Spoilers ahead for “Fatherland,” the latest episode of Syfy’s 12 Monkeys!
The short version: Cassie and Ramse drug Cole and hijack the mission, going after The Witness instead of trying to stop the final anomaly murder that will make the Red Forest irreversible. We also learn a whole lot more about the history of the 12 Monkeys, and why Olivia is always so angry.
Ramse and Cassie give Cole the shaft. Big time.
When Cole and Jones decide the best course of action is to hit 1957 to stop the final anomaly, instead of following Cassie and Ramse’s intel on The Witness to 1961, they go behind Jones’ back and convince Dr. Adler to secretly program the splinter sequence to send them to ’61. Once there, Ramse and Cassie literally drug Cole and rob him blind so they can head off to the middle of Germany while the Berlin Wall is (literally) going up. Looking back at the season as a whole, it’s amazing to see where these characters have all ended up. It’s a testament to the storytelling that a twist like this could actually work.
Ramse and Cassie are literally held together by their connection to Cole, something they both choose to betray as they go after The Witness, driven by revenge. Not surprisingly, their little plan to walk into the middle of a war zone and question a high-profile target does not go well when the local forces capture them and start torturing them for intel. For a moment there, it really felt like this whole mission was (as Cole put it) a dog chasing its tail, especially after Cole sees the unredacted report their mission generated in the 1960s (the redacted version of which led them there in the first place). But luckily, it was just a fakeout, and the doctor really did have some intel on The Witness.
Even after Cole catches up with Ramse and Cassie and springs them from custody, they still work against him to let the mysterious child who eventually leads to the Messengers being created (it’s baby Olivia!) get away. Ramse has a chance to grab a piece of the Word of the Witness’ weird map, or go after the kid and help Cole, and he makes his choice. Again, after all these guys have been through, it truly hurts to see Cole left on his own. It makes sense why Cassie and Ramse want to go after The Witness, absolutely, but it’s still tough to see these relationships fall apart.
To that end: Cole has Ramse and Cassie locked up once they return to 2044, and it’ll be interesting to see how that decision plays out next week.
Agent Gale is back (R.I.P.)
When Cole and Cassie crossed paths with FBI Agent Gale back in the 1940s, you just knew the character was being set up for a return appearance. It took a few decades, but he was finally back in “Fatherland.” But, the most interesting part was probably left unsaid: Gale talks to Cole like he’s an old friend, and even slips up indicating they’ve known each other a long time, at least until he realizes he’s dealing with a version of Cole who is from an earlier stop in the timeline. In a sense, Gale was ahead of Cole, which is always a fun narrative tool to play with (See Doctor Who for examples).
Not to go too heavy on the Doctor Who nods, but this episode also employed a very effective move from the Who-verse: Showing a character’s death during their first few appearances, to go on and bring them back multiple times from earlier in their timeline. You’d have to think this is certainly not the last we’ve seen of Gale, though it’s depressing as hell to know Cole will have watched the guy be ripped to shreds the next time he sees him alive. Tough.
Olivia has a crisis of faith, as we learn her backstory
Though she’s been a persistent presence for much of the show, we haven’t known much about Olivia’s backstory. Until now. It turns out Olivia is a very important piece in the 12 Monkeys puzzle (or at least she was), and was the first version of the Messengers created to survive the plague and eventually go ripping around through the time stream causing all kinds of trouble. That explains why she’s so tough, and doesn’t seem to age all that quickly.
But, this backstory also brought about a compelling piece of story for the previously one-note bad guy: With the Pallid Man now seemingly in charge of the 12 Monkeys, she’s having a crisis of faith, since she was promised as a child that she would get to lead them into the new world. She even goes so far as to leave behind her necklace bearing The Witness’ symbol. Olivia will certainly have a role to play in the coming story, though which side she’ll fall on is definitely in the air.
Tidbit of note: So… Deacon and Cassie apparently shared a night together when she was stranded in the future? Yeah, that’ll come back into play soon, methinks.
Line of the night: “There is no we. Not anymore.” -Cole
Next week: The gang is out of time, and the Red Forest is pretty much on top of them. With the clock ticking, and the only actionable lead pointing toward The Witness and Titan, everything is certainly heading toward a collision with the final few episodes. Bring it on.