12 Monkeys showrunner on the final episodes of Season 2: 'It's going to be traumatic'

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Jun 24, 2016, 12:51 PM EDT

The current season of 12 Monkeys has been digging deeper and deeper into its own mythology, setting up an epic finale that actually plays out across the final three episodes of Season 2.

So, what should fans expect? We asked showrunner Terry Matalas a few of our burning questions, and he broke down as much as he possibly could without ruining it. No surprise: Things are about to get heavy. Well, heavier.

The final three episodes of the Syfy (Corporate owner of Blastr -Ed) series bring pretty much every story arc to a head, while also setting up a much bigger (and jaw-dropping) story for Season 3. It provides answers, but in classic 12 Monkeys fashion, that only leads to a whole lot more questions.

So, buckle up — here’s everything you need to know heading into the next three weeks.

This series has always been built around the relationship between Cole and Cassie, and even Cole and Ramse to a smaller extent. We've seen all those relationships strained leading into the final three episodes. Can you talk about how those weaving threads of loyalty will affect things in the end of Season 2?

Matalas: Ramse said it best in Episode 4 of this year: "James Cole is loyal...to a fault."  It's one of his better qualities but, this time, it may have cost him the mission. His friends are damaged at the moment. Both Cassie and Ramse are out for blood. They want the Witness so bad, their rage is blinding. The question is, how far will they go to get what they want? 

The big question: The mystery of The Witness has been hanging over the series pretty much since it began. Will we learn his identity this season? What can you tell us about the set-up for that eventual reveal?

Matalas: You will definitely know this season. It's been a long time coming. We set it up last season and, when the payoff comes, you should be able to go back and look at the series and be like, "Yeah. It was always there." The reveal comes very, very late in the season but that just happened organically. A few other stories needed to be told, first. And then, once the reveal comes...there's another story that just has to be told. You may find out who the Witness is, but the why is quite another thing.


We end Episode 10, "Fatherland," seeing Olivia have a crisis of faith in her support of The Witness and the 12 Monkeys movement. Can you tease where her story might be going in the final run of the season?

Matalas: I think you're seeing it now. She's turning away from the Witness...but that may not mean she's joining up with Team: Splinter. Olivia is a very important character who very deeply wants what she was promised.

You've set up dueling missions, so to speak, with Cole wanting to go to 1957 to try and stop the Primary murder while Ramse and Cassie want to seek out The Witness and take the fight to him. Can you talk about how this battle on two fronts might play out?

Matalas: There isn't time for both missions. Which is ironic, given they have a machine -- but when these two missions are ready for execution, there won't be time for both. You'll see. It's going to get ugly.  It's going to be traumatic.  

You've started leaning into more of the potential for a romantic relationship between Cole and Cassie this season, so what can you tell us about how that might play out in the final three episodes? Will we finally see some momentum on that question?

Matalas: It’s always been complicated. If they had time and perhaps peace, maybe these two could really address their feelings. But when the time clock of the apocalypse is ticking away in your ear, it's hard to imagine smooching by the machine.  Both are strong passionate individuals who clearly care about each other deeply. The sexual tension is at an all time high. We'll see.


The show's mythology has grown tremendously since Season 1, from a fairly straightforward mission to stop a plague to a battle for the fate of time, itself. Can you talk about the challenges of building that mythology, while also staying true to what attracted viewers to the show in the first place?

Matalas: I had always known this had to be more than a plague show. Running around from lab to lab killing scientists would get old real quick. So, when fleshing out an antagonist for our time travelers, the answer was clear: They had to be travelers as well in some way.  But why would they want to create a plague? Why destroy the world? Why destroy the nature of time?  So, the mythology was built organically around those questions. And we hope to go deeper into all that in later seasons.

What can you tell us about the season finale, itself? Death? Destruction? Cliffhangers? Tell us as much as you can without spoiling it!

Matalas: I’m really proud of the last three episodes. So much pay-off for the characters, relationships, mythology. I think audiences will be surprised where we take everyone. The ending is huge! And maybe - just maybe - it might be a little controversial for some of our hardcore fans. It's a cliffhanger for sure, with a time travel twist. But once you sit with it and think about it, for a moment...you go, "Oh, yeah. Of course. That makes sense.” Then that surprised grin will turn to horror and you'll say, "But that means…Oh, no. No, no, no.” The finale takes us deeper into our the lives of our main characters for future seasons and sets up a major, major conflict that just can't end well.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Matalas: The Witness is safe.