Spoilers ahead for “Bodies of Water,” the latest episode of Syfy's 12 Monkeys!
The short version: Old Jennifer sends Cassie back to 2016 to find her younger self, because she has the ability to help the gang track down the next Primary. Not surprisingly, young Jennifer totally steals the show. Oh! Then Cole and Ramse betray Deacon in the greatest B-story ever.
The new mission becomes clear as Jennifer embraces the crazy
Jennifer Goines was an interesting character last season, sure, but her role in the narrative never really made sense until now. But, now that we know Jennifer is a Primary and is tuned into the interworking of time itself, her character is a much better fit for the narrative as a whole. That’s good news, because Emily Hampshire is positively killing it this episode. She gets most of the best lines this week, and really takes the central focus of “Bodies of Water.”
The A-story revolves around Cassie being sent back in time to meet up with Jennifer (a mission conceived by future Jennifer, no less, based on her memories of the event), because the team needs a lead on how to beat the 12 Monkey agents sent back to paradox the Primaries. Jennifer conveniently notes that one more ritual murder will probably mean the end of the world (which isn’t much of a shock considering the impact the first one had with the introduction of the anomalies in the future). So Cassie heads back to the present to find Cassie.
These are two characters who have never really gotten a ton of time together, and it was an excellent move to pair them off this week. The chemistry is dynamite, and they even end up grudging friends by the end of it. Great development.
But the real show-stealer was the subplot focusing on Jennifer’s newfound balance and normalcy in the weeks/months after Cole told her to try and build a life for herself (the That Girl-esque montage was worth the price of admission alone). She’s taking her meds, making friends (who are apparently spies sent to keep an eye on her, but still), meditating and trying to just be normal. But that all shatters when Cassie shows up to yank her back into the drama. Her struggle is real, because the only way to tap into the knowledge they need is to “embrace the crazy,” so to speak, that made her so unstable in the first place. Even colder: Cassie knows this full well, and uses the world-ending stakes to pressure her into it. It’s hard to blame her, but still, a cold move.
The 12 Monkeys get a new leader
Last week blew the top off the show’s mythology, and this episode took us ever deeper down the rabbit hole. We get to see more of how the 12 Monkeys group communicates with their mythical Witness, as Olivia takes her time-tripping tea and heads to the Red Forest (the vision one, not the literal one in the future) and visits that super-creepy old house. There we see her communicate with the Witness via writing on the walls.
Jennifer uses her weird, surrogate-mother relationship with Olivia to stab her, and the Pallid Man seemingly leaves her to die (maybe?) to take his place as the new leader of the 12 Monkeys in the present. Considering his origin story from last week, it only seems fitting for him to be running the show now. Plus, he’s way more menacing than Olivia could ever hope to be.
What is up with the Word of the Witness?
It was hard to follow a lot of them in the moment, but you’d have to think the mysterious map/diagram that Jennifer stumbles upon in the 12 Monkeys lair is positively loaded with easter eggs. This artifact seems to be a key part of the puzzle for the 12 Monkeys, and something that keeps them ahead of the game (considering they already know when Jennifer dies, apparently).
We’ve already been told that Cole, and now Cassie, are apparently important to The Witness. But why? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The way this show manages to weave the time-travel bits together is a legit work of art. Considering how few people have access to the time-travel tech, it all starts to fall back in on itself over time, with these characters playing larger and larger roles in the mechanics of it all. They’re building a delicate house of cards, to be sure, but it shows no signs of falling down anytime soon.
It’s getting really hard to hate Deacon
Bringing Todd Stashwick’s West VII gang leader Deacon into the cast as a series regular seemed like a weird move on the surface, but it paid off in spades with this one (who didn’t love the little rivalry between Cole and Deacon when Cassie left?). After Deacon executes one of his own men, Cole and Ramse decide the base would be safer if they lure him out and turn him over to one of his gang rivals, some guy named The Foreman.
But, instead of being upset, Deacon is grinning with pride as the hammer comes down because Cole and Ramse actually had the guts to pull one over on him and lead him to his death. It was an awesome moment, and in a sense, Cole and Ramse finally earned Deacon’s respect. It seems like the end of the road for Deacon (at least for those who didn’t know he’s a series regular now), until he shows back up at the base a few hours later beaten and bloodied — apparently having fought his way out and killed his attackers.
… So is he mad at Cole and Ramse? Nah. He just respects the hell out of them, and it’s great, and tells Cole they might can finally get a drink and hash out their differences. Since, you know, Cole and Ramse basically pulled a play straight from then Deacon Playbook. Cole can’t seem to argue, and is sure to snag a bottle of whiskey when he pops back to 2016 to check on Cassie.
Other good stuff: The flashes Jennifer kept having of her dead mother were insanely creepy. Well done. But how did Jennifer’s mother know she could destroy the world when she grew up? Jennifer says her mother wasn’t Primary, but could she have been plugged in somehow? Jennifer getting the drop on her spy-friend and knocking her out was great, then made a point to literally kick her while she was down. Hilarious. When Cassie can sense Cole coming to the bar, she orders a whiskey sour for him. Nice callback to his time spent in the 1940s. Wait, was that Aaron as The Witness?!
Up next: Cole is headed to the 1970s to track down a new Primary named Kyle Slade. Apparently the guy is dangerous. Since Cassie is going to hang in 2016 for a bit, here’s hoping they send Ramse with him.
Line of the night: “Hey look! It's Time Jesus,” - Deacon
Other Line of the night: “Maybe every version of me thinks you’re kind of a bitch.” - Jennifer