Last week’s episode of 12 Monkeys ended with things looking bleak. So there’s nowhere else to go but up, right? Of course it’s never quite that simple. The season finale “Memory of Tomorrow” throws some twists and someone gets a new four-legged friend.

I want to tell you a story of how the world ends…

We start off with those words spoken by someone we haven’t met yet tellings us of the man who failed to stop the end of the world (that’s you, Cole) and of the other time traveler who is architect and witness to the destruction.

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The end of the beginning and the beginning of the end.

Cassie and Cole are still huggin’ and a kissin’ at the love shack at Christmastime 1959. They exchange gifts - Cole gets a razor (but still won’t shave the scruff) and Cassie gets a butterfly hair pin (“every caterpillar becomes a butterfly”). And they both get a bonus present - Cassie is pregnant.

Cole is out in town doing some shopping when time freezes. That is usually not a good thing. A dark haired woman in the street is also not frozen and says “It’s not over, James.” The woman then vanishes like she splintered and time resumes flowing. Time freezes again later when Cole is out driving. This time he is in front of an insane asylum. He follows his hunch and finds the dark haired woman is a patient there named Lillian (Madeleine Stowe!) who at first glance seems to be a more murdery older version of Jennifer Goines.

Lillian warns that collapse of time is happening. Cole doesn’t want to believe until he sees the start of the red forest and the temporal storms.

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Cole collects a couple of leaves as Lillian requested. She tells Cole that he can go back in time to 1957 and do it right this time using red leaf tea. Of course changing the past will erase the current timeline. Cassie and Cole won’t have been living in the love shack in 1959 and she won’t be pregnant. But needs of the many yadda, yadda, yadda so Cole drinks the red tea. Cole bounces around a few different points of his timeline before landing in his body in 1957 just in time to kill Charlie the Messenger and prevent the last paradox.

With their mission accomplished Cole and Cassie splinter back to the future (It’s about a year later so I’m going to assume it’s 2045). Jones and the temporal facility are intact. The temporal storms receded instead of destroying the facility. Jones still had to wait out the months Cole and Cassie were in the past (because time flows at the same rate). She had to fight off scavengers alone until a stray dog wandered in. Jones now has a friend whose name is apparently Little Shit. As stuff like A Boy and His Dog and Fallout 4 have taught us, post-apocalyptic times are always better with man’s best friend at your side.

A girl and her dog

Cole is worried about Ramse. Jones has been tracking the transponder in one of the convoy vehicles and knows Ramse and the rest are near Titan. So I guess it really did take about a year to get there. Jones finishes the calculations Dr. Adler started for using the machine as a transporter to get them to Titan. Jones sets the machine for an auto-return in twelve hours and goes with Cassie and Cole. (I’ve wondered for a while if Jones would even use the machine herself.)

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The three arrive in the woods and find Jennifer and the Daughters. Ramse, Whitley, Deacon and Hannah have already left for Titan. Jennifer tries using inspiring movie speeches to get the Daughters to go with them to Titan but in the end it’s Bill and Ted that gets their support.

Ramse and crew approach the masked figure as before but this time Cole and crew arrive to turn the tables. As Taltos1 suggested last time the masked figure wasn’t the Witness.

Ramse rather brutally questions some captives who will only say the Witness is safe. Jones realizes that Titan is based on her husband’s work and that the facility is a massive time machine (which explains why it wasn’t there when Hannah did her recon earlier) Cassie remembers the love shack timeline which isn’t supposed to happen. Titan starts to power up and it’s time to leave.

Ramse is led out of Titan by a mysterious figure. Deacon sacrifices himself so Jennifer can get away (he’s feeling bad about killing OldJennifer). But Jennifer ends up getting splintered back to 1917 France (perhaps a nod to the movie?). Cassie is still inside Titan surrounded by the Army of the 12 Monkeys when the facility splinters away.

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Ramse is led to Olivia, who looks older but still good for a 90+ year old woman. She’s leading a group that’s not with the Army of the 12 Monkeys. And she was the one that Ramse’s son Sam encountered after he disappeared. (It looked like young (2016) Olivia who found Sam.)

Jones and Cole splinter back to her facility where Little Shit has been waiting patiently. Jones calculates that Titan splintered to the year 2163. Cole convinces Jones to send him to the future.

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In 2163 Cassie is brought to a red robed figure who turns out to be the Tall Man. No, he is not the Witness. Instead, the Witness is the unborn child of Cassie and Cole conceived in the love shack timeline that Cassie shouldn’t remember but does. The Tall Man and the rest of the Army of the 12 Monkeys chant “Mother” to Cassie.

This is a story about how the world ends. One that begins at the end and ends at the beginning.

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(Fortunately 12 Monkeys was renewed for a third season so we’ll find out how all this will work out.)

Notes:

  • What is the deal with Lillian? Is she just a Primary who happens to be at the right place and time to help Cole fix things? My guess would be no. The time freeze is something new. The first time I might have chalked up to a random effect from the temporal storms caused by the paradox. But the second time freeze put Cole exactly where he needed to be to find Lillian. How come Lillian and Cole are able to move outside time? Did Lillian actually splinter the first time? There’s something more at work here.
  • Badass Jones. I thought Germans were supposed to be all smiles and sunshine.
  • Jennifer refuses to stop calling Cole “otter eyes.”
  • This time I’m pretty sure Deacon is dead for real.
  • But now we have Hannah. Will she become leader of the Daughters or hang around the time facility with Jones and Little Shit?

All images via screencap