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Dr. Cassie Railly explains that the world is due for another epidemic and quite possibly a pandemic. As she walks to her car, she checks in with her boyfriend Aaron, who is an aide to Senator Royce, and when she gets in, she is attacked by a man she's never met before. This is Cole. He tells her to drive and asks her about Leland Frost, a man she doesn't know. He is very upset, and now knows that they've sent him back too far in the past. Cassie thinks he's crazy but he proves to her that there's much to pay attention to when he creates a time paradox.
When the police arrive, Cole takes Cassie to the alley where he "splinters." Just before he does so, he tells her to meet him in two years in Philadelphia at the John Adams Hotel, is shot by the police, and then he disappears before her very eyes.
Two years later, Cassie waits for about a week in the John Adams Hotel and as promised, Cole appears. She patches him up, and he sleeps for three days. When he wakes up, she demands answers and Cole tells her the truth: in the future, a plague wipes out 7 billion people, and the survivors find a device that can send Cole back in time to stop it. A woman named Jones leads this effort. She's sort of terrifying.
It turns out that in 2015, Cassie sent a message to the future in which she mentioned Leland Frost by name, and used Cole's name – and that's why he's on the mission. In the meantime, Cassie has been looking for Leland Frost and she's enlisted the help of a former NSA Agent named Jeremy. Leland Frost turns out to be Leland Goines, CEO of the Markridge Group - whose code name was Frost.
Cassie and Cole manage to infiltrate Goines' house at a big party in DC, with the unknowing help of her ex-boyfriend Aaron. Cole's plan is to find a way to kill Goines on sight, a plan that Cassie has been trying to talk him out of. When they arrive at the party, Aaron confronts Cassie, whom he's still hurt by. She left him when he wouldn't believe her story about the time traveler. But all of that is interrupted when Cole produces a gun and tries to shoot Goines. Cassie and Cole are both arrested for the attempt and dragged off to the Markridge Group offices.
When the scientists take a look at Cole's biology and they find out that he's a "product of advancements" that are way ahead of the Markridge Group –by 20 years or more. When Cole is released and tells Cassie that he's about to splinter, she offers the solution – to go back 5 hours and get them out of the whole mess. It won't work for a lot of reasons and they're interrupted by Goines, who tells them that he met Cole in 1987, which is in the past, except it hasn't happened yet. That's some crazy stuff.
When Goines threatens to dissect Cole to study him, Cole takes matters into his own hands and creates a time paradox (he clinks Cassie's present day watch and her watch from 2043, which Cole found in the future, together) that slows things down enough for him to rescue Cassie. After he does, Cole shoots and kills Goines. This was supposed to make Cole disappear, change the future. But the problem is – it doesn't. So now what? Well, Goines did mention that in 1987, Cole was looking for answers about an army of the 12 Monkeys.
Cole tells Cassie he doesn't know if he'll see her again, but he'll keep trying to save the planet, and then he disappears. When he gets back to the future, Jones is furious that killing Goines didn't work, but there is new information – as Cole takes the wall of information he and Jones used to track the origins of the virus apart, he finds the logo for the army of the 12 Monkeys.
Meanwhile, in the past, one of Goines' hired goons visits the J.D. Peoples Psychiatric Treatment Center and tells Jennifer Goines that her father is dead. Jennifer is crazy bonkers nuts, team. And also, suddenly filthy rich. She's sketching something on the wall, a giant face of a monkey. Here we go…
Confused or need to follow all the time periods you saw this episode? Visit our Time Map to see where and WHEN Cole journeys to each episode.