12 Monkeys: "One Hundred Years" is the longest trip back yet

Three episodes into 12 Monkey's second season and it's roaring along! Just look at all the new ideas we got in "One Hundred years" (S0203)! All the emotional fallout! All the awesome clothes! Jones sends Cassie and Cole back to 1944, and, in typically Team Splinter fashion, they had no idea what they were about to get into. Spoilers ahead!

Love the new digs

Cassie and Cole are still not getting along. Cole is also not getting along with Deacon, and there's just the slightest bit of jealousy when Cassie gets between them and takes Deacon's side instead of Cole's. Or maybe he's scared that she's falling under Deacon's thrall like he did before they left the West 7? No one in this show talks about their feelings enough to clear that up, but when Cole shows Ramse the picture of him and Cassie in 1944, the name on the back reminds Ramse of some dead body the Army was interested in. So they've got to go back. 

Cassie assumes she's going by herself, since she's taken on the whole weight of the Mission on her own shoulders, but Jones says she and Cole are both going. Cassie argues that "Cole can barely navigate 2016" let alone a country at war a hundred years before the time they're standing in, and basically begs not to be left alone with him, but Jones is the boss and she says they go together. 

Except that back to back splinters land them two months apart in 1944. 

See, there's disturbances in the timeline. Anomalies that suggest time is collapsing in on itself, and between them and the fact that time travel has never been all that exact, they don't land as close as anyone wants them to. Cassie is freaked by an air raid drill and still tunnel-visioned on the Mission. Cole, however, has been there for two months, setting things up and waiting for her. It seems like he's always waiting for her this season. Waiting to see if she lived. Waiting for her to calm down and talk to him. Waiting for her to show up in 2044.

He's gotten some really nice suits and shoes. He's discovered how great whiskey sours are. He's bought and paid for the hotel / apartment he found last episode, and it's all clean and new and awesome. He's set it up so they can get into the party where the picture was taken (apparently by way of possibly seducing a lady who works there?). He's even bought Cassie a whole pile of awesome 40s dresses that she doesn't appreciate at all because she's so angry she's forgotten how cool this is. See, she's mad that when it came to someone she cared about dying--Aaron--Cole was all gung-ho, but when it comes to Ramse or Jennifer, someone HE cares about, coming against the gun, it's all trying to save them. And now he's telling her that she's doing it wrong when she's just doing what he's supposed to do. But she doesn't say any of that, she won't listen when he tries to talk to her, and the fact that he's not getting mad back seems to be making her more mad.

When will my ship repair these holes?

So they get to the party, and there is no dancing. Cole goes to get a drink and manages to tick off a cop (that'll come after them later) literally just by existing. Apparently beards are really insulting in 1944? He gets pegged as someone who has "seen things", but he won't talk about the war and the guy gets all prickly about it. Cassie meanwhile sees the lady-Messenger, who has taken the place of someone on the party list, and is in the process of seducing their target. She saves Cole by telling a story of being a prisoner of war who got shot "down there" escaping, which makes the cop stop bothering them and let them get away, but they're too late.

Lady-Messenger has done some rite that sounds awfully religious and metaphorical, and she stabs the guy with a knife made of a sternum (ew)...and then nothing happens. "He's not Primary." She and her cheekboned bodyguard escape, Cassie and Cole arrive just close enough after to look guilty but not get caught, and they find a framed picture of a red monkey and escape with it.

Cassie is all upset that they failed, but Cole isn't ready to give up. He notices something about the picture, and when he looks inside the frame, they find psych evals for someone with the same name as the guy they failed to save--a kid who drew the same monkey Jennifer always draws, and who, like her, wound up in an asylum. They head that way, and find that the Messengers are already there first, looking for him, too. The kid's smart though. He knows things. He's also Erik Knudsen from Continuum, which leads to some interesting crossover ideas, but that's beside the point. He's gotten out of his room before any of them can get him, and while Cole and Cassie and Lady Messenger and Cheekbones look for him, he winds up in Cassie's custody while Cole winds up in Lady Messenger's. 

Cassie wants to save this kid's life and stop the distortions in time, but he knows he's got to die tonight. He also knows all their names and that he's Primary, the synapses of time, and he knows what Cole's dad told Cole when he was dying last season: "The only failure is giving up." 

He's on screen way too short a time, because he's fascinating. Painting monkeys like Jennifer, rambling about time and stuff that hasn't happened yet, sounding like maybe HE is one of the voices in Jennifer's head, like maybe there's lots of them and they're all the voices in each others' heads (my new favorite theory). But he's sure he has to die tonight, and he even looks like he's looking forward to it, which is super-weird. He forces Cassie's hand to trade him for Cole, after Lady has tortured Cole over the intercom to also force her hand. Because of course Cole is gonna get beat up if there's a chance to work it into the script.

It's interesting that Cassie is so "if people need to die, they'll die" but when she could have shot through Cole to get the Lady, she can't, and when she could have let Cole die to ruin Lady's plans, she can't. It'll be interesting to see if that breaks through her anger a little, to put them on more of the same playing field. It's also encouraging, because if she can't kill him or let him die, it means she still cares about him deeply, and that means, hopefully, they'll eventually work it out. Sooner, rather than later, preferably; the stakes are already higher than last season and they need to trust each other again. When Cassie says she can't trust Cole, that hurt him--probably badly, since a) he's really good at piling guilt on himself, and has already tried to take the blame for her current state of mind, b) all he has is trust and he's already lost Ramse but apparently thought he had Cassie still, and c) that pokes that same sore spot as Jennifer's "you want her to love you but she doesn't" from last week. Uncool, Cass. You've always had him--it's the mission that sort of lost him.

Anyway, Lady Messenger has the kid. Cole and Cassie physically break down the door just in time to get slammed into the wall when the paradox she creates by stabbing the kid with his own bone (ew) explodes and busts up the place. A different sort of paradox then we've seen yet--because they did something, or because the Tommy is different than others? The kid seems to be toast. Everyone is knocked out. The cops who already think "the blonde and the pecker sob story" are a problem, show up and find them all unconscious. Jones loses their thethers--which didn't take long, since they just got them--and they're trapped in 1944!

Cliffhanger! One that leaves your heart beating too fast and your brain whirling!

Meanwhile, Jones is severely ticked off at Ramse, and she tells him that Deacon wants him dead. She's not going to stop it, and she's going to tell Cole that she couldn't. Him being there is destabilizing her team--like killing him while Cole is away wouldn't also--and she needs balance to be restored so they can continue. Deacon shows up at Ramse's cell, escorts him away into the deep woods, makes him dig his own grave (super rude)--then totally doesn't have time to kill him. Because killing Tommy in 1944 is the cause of the anomalies, and now in 2044, they're erupting all over the place, and they look hungry and agressive. Maybe even sentient in some form. They get the other guy Deacon brought with him and painfully turn him into a mummy with stages of unwinding that creepiness along the way, so it takes a long time and hurts a lot. They're both freaked out, but in the end, Ramse makes the right choice and saves Deacon--at least until they know what this mutual threat is about--and they run.

What an amazing episode! How to they keep topping themselves? We got interpersonal drama on several fronts. We got unpredictable time travel. We got awesome clothes and jealousy and two months of downtime in 1944 to fill with headcanons. We got a tiny sip of the Messengers' goals, and the trouble they can cause. 

We got people getting stabbed with their own years-dead, grave-robbed bones. They did that on purpose, and we don't know why--why would you want to start a paradox that's going to ripple all through time? Why would Tommy go to that willingly? All the Messengers went back with bones and only two landed in '44, so who are the others trying to paradox? Who was saved by Jones frying that first guy and Team Scav frying the others? 

And best of all, we got this new idea of what people like Jennifer are--she said "I am time", and it seems like that's literal. If they're the synapses of time, together they're the brain--is that why Jennifer in the future is pulling strings and moving people around? Are they aware of each other--does she or any of the others feel when one of them is killed like that? Why do the people who say they're preserving time want to go back in time and kill the brain of time? Is the Witness Primary? Is he even telling them to do this stuff, or is Oliva putting words in his mouth?

We also got Cole and Cassie finally talking a little, putting pieces together--it was barely anything, in the asylum cell, while looking at the paintings this kid did that were so like Jennifer's, but it was almost like being a team again. Maybe they'll talk a little more each ep until they can talk about the things they really need to talk about, like how they each feel about what they've both done. Because right now, Cole is being sweet and understanding and sad about how it's all turned out, when Cassie just wants to fight. Cole's cover at the hotel was that she was his wife, and she shut that down the second she had a chance, by calling him her brother, denying his affection as well as his cover. He said he knows what he's cost her, but she didn't take that conversational opportunity. It's rough, and it's painful, and she's hurting him intentionally, but it's also understandable and it really makes me hope they work it out. 

Because they're going to need it.

Maybe being trapped together with a common enemy in the cops will help them get back on the same side. Maybe there'll be a few minutes in a cell or a car or an interrogation room for them to start that discussion. Maybe, instead, he'll get tired of being gentle and understanding and they'll just have it out. Maybe everyone will just wind up back on the same team without having to hash any of it out, because necessity, and they'll never get to it...but that would be sad, because last year, the whole second half of the season was all people reacting and shooting and yelling, and they never dealt with any of that emotional mess, either. In a show built on the emotional interactions of people, that's gotta come back to haunt them, right? Some of it already is with Cassie.

How will they get out of this mess? Ramse comes back to get them in the preview, but it can't be that easy, right?

More notes on "One Hundred Years"

  • The strangeness of Ramse both cheering and telling the boys to stop fighting is both cringe-inducing and funny, and that whole scene was handled well. They're like Lost Boys, raised without moms and all a little stunted in their working-it-out skills.
  • Deacon is totally the voice of the fandom when he calls Ramse Cole's boyfriend.
  • Cole's "I'm standing right here" when Cassie says he can't handle 1944 is so great.
  • I wonder if there were days in 2044 when Cole worried Cassie would never show up, that something had gone wrong, that the party was too close and she hadn't arrived? I wonder if he spent too long buying her dresses and setting up the room for her arrival, just to have her not even notice?
  • I suddenly wonder what a whiskey sour tastes like. Chambord sours are one of my favs, but I feel like that's a different thing entirely.
  • Apparently a Messenger's lifelong training is not only in killing, but also in wearing nice clothes and doing perfect hair and makeup.
  • They did such a good job taking the "fake married trope" and turning it sideways.
  • They also did a good job of showing just how fiercely mad Cassie is, and how neither of them have dealt with it, while also showing that she still cares. We know from the very beginning that He still cares about Her--he couldn't be more obvious--but now it's clear she cares about him, too. But they've never quite been at the same page on that; I'm convinced he's loved her since before he came back the first time, so he's got a head start in the feels, and she has a lot of stuff to work through to catch up.
  • Cassie tore Cole's picture in half, pointedly right down between the two of them, but we never saw him toss the pieces and she didn't shred it like she could have. I'm betting that picture, taped back up, will come back for an emotional scene somewhere else. I mean, it's the only picture Cole has of them, maybe the only picture he has of anyone at all.
  • @eurasianjes on Twitter pointed out that that "down there" comment means Cassie is, on some level, thinking about Cole's junk...Combine that with the fact that the sternum-knife brings a whole new meaning to "boned".
  • Cassie looks so good in 40s hair and clothes, you guys. Cole looks amazing in a tux with fancy shoes and suspenders.
  • I wonder who has Cole and Ramse's rooms now, since Cole doesn't seem to have slept since coming back and Ramse stays in his cell?
  • Scottie Thompson is deadly and awesome as the Lady Messenger.
  • Lasky still exists.
  • Jones has not dealt at all with her insta-lover, but he seems to be a sort of old rockstar and is just waiting her out. Or annoying her on purpose with loud music. Whichever.
  • What did you guys think of this week's episode?

    You can watch 12 Monkeys 2.3 "One Hundred Years" on the Syfy website, on Amazon Video and iTunes, and of course, live on Monday nights at 9pm (come tweet with us and the cast and crew!). And there's been some minor comments on my Wishlist, too!

    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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    1 Comment
    On: Tuesday, May 3, 2016
    Samantha Holloway said:
    EDIT: I got it backward right at the beginning there: Cassie doesn't want to go back & argues because she's sure Cole will mess it up. Jones says he needs her, and maybe part of her pissiness is that she gets there and he kind of doesn't.
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