12 Monkeys Season 3, Night Three (3×08-10) recap & review

12 MONKEYS -- "Enemy" Episode 303 -- Pictured: (l-r) Aaron Stanford as James Cole, Kirk Acevedo as Jose Ramse -- (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy)

Credit: Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy)

By Jennifer Lovick

SyFy’s 12 Monkeys Season 3 marathon event concluded tonight with the final three episodes. Season 3 came to end more quickly than I would like, but, if anything, it’s an altogether satisfying set up for 12 Monkeys’ final season. Episodes 8 and 9 fool us into thinking the finale in episode 10 will be nothing if predictable. Thank goodness this is 12 Monkeys we’re talking about. In true 12 Monkeys style, the final moments of the season leave the viewer standing on a precipice of epic proportions. Staring into an abyss so full of disquietude, mystery, and wonderment, it’s no surprise that fans of 12 Monkeys feel the show is profoundly awesome.

Here are my musings on Season 3’s final three episodes:

The Not Witness?

We finally get to spend some quality time getting to know Ethan (aka The Witness). He’s charismatic and confident, a man who’s got nothing but time on his hands. Until fate steps in and he meets the love of his life, Eliza. So how will Ethan evolve into The Witness? Like any tragic love story, loss is the catalyst for transformation of man into monster. Played by BSG alumnus James Callis, Ethan is a fully fleshed out character, and in two short episodes reveals his many layers. He proves that man may transform into monster, but doesn’t have to stay that way. Ethan chooses to align himself with his parents and eventually Jennifer, he does not to embrace his destiny as The Witness, leaving that responsibility to Olivia. I can’t help but admire Ethan. Callis is as brilliant on 12 Monkeys as he was on BSG, if not more so. I wonder how Ethan’s cycle will play out in 12 Monkeys’ final season, he’s so easily swayed by his emotions.

The True Witness?

I’ve come to expect the unexpected on 12 Monkeys, to bob and weave with all the plot twists and turns they throw at us, but Olivia as The Witness? I did not see that coming, don’t think Olivia did either. Maybe, like her, though, I should have. Ethan certainly had it figured out. I was equally horrified and delighted by this. Olivia quite literally is her own worst enemy.

Olivia, Olivia, Olivia. This moment not only completely changes the game, but also has a massive ripple effect that spans all three seasons, a moment that nearly blew my mind. Not only does Olivia become The Witness, she does it with the grace and tenacity that we have come to expect from her. She is the reason I love, not like The Witness. What a great set up for Season 4. I do wonder, though, if this is how things were always going to play out or was this a direct result of Ethan choosing not to become The Witness? I’m still not sure how malleable Time actually is. I’ll leave this complicated question to more clever fans to discuss. Besides, I could probably fill a book with my thoughts on it.

The key to everything

Alright, there were moments earlier in the season which hinted at how central Jennifer is, but it all came together in these last three episodes. She rescues the dying man (guess who? Ethan!) and teams up with Ethan to help Cassie and Cole. One of my favorite moments was when she and Ethan are finally able to piece together all her drawings of symbols revealing a larger image of the iconic 12 Monkeys face surrounded by a serpent eating its tail. This is such a great moment because it really illustrates the connectedness of the two biggest pieces of the puzzle, her and Ethan. Monkey + serpent = ? – now there’s an equation I’d like to solve. Add Time and you’ve thrown a real monkey wrench into the situation, pun intended. Reflecting on all three seasons of 12 Monkeys, I can’t help but feel like Jennifer, seeing all the puzzle pieces, but not knowing how they fit together. We see the story unravel before us just as she does and it’s wonderful. It’s a layer of complexity not often found on shows, but what makes 12 Monkeys such a smart and addicting one.

Additional comments

Jones, Deacon, Oliva – unlikely allies? Allegiances shifted dramatically in Season 3. Jones and Deacon have it in for Cassie and Cole, who’ve chosen to protect their son, Ethan. Jones will do anything, even work with Olivia to destroy her own friends, to stop The Witness. Now that Olivia has assumed the mantle (and the mask) of The Witness, I’d like to think our merry band of misfits will reunite in Season 4 to stop her. 12 Monkeys has always been a show driven by its characters and the choices they make. I’m dying to know how all of this will play out.

The Mask. “If I’m promising death, it’s best to look the part.” The irony of this line is not lost on me. Through its many incarnations and many owners, the mask always has a similar purpose. It’s a bit frightening to think, though, that the mask, once used for good by Eliza could be contorted into the terrifying symbol we associate with The Witness. I almost envision it as a curse to whomever wears it, and must be destroyed in the end.

Terry the Tortoise(s). The more I see, the more I know everything on 12 Monkeys serves a purpose, even Terry. Jennifer uses baby Terry (whom she traveled back in time to retrieve earlier in the season) and old Terry to create a paradox diversion so she could escape Jones and splinter to help Cassie and Cole. Never thought I’d root on a pair of tortoises to eat a strawberry (yes, I did shout run Terry run), but hey, anything’s possible when it comes to 12 Monkeys.

Cole’s true parentage and the ultimate cliffhanger. The final scene of the season is what really sent me over the top. It’s 2015, and a young Cole is listening to his father read to him from a book. His father finds a handwritten note inside and it’s the same story Ethan and Jennifer know all too well, complete with image of a serpent eating its tail. A story written by Cole’s mother. If you’re able to sleep after witnessing this revelation, you’re lucky. I couldn’t. I’ll be spending the next few months pondering over the implications of this.

When it comes to 12 Monkeys Season 3, Ethan and Jennifer say it best – It’s the beginning. The beginning of the end.

When I didn’t think this show couldn’t get any better, it did. Season 3 easily solidifies 12 Monkeys as one of my all-time favorite series.

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