Friday, June 17, 2016

12 MONKEYS: 02x09: Hyena: Watching the hands…

Rambling on revelations in and observations on events that transpire in "Hyena."

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THE RED FOREST…
TALL MAN: 1957. Upstate New York. A paradox so powerful, it destroys the fabric of time…At least locally. Enough to maintain erosion forever. The birth of the Red Forest. Try to stop it, but you can't, because it's already happened. It's like a memory of tomorrow.
This sounds very similar to how I've imagined the creation of the Red Forest. A massive paradox that blows away a chunk of reality out of history and into the red leaf limbo-slash-plane. I suspect that this paradox is also the origin of the Witness as we know him. Someone we know will lose their physical form in reality, while their consciousness, their self, will survive in the Red Forest. How long will it take him to master the abilities he's demonstrated this season? Immersion-possession, mental suggestion and shape shifting, receiving/directing his followers in the house…?

I suspect this will happen, or be thwarted, and somehow collapse/reboot everything, in the season finale. Damn. That's gonna be nuts. =)

It *does* seem very traptastic, tho, doesn't it? It's not like Cole didn't legitimately torture the heck out of TM to motivate him, but I get the sense that TM chose his moment to reveal this info. He paced it all just right, ready for every beat… He gives up the Red Forest origin story, then asks about Oliver Peters's press conference, counts the seconds til his bomb goes off, then his henchman showing up, and wriggling himself free in time to escape.

Maybe "trap" isn't the correct word. Tableau? TM gives up the info in a very Witness-y way, to manipulate players into the positions he needs them in. I'm fairly certain that Team Splinter will understand that getting that info was "all too easy." I'm hopeful that they'll have a plan B and time-traveling plan C ready in anticipation. =)

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TALL MAN v. OLIVIA.

Before Cole played "Those Endearing Young Charms" on Tall Man's bones, we got to listen in on the two leaders of the Army in a quiet moment at stately Witness Manor…
OLIVIA: Do you remember when Mother would speak of the Red Forest? Promise that we were important, that the cycle would lead us to a world without time…without death?
TALL MAN: Your father gave his life for it.
I definitely hear a capital M at the beginning of "Mother" as spoken by Olivia, referring to a title rather than a biological description. Perhaps Mother is an Army higher-up, someone who used to have Olivia's role as guide and speaker for the Witness?

I wonder if the Messengers called Olivia "Mother."

And Tall Man mentions Olivia's father again. The first/other time I recall was at the Paradox Ceremony for Traveler/Ramse/Ethan way back when. Tall Man seems to hold her father in high esteem, apparently saying that he sacrificed his life for the Red Forest. Could he mean specifically its creation, or is he speaking more generally of the cause? I want it to be for the literal forest, which, according to Tall Man, is spawned in the wake of a paradox in 1957 in upstate New York. That would make for a problematic timeline, tho, Olivia's father dying/disappearing in 1957 and Olivia likely born in the 70s, *maybe* late 60s, right?

Hrm…Does it sound to anyone else like Tall Man knew Olivia's father? At the Paradox Ceremony he said something like, "Your father would be so pleased to see this." Was he a Monkey peer and colleague? A Primary on the side of the Army?
OLIVIA: Why hasn't it come? The Witness...
TALL MAN: Works in mysterious ways, dear.
OLIVIA: As do you. I never expected you to embrace technology this way.
TALL MAN: We've spent far too long looking to the past for answers. Your leadership proved that. It's time to look to the future.
TALL MAN: Peters has finally come up for air.
OLIVIA: The Witness didn't foresee this, did he? Did he? He lies…
At this point Tall Man does something a bit horrible. He walks up to Olivia, places his hand over her mouth, and begins to asphyxiate her, keeping a tight hold and seal as Olivia helplessly attempts to twist out of his grip. He releases her before she passes out, or worse. As he walks away, Olivia gathers her wits as best she can, nonplussed, and asks…
OLIVIA: Where are you going?
TALL MAN: To secure *our* future.
Olivia is losing her faith while Tall Man holds steady. Opposite reactions to the same issue: The Word of the Witness can no longer be trusted. Olivia's beliefs are shaken to their core. Tall Man revels in taking the reins in the Cycle of Uncertainty. He's never been comfortable with the idea of his fate being written for him.

How far will Olivia's questions of the Witness take her? Is it possible that she will decide that she's been betrayed and used by the Witness? Will the Witness become a greater enemy to her than Project Splinter? Simply put, will she turn against Tall Man and the Witness and join Team Splinter, if only for one crucial mission or moment?

And is that exactly as the Witness planned?

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JENNIFER'S SHELL GAME.

Gotta say, I *love* the circle that Jennifer and Cole open and close this episode. In 2044, Cole takes Jennifer to task for sitting on 30 years of foregone conclusions, "while" in 2016, Jennifer asks Cole how it all ends. And Jennifer tells Cole what she heard him tell her 30 years earlier which is what Jennifer tells Cole that she heard him tell her 30 years earlier which is what…
COLE: You got 30 years on all of us. You know how this ends, don't you?
JENNIFER: A wise man once told me, "There are many endings, but the right one is the one you choose."
JENNIFER: Then tell me what happens…How does this end?
COLE: There are many endings.
JENNIFER: Which is the right one?
COLE: The right one…is the one that you choose.
The writers really got me with this one. My immediate first thought in 2044 is, hey—I bet Cole said that to her. But then I realize Jennifer says "a wise man," which is not how Jennifer would label Cole (but of course, it IS, if she wanted to obfuscate the identity of the teller =). So, I settled on the words possibly coming from Ramse, who may or may not be destined to be Jennifer's good friend, in some time period.

In the shell game lesson that precedes this, Jennifer drops several interesting bombs, which, of course, Cole doesn't think to follow up on. Is that because he still considers her to be "crazy" as well as special? After everything that he's seen, heard, and experienced, and how well he's apparently adapted to the outside-iest of the box thinking there is—time travel, mental time travel, profiling Time as a conscious entity—how can he just discount remarks by this, or any, Primary?
COLE: I didn't come here to see you do a magic trick, Jennifer.
JENNIFER: This isn't magic. This is a lesson. Perception versus deception. Cassie, Ramse, Katarina, her daughter, my daughter…all of them, distractions… You keep watching the ball, you should be watching the hands.
COLE: I'm beginning to think you get off on this.
JENNIFER: There was a time when you could have known for sure.
[JENNIFER bites COLE’s hand]
COLE: Ah! The hell was that for?
JENNIFER: I told you to watch the hands.
  • DAUGHTERS?
Jennifer says "her daughter, my daughter…" Granted, those could be references to Hannah vs. Zeit, but in the context of that litany, it seems like a list of individuals, and tacking on a "pairing" at the end seems a little off. But, it IS Jennifer speaking hear, so who's to say? For me, tho, it opens up the possibility that she's had a daughter.
  • GETTING OFF?
In response to Cole's remark about Jennifer getting off on the oracle-ness of her Primary abilities, and maybe the ceremony attached to being Mother of Daughters, she future-reminds him," There was a time when you could have known for sure."

Being a dopey boy, well, I think you can hear Cole's clueless blinking in the wake of that, even if there's no actual time for it in the scene, right? And that little bomb whizzes right on by. =)

Maybe specifically a reference to their kiss? But I think what's more important is that in general, she fell for him. Did/will she get the chance to actually be in love with him? Sadly, given the tense of her words—barring any Primary tense confusion—it seems not.
  • WATCH THE HANDS?
And, what about "you should be watching the hands?" When he flashes back to her words later in the ep and earlier in time, we're shown Tall Man's gnarly hand. Cole's just started "working" on it with relish, but then he twigs to the figurative take on her words, realizes that this is a distraction, and the real danger is elsewhere. He notices Tall Man's hat, without the coat, and intuits the danger at the press conference.

But, it turns out that in fact, he would have done well not to take his eyes off of Tall Man's gnarly hand, which wriggles loose just in time to allow him to escape in the wake of a well-timed entrance by his henchgun. Jennifer gave him two warnings in one.

Or is it three? When I first heard her speak the words to Cole in 2044, I thought to connect them to something colorful, "hands…like the hands of a clock?" But after Tall Man's escape, I wondered if it might mean someone else's hands. Who do we know who might have a little thing, a bit of sensitivity, maybe, about their hands? Technically, it's only the one hand, but only creepy dudes and Kings of Pop can get away with wearing just one glove, right?

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I'm talking about Ramse. Who, since his time in the Japanese prison seems to be pretty careful about wearing gloves whenever he can. I still haven't seen or heard anything in the show that explains why it is his one hand and arm didn't get the same protection the rest of his body did from the Quantum serum. The only "official" recognition of the fact was in the diagnosis he received when hospitalized in 1944—advanced osteoporosis in one arm. Was the serum not in his system long enough before he Splintered? Was his hand partially outside the stream when the Splinter initiated? Was his hand injured at the time he gave himself the serum, and so wasn't applied to a completely healthy "original?" Remember this, from "Shonin?"
OLIVIA: Time isn't perfect. Yet I'm envious how most of you seems to defy it.
  • WHAT ABOUT THAT BITE?
Tinfoil hat: ON! What if she gave Cole a dose of something right then? I don't think it took effect at all within the episode—or did it? Were his flashes back to 2044 because of a little bit of red in his system?

Nah, probably not. I have an odd feeling that it was Something, tho. Heh. Maybe just a little mark that Cassie can ask about at just the right wrong time? =)

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DON'T WORRY, COLE, BE HAPPY…

Was interesting to see Cole's reaction to the Hyenas' plan to broadcast the truth about Markridge and the plague. In this sort of situation, in stories of this and adjacent genres, whistleblowing is a positive, righteous act. Transparency is The Right Thing, the Good. But here we have Cole, ostensibly our hero, explaining from a very difficult-to-argue-with position, that of someone who's *lived* through the aftermath, that the world is better off *not* knowing, at least for as long as possible.

He frames it as a loss of hope, which *is* foremost in his mind after recent events in his life. Well, maybe foremost after torturing the man who killed his father…and anything/everything that Cass seems to be withholding…But after that stuff, hope, definitely hope!
COLE: What? What, you want to tell the world the truth? That there's no hope? That they're all gonna die? I've seen what happens when people think their days are numbered. It's ugly. We're not speeding that up.
HYENA: People need to know the truth.
COLE: No. They don't. I know what happens. We turn on each other. We become animals. Real ones, not like you're pretending to be.
And Jennifer tries to reason him over to the side of the Hyenas…
JENNIFER: I get that you're afraid. We are entering uncharted territory, but old me told you to come here, right?
COLE: Yeah, so?
JENNIFER: What do you think it took to face the Monkeys head on? Fearlessness, right? Fearlessness that comes from knowing that everything is gonna be okay. Old me is proof that I live to fight another day.
COLE: What about everybody else? Hmm? Who's gonna save them if your little crew here is wrong?
"Uncharted territory." This Jennifer seems to know that Cole is not from a timeline in which Oliver Peters played blew the whistle on Markridge, its shady investors, and the plague. So, she and the Hyenas are going to Change things, and since they couldn't do it the way their doing it unless her older self sends Cole to join them, then they're…guaranteed to succeed?

But it's here where Cole out-Primaries the Primary. He's like—I dunno—an analog Primary, doing it longhand, somehow. He can see what she apparently can't. That others may not make it. Cole is becoming quite the tactician. In season 1, he was basically a weapon pointed at the past, aimed and fired by Katarina and Project Splinter, and to my mind, a stretch for the secret identity of the Witness. Now, though, he's grown to be so much more, so much smarter and more capable than that. I love/hate to say it, but he's definitely getting/got a head for it now. And of course, he ultimately wants to create a world in which Cass can be happy. Scrapping everything to start again might be the only way to do that right.

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HANNAH DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT KATARINA…

A little disappointing. Hannah was 4 or 5 years old when the Daughters took her in, so she should have some memories of time w/Mama Katarina, right? But I suppose those would fade quickly enough in the 24 years since, with Daughter-ly duties, learning, and the fairy tale story Mother Jennifer told her.

I just *really* wanted the possibility of Hannah stealthily visiting and/or watching over Katarina as the years went by. Perhaps protecting her from scavs while out in the field and visiting her lab and rooms in the wee hours, going thru her photos, books, mementos, and notes…Maybe even learning enough to help complete some equations a few times when Jones falls asleep working on them.

O well *sigh*

And what about Hannah's remarks about the Splinter device?
HANNAH: Science killed the world. Now your machine is going to finish off what's left of us.
Where is this coming from? Is this judgement similar to Sam Ramse's take on his father's time traveling quest to save him? A wise child's reflection on her parent's reckless behavior? Or is this the culmination of teachings, learned with Jennifer and the Daughters? As a Primary, does Jennifer see the machine as an abomination (even though Time *likes* time travel)? As a survivor of the plague, with the knowledge of a Primary, does she see it—and technology—as evil?

Does Jennifer have good reason to teach Hannah and her Daughters to be wary/untrusting of science? Of the Splinter device specifically? That conditioning could be a positive if the Daughters are an army that Jennifer plans to sic on the Witness and his technology. Will she lead them on an assault of Titan?

Or, does Jennifer know that there is a time in the near future when the device must be destroyed or crippled and her Daughters will be the ones to do it. Another set of Messengers, waiting for the right moment? September 2044? Perhaps it will be done to prevent someone who's Splintered from returning (sent to distant past or future, as a trap?), or to prevent someone from the 2040s from exploiting it, or maybe to isolate some dangerous side effect or phenomenon, like the red skies, in the 2040s.

Or something.

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RANDOM BITS.

"The A-Team with all Murdocks!" Howling Mad Hyenas! Jennfier Goines is awesome in every time period. I just wish she wasn't so sad.

Early on, Ramse asks Cole about his bullet wound—man, for a best friend, he sure perforates Cole a lot, doesn't he? Would love a JAWS-y scar scene with some of our main characters. Maybe back in Kat's office w/her good hooch. Or maybe a flashback to that whiskey that Cole brought back to share with Deacon, although that would leave Cassandra out of the mix, so maybe not. Boo.

Kat and Project Splinter have been tracking the progress of the anomaly storms in 2044. On her wall is a record of recent observations and the last is dated September 14, 2044. Just a week to Jennifer's alleged expiration date!

In this ep, for the first time for me, Jennifer said "Otter eyes" and I heard "Otterize," as in, to transform into an otter. It makes me wonder if this is the seed of a clue or hint, fuzzy and incomplete, in her Primary mind, something that will make sense in a crucial moment. A password? Or that it sounds like another word or phrase that will be one choice among several. "Authorize?" "Cauterize?"

In any case, I still hope/believe that it connects to a yet-to-be-seen moment in Cole's future and Jennifer's childhood. A Splinter mission (or maybe misfire?) that has Cole drop in on the Goines's home one Saturday morning while 8-yo pre-Primary Jennifer is cartooning and Kellogg's Sugar Bombing, maybe w/a wide braced smile. She will see/meet him and dub/associate him with "Otter eyes." Years later, that will come back to her, fuzzily.

Cole explains that anomaly storms are eating the future and working their way back in time (to 2016 at the time). Did Katarina explain that much to him before he Splintered? Is this a demonstration of a special connection or awarnes that Cole has to Time? I don't think so, not exactly. I think it shows just how adept he's become at navigating the weird logic of time travel and its side effects/collateral damage.

Marcus makes an interesting point back in 2044, tho. In his—and Adler's—opinion, no one really KNOWS how the outcomes of Splinter missions are affecting the anomalies. Where there *seemed* to be a correlation before, there is not. Of course, other measures/countermeasures made in history via the Witness and the Army may have been/be/will be compensating, but basically, Whitley and Adler seem to be right.

What if the time storms aren't working their way "backward" but are following the cracks in time left by Splinter events? What if they're appearing in 2016 (enough to make the news crawl on cable news) because Project Splinter has visited the time repeatedly? Next, would be 2015, then 1944 and 1975 (the Messengers Splintered then, too). Of course, there's no telling how the aftermath of the 1957 paradox—which, if the Tall Man wasn't b.s.ing them, is responsible for the creation of the Red Forest and thusly is a fixed point in Time—will affect or accelerate the red skies' spread. Fun times. =)

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Thought it was interesting that the Keeper was quick to taze with Ramse, but not so much with Cassandra. Did he lose someone, wife or daughter? Does he have a Daughter, perhaps?

Yes, I did catch the use of past tense in Cass's truth about her hating Ramse.
CASS: I hate him…because someone I cared about…someone I sacrificed everything for…chose him over me.
She says "cared" and the Keeper reads that as true. When Ramse says "same," the Keeper reads that as true, too. So, do Cass and Ramse both no longer care about Cole? Of course not. Past tense "cared" and present tense "care" are not mutually exclusive states. So, she tells the truth while possibly playing—for Ramse's benefit—at not being as interested in Cole as she once was, and getting to spit some bile she'd been building up.

I love that Ramse gets to express himself by echoing others in such succinct ways…
"Me too."
"Same."

That’s so Ramse =)

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I hope we get a reason to see the Keeper again. I wonder how well he'd be able to read a Primary hooked up to a polygraph, eh? Did he ever identify who or what he was back in the world?

He *feels* like a test or challenge in a heroic quest, doesn't he? Like a Sphinx, but not quite. A creature or being who will trades in truths. Sounds a little more Whedon than D'Aulaire's, right? But that feeling… A truly excellent character creation.
KEEPER: You know, whatever battle you're about to walk into together...It won't be your hatred for each other that will divide you. It will be the lies you tell to camouflage it.
Mythic, man.

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And I didn't even get to the Elliot Jones, TITAN, and “See you soon” rabbit holes! I'm gonna try and cobble together something about EJ (*so* pleased to see him again! =), T-town, and the knock at the door in a post before Monday.

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin' on~

Monday, June 13, 2016

12 MONKEYS: 02x08: Lullaby: Why does Cassie walk away…?

I have some ideas to explain why, but be warned, a couple of them are, well, pretty awful…


(see gifset)
CASSANDRA: You and I both know that we're gonna lose so much before this is over.
COLE: I'd rather have that moment and lose it than die never having had it at all.
CASSANDRA: You say that now… But it's the losing that haunts us… This can't happen.
Why does Cass withdraw from Cole at the end of the episode? She acknowledges that she cares for him, loves him, but she won't allow herself to move to a next level with him…


She has just lived through a rather violent episode of possession. She was driven to do things against her will, including abduct and threaten a child. How much of her own thoughts and feelings can she trust at all? Was the Witness's choice to appear as Cole in 2016 a ploy? To plant a seed that she *should* feel love for Cole? Or to doubt what she does earnestly feel? She really can't know.

Katarina explained that she has a series of injections that amount to a treatment/cure for whatever the Army of the 12 Monkeys put in her system. How does one test for efficacy against Immersion-possession? Even if Kat is certain it will work, that doesn't make it true. Whoa. What if part, or even most, of the treatment is psychological, and the injections are mostly sugar and saline. A mind-over-matter solution from Dr. Jones?

[aside]
I’m not certain that Jones *should* “cure” Cass so quickly. Jones described the mental tether as a signal, and Cassandra, having been Immersed, as a receiver. It seems like a lost opportunity to block the signal without trying to trace it to a source, right?[/aside] In any case, with a data set n = 1, there’s no telling if it’s effective (and effective for good). Of course, I’d personally take Katarina's word and science 100%, but for the sake of argument add a bit of doubt, okay?
[/aside]

So, Cass may be vulnerable to another possession, or perhaps just suggestion, or maybe even some form of already-implanted behavior, set to surface when a trigger word, person, or situation arises.

In light of that, Cassie’s unwillingness to start a serious relationship with Cole is completely understandable. If I was in Cassie's place, post-possession, I'd hide my match profile, too.

There are also non-Witness issues at play here…

First, there's all the reasons attached to her displacement in time to begin with. Both the 28 years between 2015 and 2043, but also the eight months since she last saw Cole, spent in 2043-2044.

And then there are the finally-came-out-and-said-the-words revelations of their loopdeloop in Spearhead 2020…


Cole explained to her that although he took the Project Splinter mission in good faith (and under some duress), soon after he met Cassandra, his motivation for saving the world became her happiness and well-being.
COLE: The only world I ever gave a damn about was the one with you in it. All this bullshit, everything I've done, it's been so you have a place to go back to.
What happens to Cole's world-saving drive if he and Cassie pursue a true romantic partnership? Even if we discount the mind manipulation of the Witness, 2044 Cassie's principles put the mission first. I wouldn't be surprised if she decides that becoming lovers would compromise both of them in some way and so, the mission. She tells Cole, "Go save the world," as if it's his job or destiny. If he finds happiness with her before the world is saved, what happens to his Johnny Night Room tactics? Does he second-guess himself?

Granted, he already throws caution to the wind in most matters connected to Cassie, but would he have saved and protected Jennifer or even Ramse if Cassandra was More than what she was to him in those moments? In both those situations, Cassandra was dead set on killing them.

Okay. I have to admit, I'm having a tough time selling myself on this train of thought. But it's *possible*, right?

And then there’s what she tells him, just before walking away…”It’s the losing that haunts us.” She has a litany of loss on the tip of her tongue… Aaron, Hannah, Ekland, Samuel, Cole (which is what snapped her out of her possession), the experiences of which are all too fresh for her, thanks to the Witness’s manipulation. I’m not sure, though, if she says this because it’s her primary personal concern—that she will be haunted by the loss of Cole (should he die, or should they succeed and they are retconned)—or if she says it because it’s her fear for Cole—that she will be gone (killed or retconned) and he will be left haunted. She’s the Time soldier with a deathwish after all, sleepwalking, unflinching, into suicide missions.

Unless you’re a vampire with a soul who’s cursed to lose it on experiencing a moment of perfect happiness, you go for it, dammit! Man, I really hope that Jennifer points that out to one of the C’s using just that reference. =)
So…
  • Guilt, fear, and uncertainty due to the violation of her mind by the Witness…
  • A growing apart in the 8-months-plus since they were last side-by-side and of one mind…
  • Her concern over compromising Cole's focus…
  • Her fear of experiencing joy, only to lose it…
But, what if there's another reason?

What if Cassandra is pregnant?

Perhaps a bit melodramatic and soap opera-tastic, but I think in a time travel tale that spans generations—of families, not just time—adding to the next generation is not a stretch and certainly not gratuitous. Her child in 2044 could be considered contemporary with Samuel Ramse and the Tall Man.

I'd actually thought of this as a possibility at the beginning of season 2. Cassandra returns to 2016 after an 8-month stay in the future…? An interesting duration. What if she was pregnant when she Splintered from 2015 to 2043? She would have been carrying Aaron Marker's child. How perversely-amazing would that have been? I mean, if she found herself pregnant with his son or daughter, after leaving him for dead with Cole? Can you imagine?


The problem with that scenario is for it to work would require a conspiracy of silence that would probably include most if not all of the Project Splinter and West 7 members. And what would be done with the child? Given to a kindly scav couple to raise as their own, with "Auntie" Cassie taking a special interest? (Hrm… Could the Daughters be the go-to for post-apoc child care?) Or Splintered back to a more peaceful time in the past? Adopted by a doting childless couple who raise her to adulthood, when she strikes out on her own and lands a job as personal assistant to the Markridge CEO. =)

So, logistically, difficult to pull off without the help of the Witness. O, how I'd LOVE for that to be what horribly happened/happens!

I still think fondly of the idea, but I'm resigned to it not being so (but but also still ready for it to be so). But, hey, we were discussing "right now!" Cassie pregnant now? So… Who would the father be?

Theodore William Deacon. =)


Teddy, Jr. A pretty good reason to not move forward with a relationship with James Cole. Not that it HAS to keep them apart…It's not an insurmountable issue, but certainly not the most auspicious foundation, either.

Now… What if she's pregnant…and it's *not* Deacon's child? (I'm still longshot-rooting for Deacon to be gay, and thoroughly enjoying yanking Cole’s chain for as long as he can.) Whose could it be? Well, how about the Witness's? I hate to consider this possibility, as this act would complete the violation of Cassandra Railly in body and mind, but it would be a horribly perfect piece in the Witness's puzzle. The conception and creation of himself, or perhaps a host form for himself, through the use of one of our heroes (maybe two?).


A truly horroriffic story turn, I know, but consider the powers and abilities the Witness has demonstrated so far. They definitely hint at some advanced tech, capabilities, and resources. Some form of stealthy artificial insemination, or perhaps surrogacy, certainly seems possible. Or, maybe it could be a cruel application of double possession. What if the Witness had another Immersed agent in 2016 or 2044 whom he could direct to play biological father to a Witness-spawn? Could Cole be susceptible to Witness possession via the Daughter's red powder (used on him by Deacon)?

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin’ on~

Thursday, June 09, 2016

12 MONKEYS: 02x08: Lullaby: Loopdeloopalooza!


Here comes a lot of jibba-jabba about the nature of the GROUNDHOG DAY loop that Cassandra and James find themselves in when Cassie is Splintered to Spearhead 2020. Her mission: Kill Jones and thusly prevent time travel from being perfected.

C+C quickly learn that that is easier said than, umm…undone. Why? Because it turns out that…

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TIME *LIKES* TIME TRAVEL…

So, what exactly were the conditions required to break out of this loop/super-Jinn?
We know that Time wants time travel to exist so…
  1. Hannah Jones must die.
  2. Katarina Jones must mourn her daughter's death and live to perfect time travel.
We see several loops in which Katarina is killed, and in each, her death triggers a reset.
We see one loop in which Cassandra saves Hannah. That triggers a reset.

As far as Time is concerned, letting Hannah live is equivalent to killing Katarina. Time's kind of a bitch, eh?

But what happens when C+C do nothing? Letting the day play out without their intervention *should* satisfy both of Time's requirements, for without Cass's medical aid, Hannah dies, apparently of the virus, and bullet-free, Katarina lives, motivated by her daughter's death to turn back time to prevent the outbreak and undo it. Why then, does the day still reset?

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ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PUZZLE.

Jennifer. Suspected for attempting to infect Spearhead with the virus, Jennifer Goines is being held prisoner, to be executed on the following day. It's her imminent death that triggers the reset at the end of the do-nothing day.

[aside]
Strange, tho, that the reset seems to happen in the deep of night. Is Jennifer executed at that hour? I don't remember hearing gunshots. Or perhaps there's some last order given in Spearhead at that moment that seals Jennifer's fate? Nah. That doesn't seem fair, right? Time would have to allow for a call from the governor right up to the last second of Jennifer's life.
[/aside]

Maybe the "natural" duration of the loop isn't determined by events within the loop. Of course, an event that would break Time or delete time travel (the deaths of any of our faves) immediately triggers a reset, but if that doesn't happen, reaching a particular second of the day triggers it "naturally."

When reset time is about to hit them on do-nothing day, Cass tells Cole, "The longest day was my first." Was there a day we weren't shown? And how did Cass get to the end of it, playing nice w/Foster and letting herself be jockeyed away from Katarina in mourning? Were there actually two days when Cass was alone at Spearhead 2020?

That missing first day and Cassie's mask are two little things that bug me. RE: Cassie's mask—she is maskless when she sits down to Splinter in 2044, but masked when she arrives in 2020. Waitasec… Whoa… Does TIME actually pass for a traveler within a Splinter? Cole mentions seeing colors and flashes of memory *while* Splintering. Could Cass have had the mask in her hand or pocket and put it on while Splintering?

I always want to capitalize Splinter but I'm not sure if it's correct.

As a Primary who has played an important role in guiding and connecting members of Team Splinter across decades, Jennifer's 2040s self is integral to Cassie and Cole arriving in the Spearhead 2020 Jinn in the first place. Jennifer has to survive 2020 and live to become that self. Jennifer explains that much to the Puzzle-maker while they're in holding together.

So, Time's *complete* to-do list for C+C in Spearhead 2020?
  1. Hannah Jones must die.
  2. Katarina Jones must mourn her daughter's death and live to perfect time travel.
  3. Jennifer Goines must live to lead and Primary.
So, how do they check off all three boxes? Given that numbers 1 and 2 happen on their own during the do-nothing day, C+C only need to act on number 3. They just have to break Jennifer out of Spearhead after Hannah dies.

But, Cole has something else in mind. Something very "New Cole"—saving life instead of taking it. First, he feels compelled to check in with Katarina herself…
COLE: Just answer me this—is a little bit of happiness better than a lifetime of anything else?
JONES: Yes.
COLE: I'm gonna hold you to that.
That question. Man. Let's just focus on it as it pertains to Katarina. Boiling that general question down to the specifics of her situation, Cole is asking her if more time—ANY kind of time—with her daughter, ever, is better than losing her completely, for the rest of her life. Is Hannah's living presence of more value, or…importance, than the void of her absence.

I should think that that's a question that doesn't need asking. Right?

(Storywise, tho, I love and feel that Cole is asking that question of and for everyone we care about in 12 MONKEYS. =)

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But, "I'm gonna hold you to that" kind of explains why he asks, right? He wants an idea of whether Katarina will hold C+C (and anyone else involved) responsible for taking Hannah and hiding her away for 24 years. He needs to know that when mother and daughter are reunited, Katarina won't hate them for taking her away, but rejoice at having her returned, having her at all.

If you were to ask any other person, that answer in 2020 would not necessarily correspond to the actual reaction in 2044, but this is Katarina Jones we're talking about. She knows herself, and across alternate realities/Jinns, she is a constant.

So, answer gotten, Cole moves forward with his plan. It takes them several resets to get all of the moving parts in sync, but in the end…
  1. Cassandra revives Hannah after she apparently dies in front of Katarina. (I'm not sure if she medically faked her death, or if she actually died and Cass brought her back.)
  2. Cole breaks Jennifer out of Spearhead holding, reuniting her with her Daughters.
  3. Cassandra manipulates protocol so that she can get away from Spearhead with Hannah and deliver her to the Daughters.
  4. They manage to do it all without revealing their identities to Spearhead and Katarina. Cole can be a random scav Morris Morrison, maybe with hacked digital records that connect to some kid in Philly. Maybe Cole helps Cass get into Spearhead when he escapes with Jennifer. Cass avoids showing her face and never IDs herself as Dr. Railly. She gets into a hazmat suit as soon as she can and uses her medical know-how to bluff her way close to Hannah.
That closes the loop, and Time lets Project Splinter pull them back. Well, you know what happens then, so I'll spare you the Kleenex and skip it. Hooray!

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THIS LOOP, AND ITS CLOSING, ALWAYS HAPPENED.

We don't see any of our serum soldiers experience a reality change wave (and we don't hear anyone refer to one). This could be an editing call, but I'm gonna assume that if C+C Splinter Factory changed history, we would be clued into it in a pretty overt way. Yes, they suffer nosebleeds (which is a physiological side effect of a reality change for serumed travelers), but they suffer increasing pain, nausea, and damage with each reset. I believe this phenomenon is similar to the deterioration Cole suffered when he landed in Pirate Ramse's 2043, a reality in which Cassandra was killed in 2015 and Cole never joined Project Splinter. I do not think that each reset they experience ripples down to 2044 with changed history. No changes or ripples escape the loop until it is closed and again connected and in sync with the flow of the timeline, and then the ripples are ones that always propagated into the future.

And, when C+C do return to 2044, Katarina greets them with…
JONES: If you seek congratulations for failure, I have nothing for you.
She hasn't experienced any rewrites to reality in their absence. I take that to support the case that C+C's GROUNDHOG DAY experience was always going to will have had to have happened. If, before Katarina sent Cassandra to 2020, someone had gone to visit the Daughters for a census, they would have encountered 28 year-old Hannah.

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I honestly can't remember the face of the Daughter-ninja who infiltrated the Splinter facility earlier this season (all my brain recalls is warpaint, wrap, and “NINJA!” =), but I would *LOVE* if that was Hannah (Brooke Williams). It would be wonderful proof positive that she's been with the Daughters since she "died" in every timeline we've seen so far in season 2.

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SO, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

One man's miracle is another man's green box.
God, what a perfect story for James to tell! =)

Can this maneuver that Cole and Cassie and Jennifer engineered get a name? One of those confidence/scam names, y'know? Like Three-card Monte or the Nigerian Prince? What should it be?

The Sick Daughter?
Meanest Prank Ever? =)

I'll have to think about that.

It may seem a bit, I dunno, cheap? cheap-ish? to use this temporal sleight-of-hand again in the show, but if ever there was a moment that could use it, I'd say it's Cassie dying in Cole's arms at the CDC. In Cole's memory, it happened in 2017. In Cassie's personal future, I suspect it's meant to happen in 2019, offset in time due to the change in the date of the outbreak.

Just a thought… (that I might have had while watching season 1, dadgummit =)

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin' on~

P.S.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

12 MONKEYS: What might we get from “Lullaby?”

I'm not much for looking ahead/around at promo materials for a show, but this fun tease from Syfy for next week came up in my neighborhood of St. Tweetersberg…

This is the wonderfully-ghastly-logical follow-thru on Jones’s ominous last words in “Meltdown…”
CASSANDRA: All this, it's my fault…Cole…Eckland…Sam.
JONES: No, it's mine. And for this, there is a solution.
What do we get out of a visit to Spearhead in 2020…?
  • Jennifer Goines and her fight taken to the street…
  • Hopefully, Katarina w/Hannah…
  • And even better-more…Cassie w/Hannah
  • MAYbe—a longshot, but I'd love it—Elliot w/both of them?
  • Possibly younger Eckland!

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Thing is, if Cassie's sent to 2020, well, it’s not gonna be easy for her to be anonymous. She's the face of the CDC during the outbreak, right? And in the latest version of reality, deceased by 2018(?). Does she have a "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" cover story for 2020?

Also, is Cole gonna sit by and let this happen? He's got to follow, or maybe… Maybe he’s already there for a later mission? No no no. Wait—An EARLIER mission! To retrieve Foster’s photos!
JONES: The man I sent back into time…he retrieved them for me.
I explained that line away in my head with the idea that Cole may have been sent back on supply runs to collect certain items between Mission-critical Splinters, and he collected those pics on one of those. Team Splinter knows the layout and protocol of Spearhead, should be easy enough to give Cole appropriate cover story and credentials to safely spend a day or two to grab a few things, right? At the time, it didn’t seem like all that loose an end to tie up, but now?

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So, before confronting Foster in 2043, Jones sends Cole to Spearhead in the past… And now, in 2044, she’s sending Cassie then and there, too! Why would she send them anywhere near each other, spatio-temporally? How about because when Cole returns from the Spearhead photos run, he tells Jones that he meets a future Cassie and helps her complete *her* mission, without giving her any gory details. Maybe 2044 Cassie and 2043 Cole work out what he has to tell her when he returns so that she tells Cassie just the right things when she is sent. In any case, Katarina has known that she would be sending Cassie on a Splinter to Spearhead 2020, but didn’t know when or why. Now, when confronted w/the ruins of “Meltdown” that knowledge clicks into place.

Katarina would have had to have kept schtum about all of this, having lived thru it as her 2020 self. Fun!

And Cole would have had to have kept mum around everyone about his Cass team-up interaction because it's yet to happen for Cass. Fun!

And then there’s Jennifer’s 2020 activities, too, right? Fun!

Maybe we get Cole holding wee Hannah… = )

MAYbe we get Cole and Cassie and Elliot Jones helping to work out a plan to SAVE wee Hannah, via time travel. Wee Hannah, who grows up in the past to become Olivia (one of my pet theories). This/these Splinters could definitely fill in some blanks I’ve got in the math. =)

Wow, this is gonna be SO MUCH FUN! =)

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin’ on~

P.S. If Cassie (and helper Cole) are successful with their assassination attempt, what should the result be? 2044 Katarina’s intention is to prevent successful time travel to the past by removing herself and her knowledge from the Splinter team. Will that be enough? Will there be no one else to step in and revive Project Splinter? And just how strong is Katarina’s quantum serum now? Can Cole, Cassie, Jones, and Ramse survive with their current memories and histories intact? Can Jones survive in a reality in which she’s already dead? Cole couldn’t, back when he landed in Pirate Ramse world.

Assuming it IS enough, that dead Jones = no time travel to the past ever, then unless red leaves occur naturally in nature, the Witness never exists, the time-traveling component of the virus never happens, all of the Army’s interference w/history and society never happens. Maybe we get very alternate versions of all our heroes, somehow. And it ends weirdly like BIG, with an adult Cassandra arm in arm w/fiancĂ© Aaron walking on a boardwalk, when a young boy named James Cole bumps into them, running from his friend Jose Ramse, the two of them engaged in a Nerf gun fight. Cole falls down and Aaron helps him back up. Cole mutters some apology-sounding words and then locks eyes with Cassandra and they have a weird moment. Then James and Jose’s adopted mom, Jennifer Goines, catches up the boys and mock scolds them, exchanges pleasantries w/Cass and Aaron, notices the engagement ring, asks about the big day and plans, and Cass mentions the Keys, and as the couple walks off, Cass turns to look back at Jennifer and the boys, Jennifer says, “Cassandra doesn’t like to travel.”

Or something…

And once Cassie is on the ground in 2020, can she (and Cole, and maybe Elliot?) come up with an alternative solution? Try it Cole’s way (well, Cole’s way 1 out of 4 times), by saving someone instead of killing someone? By saving Hannah and removing the most immediate motivation for Katarina to revive Splinter? Yeah, not really a guarantee, but if Hannah survives to a later mutation of the virus, then Spearhead’s computer-predicted vaccines would keep her (and everyone who’s survived) alive. Wow. If the show had to end here (w/a happy-ish ending) it could happen and be pretty satisfying. Katarina never had to kill Foster. 2020 Cole survives w/Ramse. Ramse meets Elena and Sam is born. Maybe they’re all reunited in the 2040s. And our 2044 Cole and Cassie can settle down in 2020, or maybe join Jennifer and her daughters to fight the 12 Monkeys in whatever form they’ve taken.

Huh. Maybe that’s how Katarina is left alone in that future we see via webisode? The serum has preserved her but the difference between her personal history and the new reality is so drastic that she’s out of phase with most everyone else in reality, living alone and out of sync. Until someone comes for her…

12 MONKEYS: 02x07: Meltdown: TITAN

Rambling on the revelation of the Red Forest-adjacent Titan in the events of “Meltdown…”

TITAN TOWN.

Cassie's consciousness is trapped in a room in the Witness's Red Forest house while the Witness controls her body in 2044. From within the room, she hears what sounds like a factory horn outside. She moves to the window, pulls apart the curtains, and sees…

Titan. That's the name painted on the side of what appears to be a water tower, tank, or silo that's part of what looks like a factory complex. There are cylindrical towers topped with what look like funky klaxons horns or speakers, but must be something else, there are so many of them.

And below "Titan…" A symbol. One we've seen before. I can't quite remember all the places we've seen it…
  • Definitely the Tall Man's paradox pendant.
  • Did Vivian Rutledge have it as a tattoo?
  • Did all Messengers?
  • Was it part of the markings on a Druze artifact?
Does the symbol *mean* Titan? Is it the mark of the Witness, showing ownership/allegiance?

WAS TITAN TOWN ALWAYS OUTSIDE THE WINDOW?

I don't think so, nope. There's never been a sign of it in the Red Forest of anyone's vision.

No. I believe that Something Changed that brought Titan Town into existence, or perhaps caused the Red Forest to Brigadoonally align or sync with Titan Town somehow, allowing the Witness to (finally?) leave his forest house and go to (return to?) town. Is this what the Witness's form of Splintering looks like? A tesseract? Folding spacetime so that two normally distant points connect (one of them the Red Forest), and he bridges that connection to travel from one time and place to another?

What changed?


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1. The release of raw temporal energy/Splinter radiation/whatever it's called in 2044. This apparently releases all kinds of temporal driftwood caught in the time stream, as well as beams bits and pieces of 2044 into it. Perhaps it released Titan, a factory town somehow lost in time, and synchronized it somehow with the Red Forest. I'm sure the Witness could do that with a Tricorder, right? =)

2. The Splinter zap maybe-not-death-maybe-spacetime-displacement of David Eckland. The idea here is that when and wherever Eckland lands, he is put to work by the Witness to work on what ultimately becomes Titan town. It couldn't exist "until" Eckland is shunted out of 2044 to a certain time and place to begin its creation.


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3. The Splinter zap and spacetime displacement of Samuel Ramse. The idea here is the same as the Eckland scenario, only for Sam. So, Sam is responsible for the creation of Titan somehow, but can only be so once he's been Splintered away from 2044 to wherever he's landed.

4. The U.S. military of 1959 is made aware of time travel. Note that that's only a big deal assuming that FBI Agent Gale's Splinter Files are classified. =) The military then shifts whatever sciencing they've got going on at Raritan Valley in 1959 to focus on time travel applications, but in a new and secret location. Can't go building in the same place that a potential enemy already controls in the future, right? This new and secret location? A factory town code named Titan. Their R&D eventually leads to the maybe accidental time displacement of the entire complex, which lands it Red Forest-adjacent, because…why not?

5. Jose Ramse leaves Project Splinter and sets out for parts unknown in 2044. This is very interesting to me because even overwrought, Ramse's the kind of person who likes to have a plan. Although I joke about him going all David Banner on us (which I'd love), I think he has a specific destination in mind…

5a. Jennifer and the daughters? In 2043, before he splintered, she told him he would be a good friend. It wasn't clear to me if she mean to herself or to someone else/Cole. Ramse reveals that he’s never tried red leaf brew.
RAMSE: Yeah, there's some pretty trippy shit going on w/that tea. They'd drink it, they'd see him in their heads. Never tried it.
Perhaps he’s looking to send a message to the big W with Jennifer’s help.

5b. Whatever remains of Spearhead's camp or facility? A safe place that puts distance between himself and Project Splinter.

5c. The home of the Messengers? They must have been sequestered somewhere secure for 30-ish years, right? Ethan Seki might not have known the purpose of such a place, but he probably would have known if the Army had purchased it. Certainly he could do the math and figure it out.

5d. An as-yet-unknown-to-us location. A place or resource that Ethan Seki set up as part of a long-term contingency plan.


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WHAT IF RAMSE HADN'T SHOT COLE?

Is Cassie in the house in the Red Forest the same way she was when Olivia guided her there with the red leaf tea? I think we have to assume yes.

Outside the house, thru the window, Cassie sees the Witness. He's apparently exited the house, and paused outside the window to look back. First, he's facing her, then he turns away and begins to walk to Titan town. Worth noting that he appears without any flickering or weird speed tics. I think the way he appears in this Red Forest experience is different from others. This is a clue to some difference in the environment, or perhaps the Witness himself.

As the Witness heads to Titan town in the Red Forest, Ramse shoots Cole, shocking and releasing Cassie from the front room of the house, freeing her from the Witness's influence in 2044. If Ramse hadn't shot Cole, what would have happened instead?*

In the Red Forest, would Cassie have remained trapped in the house forever? Would the Witness have released her from the house and compelled her join him in Titan town?

In 2044, to save Sam and the facility from meltodwn, Ramse would have to shoot Cassie, probably killing her. If an Immersed person dies while under the Witness's control, does his or her consciousness survive in the Red Forest, trapped and bodiless? Perhaps that's what happened to the Witness.

Hrm…Gonna try running this down while it’s still fresh…

* Of course, there should be no point to this what-if? since the Witness knew/planned for everything to go down exactly as it did. Nyeah.

A WITNESS ORIGIN STORY?

Let's say that the Red Forest exists on its own, completely independent of the Witness (NB: currently I prefer that their creations are connected to one another). Now let's say that the Witness (whoever he is) taught himself to visit the Red Forest via paradox-created red leaf brew of some kind. On one of these visits, while his consciousness walks the Red Forest, his tranced physical form is killed—no, not just killed—paradoxed! His body dies in reality in a paradoxidation event while his mind survives, trapped in the Red Forest. The birth of the Witness? Well, maybe a step in his creation, a step that leaves him a disembodied mastermind in need of servants to manipulate reality.

I like this. The one weakness for me is the existence of the Red Forest before the Witness. Maybe the Red Forest exists on its own because there are naturally occurring spontaneous splinter events. Bursts of chaotic temporal energy that transform green to red, creating the psychedelic key to psychic time travel.

Or, maybe it's an astral plane created by the minds of the Primaries? I suspect the Primaries can all see it, but that may be because of the threat that emanates from it in the form of the Witness, eh? They don't visit the Red Forest, except when under the influence of red leaf (which is created via time travel or paradox).

Egg, chicken, no straight lines…

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin’ on~

Monday, May 30, 2016

12 MONKEYS: 02x06: Immortal: What is the deal w/Kyle Slade?

First off, something that hit me a few days after "Immortal" I think we finally know what Jennifer means/meant when she says…


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TWELVE IS NOT PRIMARY!

She's referring to Kyle Slade's twelfth victim, Victoria Mason. Victims one thru eleven, according to Slade himself, were all Primaries, while number twelve, Victoria, was not. I vaguely recall Jennifer getting excited at the idea of thirteen, following twelve, but don't remember hearing her expand on that. Perhaps Kyle continues his serial killing posthumously under a different name?
If that’s correct, then Jennifer’s been cluing James into his reality-changing encounter with Kyle since they first met. Or at least, since *he* first met *her*. I still think that Cole’s otter eyes will make an impression on a younger Saturday-morning-cartoon-watching Jenny G. in a Splinter yet to come for him.


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WHAT WE'VE LEARNED ABOUT KYLE…

From the research done by Team Splinter in 2044, we know that Kyle Slade is the identity of the serial killer known as the Immortal. He was responsible for 12 murders in the 70s, and died under mysterious circumstances on the day he killed his final victim, Victoria Mason, who worked as a waitress at a coffee shop. Those "mysterious circumstances?" Death by paradox, stabbed in the sternum w/one's sternum. Team Splinter takes this information and turns it into a plan. First, find Victoria at the coffee shop. Follow her until Slade kills her. Follow Slade from the scene of the murder. Intercept the Messengers when they try to paradox him, saving Slade.

What could go wrong?

When Cole and Ramse find Victoria, they learn that she's the mother of a young boy.
COLE: She had a kid…What's gonna happen to him when she dies?
RAMSE: Whatever already happened.
Gotta love time travel!

Then they learn that she's probably not up for mother of the year. They only just start to process that when Kyle Slade strikes.
COLE: This is me looking and not leaping, this sit right with you?
RAMSE: Don't like it any more than you do, but it's how it has to be.
But of course, our man James cannot sit by and watch this woman being killed by a psychopath. Cole's fist meets Primary jaw, scaring Slade off and saving Victoria from becoming his twelfth victim. Our heroes' reward? A wave of reality-rewrite pain, a… Timegraine? In the wake of the reality wave, both Slade and the unseen Messenger—who paradoxed him in the previous reality—escape.

Later in the episode, Cole has apparently won the trust of Slade, simply by revealing his identity. It's interesting… Slade does not immediately recognize him, but *we* know that he knew he was coming for him (as seen at the end of previous ep, "Bodies of Water"). It turns out that slade has been waiting for him. He explains to James that he can take him to the Witness. He's holding him captive in his abandoned warehouse-slash-bloody artist's loft lair.

On the way to his bloody sanctum, Kyle explains to James that he's aware of the Witness's plan to destroy Time by paradoxing Primaries. In order to ruin that plan, Kyle has been killing contemporary Primaries so that they cannot be paradoxed. He believes that he's been so successful w/his strategy that the Witness decided to paradox Kyle personally. He shows Cole the bone knife that was meant to kill him in a previous reality. We see his physical reaction to being in close proximity to it. When he then shows Cole the Witness himself—a man clad in a hooded robe with a mask sewn together from human flesh—he insists that it's Cole's role to take that bone dagger and kill the Witness with it.

WTF?

Oh, before I forget, when Kyle mentioned that his victims were all Primary, Cole pointed out that Victoria was not. Kyle explains that she was a "flare" that he sent up, to call for (Cole's) help across the decades. He selected Victoria knowing that she would be his last victim, the one whose death, connected to his mysterious demise on the same day, would lead Cole to 1975.

Now, where was I? Oh yes…

WTF?
KYLE: Take the dagger and kill the Witness. It is why I brought you here. It is your fate to do this!
RAMSE: [whistle] Hey, Cole, let's do both of these guys, get the hell out of here.
KYLE: What's he doing here?
COLE: Easy, we're all on the same side.
KYLE: Are we? Cuz I am seriously starting to doubt your commitment, man. Put your gun down.
RAMSE: You first.
KYLE: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is not how this is supposed to go. It's supposed to be you [COLE] and me. Blaze of glory in the future and he [RAMSE] is NOT a part of it.
So, there's a lot of weirdness here, and yes, it *could* be chalked up to Kyle's apparent mental instability, partly fueled by his Primary connection and visions, partly fueled by whatever additional ding his brain chemistry took that led him to his brutal homicidal practice, but let's take a look at what he's given us (and Cole and Ramse) and see if there might be any useful clues.


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KYLE THINKS HE'S CAPTURED THE WITNESS…

I've got a theory that he believes this because essentially, it was true when he caught him. When Kyle reveals his prisoner's face to Cole, we know that he has a Messenger caged up, not the Witness. But, what do we know about Messengers?
VIVIAN: They never imagined I’d survive the paradox, but Father, he made us too well.
The Messengers were engineered. The Army invested in a number of technologies in the late 20th century and in Markridge, not only did they get the resources needed to create a humanity-decimating virus, but also a pioneer in human cloning. I think Father (whoever he is) used Markridge tech to create the twelve Messengers. We know that they are imbued with enhancements that resemble those possessed by quantum serum users. That's increased strength, speed, resilience and healing, as well as the ability to Splinter. I don't think it's a huge leap to think that Immersion is part of the standard Messenger package as well.

Giving the Witness a direct psychic link to the Messengers would be very valuable. Granted, if the Witness *is* riding psychic shotgun on the Messengers, he's only seeing 50-50 success so far, and that's in those who survived to Splinter in 2043. Nevertheless, I'm pretty certain everything is still going according to the Witness's plans.

In any case, if the Messenger in Kyle's cage had been Immersed, that would allow the Witness to inhabit his body when he attacked him. I believe that on encountering the Witness-controlled Messenger, Primary Kyle would *sense* the Witness's presence, and believe the man standing in front of him to *be* the Witness. Kyle gets the better of the Messenger, probably exactly as the Witness wished, for his capture (the reported capture of the Witness) is what leads to Kyle sending up his flare, Cole being Splintered to 1975, the conventional death of the Primary-killing Primary, and the extended life and motherhood of Victoria Mason. I have a feeling we'll find out what that's worth in future episodes. Perhaps a new Project Splinter labcoat w/a tag that reads "MASON?"


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KYLE CAN'T KILL THE WITNESS HIMSELF…

For some rason, Kyle insists that Cole is the only one who can kill the Witness. I'm thinking that he's right about that, but that he's wrong about the time and place. Will it be with a knife made from a homicidal maniacal Primary's bone? I don't know. That seems like such a strange detail. If it's an accurate detail… The only thing I can think of is that some version of Kyle Slade must be the Witness, then being stabbed by that knife would cause a paradoxidation death. Could that be right?
It feels unlikely, but honestly, still very possible. Within the events of this one episode, we saw Kyle Slade manipulate history in a way that resulted in him saving himself from the Messengers by tricking Cole into changing reality. That's pretty frickin masterful. Imagine if he was sane?

Hrm… I will have to think on this some more. I've been in love with the notion that the Witness began life as one of our heroes (or Sam, or Elliot Jones =), but the possibilities of Kyle Slade are interesting. It's the personal connections that are missing, tho. Why is Cassie so important? Why the focus on Ramse's story (and his love for his son)? Perhaps the relationships and stories aren't what's important to the Witness, and instead it's their tactical and perhaps misdirectional value. Cassie has to be kept alive until she leaves her "Leland Frost" message for the future. The story of Ramse and Sam is a parable for his followers, and perhaps meant specifically for Vivian.

Perhaps.

Is there some other reason that Kyle can't kill the Witness himself?

1. The Witness can only be killed with the bone of a Primary? That's crazy. Unless… Unless the Witness himself is that Primary. Hrm…

2. If Kyle kills the Witness it leads to Something Bad. Perhaps for Kyle alone—his death, perhaps for Time itself—his paradoxed death. Well, it seems that if Kyle had killed the Witness-Messenger right away, Cole and Ramse never would have come to 1975, and the Messenger partner would have paradoxidized him, just as it was reported. That just covers the notion that waiting to kill the Witness-Messenger contributed to saving Kyle’s life. It does not explain why Cole can’t kill him.

3. Kyle insists that Cole has to kill the Witness with the knife made from his own bone. If he really believes that, I supposed that explains why he couldn’t kill him himself. Holding the knife would be incredibly painful for him and could potentially trigger a paradox.

There’s just not enough reliable info to come up w/a definitive reason or reasons. Boo…


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KYLE DOESN'T "SEE" RAMSE…

For a few minutes I thought that Kyle's plan "clicked" for me when he talked about going to the future with Cole. That he himself was somehow an agent of the Witness and had manipulated everything to get Cole to kill the real Primary and sucker him into getting him to 2044 because… umm… history recorded that he disappeared after 1975, maybe that's the reason because possibly.

Of course, things didn't work out that way, but for a few minutes, pretty cool. Pret-ty pret-ty cool. =)

Yes, he's all mixed up in the head, even for a Primary, but he seems mortally offended by Ramse's presence in 1975, doesn't he? In fact when he talks about going-slash-returning to the future with Cole—ominously described as "blaze of glory"—it sounds like he's mistaken his life for Ramse's (or vice versa). Could his cracked version of Primary vision have dropped him into Ramse's POV for some reason? And/or the Witness's, pre-Red Forest?

Gotta wonder what's in store for Ramse and Cole that a mistaken-Ramse-identity would consider "blaze of glory," right?

Could it be that Kyle has held onto Primary visions from a previous reality? One in which Cole did NOT go back to save Ramse at Project Splinter in 2015, which would mean that Ramse wouldn't be around to jump to 1975 with Cole. Of course, I don't easily see how it would follow that Kyle would end up partnered with Cole as a result of Ramse's absence, but Time works in mysterious ways, right?

Also, lotta nuts in that Kyle Slade bar.


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PARADOXES/INCONSISTENCIES?

There are a couple of things in this episode that don't quite line up for me time-travel-logically. Still, I think I can creatively rationalize them to my satisfaction. I have to say, tho, these are probably the zaniest time traveling curves thrown so far in the show.

In the episode's original reality Team Splinter found reports of Kyle Slade's death by apparent paradox in 1975. What actually happened? If the Messengers had succeeded in paradoxing Kyle, Time should have collapsed (according to 2044 Jennifer, it only takes two). Maybe there's a funky causality explanation? Because, honestly, if the Messengers EVER succeed in killing two Primaries, time should have already collapsed, regardless of *when* they're killed. Instead, the passage of time relative to our players seems to matter. That is, the effects of events experienced by our heroes are felt in the same order. Always a tricky phenomenon when messing with time.

Note that Kyle uses his Primary abilities to work out that killing Victoria will result in Cole Splintering back in time to prevent him from killing Victoria. I don't find this inconsistent. I find this awesome. =)

When Jennifer in 2016 talks about how a ghost is a replay, an event recorded into its surroundings, she flashes to a vision of the Messenger punching the hole in the hotel room wall. This punch would not have been thrown by that Messenger if Cole and Ramse hadn't saved Victoria (and Kyle). Hrm…

MAYbe a different punch or other incident creates that hole in the episode's original reality?

MAYbe if we asked Cassandra in that moment if she sees a hole in the wall where Jennifer's hand is, she would truthfully answer, "No, what hole in the wall?" So, only Primary Jennifer sees the hole in 2016 before the reality change because that is what a Primary does—sees not only forward and back, but across, to other realities.

I hope that's the explanation, cuz I love the idea that we see Jennifer read an event from a timeline that has yet to become reality. And it seems totally in line with what we've heard from the Primaries we've met thus far, right?

Also, I'd say that the disturbances to Time caused by Tommy's paradox assassination would help explain away any other apparently paradoxical (inconsistent, not spacetime-tearing) interactions. Time may not be behaving as it normally does, allowing for inconsistent experiences and discontinuities.

Or something. =)


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WHO ARE "THE OTHERS?"
KYLE: You're not worthy.
Ramse shoots Messenger.
KYLE: You're not worthy. You're just like the others. You were meant to protect me.
COLE: Only from a paradox.
KYLE: I'm the Immortal. I'm not supposed to die.
COLE: Everybody dies.
Man. Kyle's wackadoo words really do sell me on the Kyle-is-the-Witness idea. Kyle lambasts the Witness for being so insane as to attempt to destroy Time to achieve immortality, yet all the while he calls himself the Immortal. One of Tommy's ramblings included "The Monkeys come for the Witness," or something to that effect. A strange sentiment when you realize that the Monkeys are the Witness’s followers (if you hear “monkeys” w/a capital M there). So, Tommy’s words mean: the Messengers come for the Witness. The Messengers have been sent to kill Primaries. So, the Witness is a Primary. Y’know, if we can trust the collective word of the Primaries…

Okay, I'm gonna say it, cuz I can’t stop thinking it…

KYLE SLADE IS THE WITNESS!

…is one of my theories. =)

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin' on~

P.S. My other favorite answers to “Who is the Witness?”:
James Cole. Jose Ramse. Samuel Ramse. Elliot Jones. =)