After taking a week off 12 Monkeys returns. The future is looking both bleak and brutal while in the past Cassie and Cole have a different set of problems. And there are a few twists I didn’t see coming. “Blood Washed Away” is an apt title for this episode.

Cassie and Cole arrived in January 1957 giving them eleven months to identify the Primary and prevent their death. They get jobs at the factory where the paradox will occur and evaluate the employees. By early November they still have no idea who the Primary is and only have two days left before the paradox happens. Cassie and Cole are snapping at each other at their inability to identify either the Primary or any Messengers there to kill the Primary (and maybe for other reasons as well). No pressure, guys. It’s just the fate of the world riding on your shoulders.

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Cole goes down to the hotel bar and orders his usual whiskey sour. There he runs into a coworker, Charlie, who talks about his sick wife. She’s undergoing chemotherapy for cancer (*changes to Cliff Clavin voice* It’s a little known fact that mustard gas analogs were indeed used for chemotherapy). It’s a depressing conversation but if I had thought about it more I might have realized the significance of what Charlie was saying about wishing for more time

Back in the hotel room Cassie has found out that day laborers will be at the factory to do some repair work. One of them may be the Primary. There is still some hope.

In the future (I’ve got a bit to say about the flow of time in this episode in the Notes below but let’s not digress right now) Ramse, Jennifer and the caravan of Daughters and survivors from the temporal facility are getting near Titan. They’re frazzled and worn out after a fight with scavengers. Temporal storms are only a day or two behind them. YoungJen isn’t up to being the leader that OldJen was and one of the Daughters is the de facto leader of the women (“We vowed to protect Mother. You are not her.”)

Hannah returns from a recon of Titan’s location but she says there is nothing at the map coordinates. (If the group is starving, why do they still have a horse to ride? Protein is protein.) The Daughters question whether Titan even exists. Ramse is adamant that the only way to fix things is to find and kill the Witness. The lead Daughter and Ramse settle things in proper post-apocalyptic style with a knife fight (she has a knife; Ramse thought it would be a fist fight). Experience prevails and Ramse is ready to slit the Daughter’s throat when Jennifer intervenes. She convinces Ramse to spare the Daughter’s life. Ramse, Deacon, Whitley and Hannah head out to check out Titan’s location while Jennifer and the others make camp (with the temporal storm still approaching).

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Cole identifies a day laborer who he thinks is the Primary. Cassie finds some corroboration with a monkey drawing on the man’s application. Cole takes the suspected Primary into a back alley and prepare to Old Yeller him. Meanwhile a woman with a pistol and a cigar box wanders into the factory. Cassie grabs her pistol and goes to confront the woman, who in Cassie’s mind may be the Messenger sent to kill the Primary. Cole realizes the man he’s about to kill isn’t the Primary. He was paid to draw the monkey on his application.

Cassie and Cole find out that Charlie is the Messenger and his wife is the Primary. Charlie fell in love with the Primary and doesn’t want to kill her. His wife knows this is the day she’s supposed to die and tells Charlie that killing her will allow them to live forever in the Red Forest. More time is what Charlie wants so he plunges the knife into his wife, initiating the paradox (and an explosion).

Cassie is in a coma after the explosion at the factory. Cole visits her in the hospital to say goodbye and leaves. Cassie dreams of her Red Forest visions. Cassie wakes up 6+ months later in 1958. Cole is long gone. She puts her medical training to use and works as a nurse while apparently working on getting a medical license. In 1959 she tracks down Cole through his clever alias of Morris Morrison. She drives out to the address and finds the house from her vision.

Cole is there. He cuts his finger while sawing a board and drips blood on the grass. Cassie is a little freaked out by the house from her vision and asks Cole about it. He says he bought when he saw it. Cole is done with the time travel stuff. They failed to stop the paradox but they’re also both still alive so Cole is ready to just live out the rest of his life. They go inside the house and Cassie realizes that what’s happening was referenced in her vision “like a memory of tomorrow.” Cole figures Ramse was successful in the future and killed the Witness (hehe). Cassie and Cole finally admit their true feelings and form the time travelling beast with two backs.

Meanwhile in the future Ramse and crew reach the Titan facility that Hannah asserts wasn’t there earlier. The four enter and find the Witness. But the Witness isn’t alone and henchmen kill Ramse, Deacon, Whitley and Hannah in a rather messy manner. I guess Jennifer Goines was right about there only being death at Titan.

Notes:

  • The future scenes are not introduced with the year as they usually are. I’m not sure how long it’s taken for the caravan to get to Titan. Eleven months have passed since Cassie and Cole splintered to 1957 but I don’t think what we see in the future is happening concurrently with the two in the past but has already happened. Who would have guessed that a time travel show would play with the order events are shown?
  • I have no idea (at least not any fully formed ones) how this situation will be resolved after both plans failed. Jennifer (and Dr. Adler) are still alive in the future but the temporal storm is almost upon them. But feel free to speculate.
  • Jennifer reveals the secret to post-apocalyptic wisdom - fortune cookies.
  • I wonder what, if any, significance there is to the American Union reference where I would have expected Western Union to be mentioned instead. Is it a clue to this being a different timeline or something else?
  • Next week Madeleine Stowe (the original Dr. Railly) guest stars. Any guesses who (or what) she’s playing?

All images via screencap