the red ivy was that it was from the future. The greenhouse gases may come from an era where man is burning wood, coal and other fossil fuels exclusively and it is poisoning the atmosphere. But they have no choice.

      The gasses may also come from a self contained geodesic city where the gases have been contained or even a real greenhouse!

      Cole and Jennifer's mother better not be one in the same. I think we've done the "Luke and Leia" thing to death.

      The Matthew scene? I thought Pops was a lot like Cole. Ashamed of the things they've done but not without the requisite backbone when it was called for.

      I heard today on the 12 Monkeys uncaged podcast that the White Walkers were referred to as "Ghost Soldiers."

      Thanks for the feedback Eileen!

  2. Yep, bromance shipper here... :-D But as Eileen says above, I'm thinking maybe Ramses might sacrifice himself for Cole somehow. Hopefully I'm wrong because he is a great character to have in any time, but my Spidey sense is telling me his days might be numbered.

    I'm wondering why Cole doesn't remember seeing Cassie before when he was young? Or did I miss something? Granted he was very young, but still... seems to me he'd remember someone like Cassie. Jones.... Dang. I want to hate her, I really do, but good grief I just can't. She is the most determined mom on the planet and is willing not only to kill, but to wrangle time to her her daughter back. And Ramses is just as determined - he will kill countless people to make sure the plague happens, so that he can have a chance to have a son. Two peas in a pod, those two.

    I can't imagine how this will end. Please please please don't leave this on too bad of a cliff-hanger, though... 2016 is an awfully long time to wait, and I can't watch any of the short videos they post since I'm in Canada.

    Great post, David!

  3. Hey Ingrid, always good to hear from you.

    I have the same feeling about Ramse. He's a short timer. Then again, even if they kill him off can't they just go to a time where he is still alive and bring him back that way? (With tragic consequences of course!) What good is a time machine if you don't abuse it?

    Hmm, maybe young Cole was too traumatized to remember Cassie. Still, she is pretty unforgettable. Same with Jones. He blacked her out too.

    It's hard to hate on Jones even when she's a cold blooded killer. The time she shot Foster was the only time I found myself second guessing my adoration for her. It only lasted 15 seconds.

    It will interesting to see how the "two peas in a pod" handle their "love paradox." Will they choose their love for the one or relent and embrace the many?

    Hey, if it ends on a "bad" cliffhanger at least you won't forget where you left off. The impression would be too indelible to forget! (Unless you're young Cole I suppose.)

    Thank you Ingrid!

  4. ok so this is what ive come up with...

    Jones's ex-husband who was the one running tests on the time machine, was using Ivy as a test subject and sending the plants into the future 28 years where they appeared on the splinter chair which sparked confusion for Jones and her colleagues as they were unaware that MR.Jones had sent them through time (my guess being that their divorce they werent talking to each other).

    Now i have an idea on why the plants turn red, which of course ties in with the 'witness' as olivia states....
    so the idea is that 'Time' itself is the 'witness'.... there isnt really anything at the moment that would make this incorrect, in fact time has been the only thing consistently present with the colour changing, for instance when they made the paradox and also when MR.Jones sent the plant into the future, the plants went through time and came out red at their destination.
    the idea may be a stretch i know, but this show is all about time after all.

    Food for thought :)


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