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?

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The Man in The High Castle, S1 and S2

I didn’t post about this show last year, but I will give you the general run down. Its based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick. In a nutshell, this is what the world could have been like if the Axis powers won World War II. The United States in divided into 3 territories: The east coast is controlled by Germany, and the west coast is controlled by Japan. Down the middle of the country, the Rockies, part of the Great Plains, is the neutral zone. Of course, this isn’t just straight alternate history. There are time traveling elements! You see, there are these films that very few people know about, that show a world like ours, where the Allied powers win. Of course, the bad guys want these films, because you don’t want the good guys seeing them and getting any ideas about starting a resistance movement or anything like that. (wink, wink).

So in Season 1, we get the set up. The story takes place in 1962. We figure out who the players are and how each part of the country is run. We get a little more insight into what’s going on in the rest of the world in season 2. In season 1 we meet Juliana, who’s sister is a part of this resistance movement that knows about the existence of the films, and is determined to use them to overthrow the Germans and the Japanese. Juliana is in San Fransisco. We also meet Joe, who is in New York City.  Juliana discovers the film, meets Joe, and that’s pretty much when the story takes off. There are many more characters involved of course, but to try to list all of them here would be information overload, but suffice to say, the interplay  between the characters, the two empires (Germany and Japan) is incredible. If you know your WWII history, then you know that the alliance between Japan and Germany was not an easy one, and that tension remains even after their victory. This is explored more in season 2.

I will say that the show really hits its stride in season 2. We are past the set up and exposition phase of Season 1, and we get to see more of the world created after WWII. There is so much attention to detail, that you find yourself looking for all the “easter eggs” and references to what technology and culture would have been like. In many ways it was more advanced, and in others it seems stagnated in the 1940s. I am not an expert in any way when it comes to WWII and this time period, but just as a fan of history in general, the whole thing is just riveting. In season 2, we get to spend more time with other characters and delve a little bit into their motivations. The world is also expanded, and we see more of what life was like beyond Joe and Juliana in the States. I feel like if I say too much more it will give away too much and will take away from some of the surprise revelations about the characters. Watching the show raises the question, for me at least, as to why some Americans appear to be whole heartedly accepting the superiority of both the Japanese and the Germans. In every oppressed society you always have people who will buy into the propaganda of the oppressor, but it just makes you want to know how they got there. I am aware of the times and the state of race relations, and due to their own prejudices that it may have been easier for some to get there, (at least in the German controlled eastern U.S.) but these were still foreign invaders. We start to see some of this in Season 2. And lets not forget, this is alternate history with a bit of science fiction thrown in. The existence of the films themselves speaks to the existence of time travel and alternate universes, and this is a major plot element in season 2. Be forewarned, it gets a bit timey-whimey, but its not hard to follow at all. I actually think it handles the concept of time travel and alternate universes in a very thoughtful way. At times it will break your heart.

As you can probably tell, I whole heartedly recommend this series! You can binge watch both seasons on Amazon Prime.

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