It’s always great to go back to the 50s and check in with Jay Karnes (Agent Gale). However, this 12 Monkeys two-parter also brought back Scottie Thompson (Vivian Rutledge) and introduced Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, as the sinister Zalmon Shaw.
I say two-parter, because 306 “Nature” and 307 “Nurture” really work together as a 2-hour mini-movie. In the opening moments, the lights flickered and Gale turned a corner to find Cole and Cassie standing there. Thanks to Jennifer’s copy of the Word of the Witness, our heroes learned the first gathering of the faithful was about to take place. If you had been wondering (like me) what Messenger Vivian was up to back in the 50s… why, helping establish the Army of the 12 Monkeys of course. How ominous did “Winter of Ash and Blood” sound, you guys? It didn’t take long for that prophecy to take place… the mine went boom!
Did you have any doubt Agent Gale would jump at the chance to help? I was surprised to hear Cassie talk of changing Gale’s fate. She should know better by now, no? So, the plan was to somehow locate the Monkey’s “salesman.” Great Scott! In retrospect, Vivian creating this religious zealot in Shaw was a genius way of founding the Army of the 12 Monkeys. It never ceases to amaze me how little seeds planted in one season, blossom to perfectly flesh out a major backstory. I didn’t think Vivian would play such an important role, did you? Preying on the loved ones of recently deceased folks was low, even for the monkeys. It made sense though, after a loss we’re vulnerable and more open to spiritual guidance. Twisted sure, but diabolically clever as well.
Cassie’s “recruitment” didn’t go smoothly, the young Pallid Man ruffled her feathers and threw her off her game. I’ve got to say, she recovered nicely going so far as to mention “time” was her enemy. All it took to make the lie believable, was to inject a little bit of truth. It must have been tough for Cole to listen in on that conversation. Shaw fell for her tears, and handed over an invite. I was dying to find out what Cassie might discover at this gathering. Christopher Lloyd had just made his 12 Monkeys debut, surely they wouldn’t kill the guy off that quickly… Right?
Didn’t it surprise you that Cassie shared the time/place of Gale’s death with him? I realize she was feeling guilty, but how would the revelation alter history? It appeared Gale would still choose to go out a hero. All in all, he handled the news pretty damn well. I doubt I’d take the news of my death that calmly. I’m sure I’d freak out and start obsessing over my inevitable demise. Time can definitely be cruel. I’ve lost too many loved ones in my lifetime. Listen to me, I sound like an acolyte of the Witness. Eeeek! Death is a part of life, so no red forest for this geek.
Vivian and Zalmon Shaw were undeniably charismatic. The sermon was working. I wish we had flashed back to how they met and had their son etc. There’s got to be a cool history there, no? Who was Cassie kidding, the Pallid Man needed to go ASAP. If I were Cole, I would have taken all three out without giving it a second thought. That would have ended the Witnesses Army before it began. Unfortunately, Magdalena showed up with little Athan and it was game over. Cole and Cassie just stood there, dumbfounded. They’ll never kill their son. The boy proved to be Primary, so naturally he had a connection to Jennifer.
Which reminds me, why the heck did Jennifer go back in time to collect the paradox in a half shell? Did she have a crazy master plan involving a Terry the turtle paradox? And why was she seeing a dead lady in a death mask? Anyone else get excited when the Annapurna Remains (the origin of the virus) popped up? I’ve never forgotten Cole’s reaction when in close proximity to that corpse. Clearly this particular mystery is part of a series long arc. Does Cole become infected, or is it his son? It stands to reason the Witnesses DNA might cause an adverse reaction in Cole, right? Let’s pay this one off guys, it better not be a maguffin.
I’m sure Jennifer’s dream sequence will come to make sense, but at this point it was simply a series of images. All signs point to Cole being the dying man, don’t they? She sure got inspired by her mind trip, because the walls were wallpapered with drawings.
Back at the gathering of the faithful, the Witness chose a woman to “save.” Why her? What made her special? The fact she resembled his mother, Cassie? What the hell was going to happen to the rest of those folks in the tent? Then the kid put on his old school gas mask, and was splintered out of there. I’m not clear why all those people had to be sacrificed. Wasn’t he promising eternal life in the red forest? Was the Witness simply exerting his power over life and death? What did I miss?
How did Cole know how to use the splinter vest to zip out of there? Had Jones given him a quick lesson back in France? Hmmmm… Either way, our heroes now have their very own portable time machine. Sweet!
Deacon pointed out a couple of times, that there’s zero mention of him in the Word of the Witness or in Jennifer’s drawings. That’s got to mean something, don’t you think? How could the man be irrelevant to the larger mythology? Olivia told him it’s possible he doesn’t fit. Is he a red shirt? Any theories, because I am stumped?
While it was interesting meeting Shaw and learning the history of the army of the 12 Monkeys, this installment confused me a tad. Did the kid kill all those people simply to prove his power? Cassie believed it was a case of nurture not nature, but I tend to agree with Cole… the kid was in control. As a primary, perhaps he was just born disturbed. Isn’t it possible he’s just a bad seed? Remember that other Primary that was a serial killer? Will Cole be able to take their son out when the time comes? In Star Wars, Luke’s love for his father helped bring Darth Vader back from the dark side. It’s always possible Cassie might be able to redeem their son. The next hour is going to divide the team, as half wants the Witness dead while his parents are out to save his soul.
12 Monkeys Season 3 premieres over 3 consecutive nights Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21 from 8-11/7-10c