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In 1971, Olivia Kirschner led a pretty groovy life. She was arrested for stolen property, yes, and her mother was chasing after her for abandoning The Army of the 12 Monkeys, but that arrest is what led Cassie and Cole and Jones to her, and now Cassie is here to assassinate her. The theory is: if Cassie can kill Olivia before she became The Witness, all of the causality will come crashing down and none of it, plague, time, any of it – will happen.
Back in 2046, thinking that Cassie and Team Splinter are dead, Olivia, AKA The Witness is furious that her followers are beginning to question her leadership. She's summarily executing them and also hearing voices of Primaries from her past. Most importantly – she’s been focusing on the voice of herself in 1971. You know what else was happening to her in 1971? She was pregnant! Out of nowhere, Olivia’s life is upended when her mother turns up trying to get her home. But Olivia escaped by turning herself in to the police. And that landed her in the sights of Cassie Railly, who waits outside of the jail house where Olivia was arrested to assassinate her. Instead, Cassie comes under fire herself and is also arrested.
After some nearby cops investigate, Cassie ends up in a cell right next to Olivia. Maybe this will give her the chance to assassinate The Witness after all, but instead, they begin a long conversation about how Olivia is on the run. Olivia has seen a lot of crazy things, after all: she was branded, she drank all that red tea that makes people hallucinate, she met The Witness, who, unbeknownst to her is actually her. And learned that she was going to have a baby and sacrifice it to the Witness. Wouldn't that make YOU want to run away? Either way, it makes Cassie want to help Young Olivia - mother to mother. Meanwhile, Cole, in a Splinter Suit, saves Jennifer in the year 2018. Her gamble with jumping in front of the train worked and Cole and Jennifer decide to seek out the Ouroboros because it seems meant for her.
In 2046 Olivia has a long series of visions about both the past and the future. And she sees a version where Titan will be destroyed one day. She's puzzled and upset and all she knows is that in 1971, Cassie Railly offered her help and she turned it down. As Cassie goes after young Olivia at that 12 Monkeys compound, she runs into Olivia's MOTHER, Mantis. And twist! Turns out, all along, Olivia's mother was trying to go and pick up a rebellious teenage Olivia like we thought… it turns out Olivia was devoted to The Witness, was willing to sacrifice her child, and it was Olivia's mother who was trying to save them all. When Cassie catches up to young Olivia, the two of them have a conversation through time. Older Olivia has always had a hole in her memory from this day and now she knows why - it was because she was inhabiting her own body. Cassie makes one last attempt to kill Olivia, but Olivia's mother jumps in the way and takes the bullet.
Meanwhile, back in 2018, Interpol gives the Ouroboros back to Cole and Jennifer. It was meant for her and it all leads to an even greater mystery, scattered throughout time. It turns out Cole is the only one who can open it, with that old story he learned as a child. Remember how he learned the "there once was a serpent who could travel one direction. Always forward. Never backward…" legend from his father? Turns out the story is code to open the Ouroboros. Who originally wrote the story? Cole's mother! We've never met her though, so how could SHE know? ...
As Cole and Jennifer get the Ouroboros open, they find their next stop. Left for them by Primaries of ancient times. It's in Blackleaf, 1852. Deacon, pulled from the rubble by Olivia's henchmen, is angry that he was left behind and confirms to Olivia that Cassie, Cole and the others are still alive. And then he offers up his help to find them. And finally, when Cassie and Cole meet up in The Emerson Hotel, Cassie tells Cole that they're stuck in a time loop they can't break. But now, it's Cole who is determined that they're going to break it.