12 Monkeys: "Emergence" is the B-Side to last week's episode (and it's just as amazing)

12 Monkeys continues to use time travel as Important Plot Material, and they continue to do is so much better than just about any time travel show ever. This week, Cole and Cassie are trapped without tethers in 1944, so Jones sends Ramse back to save them--and, of course, it all goes sideways. Spoilers (and lots of discussion) ahead for episode S0204, "Emergence"!

Emergence

Jones promises that she'll let Ramse and Sam go in peace if he goes back and saves Cole and Cassie--with a convoluted plan involving leaving messages in newspaper ads instead of just taking new tracker shots back, like when Cassie came and got him originally. He's delightfully not having it--he's so mad, and Kirk Acevedo chews that scenery like a wonder--but because it's Cole, and because he's still trying to save his son, he agrees. Jones drops him off as close to the asylum and the time when she lost the teathers as she can...which happens to be the middle of the night. In the middle of the road. Just as a car hits that same point on the asphalt.

BANG, broken arm, concussion, unconscious, and there goes the plan in the first five minutes of being there.

So while Cassie is arriving at the Emmerson last episode, Ramse is laid up in a 1944 hospital bed. While Cole is answering that phone, Ramse is trying to make the call and getting taken forcibly back to his room. While Cole and Cassie are going to the party and trying to save both Thomas Crawfords and failing, Ramse is knocked out. It was so great seeing things from the other perspective--and contrasting the glamorous life Cole and Cassie were living with the no-frills old-medicine life Ramse was stuck in. The nurse commented more than once on his strange medical condition--due to the original serum not being properly integrated before he jumped back into 1987, though she can't know that. He's apparently got osteoporosis in one arm. And one of them, maybe the same one, is broken and needs surgery to be set right, and that's why they're keeping him sedated through all his lead time in the plan.

He gets free just in time to miss interfering with Tommy's death. He sees the room full of red monkeys and red trees Tommy painted, and faces off with Lady Messenger--who recognizes him. She knows that he's trying to save his son--"your love for your son is long and storied with the Witness" and comments that she's never going to have a child, because she was created just for this one day, and she'll die when she's done. Ramse almost talks her into letting him handle C&C Paradox Factory, but he makes the mistake of saying the Witness asked him to.

Lady Messenger knows the Witness never asks for anything.

She leaves him cuffed to the radiator, since he's not the one she was sent to kill, and goes on to cause the paradox in Tommy's chest, but he gets free in time to see who has Cole and Cassie afterward, and where they're going.

Which, as it turns out, is a motel, not an interrogation room.

Gale has Cole tied to a chair and is beating him up, like almost everyone does, trying to get their plan out of them, while Cassie looks on with mixed feelings. As usual for her, lately. But Gale isn't the total butthead he seemed to be last episode: he's figured out that they're not German spies, and that the killings don't make sense as spy things. Of course, they also talk about how they should have splintered by now while he's right there, and that gives him another clue. 

Then Ramse to the rescue! He busts in, overpowers the cops, gets them uncuffed. There's a little old-school bro-ness in their reunion, which is good to see. Cassie says they need to get back to 2044 to regroup, because her whole life is reacting and regrouping now, but Cole says that they have to find out what all this means, why the Messengers were even here. He knocks out Gale and they go back to the hotel.

So now they're all in 2044 with no idea what's going on. They wear their beautiful clothes and sit on beautiful furniture, and Ramse says Cassie has a bad attitude, but that she's right about having to get back and figure out what to do next, which seems to surprise her--she's so narrowly focused in her anger that she doesn't expect him to be on her side in anything. You can see some of that anger fizzle, just a little, when he says it. But Cole is still determined to figure out what this means so their mission here isn't a total waste.

Ramse goes to leave his message in the newspaper, as instructed, and Cassie goes with him, because she doesn't trust him to do as he says--and then he goes to get a good cold beer while they wait. Cassie isn't happy, because she isn't happy about anything, but she accepts the whiskey he orders for her, and they have a little bit of a heart to heart, which is amazing. It feels like no one has tried to talk Cassie through her crisis before now, and she's resistant, but she's also listening. 

Ramse says he doesn't care if she hates him, but she shouldn't hate Cole. He says "there's one thing I know" and even though I fully expected him to say "he loves you" and he didn't, what he did say was almost as good. He tells her Cole is loyal to a fault, and that he's beating himself up over what he's done to her, and he doesn't deserve to be hated for it. She grates out that she doesn't hate him like it's killing her to admit it--but her stressing of the words is ambiguous. Does she opposite of hate him? Does she hate someone else? Does she hate herself? Inconclusive, but the first time she's admitted anything of the sort, so we'll call it progress. And besides, we all know that she loves him as much as he loves her, and she's just locked that away.

Ramse tells her to forgive Cole, "the way he forgave me. The way he'd do for you." Major breakthrough. Ramse was always the voice of reason and the one telling people to take a chance on connecting, and it's good to see that he's still got that perspective, even after everything that's happened since a season ago when he told Cole to get to know Cassie to begin with.

Cole, meanwhile, is reading the paper and sees an article about a mysterious survivor of the explosion--Lady Messenger! Since 2044 doesn't have cellphones and he doesn't know where Ramse and Cassie are, he goes to the hospital alone (still looking dapper, despite having been beaten up and half-exploded). He runs into Gale-- and Gale says he doesn't think they killed those people. It's always great when detectives in TV shows get to actually detect things, and it looks like Gale is a good detective.

There's a great scene where Cole and Gale sort of become friends because Gale is smart enough to have figured out that not the killers + weird medical conditions + that necklace is of a design that hasn't been released yet = something unusual and awesome. And he happens to be a fan of HG Welles, so he knows what he's looking at, and he believes it. He helps Cole get past the guards to talk to Lady, and she tells them she wasn't supposed to live, but now she's going to go and have a life. A kid. She tells Gale he wouldn't understand, but Cole will: the Messengers are trying to undo time.

At the same time in 2044, Jones is freaking out and losing it all over the place because time collapsing doesn't make sense and she doesn't know what to do. It's kind of awesome, because it's the first time when she's not known what to do, when she's been panicked, and it lets Ekland in just a little--he knows her, even though she doesn't know him anymore, and he helps her find her bearings. Man, he must really love her. Plus, he called her an "asshole" and that was amazing, because who ever talks to Jones like that?

The Daughters are camped outside the Facility, observing, waiting for Jones to be ready to talk. Jennifer offers her some tea, and she turns her down--and then comes back later because that's something, at least, and anything is better than nothing. Jennifer makes her the tea, and it's the first time we get a fairly coherent vision that has nothing to do with talking to the Witness: Jennifer shows Jones the moment the first monkey woke up and became human, the moment when Time had a sentient thing to experience it. She says "people and time grew up together" and that time needs people--some more than others. The ones like her and Tommy are the ones that keep time in order, give it shape and consciousness, and the Monkeys want to take them out and ruin the structure. 

They want to create a place where all time is at the same time, where everything is destroyed and never born at once. 

The Red Forest.

Doesn't really sound like much of a utopia, which is how the Messengers talk about it, what with the dudes who aged hundreds of years since this morning laying around outside the Facility and all.

Jones gets back to the machine with her revelation in time for Cole, Cassie, and Ramse to confrim to Gale that they're time travelers by disappearing before him. They compare notes when they get home: they know what the Messengers are up to!

That would have been a perfectly acceptable end of the episode, but 12 Monkeys doesn't play around. 

The after-mission briefing has them all fighting and yelling and gives Cole a great Hero Speech moment when he tells them that none of them want to be here, but they are here now, and they need to come together--to bury the past to save the future. This is the first time Cole has put his foot down about all the bickering since the start of the season, and it's so very needed. Whatever personal issues they have, they're literally the only ones who can do anything about this mess, and they very much need to be a unified force. Now we just need everyone to talk it out one-on-one, even if just a little. Or at least be more polite to each other while they work.

Back in 1944, Gale leaves the picture in Cole's room, and writes the date and event on it so they can find it in the future. He also leaves his hat for him

In the 70s, Lady Messenger is on her deathbed, and she tells her son to find the Army of the Twelve Monkeys--and her son turns out to be the Pallid Man! Son of someone meant to enact the Will of the Witness, who lived when she thought she'd have to die!

And Jennifer finally checks herself into therapy because she's "ready for the voices to stop now". But the Pallid Man sees her go in and knows where she is! What's going to happen to her now? What is he up to since he seemed to have been taken out by that paradox months ago?

So much happened! And this is only the fourth episode out of thirteen! How lucky are we?

Finally, we're getting some emotional breakthroughs, some people confronting things between them. We have new answers and new questions. We have plots thickening all over the place. It looks like Gale is going to be Cole and Cassie's man in the past, doing all the research and legwork that Cassie used to do, and it would be amazing if while that was happening, he had a complicated relationship with a stranded Messenger who needs to find a new purpose. What sort of a life do you lead when you're stranded in the past you were sent to alter or destory? An agent can have a very long career, and potential access to lots of useful files; can they just drop in on him in every decade and catch up?

It would be awesome if Jones and Jennifer became friends in 2044--they've shared tea and visions, which are, historically, social bonding tactics of some cultures. And in the vision, Jennifer just seemed happy to have someone understand where she's coming from. She was the most coherent she's ever been, probably, and more powerful then she is in the past--somewhere between then and now, she's discovered how to control what she can do, and to let other people in on it. And it doesn't even take hypnosis like when Olivia guides people's visions. Like Ekland said, they're in uncharted territory, and like Jones said, there's no science to support this, so why not make friends with the one person around you who can figure it out with you? 

This season is unfolding amazingly, gleefully throwing out more ideas in one episode than most shows throw out in a whole season, and it's such a fun ride. Somehow, they manage to top themselves every week, and that makes them probably the best show on TV right now. Tell your friends. Don't let them miss out on this!

More notes on 12 Monkeys 2.4 "Emergence"

  • Every single time I typed "Emergence", I actually typed "emergency" and had to fix it.
  • Does Ramse actually have only one nut, or is that, like, a turn of phrase? Is there a story behind that detail that we haven't seen yet? Maybe a prison story? Though, really, it'd be better if he lost it in some totally not-prison way, and maybe that's why he was surprised he had a kid.
  • When will having differently-aged body parts become a real problem for Ramse?
  • Aaron Stanford tweeted last night that we should take a shot every time Cole gets beat up, guaranteeing that we'll all be wasted. Poor Cole.
  • Ramse is the only one who has used the l-word in relation to Cole's feelings for Cassie, so it makes perfect sense that he'd be the one trying to get Cassie to forgive Cole--he knows exactly what she means to his brother, even if he doesn't know Cassie much. Or does he? Did he study all of them when he was being the Traveler? He's hardly shown his hand at all so far...
  • Eklund is growing on me. And on Jones, too, I think. I want to hear stories about their courting-that-was; an idea of an alternate Jones would be interesting.
  • When they're disappearing one by one and Cole and Cassie both smile--we need more of that. They know how objectively cool this stuff is, even if it's sheer torture actually living it, and they're desperately in need of smiles and positivity from any source. Also hugs. Many, many more hugs.
  • I kept expecting dinosaurs and lost Brittish people to come through the anomalies.
  • What made Lady Messenger die in her 60s? Time travel? Illness? Fate catching up to her? Was she still associated with the Army? Who was her baby-daddy? The tallest person we know right now is Gale, and the way he took his hat off when he went to her hospital room makes me think he thought she was pretty.
  • Does this mean the Pallid Man is where the old loop and the new loop overlap?
  • Jennifer has a giant pet turtle and a lot of vintage furniture in her Daughters Camp. Turtles and tortoises make sense, though, because they're very long lived, and they can survive all sorts of hardships and low resources. Good choice, Jens!
  • You can watch 12 Monkeys live each Monday at 9pm on Syfy, when you can join in the livetweets, or you can watch on Syfy.com, iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play, and watch the first season exclusively on Hulu!

    By Samantha Holloway

    About the author

    Samantha is a freelance writer, editor and book and TV reviewer. She's currently in gradschool and working on her first novel, and one day she'll rule to world. Or marry her TV. Whichever comes first. Follow! twitter.com/pirategirljack.

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