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Time Breaks Its Own Rules On This Week’s 12 Monkeys

Yes, I use Jones for the top image a lot. For this episode in particular it’s quite appropriate.

Any show that uses time travel will sooner or later use a certain plot. You’ve seen it done on Star Trek, Stargate and even a movie or two. On 12 Monkeys this plot would seem to violate rules established at the start of the show but somehow they make it fit with what’s been happening this season.


The last episode ended with Doctor Jones saying that there was one way to stop all the time craziness. In this week’s episode “Lullaby” we find out what she meant was for Cassie to go back in time and kill Jones before she develops time travel.

So Cassie goes back to the year 2020 when Jones is still with Spearhead. She enters with minimal problem since she is a well-known virologist (though presumed dead). Cassie finds Jones and learns that it is also the day Jones’ daughter died. Cassie shoots Jones in the head. Mission accomplished…

Until Cassie finds herself back in the clearing she originally splintered into that morning and this time Cole is there. Cassie goes through the day again, this time with Cole tagging along. They find out Jennifer Goines is also locked up in the Spearhead compound. Jennifer is aware of Cassie repeating the day because of her Primary ability. This time through Cole ends up shooting Jones.

But the day resets again. This could lead to a funny montage except that Cassie and Cole are suffering physical side effects of the resets that will eventually kill them if they don’t figure out what needs to be done to break the loop.


This is odd since from the the first episode it’s been shown that the past isn’t fixed and can be changed. What’s different this time? Cole speculates that Time itself doesn’t want Jones dead. Time wants her to develop time travel. But when Cassie and Cole spend a day doing nothing the day still resets. Cassie figures out that Jones’ daughter Hannah isn’t sick with the virus but has meningitis instead. She can treat the meningitis but that also causes the day to reset. So it seems Time wants Hannah dead to motivate Jones to develop time travel. So as Jennifer tells Cole, they need to do something and nothing.

Cassie and Cole are finally able to return to 2044. Jones is there to meet them so she wasn’t killed in the past. Jones chalks up the apparent time loop to issues with her machine instead of some mystical intervention by Time itself.


Then Cassie and Cole take Jones to Jennifer’s caravan of women outside the facility. In 2020 Cassie and Cole did nothing (didn’t kill Jones and let her daughter die so Jones was properly motivated to develop time travel) and did something (they revived Hannah after a grieving Jones left). Hannah has been with Jennifer’s caravan of women the whole time and Jones is reunited with the daughter she thought was dead for 24 years.


I was wondering how Ramse might react to Jones getting her child back while his is still lost in time when Cassie returns to quarters and finds him there. He’s planning a murder-suicide combo since he’s not 100% convinced what happened was all Witness and no Cassie (or at least she’s a target he can hit). Cassie convinces Ramse that she can take them to the Witness (remember that logo and the word Titan from last episode?). So next episode we’ll get what may be the oddest buddy pair roadtrip yet.


  • The 2020 version of Jennifer Goines is relatively lucid (compared to her younger versions in 2015 and 2016) even though she still doesn’t give any straight answers. I guess she’s stabilized after being off her meds for so long (after the pandemic hits I doubt anti-psychotic drugs are a high priority).
  • Since the next episode is called “Hyena” Jennifer’s question about the hyenas was another bit of foreshadowing. It reminds me of River Song synching up her timeline whenever she runs into the Doctor (the similarity is probably intentional on the writers’ part).
  • What does Hannah know about her mother? She was really young when she was separated and didn’t seem to recognize Jones at all. What did Jennifer tell her when she was growing up? Did she think she was an orphan? Probably since that’s the easiest story that doesn’t require much more explanation. After 24 years Jennifer’s caravan is Hannah’s home and family so is she even interested in going to the temporal facility with her birth mother? I hope we get to see that play out.
  • So now Time is on Jones’ side? I still haven’t thought through all the implications of Jones having her daughter back and the screwed up way it happened. Like many a Greek god, Time can be a real dick.

All images via screencap.

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