12 Monkeys Season 3, Night Two recap and review: Episode 5 to 7

12 Monkeys Cassie and Cole Jennifer "Night Room"

By Jennifer Kelly Lovick

This past weekend we were re-immersed in the 12 Monkeys universe. The series kicked off its first installment of Season 3 with four episodes. Let me just say, watching 12 Monkeys back-to-back for hours on end is a delight that should not be only relegated to re-runs. Syfy’s decision to make this season a marathon event may have been a good decision after all. Seeing Cassie and Cole finally reunite in a heartfelt embrace, though at the end of episode four, that awkward exchange, the acknowledgment that The Witness is their son, was a difficult point to end on.

A Day in the Life of The Witness

Night two of Season 3, episode five through seven, reveal much about what The Witness is like as a boy. His unconventional upbringing is plagued by visions of the future and of possible futures. The visions are shown via his sketches, just like Jennifer’s. (No surprise, he also happens to be primary!) Keep an eye on these drawings, they’re more than just mere doodles. He’s expected to live up to his reputation as The Witness and build his army by recruiting members at out-of-the-way gatherings reminiscent of good old-fashioned tent revivals.

These events are hosted by a hallowed human being affectionately nicknamed the Reaper by Cole and played by the incomparable Christopher Lloyd. Ironically, he and Jones share a terrible term of endearment. I’m doubtful this is the only connection they share. And I can’t help but think that Jones’ top secret Project Charon may involve him somehow. Thank you, Deacon, for rightly pointing out that Charon is also the name of the man who ferries the dead across the river Styx to the underworld in Greek mythology. Lloyd’s character certainly seems to be a spitting image of the ferryman.

A Shred of Doubt, a Glimmer of Hope

In episode five, Cassie, Cole, Deacon, and Jennifer embark on an Olivia-inspired, Jennifer-crafted, Jones-sanctioned mission. They are to locate, copy, and interpret the Word of The Witness. They are hoping this will help them to get one step ahead of him and find a way to defeat him. Their excellent adventure takes them to 1989 where they run into ’80s Olivia, Leland Goines, and even little Jennifer. There are also cameos by a few of the supremely awesome Impractical Jokers, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano. In a surprising turn of events, Jennifer saves the day and gets copies of the map. In doing so, she learns Casserole’s dirty little secret. Feeling compelled to protect them, Jen opts to literally cover it up and keep mums when she hands over the copies to Jones.

What is revealed, however, is the event which started it all. It’s the singular moment that turned a boy into The Witness and founded the Army of the 12 Monkeys – Hope Valley, 1953. Cassie and Cole, with a little help from FBI Agent Gale (remember him?), pay a visit and discover the unsettling truth. Lloyd’s character organizes these tent revivals (along with his wife, The Messenger, and son, a young Pallid Man). They bring together people who have recently suffered great loss and are in search of a way to ease their pain, to behold The Witness, and to be inspired to believe in his mission of creating a better world where time doesn’t exist. What they are offering: No death. No life. A forever. Now. In short, the Red Forest.

The Witness and Salvation

The boy Witness is introduced as a prophet, capable of providing salvation to a lucky chosen few to join what becomes the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Those less fortunate, make a different kind of sacrifice, death. I couldn’t imagine being Cassie and Cole in that moment, seeing their child gas all those people, a horrific moment to be sure.

Despite this, Cassie still believes her son, who she’s named Ethan, is inherently good. Because of this, she’s not on board with killing him. To confirm her notions and to satisfy a need to say goodbye to her mother who died when she was a child, she takes the Word of The Witness copies to her mother, a brilliant psychologist, and has her analyze them in the hopes of affirming what she believes to be true. We come to find out that the map is written by someone who has contempt for who he is, the things he has done, and the things he will do, not by a cruel and heartless creature.

Cassie and Cole’s Differences

Cassie and Cole are certainly not on the same page when it comes to their son. Cole is convinced he was born that way (a terrible thought reinforced by his belief that he himself is not a good man) whereas Cassie thinks he was molded by his guardians/teachers to become The Witness. Nature versus nurture. (Coincidence these are also the names of episodes of six and seven?) It’s only when Cole has Ethan at gunpoint in Monkey Mansion in episode seven (a daring mission that you’ll just have to see to believe) that he realizes there may be more to him than just being The Witness.

Like Cassie, I like to think everyone has some inherent good in them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will always make good choices. Cassie may be right, but who’s to say Ethan, The Witness, can be saved? I wonder if he’ll be able to make the right choices when the time comes as Cassie hopes.

Cue Dead Lady

Jennifer is at her wit’s end. She can’t piece together her visions and is now seeing visions of a dead woman. She makes a call to Time (via the time machine) and is ready to see whatever it is Time wants her to see. Cue dead lady. This creepy, animated corpse is wearing a plague mask, but it’s not The Witness! Well, at least it couldn’t be, right? Casserole had a boy, not a girl. Jennifer is directed by her through the room where the Annapurna remains are stored (complete with slithering serpent chilling on top) through a curtain of red leaves to a dark, catacomb-like space.

At the base of a tomb lies the dying man from one of Jennifer’s drawings. He grabs her and she sees visions of all sorts of things. These include the Red Theatre of Titan. She wakes up amidst a swirl of chalk-drawn symbols she clearly drew on her floor. Does this help Jennifer finally understand what she is meant to do? Only time will tell…I think.

12 Monkeys’ Heart of Darkness

While Cassie and Cole are running around trying to save their son, Jones becomes aware that these two haven’t told her everything. She decides to figure out what they’ve been hiding. WHOA. I had hoped Dr. Grim had gone into permanent hiding after the ordeal with Olivia, but I think the worst is yet to come. Jones and Deacon finally find out that The Witness is Cassie and Cole’s son. Cassie and Cole have hidden from everyone the time they had spent together. (This was in the house of cedar and pine back in the ’50s.) This dangerous duo forms a new alliance that quite frankly terrifies me. They’ve proven they can go darker than anyone. Who knows what they’re capable of when working together.

With a cliffhanger like that, I’m extremely happy that the third installment of 12 Monkeys Season 3. Given that there is a Season 4 already in the works, I know the end of Season 3 will not be all neatly wrapped up with a pretty red bow on top. A girl can dream, though, right?

The third and final installment of 12 Monkeys Season 3 airs Sunday, 5/21 at 8 PM on Syfy.

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