WARNING: If you don't want to know what happened in this episode, don't read this photo recap!
Jennifer Goines, it turns out, has been hard at work scribbling all of the things in her head onto the walls and floors. And Jones and Cole don't quite know what to do. If the Primaries had more information to give, why now? Jennifer doesn't know. Nobody does.
Finally, Cassie figures out that the team is looking at the drawings the wrong way. When they put them into an algorhytmic spiral, they realize it's a program for a machine. With dates! All of the dates, in fact, that Cole has ever jumped to. There's ONE date, though, that's listed.
The date they have to go see is two days before the plague! So, when Cassie and Cole go back to figure out why they'd go to JFK airport on that day, they realize that this mission is to stop the release of the plague. Just like their very first mission. However..there's a catch.
When they put all the information together, they realize they can go back to Markridge and steal the virus before it's released. And…it's the same place where they saw the origin! Remember that? The creepy torso where the virus was first found?
Cassie and Cole decide to sneak in and steal it, which…feels too easy. And it turns out - yes, it totally is. So, they decide to kill the virus with bleach, but when they come back to the hotel, they find a welcome face: Hannah! She's been stranded there for 9 years, she waited, and then tells them all about her adventure with Emma.
And the last person to go by the name Marion Woods was Emma. Who was back in 2009, hanging out with Hannah. They decide to stay on the move. Hannah was sent back to figure out how James Cole's mother knew the legend. And now she knows.
While Hannah and Emma were on their way to go and find Jones, they were in a car crash, chased by the Army of 12 Monkeys, and happened upon…Cole's father. Ah! The moment where Marion Woods (Emma) meets Cole's dad!
And that's where they figure out the worst truth. That if they destroy the virus, they won't stop Olivia's plan to take away time altogether. It will only rob them of their ability to fight her by making time travel impossible. The Primaries didn't send them to stop the virus, they were sent to release it!
Furthermore, back in the Splinter think tank, Jones and Doctor Adler and Jennifer Goines figure out the machine the Primaries built for James to find - it wasn't meant to send him somewhere, it was meant to erase him from history!
But why Cole? It would have to be because his MOTHER pre-dates him in time. And that can only mean one thing! As Jones figures it out, back in 2009, Cassie and Cole are about to release the virus when a policeman reaches out and shoots at Cole. But the bullet is stopped by Cole's mother!
While Hannah dies a confused Cassie is visited by the Pallid Man, who reminds her there's a better world. The Red Forest. A place where everyone can choose to be outside of time. And be with their loved ones and all pain would end.
But wait. Hannah is Cole's mom? Yes! Turns out that Emma died pretty shortly after they arrived at Cole's father's house. And before she died, she's the one who said that Hannah's name is Marion Woods.
Cole's parents fell in love, had James together, and then, one day, Hannah took off, never telling him her real name. All in the name of causality. All this time, Hannah has been Cole's mother. He saved her as a child and then she had him as an adult.
And so, Jones and Cole go back a ways and sit with Hannah and tell her that she's the one who saved Cole's life at the airport. And they give her the choice to die or not. Of course she chooses to be there for her son. Family reunions are amazing this way. Jones is Cole's grandmother!
As they all return to the splinter room, they realize they have one last great problem to solve. In the story of the serpent that could only travel in one direction - it's Cole that's the demon in the story. But how do they remove him from time altogether?