Previously on 12 Monkeys . . . James Cole and Cassandra “Cassie” Railly failed in their mission to 1957 to prevent the primary Primary from being ritualistically Paradoxed to Death by having the breast bone of her future skeletal remains shoved into her living breast. Consequently, Cassie was in a coma for several months due to injuries she sustained in the destructive blast of temporal energy (a literal “time bomb” of a sorts). Subsequently, Cole abandoned Cassie while she was lying comatose in the hospital, as he set out to live alone so Cassie would no longer be burdened with him (or some such reasoning that made no sense at all but allowed the plot to eventually take us to an old farm house in upstate New York). Meanwhile, upon waking from her coma, Cassie immediately sprung from her bed without any need for physical therapy due to muscle atrophy (probably a side effect of the Dr. Jones’s time juice injections). Elsewhile, in 2044, Ramse and his ragged band of militaristic misfits find Titan in the wilds of Colorado. Unfortunately, they are then slaughtered by the Witness’s “Army of the 12 Monkeys”; thus ending any hope of averting the nefarious plan of bringing about a Temporal Armageddon that will create a static universe in which everyone “lives” in stasis with their loved ones forever in a red forest. However, despite both missions failing, the universe of temporal stasis was not created. Subsequently, several more months passed in 1958 with Cassie making a living as a nurse who knew more than the medical doctors with whom she worked. (How she was able to either obtain or fake a nursing license is not addressed, of course, but she must not have been able to obtain or fake a full medical doctorate as easily.) Eventually, Cassie discovered the address where Cole was living under his nom de guerre of “Morris Morrison”: (Unfortunately, there is no “Old Pines Road” in the Binghamton, New York of our universe. I checked.) Upon arriving at the address, Cassie discovered that Cole was living in the house from the visions she has whenever she drinks a strange tea that is brewed from the leaves of plants that have been turned red due to temporal feedback storms caused by the ritualistic killing of a Primary. It is the House that Talks to Visitors by Writing on Itself! It is the House that The Witness Watches from the Red Forest! It is the spooky, creepy house of Cassie’s nightmares! So, naturally, she moves in with Cole and they begin to finally listen to the birds and bees that have been chirping and humming their seductive songs of sex for the past two seasons. The house is a bit of a fixer-upper, but Cole and Cassie have their whole lives ahead of them as they live together in sin at the end of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s America and just before the dawning of John F. Kennedy’s brief-but-shining Camelot! When I saw the situation of Cole and Cassie living together happily in “The House,” I immediately knew that one of them had to turn out to be “The Witness.” The whole rationale behind The Witness’s plan to destroy Time is because he or she wants to exist in stasis with loved ones forever. Thus, for “The House” where Cole and Cassie were happy for their own brief-but-shining moments became a symbol for The Witness of a moment that he or she wanted to preserve in stasis—free from the burdens of the passing of Time. However, my prediction was incorrect—though I was on the right track. “The House” does symbolize the blissful moments that should be preserved in stasis, but not for either Cole or Cassie. Due to the chirping birds and the buzzing bees, there is a third life that shared “The House” with Cole and Cassie—a child that never got to know his father because Cole learned he doesn’t need Dr. Jones’s splinter machine to travel in time. However, that child grew up reading the writing on the wall about how The House had been a happy home during the brief time Cole and Cassie lived there together. For some odd reason, before he drank his temporal tea and sent his consciousness on a trip up and down the Time Stream to 1957, Cole took a burnt piece of wood from the fireplace and wrote on the wall with the stick’s ashened end. I suppose the audience is supposed to assume that The House learned to write on its own walls as the years passed and The Witness turned the battered old farmhouse into a Temporal Temple of Madness. On one level—the visceral level—this episode’s season finale was very satisfying for several reasons: We saw Dr. Jones become a sort-of-badass with a gun as she had to defend the splinter machine from marauders after everyone else died. We watched previously dead characters become resurrected after Cole traveled back to 1957 and prevented the primary Primary from being ritualistically murdered with her own breastbone. We saw Madeline Stowe show up in 12 Monkeys as a bit of stunt-casting that called to mind her role in the 1995 film Twelve Monkeys. In the original movie, she played Dr. Kathryn Railly, the psychiatrist who diagnosed and institutionalized James Cole (Bruce Willis) as a delusional schizophrenic who suffered from a “Cassandra Complex” due to the claims he made about an apocalyptic future. Thus, the TV series character of virologist Dr. Cassandra Railly has a name that alludes to Madeleine Stowe’s character in the movie and the psychological condition Cole was thought to have. However, in this episode, Stowe plays a Primary named Lillian who is institutionalized in 1959 in Saint Mary’s Mercy Hospital for the Insane. As a Primary diagnosed with schizophrenia, Stowe’s Lillian reveals what the character Jennifer Goines could be if Emily Hampshire didn’t play her with such a sense of mania. Anyway, considering the various obscure allusions the 12 Monkeys series has made over the two seasons it has run on SyFy, I assume Stowe’s “Lillian” and the name of the hospital are allusions I am not picking up on. However, a later allusion at the end of the episode is definitely something I got, but more on that in a few more paragraphs. So, yes, this episode was satisfying on a visceral level, as we were not only given badass Dr. Jones, resurrected characters, and Madeline Stowe, we were also given the identity of The Witness (presumably). However, it is that revelation that made this episode unsatisfying on an intellectual level. The Witness orchestrating Cassie’s abduction (“Mom’s” abduction) so that the baby she is carrying can be raised by the Pallid Man and protected by the Army of the 12 Monkeys is a paradox since the Pallid Man and the Army of the 12 Monkeys are who they are because of the adult Witness who plotted their destinies. Thus, we have the causality problem of paradoxical cause-and-effect relationships that are casually dismissed by characters in the show with the implied refrain of “Time works in mysterious ways.” Instead of referring to the ritualistic killing of a Primary as a paradox, I wish the creators of the episodes would address the actual temporal paradoxes in an intellectually satisfying manner. However, that has been my own refrain throughout this season, and I am no longer holding any hope of the series dispensing with the nonsense and replacing it with thoughtful content. Oh, before I sign off on what is likely my last review of a television series for Psycho Drive-In as I focus on reviving my long-dormant Spontaneous Quixote column, I did appreciate Jennifer Goines suddenly splintering onto a World War I battlefield where the first image is of a soldier wearing a gas mask during a chemical warfare attack. That image would seem to be an allusion to Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age comic book character known as The Sandman. Last season, The Witness wore a helmet that was identical to the helmet word by DC Comics’ most recent character known as The Sandman (Morpheus, the God of Sleep as created by Neil Gaiman). The Sandman stories written by Gaiman incorporated elements of DC’s past versions of The Sandman, including Wesley Dodds and his World War I gas mask. One of the ways that the series could dispense with all of the nonsense we’ve been given this season is to bring in the concept of temporal paradoxes creating parallel universes. However, another solution would be to reveal that all of the nonsense has been due to everything being a dream. It’s a clichéd resolution at this point after being used on the original Dallas TV series and on Rosanne, but bringing in Morpheus would be an interesting twist on that cliché. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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