12 Monkeys, Season 3

Well, SyFy really wanted to mess with us didn’t they? The whole season in one weekend? I’m still not sure how I feel about that. It was nice to binge it, but I would rather binge in my own time and in my own way. So now the wait for season 4 (the final season) is going to feel twice as long. Anyway, these are my thoughts on season 3. This is a general overview, not an episode by episode recap. Therefore, spoilers for all of season 3 are ahead.I’m going to try to go in order here, but I may end up skipping around. So many thoughts!

Lets’ start with the first 4 episodes that aired Friday, May 19th. It was a nice arc, since it ended with Cole and Cassie reuniting and the death of Ramse. The introduction of the personal splinter machines really turned things on its head. Being able to splinter when you need to and reset the timeline when something goes wrong is a powerful tool. If the Witness is threatened, then you just splinter and reset the timeline. “Raise the Witness in the chaos of history” indeed. That has got to mess with a person, regardless of whether you are destined to destroy the world.

Cole meeting future Cole was a surprise. Future Cole was much lighter than Present Day Cole. Future Cole seemed to be at peace with what had happened. At least that was what he tried to convey to Present Day Cole. When Cassie stepped out (another surprise!), she said that Future Cole lied. What’s that about? Why did he lie? To protect the timeline? I thought it was a nice touch that this took place at the Emerson Hotel. Its there home base in every timeline. I also liked that Cole and Cassie were reunited by the end of episode 4.  It didn’t feel rushed, and it didn’t drag on too long.

Jennifer Goines is awesome. Her adventures in WWI and Paris were some of the best parts of season 3. If you hadn’t already, you really begin to feel sorry for her. She’s trapped in 1917, and has to make a way for herself for years until they find her. She tries so hard to leave clues with no results. Her one woman shows were brilliant! When Cole and Jones finally find her, they don’t even care about what she’s been through. She’s just another tool, not a real person who’s a member of the team. I was glad that when the timeline was reset, Cole treated her with the respect she deserved. Go Jennifer!

There were only 4 guardians assigned to protect the Witness. The 12 Monkeys didn’t seem to have a plan for how to replace a guardian who dies. Maybe they thought it wouldn’t matter because they could always reset the timeline? It would seem that you would do that sparingly, and only when it was absolutely necessary to save the Witness.

Ramse and Olivia, together again! You always know that Olivia is up to something. Why would you ever trust her? Jennifer was right- she is always exactly where she wants to be. 23 years she had Sam?! My first thought was that Sam himself was important, but it was really a way to get Ramse where he needed to be, which would in turn get Olivia where she needed to be- at the laboratory. Such an elaborate plan, but it worked. The key to getting Ramse to do what you want is through his son that he knew for like, 2 days. What was interesting about Olivia in this season was that she was much more animated, and less stoic. We see some emotion from her, which I’m sure was all calculated on her part. Her torture scene was a bit too much for me, but it shows how cold Jones and Olivia have become. Jones, even after getting Hannah back, still is completely single minded in destroying the witness, and so is Olivia. Both will do anything, suffer anything, and sacrifice anything to achieve that goal. Has all of this happened before? Olivia knew about Cole and Cassie’s child, and told Ramse, knowing that he would be willing to kill Cassie, so the witness will never be born.

Goodbye, Ramse. Now we don’t have to watch you make bad decision after bad decision, all for a son you barely know. But with all the time travel, will we see him again? Also, why did he never take his gloves off? Even when he was at the hotel with Cole in 2007, he was drinking and still had his gloves on. That annoyed me.

Night 2 was only three episodes. That was a good thing because there was way too much plot to process with 4 episodes. I know I am skipping over a lot of stuff, but these are things that stood out to me…some are important, others not so much. I wonder if it would have been better for Cassie and Cole to just tell everyone who the Witness was. Olivia was able to figure it out, according to her, and Deacon probably would’ve gotten there eventually. (Oh, and can I just say that I’m glad Deacon survived? Its like he’s the truth teller for the series. I  know he wants to have a purpose. So far its been to get Cassie out of Titan. Hopefully, he can play a bigger role next season.) Jones may have still wanted to kill the Witness, but she may have been more amenable to finding another way. I think Jones was hurt that they didn’t tell her. They didn’t trust her, so that made Cassie and Cole the enemy too.

The heist in 1989 was all kinds of wonderful. Little Jennifer is just as awesome as grown up Jennifer. Jennifer is officially a part of the team. About time! And I also love how Deacon is like the Jennifer Whisperer. He gets such a kick out of watching her go. I like how he tries to watch out for her. Glad to see Terry the Tortoise! And Gale! Nice to see him contribute more to the team. But telling him he will die in 1961, wow.  That was pretty brutal. He was already having a hard time, that just made things worse for him, I think. But as usual, he pulls through for them. Hope Valley, 1953. Whoa. That poor kid. He’s a primary, and he’s surrounded by crazy people. Was he born to be the Witness, or was he made to be the Witness? I also wonder if the lady the Witness drew was really Cassie, but the Witness intentionally pointed to the other woman instead. Had the Witness (lets call him Athan, the name Cassie gave him) had visions of his mother and father yet? I get the feeling that even at that age, he knew who they were. I do like how Athan has always been one of the voices in Jennifer’s head. He is primary after all. I believe in season 2 it was established that the primaries throughout time all can hear each other.  That is the source of the voices in their heads- the other primaries throughout time. Cool. Jones and the crew find out the identity of the Witness, and now the team have become enemies. Let time jumping games begin!

Night 3, is the final act. Cassie and Cole are splintering through time, looking for Athan, while Jones and drew chases them through time. Jones and crew is using Jennifer’s drawings to find Cassie and Cole, but of course Jennifer is also trying to protect them. Jennifer will always be Team Cole. So the last guardian encourages Athan to write the Word of the Witness, and then soon after Athan leaves to splinter himself through time. He says that this helped him to stay sane. Until of course, he falls in love and tries 607 times to save the woman he loves. Which, apparently, after failed attempt number 607, he decides that he is going to be the Evil Witness after all, and set about destroying time/the world. Because of course that’s what happens! Love makes you crazy. Or, at least the loss of it does. We get a masquerade ball, where Jones and crew catch up with Cassie and Cole. Of course, Jennifer saves the day! with fireworks!

The theme of this season seems to be of fate and destiny. Can you choose your fate? How powerful is destiny? Will time let you change your destiny? Interesting how the Witness thinks he is a primary “or some variation thereof”. What does that mean??

And Jennifer of course gets herself out of the cage so she can play her part in saving the “dying man” from her drawings. Who just happens to be the Witness. And of course, Olivia reaches the culmination of her plan, and is able to splinter to Titan, using the coordinates she received back when she took Ramse to see his grownup son. So many callbacks and pieces to the puzzle.

Cassie and Cole catchup with the witness and take him back to the house of cedar and pine. And of course, they tell him when they are, and he passes that information along to Olivia, who then uses it to help Jones and crew find them, and then everything goes haywire. Titan! Olivia! Cole and Cassie were too willing to give Athan the benefit of the  doubt. When someone shows you who they are, believe them! “My family have come for me.”

So, all this stuff about Olivia really being the Witness is problematic for me. We’ve spent a whole season trying to save the Witness who is really not the Witness? And why is Olivia the Witness? Athan says that insuring his birth insured Olivia’s. The Witness is timeless, the deceiver. But even Olivia sys that she hasn’t done those things yet. He witnessed, but is not The Witness. huh? I feel like I need to rewatch seasons 1 and 2 so I can understand Olivia better. There should be some clues in there.

So now we start a new cycle for the fourth and final season. We’ve got a new map of symbols, with Jennifer being the key to deciphering them. The serpent eating its own tail. The new symbol for next season. And Cole’s mother!! I knew she had to play some role. It was always weird that we never even saw her. Cole’s dad was adamant about protecting him, and he was always a little to accepting of this whole time traveling business,. He was emotional, but pretty calm when he met his adult son in season 1. What did he know? Who is Cole’s mother? What is Cole’s mother?! It looks like mommy issues will be a theme in season 4. And finally, has anyone ever explained where the name “12 Monkeys” came from?

And for all you Wheel of Time fans out there, in the letter Cole’s mom wrote him, she talked of the serpent eating its own tail. Is Cole’s mother an Aes Sedai!?

Is it 2018 yet?

My Top 5 (or so) Sci-Fi/Fi Fantasy Series

This is in no particular order, although I will say that A Song of Ice and Fire is number one, with The Chronicles of Narnia as a very close number two. (Talk about polar opposites!)

  1. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin I’ve been reading this series since almost day one. I began A Game of Thrones when it was in paperback, just before A Clash of Kings was published. Re-reading and discussing theories with other fans was a new and wonderful experience for me. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the fan community back then, and even got to meet and hang out with George a tiny bit. A great life experience that I’ll never forget! Waiting patiently for The Winds of Winter
  2. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan This is an interesting one because it introduced me to online fandom. I picked up The Great Hunt, which is the second book in the series, and thought it was okay, but I felt like I was missing something. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had skipped the first book! So I bought The Eye of the World, and was hooked. I went online to find out when the next one was coming out. That’s when I discovered websites like wotmania.com (which is no longer active). People were discussing theories and characters, and I had no idea what they were talking about! So I re-read the books and the rest is history! Another farm boy who becomes a king…a savior…a devil? Depends on who you ask!
  3. The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracey Hickman Wow. DRAGONS!! This was my first real “grown up” fantasy series. Again, I read the second book in the trilogy (this seems to be a habit) and thought it was amazing! Years later, I had the pleasure of meeting Margaret Weiss and Tracey Hickman at a con. It was great to be able to tell them in person how much this series influenced my love of fantasy. This is more of the questing type story. A rag tag group of people thrown together to defeat evil. Its got elves AND dragons! Yes!
  4. Dragon Prince/Dragon Star by Melanie Rawn This story was one of my favorites because it had so many characters and everyone seemed to be related! It was like a soap opera in some ways. And I mean that as a compliment. I loved the idea of sunlight as a source for magic. Its got everything- dragons and jewels, and pretty people and romance!
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis This one is near and dear to my heart. I used to read this series as a child over and over again. I spent a lot of time by myself and this series was my trusted companion. To this day, I still read this series at least a couple times a year, or I’ll listen to it on audiobook. The images and lessons from this series have stayed with me all my life. Further up and further in!
  6. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams I’ve been talking about this series quite a bit recently since there are new Osten Ard books being published. I won’t repeat everything here, but I still gravitate towards stories similar to this one. I mean, its got elf like people! And the scullery boy who’s really a king! Classic.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

These are series that one day may creep into my top 5, but they are not quite ready yet…

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling Loved the series, but haven’t had an interest to re-read them. If I ever do, then it may creep up on the list.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I adore this series, even though I tend to not like first person narratives. However, I inhaled this trilogy in just a couple days. I loved the movies as well.
  • The Expanse by James S. A. Corey I typically don’t read science fiction, but I will watch it. However, this series got my hooked from day one, as I have talked about before. I will definitely need to re-read it.
  • African Immortals by Tananarive Due I want to say that this was my first introduction to African American speculative fiction, even though I had read Octavia Butler before this. However, this series was something new and unique for me. To this day I still think this series would make a fantastic movie or TV show. Immortal Africans? The blood of Jesus? You can’t miss with that!
  • The Belgariad and The Mallorean by David Eddings Looking back, The Belgariad series was not all that great , but I gobbled it up at the time. Another farm boy who becomes king! I like series with multiple countries and cultures and this one fit the bill. For my young self, it was so epic and sprawling! I used to spend almost my whole weekly allowance buying the books. Now, it’s more nostalgia that makes me add this as an honorable mention.

What are some of your favorites?

The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Trilogy by Brian Staveley

I had been looking for a good epic fantasy, and someone mentioned this on Goodreads, so I gave it a try. I’m glad I did!

The three books in the series are:

  1. The Emperor’s Blades (TEB)
  2. The Providence of Fire (TPoF)
  3. The Last Mortal Bond (TLMB)

This is the story of 3 siblings who are the children of the Emperor of Annur. The children are raised in different places; Valyn is on an island training to become a member of an elite military group; Kaden (the heir to the throne) is studying with monks and Adare is raised at home in Annur. It’s not much of a spoiler to say that the emperor dies, and since the heir to the throne is off studying with monks, you can image that the empire of Annur is in a very precarious situation. That’s pretty much where the story takes off.

I am not a big fan of long and detailed descriptions of battles, so for the first book (TEB) at least, that was a plus. The battle descriptions were general enough so that you get a sense of what is happening, without the excruciating detail of every knife, punch or sword thrust. There was some of that, but not too much. If you are looking for a sweeping romance to carry you through the trilogy, well, you won’t get that. I like a good romance, but I will admit that it was refreshing to not have that angst.

You have a wide range of characters. There’s an immortal race of beings, gods (both young and old), regular humans and fantastical creatures. Not too much, but just enough. That seems to be my running commentary- not too much of this, not too much of that. However, once you get into the second (TPoF) and third (TLMB) books, the violence is on the uptick and you get a new point of view character. In the third book (TLMB), there is a confusing section in the middle of the story that can be hard to make heads or tails of. Stick with it because it does resolve itself before the end of the book. More astute readers may be able to catch on sooner. There are also some time jumps which you can miss if you are not reading carefully. I did notice in the third book (TLMB) that there were a few events that happened off screen, and you only learn about them when a character is describing the events either to another character or in their own thoughts. I wish some of that could have happened in “real time” but the last book goes through quite a bit of plot, so that may have been a good thing. I’m still not completely sure that I liked it.

Anyway, it was a great adventure with good world building and characters that you can really root for- or against.

Also, if you read the series and want more, there is a standalone novel called Skullsworn. It is the backstory for one of the characters in the trilogy.

Lilypad Rating: LilyPadLilyPadLilyPad1/2 More than just “pretty good”, but not quite at the top of your “to read list”

 

Reading Round-up

This is just a post to give everyone an idea of what I’ve been reading this month, and my anticipated reading for the next couple months.

Like many people, I have a bunch of books in my virtual “to read” pile. There are so many good books and so little time to read them. One of my goals for 2017 is to make more time for books. There’s a lot of great TV and movies out right now, and its so easy to get home from work, plop down on the couch, and flick on the TV. Rather than saving reading for the weekend, I’d like to get more reading done during the week. Anyway, here are a few of the books in my “to read” pile, and what I am currently reading right now.

Currently Reading: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley (Book 2 of The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne). I raced through the first book in this series, The Emperor’s Blades. I haven’t read a good epic fantasy in awhile, and this one definitely filled the void. I may do a full review of the entire trilogy when I’m finished, but so far I am really enjoying this.

To Read (in no particular order):

  1. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I’m late to the game on this one, but I’ve heard great things about it, so of course I will give it a try. It is about a slave named Cora, who, of course, uses the Underground Railroad, a network of people, places and things used by slaves escaping slavery in the American South. This novel won the National Book Award and was an Oprah Book Club pick, so of course, I must read it.
  2. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin I have read her books before, most notably The Inheritance Trilogy, and really enjoyed it. I have not been able to connect with her other books, but after reading a sample of The Fifth Season, I definitely want to give it a try. This novel won the Hugo Award for Best Novel of 2016.
  3. The City by Stella Gemmell Stella Gemmell is the wife of the late author, David Gemmell. I read David Geemmell’s trilogy, Troy, and one of his other novels, The Lion of Macedon. You can read my review of The Lion of Macedon here. David Gemmell died before he could finish the final book in the Troy trilogy, so Stella completed the novel for him. I love Greek mythology and stories from ancient Greece and Rome, and The City takes place in a similar setting. What I have read of the sample has peaked my interest, so at some point this year I will give it  a try.
  4. The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams. I am so looking forward to this! I have already posted my thoughts on Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and The Heart of What Was Lost. Needless to say, book 2 in The Last King of Osten Ard is tops for me.
  5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read the sample and was hooked. This is, in part, the story of a Nigerian immigrant to America, and how she grapples with her values and ideals in a post 9/11 America. These are stories we don’t hear enough about, and I can’t wait to dive into this one. Again, I’m late to the party on this one, but at least I’m getting there!

There are more on my list, but this gives you an idea of what I’m diving into in the next few months. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff, so my list will only grow.

What’s on your list?