12 Monkeys - Facing the Witness

Recently we were granted a detailed look at "The Witness."  He of the plague mask, scuba like tubes, a gauge and what looks to be spectacles beneath the mask.

The again, these spectacles might also be "Splinter Goggles" the type of which Dr. Jones wears and the gauge itself may be a time piece.  We truly do not know at the moment.

The Witness also is also hooded and looks to be wearing a heavy overcoat or perhaps two.  In addition to the tubing, there seems to be a piping of sorts interconnected with the tubing and there are at least three smaller tubes or pipings connected to the plague mask.

What the tubing is for we are not entirely sure.  But, if it is anything akin to scuba gear then we can assume it is in aid to breathing.  The piping to the Plague Mask is intriguing in that it may relay whatever the tubing brings it.  This brings into question the Plague Mask itself.  

Here's what Wikipedia says about Plague Doctors and the costumes they wore starting in 1619. 

"Some plague doctors wore a special costume, although graphic sources show that plague doctors wore a variety of garments. The garments were invented by Charles de L'Orme in 1619; they were first used in Paris, but later spread to be used throughout Europe.[10] The protective suit consisted of a heavy fabric overcoat that was waxed, a mask with glass eye openings and a cone nose shaped like a beak to hold scented substances and straw.[11]
Some of the scented materials were ambergris, lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), mint (Mentha spicata L.) leaves, camphor, cloves, laudanum, myrrh, rose petals, storax.[7] This was thought to protect the doctor from miasmatic bad air.[12] The straw provided a filter for the "bad air". A wooden cane pointer was used to help examine the patient without having to touch them. It was also used as a means of repenting sins, as many believed that the plague was a punishment and would ask to be whipped to repent their sins."

All of which is consistent with what we know about The Witness and what I have stated above.  Why The Witness would wear such outdated gear is also open to question.  This being, who we are to understand wants to end time and humanity along with it, might be nostalgic for a bygone era where plagues ruled the day.  Or the outmoded and ineffectual gear may just be an attempt at intimidation to whomever he comes across.  The gear itself may be an attempt to hide much more sophisticated gear but the intimidation of the outermost gear is much more useful for that purpose. 
The cloaking and the hood give The Witness a nomadic look which would be in keeping with his purported time travel and similar to the clothing worn by "The Messangers."   It may or may not be coated with wax as stated above.  Either way, it may also be part of the, "Nostalgic look" or part of a intimidation factor.

This is all very interesting in and of itself and while this was a very detailed look at The Witness it is not the first one we received.

The Buffalo Bill Model

Anyone familiar with the movie "The Silence of the Lambs" knows the story of Buffalo Bill.  He was a serial killer that took pleasure in torturing his victims and using their remains to fashion a suit of skin to be worn by himself.

The above picture was a mask as fashioned by another serial killer, Kyle Slade. It's from the 12 Monkeys episode, "Immortal."  Like the victims of Buffalo Bill, Slade seems to have fashioned a Plague Mask or at least a reasonable facsimile of The Witness as Slade understood him to look like.

The stitching across the face is consistent with the type of thing Buffalo Bill would fashion.  In keeping with this, Slade also seemed to have made this mask from the pieces of his victims.  There were certainly enough of the remains hanging around his grotesque lair.

The victim is hooded much like The Witness is pictured and the mask also includes glass eye pieces much like the Plague Doctors wore.  It should be noted the glass eye pieces may also be Splinter Goggles.  Whether Slade appreciated this difference or similarity is open to question.

Slade was killing "Primary's" in his vain hope to stem the apocalypse.  In his delusion, he actually thought he had captured The Witness when is fact he had confined one of The Messengers instead.  This much was confirmed by Cole in the episode and in the end, Cole managed to dispatch the both of them.

But there is another.

Haz-Mat Face

Haz-mat face is an affectionate term I had for The Witness when we were first introduced to him.  The mask The Witness wore in these pictures is actually something more akin to a World War One gas mask like the soldiers wore at that time.

The over-sized glass spectacle are consistent with that type of mask as is the tube that leads down from the mask itself.  All that is missing is the filter canister at the end of the tubing.  Also, this figure is similarly cloaked like our two previous iterations.

What makes the WWI version interesting is that in the original Twelve Monkeys movie, Cole was hurtled back to that time period and was pictured in a clipping much like the clippings we've seen used in the updated TV program.

Here is that clipping from the movie.

That's Cole reaching out to one of his friends at the time.  It was viewed by the Doctor Railly from that movie with utter amazement and disbelief.

Perhaps the image above was just inspiration for "Haz-Mat" face and a clever Easter Egg in reference to the original classic movie.

Still, the mask and the cloak are consistent with what we know about The Witness.

The Witness in his Lair

Terry Matalas circulated the above GIF in a Twitter conversation late last week.  It shows The Witness shuffling about in what seems to be his lair.

The GIF contains several familiar scenes that quickly flash by.  The blood drip, the Red Forest, the collapsing house, etc.  What's most striking are the rows of mannequins or dummies that line the aisle to the left.  Some seem complete if undressed  and further to the left are more that actually look like the androids from the Will Smith movie, "I, Robot."

Below is a still of the same scene.

The rows of these mannequins reminded me of something Vivian Rutledge once said, "He made us too well."

Rutledge, you may recall was one of the Messengers sent back through time to kill Primarys.  Her particular mission was to kill Primary, Thomas Crawford.  Rutledge was the one that drove the bone dagger into Crawford resulting in a Paradox and an explosion that threw everyone across the room.


Rutledge survived the explosion and went on to give birth to "The Pallid Man."  She credited "The Father" for making her too well.  We at once wondered who the Father was and how did he go about "making" Vivian and the rest.


Matalas also tweeted out, as part of the same conversation, the Titan complex as where The Witness lives.  I once thought this complex was pumping out noxious fumes.  I've since been disabused of that theory so I've turned to what else The Messenger might be, "pumping out" there.

Could it be "The Messengers?"

When I see those dummies or mannequins I think, proto-humans.  The Witness isn't God, he just can't create life.  But perhaps he can perfect life and those dummies are what he is using to build upon.  Kind of like a template or model.  If he is indeed the "Father" Vivian spoke of that made her too well, then maybe these are the people that will populate his new world.  If not, then they are just his Messangers built to withstand the rigors of time travel.

Sure, they could be just mannequins.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  But where is the fun in that?  Now that we know what he looks like and where he lives, let's see what he's up to!

12 Monkeys returns with "Lullaby" tonight.  I doubt any of us will be put to sleep.


  1. Isn't the mannequin room very familiar, or perhaps the same room, as the one where Jennifer hides out with the Hyenas? Really interested to hear your thoughts on this!

    1. Totally familiar! I did a comparison of Cole walking through the mannequin room with The Witness doing the same thing. Check it out at this link. (You'll have to copy and paste.)



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