Gonna beb-bop and scat-a-ma-tat on the timey-wimey goodness of paradoxes as encountered in 12 MONKEYS so far…
Oh, hey. What was the title of that last episode again…?
Oh, right—”Pair o’ Docs!”
Ha! Nice one, Terry, Travis, and company. Gen-gen-gene-genio-genius. Loved the road movie buddy-doc feel of this team-up. =)
When an item or being from one moment in time is placed in close proximity to that same item from another moment in time, a reaction occurs. Having these two instances of the same item in the same time and place is an affront to the natural order. A paradox. The universe wants to resolve this paradox—interaction of a future instance with a past instance will change the experience of the future instance, creating a wack-a-mole causality loop (apologies, I'm pretty sure I'm misappropriating a phrase that otherwise does solid and respectable work in reality). Just sharing the same time causes some instability, but when two such instances come in contact with one another, Science happens! And *voila* the two items are destroyed / disintegrated and then reassembled to create one new original version of the item that will reconcile itself with the known/experienced past and future history of the item and a remainder of discarded bits (down to subatomic particles and history) are destroyed releasing a massive amount of energy.
The watches. Cassandra's present-day 2015 watch and her future 2043 watch (taken by Cole from Cass's body) are placed in close proximity. The paradox reaction releases energy in light and some kind of explosion. We see everyone and everything except Cole slow down while he pulls a caffeinated Fry and rushes Cass to the relative safety of the hallway. Afterward, one watch remains.
The pendants. Tall Man's present-day 1995 pendant and his future 2043 pendant (given to Ramse by Jennifer) are placed in close proximity in the center of a garden. The paradox reaction releases energy in light and again in an explosive way (we see the trees bend to the pressure wave). No one seems to slow down (or speed up), altho it all seems to pass in "real time speed" relative to Olivia, Ramse, and Tall Man, so maybe all three of them are sped up or slowed down at the same rate. We know that Ramse has the serum in his blood. Olivia and Tall Man may have it in some form, injected or perhaps passed on down a bloodline. Afterward, one pendant remains.
Cole. James the Younger's present-day 2015 blood is injected into James the Elder's 2043-aged body. The paradox reaction releases energy in light and an explosive force (knocks down Tall Man and the Monkeys and blows out the windows of Cass's bookstore). We don't observe any wonkiness in the experience of time (slowdowns or speedups), but who knows what Cole was experiencing as he was being retconned? Afterward, one adult James Cole remains. I'm not certain of the why of it, but I suspect that in sorting thru the bits of younger and older Cole, the Universe discarded the serum and extrapolated from his DNA (cuz, why not?) what a healthy adult James should be like. And that's what was left deposited on the floor of Cass's bookshop. A newly minted James Cole, and naked as a Terminator, ladies!~
So, without the serum in his blood, he can't get yanked back to 2043. At least, not until he gets a hold of some of young Katarina's prototype.
Sadly, we know he's not around in 2017, when Cass leaves her message (when will they clean up that thing and play it back in its entirety?) and dies. Or, he's hiding somewhere nearby, ready for this visit from memory, having prepped Cass with a certain amount of knowledge/warning, too. And when his past self Splinters back to the future, he will inject Cass with an antitoxin for the toxin she'd been administering to herself to simulate the virus's symptoms, and she and Cole will get bonus lives from 2017 to 2043, working and living under aliases and changed appearances until AFTER 2043, when they can step out from behind the curtains of Jennifer's Daughters' nomadic culture and get back in the game in the open.
Or something completely different…
A kee-razy thing I'm hoping for is that the older Cole, now living forward from 2015, will surprise his past Splintering self on that visit. *THAT* would be a timeline-busting paradox! A universe-in-which-the-game-is-being-played-changer! Maybe it will be a reset that will save the actually plagued Cass? Maybe it will cleanse the world (or the immediate area) of the virus? Maybe it'll just blow Cole into an alternate, parallel universe, and the paradoxical remains will be a virus-infected husk, slingshot back in time to a cave in the Himalayas…
Question: What are the limits/rules regarding what a Splinterer can have in his inventory while skipping across time? Size? Mass? Organic vs. inorganic? A force field extending so many millimeters from the surface of his/her body?
Question: Did the Cosmos force Jones to forget her encounter with Cass and James in 2015? Or did that meeting not happen the first time? But then, what happened instead of that encounter that led to her keeping Hannah?
Question: Did the Cosmos force James to forget his encounter with Cass, James the Elder, and the death of his father? Allowing him only flashes we saw in his visions? Or did he get these flashes because of his unique status as a chrononaut? Did he live through a childhood in which he never met his older self, Cassie, or Katarina? Never saw the Tall Man execute his father? I like that idea. Cole says that Katarina will always have will have had to come, but maybe not, right? I love that we can't be sure from inside the story. I do love a good time travel yarn. =)
The universe doesn't only deal with matter in the moment. It's dealing with matter across its "lifetime." In a… meaningful way. The universe / cosmos / time seems to have a will or judgment. If it was just physics as we know it, it would be about the same subatomic particles meeting themselves from different times. But it "knows" that young James's blood in the syringe is connected to adult James's life. With the watch and the pendant, those are fixed, static objects, but Cole is a living breathing creature, composed of cells that live and die and decompose into molecules that are then reconstituted in the soil, other plants, other creatures, and maybe even flung into outer space. Odds are, no atom of young James's blood is actually in old James's body.
Randomish tangent to one of those questions that's like a lesson, y'know? You have a car, every part of it breaks down and gets replaced over time, and it looks the same, runs the same, feels the same. In the end, is it still the same car?
Oh, oh oh oh oh! I’ve got another 12 MONKEYS jokette for you… Ready?
When Cole lands in 2015 for the second time, he finds a note in his jacket pocket. Placed there by someone before he Splintered out of 2043. What did it say?
No time for love.
Keep on keepin on~