Sunday, December 18, 2016

ROGUE ONE: Rambling, continued…

Again with the spoilery whatever-comes-to-mind-ness on ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY…

------- SPOILERS FOLLOW -------

See my earlier ROGUE ONE rambles for a more complete picture of my madness…

Ramble 1 | Ramble 2

Chirrut confirms that Baze is also an ex Guardian of the Whills when they're imprisoned in Saw's cells. I didn't catch it the first time, but when Baze mocks Chirrut for praying to the Force to open the cell door, Chirrut fires back with a remark about how Baze used to be the most faithful guardian. Makes his "return" to the faith on Chirrut's passing a little more poignant.

I think the formal name is Guardian of the Whills, and their job was protecting the Kyber Temple. Cassian uses the phrase "Kyber Temple," but that seems off, right? I mean, the temple isn't made of or about Kyber crystals. I *think* it must have been a Jedi temple, taken over and exploited by the Empire, post-Order-66.

Tarkin does look better every time I see him, but still, uncanny. For me it's his eyes. They move oddly, and don't seem to focus where they should. Seeing them move reminds me of Roddy McDowell in PLANET OF THE APES—eyes looking out from behind a mask of flesh attached to a face. His lips also seem a bit…I dunno…gummy? Or too thin?

I wonder if Lucasfilm can continue to make digital improvements and just replace the digital video files in theaters via overnight downloads/replacements. Could they have done just that between Thursday night and Saturday? =)

Okay. I'm not so sure that Red Leader, Gold Leader, and Biggs were shot with new actors at all. I think that all of their footage in ROGUE ONE could have been constructed, pulled, and/or edited from shots—perhaps some previously unused?—from A NEW HOPE, and composited into new cockpits and background action. And their ship-to-ship comms audio could definitely be clipped and autotuned if needed from their A NEW HOPE lines.

I think the only sex scene in the film is when the two Star Destroyers destroy the gateway. I'm pretty sure the "Love Theme from ROGUE ONE" was playing during that.

Planets/moons/locations we visit…

  • The Erso black sand farm planet…
  • The Ring of F—something, an asteroid trading out post…
  • The Imperial prison work planet (from which Jyn is forcibly rescued—"Congratulations!" =)…
  • Yavin-4…Why did they re-create the exteriors so differently? If ROGUE ONE events occur days before those of A NEW HOPE, the jungle and temples should be practically identical…
  • Jedha, a "war zone." Jedha city/Kyber temple and Saw's hideout…
  • Eadu, a planet of storms and the Imperial Kyber processing facility, headed by Galen Erso…
  • Scarif, home to an Imperial Citadel Tower which holds structural engineering plans and data, cuz why not?
Some dialogue I'm trying to remember properly…
CASSIAN: Rebellions are built on hope.
Nice when Jyn recycles that before the Alliance council.
CHIRRUT: Are you serious? I'm blind!
Heh. *LOVE* Donnie Yen in this. I so wish he had more opps to strut his martial arts stuff. His take down of those troopers in Jadeh was wonderful—I wanted to applaud! But Baze's moment prevented me (thankfully =). Would have loved to have seen a fight sequence that was choreographed to better/best demo how Chirrut and Baze's skills could compliment one another.

I don't think I've ever seen that sand kicking bit before. Nice. =)
ADMIRAL RADDUS: Rogue One, may the Force be with you.
I think that's the first time I've heard/read that as "Rest in peace."
CHIRRUT: The strongest stars have hearts of Kyber.
This may be a SWU scientific truth? I don't know. I want/wanted this to mean something profound, and I can kind of see it as a description of Jyn herself, and maybe her father Galen, but I feel like I have to force it.
JYN: We'll take the next chance and the next and on and on until we win or all our chances are spent.
JYN: We'll find a way, or will find a way to find a way…
She makes it sound inspiring when she says it, but reading it, if you tilt your head just so, it can read as inane, no? But in the moment, against all odds, inspiring. And repeated by Cassian and Bodhi.

When I heard "Captain Antilles" in the Rebel base, I originally thought it was over a PA system, but now I'm thinking that it was actually Bail Organa who spoke the name, actually addressing the captain when he leaves Mon Mothma and enters the hangar area, giving him his orders—take Princess Leia, join/support the assault on Scarif, leave when you can and proceed to Tatooine so that Leia can recruit Ben Kenobi.

I also heard "Captain Syndulla" (Captain of the Ghost on REBELS) mentioned over a PA outside the temple/hangar/base, when Blue Leader stops the private who was monitoring communications and he explains to Mon Mothma that there is an attack on Scarif in progress. I did not spot the Ghost itself, but I wasn't thinking hard of looking for it. Maybe it's there somewhere.

When K2 explains to Cassian that to retrieve the Death Star plans he must "use the handles," I immediately thought: lamest (or most difficult? =) mini-game/challenge in the imminent ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS GAME.

Man! I *love* seeing X-wings take off into the skies of Yavin-4! =)

Also when they fly nap-of-the-Earth on/over massive Imperial space constructs or machinery. So cool =)

A disturbing thought about matters unsaid and not shown in the film… In the flashback dream to Jyn's childhood we see the Erso family unit enjoying a decent middle class Imperial life, an evening in for which Dad has recruited Mom to help entertain his boss. Very 1950s TV. Jyn wanders to the living room, maybe woken from slumber. Galen sees him and notes that she looks frightened… Why? And when she looks past her father to her mother, standing in the next room with Krennic maybe apparently gazing at her?, it is not happiness she sees on Lyra's face.

Is it just life under the thumb of the Empire encapsulated in that slice of life, or is it something more? Something darker? Maybe something Jyn doesn't consciously understand or acknowledge, as she doesn't pin anything on Krennic when she faces him at the top of the transmitter.


May the Force be with you…

Keep on keepin' on~

Saturday, December 17, 2016

ROGUE ONE: Second screening download…

Another ramble of movie thoughts after a second screening of ROGUE ONE. Beware—SPOILERS!

Oh, I don't think I actually said this in my earlier post, but I LOVE IT! Probably my best time at a STAR WARS film since ROTJ.

Okay, rambling on…

On second viewing, Tarkin is definitely CG, but looks really good. I think I might've believed it was a human actor w/some good makeup if only the eyes were done right. There's something off in how they focus (or don't, properly) and dart in a couple of moments.

Leia *is* flesh and blood (or if she isn't, well, frickin done, ILM =). Just slightly off in a look-alike way. My first screening was a late show and maybe my eyes were going and I think that seeing CG Tarkin prejudiced me when spotting other characters from ANH. Red and Gold Leaders, along with Biggs (the second Blue pilot to sound off after Blue Leader), all look like actors, probably ADR'd/overdubbed with autotuned dialogue from ANH. In any case, I love seeing these "old friends" on screen again.

After her first interaction w/Chirrut and spotting Baze in Jadeh City, Jyn asks Cassian who they are and he calls them the Guardians of the Whills. They protected the temple when there was still something to protect. He also makes a remark about how they're still around, just causing trouble. That seems odd/unfair, no? Or is he answering a different question?

I never quite got who/what the "Whills" are in Lucas lore. The entire epic is supposed to be from the Journal of the Whills. I always pictured these tall creatures with gangly limbs and wizened faces. Can't remember where that comes from, but probably a McQuarrie painting. =)

The music hit me better in some spots, but I guess I just don't love the main theme for of this film, the fanfarey one that plays with the title card.

I know there's no crawl, and that makes sense to me, comparing the nature of this story vs. the nine episodes, but I wish there was some way to work in the original theme. It *does* belong with the crawl, tho. O well.

Random thought that struck me about this film vs. the Skywalker bloodline story—this, and maybe other such films in the SWU, are like side missions in a game. I really do hope that Lucasfilm allows itself to explore the SWU at different scales and in different genres and tones once it gets a fix on the interest and success of this and the Han Solo film. I'd love to see a film about the acquisition of the Death Star 2/Endor intelligence before/during events of ROTJ, but have it be more cloak-and-light-dagger spycraft than military espionage and assaults. Of course, sadly, in the end, that information was meant to get into the hands of the Rebels, right? But the movie that tells that story will end with mission: accomplished.

Definitely felt the deaths more this time around. K2, we hardly knew you. Or did we know you better than most, actually? Except for Jyn, the character building is done in quick and pretty broad strokes, strong strokes, and successful for the most part, but whatev—friendships/brother/sisterhoods forged under fire, right?

K2's passing probably hit me hardest, softening me up for Chirrut, Bhodi, and Baze. Although, with Chirrut and Bhodi, their deaths were sort of transmogrified into Baze's last stand/march, when he wades into the remaining troopers blasting, taking hits, and then accepting his end in the detonation of a trooper's fallen grenade. I wish that march had been longer. It really felt like it was building to a Toshiru Mifune samurai-esque last stand, body riddled with arrows—well, tagged with blaster marks, I guess, but cutting down and then thrashing at anyone who attacks/approaches, until he takes everyone he can with him.

Or something.

Make ten men feel like a hundred! Would've liked for "ten" to have been an accurate count. I thought there might've been just ten on board the shuttle, but once they drop and roll out to light up the Citadel, it looked like there had to be maybe twice that. Maybe make twenty men feel like two hundred?

Don't know when I'll have the time, but I'd really like to watch/re-watch CLONE WARS and REBELS (only watched WARS on Cartoon Network back in the day and missed a few and never got to final season online, blerg) to connect some dots for myself. I'm sure that some of those project code names in the Scarif Citadel were callbacks to episodes, right—Black Saber? And I gotta see Saw in the CLONE WARS era. I honestly can't remember, but imagine him being a great character for Anakin foreshadowing of course.

I was hoping to catch Krennic babying his shoulder in present day, a sign of the lasting mark Lyra Erso left him with before she was struck down.

The effects of Saw's brainsucking lie detector creature definitely wear off. I wish there was a line or two about that, from Saw, or Bhodi, or maybe Force-sensitive Chirrut. Saw's losing-one's-mind remark made it sound like he'd effectively be lobotomized or amnesiac.

I like Jyn's no-nonsense speech to the Rogue One troops before leaving the shuttle on Scarif. About taking that chance, then the next one, and the next one, until we win or until we run out of chances. It's somehow hopeful and yet realistic. Boils the impossible mission down into the simplest bite-sized morsels, challenges that can be taken, met, and won, then on to the next.

Find a way.

Her "May the Force be with us" was great, as was Admiral Raddus's "May the Force be with you, Rogue One" from orbit.

On Yavin-4, when Bail explains to Mothma that he's sending someone he trusts with his life to recruit his old Jedi friend, we hear Captain Antilles paged. That timing makes me want to connect the dots, Captain Antilles, Artoo and Threepio's master before Luke, is charged with delivering Leia to Tatooine. However, the assault on Scarif diverts him, placing him, the Tantive IV, Leia, and the droids right where they need to be to make STAR WARS happen. Nice and neat. =)

Can anyone tell me if "Captain Antilles" and "Wedge Antilles" are the same guy? Is "Antilles" like "Smith" in the SWU? REBELS introduced us to Wedge this season, right?

Keep on keepin' on~

Friday, December 16, 2016

ROGUE ONE: Post-screening download…

I'm gonna just ramble out my thoughts on ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY here. Whatever comes to mind, spoilerful notes and thoughts included.


Looks like a full space station out tonight—fitting for a first screening of ROGUE ONE =)

I've done my best to ignore, avoid, and miss all buzz, hype, leaks, and BTS whatnot about this film and I'm very glad I did. Its story managed to surprise me in a couple of pretty basic and important ways.

It dovetails with the beginning of EPISODE 4, pretty much because it must. Rogue One succeeds in extracting the technical readouts of that battle station. Only one Rebel ship that received the plans survives the arrival of Vader's Star Destroyer and one copy of those plans makes it onto a Blockade Runner that barely escapes, and it's this Runner we see at the beginning of EP 4.

At first blush, this feels wrong. It seems like there should be more time, and maybe space—a couple of stops, rendezvouses, or maybe ship transfers?—between this ending and the beginning of A NEW HOPE, right? But remember, at the start of STAR WARS, there is only one copy of the plans, it is precious, unique. This means there was no time or opportunity to make and transmit and/or launch copies to other Rebel contacts. And that means that the blockade runner we see captured by Vader's Star Destroyer is the one that escaped him over Scarif. It's also the blockade runner that Bail Organa dispatched to contact Obi-Wan Kenobi, a trusted friend and Jedi. All of the math works out.

Of course, if you want to ignore Occam's Razor, you might imagine that the Blockade Runner makes it to some rendezvous point, the data is copied and passed on to let's say five other ships, and all six ships then make a run for Yavin-4 thru various circuitous courses. Vader and the Empire manage to destroy them all until only Leia's ship remains, the one which originally received the Rebel transmission.

But, y'know, the momentum of those last minutes really does want to connect directly to the first minutes of A NEW HOPE.

The events, the time involved, just *feels* so compressed, counterintuitive, surprising. Maybe that's good, tho, at least for me, because it made me THINK about how it should have happened, which I somehow never actually have. =)

And I gotta say, I went into this expecting a feel-good big-win story. I mean, we know they get the plans, right? But I hadn't really thought it through… After all, "Many Bothans died," right? Only while I was watching ROGUE ONE, in the scene in Rebels central on Yavin 4 when Jyn Erso passes along her father's message and tries to rally the Alliance forces to assault the Imperial whatzit on Scarif, did it click for me that this was going to be a SEVEN SAMURAI scenario. A victory, but at a high cost.


"Many Bothans died" was Mon Mothma speaking of the Death Star/Endor plans in RETURN OF THE JEDI. There was no reference to the dangers involved in acquiring the Stardust plans in A NEW HOPE. My badd.


The Force is with me and I am one with the Force. I *love* me some Donnie Yen in the SWU. =)

Donnie's Chirrut Imwe is a Jedi Temple guardian. In the aftermath of the Clone Wars and the ascendence of the Empire, he is out of a legit job, but still keeps close to his station, the temple on Jedha, where the Empire is mining Kyber Crystals.

Hrm… Are there a mess of tiny Kyber asteroids in orbit around Endor? In a belt in the Yavin system?

I'm liking to think that guardians might be Force-strong individuals who were found or realized their connection at too late an age to begin Youngling-Padawan training.

I'm fuzzy on whether his longtime space companion Baze Malbus was also a temple guardian. By his demeanor and fighting style, it seems not, but then again, his resilience and uncanny save-the-day timing might be signs of Force-strength, right? Just manifesting in a not-very-Jedi-Knight-y way.

Vader sabering and Forcing his way thru the Rebels is pretty sweet. =)

Felt like a pretty awesome remix of the original trilogy films. The Death Star, deadly chasm shootouts and drops, narrow catwalks over empty air, blaster turrets, X-Wings, AT-ATs, the Rebel fleet caught between Imperial forces and an energy shield, Yavin-4, Mothma and Dodonna, Red and Gold Leaders, even Tarkin and Leia, and was that Biggs as part of Blue squadron?

Oh, the fate of the previous Red 5…

Tarkin and Leia…Still walking the uncanny valley. So close to getting out with Tarkin, tho. Strange, for me, it was the eyes that really broke him. I think all the rest of him was acceptable. As for Leia…I feel like maybe her skin was too polished, and maybe her eyes slightly too large for her face, perhaps to push her youthiness?

I wonder about the decision making involved in going CG with them. Gotta say, Red Leader and Gold Leader looked great, but I guess they had their flight suits, helmets, and gear to support them. They were less naked/exposed CG human than Tarkin and Leia. Is it because of the timing of the events of ROGUE ONE vs. that of A NEW HOPE? I mean they cast new performers for Mothma and Dodonna, right? I'm sure there are some decent lookalikes for both Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher out there, at least, some close matches who could be prostheticked and thespianed to near perfection, right?


When Tarkin first appeared in ROGUE ONE, I thought maybe they would do something clever with him as a cameo, with his back to the camera and his face only appearing as a reflection in the space glass of his Star Destroyer. But, GMT's role turns out to be quite a bit more involved, smacking Orsen Krennic about.

Nice reference to the Death Star as Tarkin's baby/brainstorm.

Pretty awesome little "fix" for the exhaust port vulnerability. Always the butt of fan/nerd jokes, having it be an intentional design feature makes a lot of sense. Too bad Dodonna and Mothma never mention Galen Erso's hand in this in A NEW HOPE, tho, right? Of course, that would seem a bit conspicuous or superfluous in the context of the Skywalker-centric story, heh.

K2SO the reprogrammed Imperial droid was an excellent addition to STAR WARS's droid menagerie. I think it's pretty great how STAR WARS stories can get me to "fall" for droid characters. Alan Tudyk's K2 immediately called to mind AP-5 of STAR WARS REBELS.

Alan Tudyk's part in ROGUE ONE reinforces the "Can't stop the signal" deja view-ness I get with SERENITY. The final transmission of the technical readouts involves a sequence of cartridge insertion and switch flipping on a transmission tower/device that totally reminded me of Mal's signal broadcast.

A last blast of thoughts…

Man, it's a gorgeous frickin STAR WARS film. SOOO great seeing X-wings and TIEs going at it in bright and shiny daylight.

K2's death scene is wonderful.

Did Tarkin order the Death Star to target the transmission dish?

I love that Krennic gets to see that "his" Death Star is his doom. Reminds me of when Bucho's right hand man gets taken out by his beloved truck in DESPERADO. =)

Giachinno's music didn't quite work for me everywhere. It was strongest when it was, or played off of, John Williams's original themes. I get that this is the first in the "spin off" realm of STAR WARS, films that aren't focused on the Skywalker bloodline, but man, I *really* missed the fanfare opening.

I wonder how this movie plays for someone who hasn't seen STAR WARS before. A pretty decent sci-fi war film?

Chirrut's blind Force-adept action sequences were excellent. Nice to see a non-lightsaber staff doing some damage.

Has Vader made Mustafar into his "home?" Interesting that he's in something like a Bacta tank bath when we see him. Treatment for his apnea? =)

Also nice to see the no-look force-choke. Bad-ass. =)

Allright, that's all I've got for now. Maybe after another few days, screenings, weeks, I'll have more or even different, second thoughts. I'll try to get them down here if I can motivate.

May the Force be with you…
Keep on keepin' on~

Sunday, December 04, 2016

WESTWORLD: pre-finale crazy talk…

Some rambling thoughts on WestWorld-ness before the first season finale plays…


This revelation was not a surprise, but I *am* annoyed that I didn't untangle the name/wordplay before last episode. I just hadn't thought about it and had forgotten Bernard's full name until I saw it in print again: BERNARD LOWE. Which probably every fan by now knows or has seen anagrams out to ARNOLD WEBER.
That find is kind of at odds with Ford's own words, when we see him bring Bernard online for the first time and apparently pulls the name "Bernard" from out of thin air.
Perhaps Ford's own programming doesn't catch that consciously? Heh, yeah. I have a zany out there theory that Arnold created Ford and Ford created Bernard. Ford's mechanical family fits Arnold's philosophy of trauma = character, right?
Anyhow… So! Ford created Bernard in the image of his murdered-by-Delores partner, Arnold. Do Hosts age? Does Bernard look the way Arnold did when he died? If so, then…
I haven't found the time to do a re-watch, but when I do, maybe over the holidays…
I'm gonna want to look for scenes with just Bernard and a Host. Or Bernard with random Rosenrantzy types, if there are any such scenes. Cuz, the first time thru, we assume we're watching Bernard interact with someone or some Host. However, if Bernard was designed to look just like Arnold, then we may have actually been watching ARNOLD interact with someone or some Host, and thusly many of his words might have more and/or different significance, and also place the conversation 34 years in the past.
I think that Ashley Stubbs (security chief) getting lured out to the park and than captured by the (G)Host Nation as part of Bernard's (contingency) plan. Well, I *hope* that's the case. I like Bernard! And Ashley is the only one who sussed out and acknowledged Bernard's relationship with Theresa. He has an eye and head for uncovering truths and secrets, so Bernard setting him on a trail that leads to Ford's levels of manipulation and deceit might avenge or even save him.
But—the lure was Elsie's transponder signal or phone or whatever. Did Bernard remember what happened to Elsie before confronting Ford with infernal device Clementine?
But actually—he knew that Elsie was conspicuously absent (supposedly away), and knew that she'd gone snooping in the park before that. So, Bernard could have programmed the park's system to register Elsie's signal without an actual source present.
I'm really hoping for a revelation that shows us that the real world, outside the park, is a serious mess. Dystopian in some way or ways? Post-WW3? Environmental catastrophe? Plague? Corporate fascist state/s? Maybe an extreme 1%/99% schism? It *is* implied that it takes a decent fortune to afford a ticket to WestWorld, right? A playground for the rich.
What if WestWorld is in a bubble, or a Matrix-like sim, or in orbit…? =)
So the board itself is behind the transmission of proprietary data out of the park, presumably to some umbrella corp's military R&D division, right?
But maybe it's something else? And maybe Ford knows about it. Why would he allow it to go on? Perhaps because it's information he doesn't give a damn about.
Maybe it's not technical info at all, but compromising data/recordings of the behavior of certain patrons?
Maybe he's allowed certain data to leave his kingdom because he knows it's useless or unimportant? Or because he's intentionally poisoned it so that it's useless.
When Bernard goes searching for the Woodcutter data, it’s registered as an anomaly. When he asks if any other anomalies are found in the park, Ford’s “family” is returned as five hits.
Charlotte had Sizemore load up a decommissioned Host—Delores's father?—with the data that didn't make it out via the Woodcutter, right? But we learned from Felix and Sylvester (the two cartoon cats =) that modern Hosts are designed to self-destruct on leaving the park. Presumably this is no big secret, right? So Sizemore and Charlotte would take steps to disable this…
If they can't modify the Host—Felix and Sylvester made it sound seriously nontrivial, right? Requiring something like building a new body from scratch?—that means that they'll have to deactivate the detection grid that signals that a Host is leaving or outside the park.
Perfect opportunity for Maeve to escape as well!
But—how the heck did she arrange for all of this to happen?
Hrm…Has the show been playing with time even within a single era (the "now")? So that the shenanigans with the Woodcutter and Charlotte and the data occur slightly later than Maeve's awakening and are in fact the result of Maeve's choreography? She could have tinkered with the Woodcutter's programming to get him to tilt the way he did, and then force the board to find another way to get the data out of the park—in the body of a Host!
I think a lot of people are set on MIB being an older Will, but bits and pieces of MIB's dialogue don't quite tip the scale decisively for me. Is Logan the prince of the money family that saves Delos? Does young Will marrying into Logan's family give him enough power to "save" Delos? Even if Logan dies in some park related mishap, or the fallout from one? I don't know.
The idea that MIB kept a dark side hidden from his wife and daughter works for both Will and Logan, with Will's dark side manifesting itself for the first time in his visit to WestWorld. Maybe he has to kill Logan? Or not save Logan? Or let Delores do him in?
His connection to Maeve… It's weird and kind of weak to me that MIB would test himself by savagely killing two Hosts, a mother and child, in WestWorld. *Knowing* their Hosts, is it really a test of his potential for evil/darkness? Hrm…Maybe only if he believes that Hosts are *alive* as well…
Which—points to MIB being Will.
But—maybe Logan does eventually see and acknowledge something different in Delores alongside Will. After all, she's not really hiding her difference-ness 30 years back, is she? And if that's the case, Logan may know, or be ready to believe, that Hosts have the potential for the spark of life?
Yeah, I'm reaching…
The maze itself is the sum of a man’s life—the choices he makes, the dreams he hangs on to. And there at the center, there’s a legendary man who had been killed over and over again countless times, but always clawed his way back to life. The man returned for the last time and vanquished all his oppressors in a tireless fury…He built a house…Around that house, he built a maze so complicated, only he could navigate through it…I reckon he’d seen enough of fighting.
MIB is repeatedly told that the Maze is not for him. Whom is it for, then? If we buy into Arnold as benevolent Creator, then I’d say it’s for the Hosts. A trial for a Host to experience, at the end of which she or he is made…complete, or free, or, y’know, something like that, right?
While I love the idea of a game hidden within the world of the WW park, I’m not sure I buy any more that it’s all Arnold’s doing. It seems like it might be a diversion, or a trick, to somehow trigger Arnold’s sentience Easter eggs, to fool potentially troublesome Arnold code or Hosts into revealing themselves. Maybe it *is* Arnold’s creation, but a distraction from his real secrets…A shame to think of Delores and Teddy’s and even MIB’s journeys as a decoy, tho, right?
But, doesn’t Maeve’s arc seem like the real maze?
Randomish aside—LOVED the appearance of a “Minotaur” as part of Wyatt’s marauders. =)
While watching this show, I've been torn between sitting back and leaning forward. Do I want to work at seeking and solving puzzles, or do I want to sit back and enjoy a fascinating, ingenious, gorgeous, and thoughtful bit of storytelling? I’ve been watching it pretty much alone, too, and keeping away from reviews and theories, only chatting with a high school friend who’s been very much more lean-in than I have been so far. Maybe I’ll lean-in harder next season…
Who’s got the energy, tho? *sigh*
Well, season finale and all, I guess I can mostly sit back for this one, right?
Riiiiight… =)
Keep on beepin' on~

Monday, July 18, 2016

12 MONKEYS: Theory-palooza 2

Got a couple more partially baked notions to share…

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So far, the conflict over the undoing of the plague-pocalypse and then the destruction of Time has been between two parties—the Witness and his Army of the 12 Monkeys versus Project Splinter and Jennifer Goines and her Daughters.

But in the wake of their conflict, they have created a third, de facto party—the allies of Team Splinter and the discarded pawns of the Witness. People whose lives amount to collateral damage in the conflict between these two temporal superpowers.

I believe that someone could organize these individuals into a strategic and effective force that can make a difference in the outcome of this time war—Olivia.

She’s familiar with the Word of the Witness and the worldly workings of the Army over decades of time. She has visited the Red Forest and can navigate others to it via red leaf tea. She is gifted with supernatural strength and healing, and may very well be Splinter-compatible (like the Messengers, whose DNA and abilities contribute to her own, thanks to Vivian Rutledge).

She’d be like Professor X, rescuing and recruiting his X-Men, or Nick Fury collecting Secret Warriors, locating literal and figurative “orphans” of the conflict—the likes of Samuel Ramse, Agent Robert Gale, Gale’s granddaughter, Victoria Mason and her son, Elliot Jones, maybe even her brother, Tall Man—and recruiting them to join her in defying the will, plans, and Word of the Witness.

To assemble the most effective force possible, she’d need one thing that she’s apparently missing—time travel. As far as we know, she’s never engaged in actual time travel herself. She travels thru time the usual way—from past to future, one day at a time. Father created her in Germany in the 50s; Vivian brought her to America in 1961 to raise her; she grew up to become one of the leaders of the Army of the 12 Monkeys; and she rejects the Witness and his Word in 2016.

It shouldn’t be THAT difficult for her to get access to Elliot Jones’s Project Splinter, right? We know that she quits the Witness in 2016, but we don’t see her turn in her Monkey gun and badge. She may still retain her position in the Army and its authority, and with that authority, she should be able to finagle access to Elliot’s to-the-future Splinter device, right? And that gets her access to the future. And once in the future, she should potentially have access to all of Time (via Katarina’s Project Splinter, or perhaps the Witness’s Titan?).

Or maybe she contacts a Splinter agent in 2016 at the Emerson. Could she approach young Katarina? She wouldn’t need Elliot’s device if she can enlist the aid of a Splinternaut.

Let’s assume she gets access to time travel tech. She could turn 2044 Titan into the action-packed final showdown of TIME BANDITS! She could Splinter in allies from any point in time, including…

Samuel Ramse (post-Core-feedback blast, older? or perhaps still youthy, as proof for Ramse and company of her benevolent, anti-Witness intentions)
Agent Robert Gale
Gale’s granddaughter
Elliot Jones (2016 or later)
Jennifer & Daughters (2044, they stayed behind at the Bleeders’ camp)
Victoria Mason & son (rescued from the Immortal by Cole and Ramse 1975)
Tall Man (a future version?)

Could she save those who have died, or appeared to have died?

David Eckland? (dis-Splinter-ated)
Eyepatch Ramse?
Charlie Messenger?

And, since Olivia and none of these allies were actually present for the events we witness in 2044 Titan at the end of “Blood Washed Away,” they could Splinter in before them and pre-emptively undoing their deaths without causing a paradox.

Maybe undoing isn’t necessary, tho. This would be wild, but what if Olivia’s agents are already at Titan when Ramse, Deacon, Hannah, and Marcus are killed? They’re the ones (some of the ones) in the masks and robes, and have faked our heroes’ deaths! =)

Yeah…Probably not. Boo.

And it’s probably “easier” to have C+C show up at the Bleeders’ camp to rally Jennifer and her Daughters to join them and save Ramse and the gang before they get Katar’d up.

Better to keep Olivia’s Task Force O under wraps until they’re REALLY needed, right? =)

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What is it that they produce at that factory, anyway? Think maybe they’re owned by, or become, a division of Markridge?

If the factory IS consumed by a massive paradox (more powerful than what we saw in “Blood Washed Away”), perhaps it’s by design. The paradox may have blasted the factory, its machinery, and materials out of reality and into the red tea zone, ready to be shaped and transformed into Titan.

I suspect that Elliot Jones is familiar with the red tea zone, thanks to some mind-expanding experimentation with the green-to-red ivy he created in his lab. He might understand the “timelessness” of the dimension, and figured out how to exploit it to develop the technology and complete the construction required to make Tall Man’s Project Titan a reality.

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Unmake history!

Keep on keepin’ on~

Sunday, July 17, 2016

12 MONKEYS: Theory-palooza!

Gonna throw everything, theory-wise, that I’ve got cooking in my so-called brain out here and see what sticks. =)

Well, y'know, not quite *everything*, but whatever I can think of that has a bit more than just hey-what-if? behind it… Stuff that’s at least, umm, let’s say… half-baked.

Mostly. =)

I’m gonna try and keep the crazy-talk-splanations short. If you’ve read my rambling before, you know it tends to get away from me. Some of what follows has been covered in longer posts already.

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Elliot Jones invents time travel into the future. In inventing that, he’s also responsible for the creation of red leaves. He’s also the first person, umm, causatively(?), not chronologically, to get a chance to experiment with them in a mind-expanding way. Given his hippie demeanor, I can easily imagine him rolling the leaf before crushing it. =)

So, he’s the first human being to visit the red tea zone, the limbo outside of Time and reality, the eventual home of the Red Forest. Without the guidance of a Primary or someone with a mental map, like Olivia, who knows what Elliot’s experience would be like? Maybe raw, unguided exposure to the red tea zone is what makes Elliot the Witness, what causes/allows him to “see everything,” like the ant stepping out of the (Time) line.

And maybe he becomes the Witness that Cassie, Olivia, and Tall Man meet in the House of Cedar and Pine when he’s on one of his mind-expanding trips and his body is destroyed and consumed by a paradox event, the one that creates the Red Forest, perhaps the 1957 Melinda paradox, or maybe as part of the chaotic Splinter event at Raritan Valley in 1957, or perhaps a physical meeting with himself, once he himself becomes a chrononaut.

The big question mark/issue I’ve got with EJ as the Witness? Is the restoration of his consciousness into a body on the physical plane, in reality, worth all of the manipulation the Witness is responsible for?

What else is there for EJ? Saving the world/reality? Doesn’t really seem his style, except that that’s the place where he keeps all his stuff. Saving someone who matters to him? Katarina? Hannah? That seems kind of thin, too, although I do like the idea that his treatment of Katarina tugs at what there is of his humanity, as described above in DAVE-ECKLAND-IS-ELLIOT-JONES. Maybe it’s all a means to a still greater science-y powerful end? Or in service to another, greater intelligence or cause?

I’d just really like for it to be Elliot, cuz he’s there at the beginning of time travel in its technological and psychic forms, and he’d be a fitting opposite to Katarina, who declares that she’s not the physicist that reality needs, she’s the one it got by default. When I heard her say that, I immediately felt that she was talking about Elliot.

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Duh, right? I had my doubts as to his ability to become this shadowy mastermind. James Cole’s natural bent is to take action in the moment. Get from point A to point B via a bullet, right? But what we’ve seen of Cole this season, and what Old Jennifer points out, is a transformation in Cole, growth towards becoming not just a leader, but a clever strategist, with still untapped potential.

Y'know, when he hasn’t given up on saving the world to give his lady love a pre-apocalyptic life.

Another huge asset for Cole-as-Witness is his apparent “photographic memory.” He can recall every thing he’s seen (and perhaps heard) in his experiences thus far and leverage ever piece of it to manipulate and/or re-create the scenarios and strategies he’s lived thru, but from the side of the Witness.

How does he become the Witness? I still like the idea that our Cole confronts his older, Witness’d self, and sacrifices himself in a paradox. Ideally, it would be willingly, after reasoning out that he has to take this step to save/preserve Cassie, his friends, and possibly his family. In the aftermath of the paradox event, our young Cole’s consciousness is shunted into the red tea zone, along with the house and the Red Forest, while Witness Cole is fully resolved back into reality and able to move forward with his plans in/from his base of Titan.

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Yeah, I do believe I’ve covered this. =)

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The greatest straight-line (but there are no straight lines!) explanation for how he becomes big W is that it’s the Witness who takes his hand at the end of “Meltdown.”

But, if future Samuel is the Witness, how could he safely take his hand? Simple enough—the Witness has developed technology that amounts to an essence containment suit. Wearable tech (perhaps that version of the Plague Doctor mask we’ve seen with the rebreather and other mechanical bits?) that prevents the the contact/reaction caused by close proximity with one’s out-of-time doppelganger.

I’m 50-50 on whether Samuel lands in the distant past or future. I think either could be a great setting for the Witness to raise, educate, and train his replacement—his younger self. If it’s the future, a time and place somehow AFTER all the strife and death and conflict that he’s been raised in, well, the promise of that, a non-Red-Forest truly better tomorrow would be great motivation for Sam, who as a child demonstrated a pretty altruistic philosophical stance by chiding his father for possibly sacrificing billions to save his Sam’s life. Sam seems a natural for a big-picture-valuing ethical person, someone who cares about the Greater Good/Good of the Many.

And Sam-as-the-Witness would certainly emphasize the story of Ramse going rogue to preserve his son’s existence. It might be presented as something remarkable, something to admire and aspire to (and paints the expected Traveler in a fiercely loyal and motivated light), but for Sam the Witness, it’s a reminder of how a connection or relationship can lead to disastrous decisions.

One interesting “weakness” I kind of want to attribute to a Sam Witness is the salvation of his mother, Elena. I wince a bit every time Ramse stakes his claim of “fatherhood” to Cole, but I let it go. He done and lived and sacrificed a lot for his son’s sake, never mind that he’s only spent a month of two of actual time with the boy. But never once did I hear or see him consider some time traveling shenanigans to save the life of his son’s mother. You know exactly where and when she’ll be in the future—Leave a freaking note tacked to a bulletproof vest for her in 2016!

I’d like for the Witness to have somehow saved Elena. It would be amazing if SHE’s the one who takes Sam’s hand in the green forest, altho his reaction doesn’t seem to be in line with that. At least, not if he can see her face.

Hrm… Elena as the Witness? Yeah, I’ve thought about it, and would love it, but haven’t been able to connect enough dots to build a decent story for it.

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Yeah, a longshot, and the details of getting from the Adler we know to Adler-as-the-Witness are tough to imagine, but watch “Resurrection” and watch Adler.

Most of my Witness theory thinking involves one of our heroes as we know them being the pre-Witness. However, the funky looks from and at Adler in “Resurrection” seem to want to paint him as already the Witness. Having some fun in the field.

He’s programmed every Splinter mission, right? The pre-Cole “volunteers.” The errorful and malfunctioning ones. The successful (or at least, not completely disastrous) ones. What if the machine always worked as it should, but Adler’s programming caused or faked malfunctions and errors by design?

And in “Blood Washed Away,” he hits the road with Ramse and co, but at the Bleeders’ camp, he hangs back with Jennifer and the Daughters, and doesn’t go to Titan. I assume the plan is for Ramse, Marcus, Deacon, and Hannah to kill the Witness and come back for Adler’s time traveling know-how.

But his staying behind does allow for him entering Titan on his own and changing into mask and robe to join his minions—or sisters and brothers—in time for Festival.

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1957-1959 THIS WAS HOME

That message appeared on the wall in the house by the Red Forest when Olivia walked in to her red tea meeting with Mr. W. In the flow of the conversation between Olivia and Witness, it was definitely an unprompted, unconnected remark.

I want to believe that it was a message for someone else, not Olivia. That the Witness was finishing a red tea session with another visitor and that visitors are unaware of each other unless the Witness somehow wills it, even if they’re “present” at the “same time.”

Or, maybe big W was careless about erasing his message from an already complete “earlier” red tea session.

In any case, in the audience’s future, I see someone else visit the Witness and that someone enters the house “before” Olivia and maybe they’re trying to locate Cassandra and/or Cole and the Witness gives them that response: 1957-1959 THIS WAS HOME. So, it’s not meant to be taken as a first-person statement, but in reference to someone else (C+C).

Perhaps it’s red tea’d Primary Lillian who visits, attempting to find a proper time and place to intercept her parents(?).

Huh. Maybe that non sequitur *is* meant for Olivia. So that when she’s ready to take the fight to the Witness, she can exploit that information (disinformation?) to catch the Witness before he’s full Witness’d.

What *would* Olivia make of that information, anyway?

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Some possibly fanciful ideas about just who’s behind the masks and hoods of the killers of Ramse, Hannah, Marcus, and Deacon at the end of “Blood Washed Away”


Our heroes, Ramse, Hannah, Marcus, and Deacon, are killed by alternate versions of themselves. Ideally, goateed versions.


Our heroes, Ramse, Hannah, Marcus, and Deacon, are killed by people whom they killed. Each of them is done in slightly differently, as if each killer had a favorite method, or perhaps chose to deal with their killing in different, personal, degrees of intimacy. Ramse is skewered in the chest from afar—a slow bleed, so that he would see his people go before he does. Marcus takes it in the chest—facing his killer. Hannah in the back—her killer can’t look her in the eye. Deacon’s throat is slit—very personal, intimate.


Every mask and robe wearing Titanian is someone who was deleted from reality by a change made by a Splinter agent. Maybe the Army is made up of these orphans of Time, in need of home, family, and purpose. The Witness, Tall Man, and Titan provide all of this. They would be especially motivated to punish and prevent Project Splinter from adding to their number and possibly even undo their successes.

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Maybe Katarina has a type? I wouldn’t have guessed it right off, but it seems like it takes a bit of a hippie-dippie scientist fellow to break through her natural defenses. Both Elliot Jones and David Eckland fit that description. Eckland with more of the truly hippie philosophy behind it, a self-proclaimed pacifist, while Jones seems dedicated to his science (and the renown it should bring him), but seems familiar with a bit of mind expansion, man. Eckland could be Jones if he really got what he wanted and/or mellowed out, y'know?

So, HOW would this happen?

Through Immersion. Oh! Did I forget to mention? In order for this to work, Elliot Jones is/becomes the Witness. David Eckland is someone whom the Witness knows is/will be immune to the virus and part of the Spearhead contingent of scientists. He’s also someone who’s experienced Immersion. Whether it was voluntary (as a member of the Army) or against his will (a conditioned abductee), I don’t know, but either way, he was treated with and immersed in red leaf sauce, making him a vessel for the Witness’s consciousness whenever necessary.

I’m gonna say that “whenever necessary” covers the months and years of Eckland’s courtship of and relationship with Katarina Jones. Maybe this is a purely recreational trip for big W. An astral vacation. Or maybe a bit of karmic adjustment, an attempt to make up for how he treated Katarina when they split back in 2015, and the pain that he caused her afterward—first as Elliot and then as the big W. As the Witness he learns that he set her on the path of considering an abortion of their child, then orchestrates the events which lead to her mourning Hannah’s loss for 20+ years. So, I like to think that he returns to her as David Eckland to bring some happiness back into Kat’s life, and maybe possibly perhaps his own. Who else could possibly be a better, proper match for the godfather of time travel than its godmother, right?

Sure, the Witness was also controlling Cassie in 2044, but it was either a past or future Witness, and while they may have appeared to be at cross purposes, both were no doubt playing his and her parts just as required. Witness-Eckland does turn out to be the “solution” to the troubles unleashed by Witness-Cassandra after all, as well as the proximate cause (the grand romantic gesture in the name of love) of the Splinter energy that spirits Samuel away. If nothing else, we know that the Witness is a master multitasker.

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A couple of aspects of C+C’s experiences from 1957 thru 1959 that may signal that they didn’t occur in the reality shared by everyone else in the show.

1. The passage of time.

I can believe in the grind of the eleven months searching for the Primary being real and lived by C+C, but the jumps in time that follow the paradox… They might be jumps experienced by C+C themselves, as well as by the audience. It reminds me of the the weirdness of time in LOST’s Sideways reality, the willful malleability of time in the virtual reality of DOCTOR WHO’s Library planet, and the way Elliot gets his consciousnes to skip to the conclusion in that one episode of MR. ROBOT.

Yeah, it’s a stretch, but I like it. And it’s a smart detail because it’s in practical service to storytelling.

2. Agent Gale.

How does neither Cole nor Cassie contact their friend in the F.B.I. while on this mission?

That they don’t ring him in the eleven months makes me suspect the reality of that time as well, but I’ll allow it. Perhaps C+C work out that there’s nothing F.B.I. resources can help them with when it comes to auditing all of the Maxwell-Rigfield factory employees.

But in the two years after the paradox…? Cole on his own? Why wouldn’t he contact Robert? He’s got an envelope with important information about his future to slip into his overcoat pocket, dammit!

And Cassie, searching for Cole/Morris Morrison? What better resource than the F.B.I.?

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When Charlie paradoxes Melinda, C+C are caught in the event. Serumed up, the paradox sends their consciousnesses into a virtual reality, a temporary shared universe, in which we see the 1957-1959 events they experience transpire. In this bubble universe, Lillian is born, maybe to them, but maybe not. She is a Primary, born in the bubble universe. Being a Primary, she is aware of the reality/unreality of their situation and attempts to open C+C’s eyes to it. Maybe that’s enough to crack the bubble, but what about this?

What if it takes a Primary paradox to bust them out? And Lillian offers herself up as that (being Primary, she knows it’s meant to be, y'know, if it is). And it’s HER unique Primary paradox that lights up Katarina’s readings in 2044 and results in permanent erosion of Time in the region of the Maxwell-Rigfield factory in 1957, and, for better and worse, the creation of the Red Forest in the red tea zone.

So, Melinda’s paradox is the fuse and Lillian’s is the bomb. I imagine that C+C are ejected from the bubble and red tea zone back to reality moments after Melinda’s paradox and perhaps miles away, inside or near the Raritan Valley Labs.

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The strange chaotic Splinter phenom that zaps those four soldiers at Raritan Valley to the future is C+C’s ticket back to 2044. Maybe these future versions of them have been hiding in the facility during the 2044 events since Meltdown. Heh. Maybe they’ve been following Raging Ramse and Imperator Primariosa on Titan Road for the last 11 months, too. And once Ramse, Hannah, Deacon, and Marcus leave Jennifer, Adler, and the Daughters behind for Titan, C+C reveal themselves and offer up a plan based on Primary intel from Lillian.

Or something.

What IS the tech that’s brought to the lab in 1957? Is it a piece of Titan in development? I so hope that it’s a piece of the “flying saucer” wreckage found in Roswell, NM. =)

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What if Ramse met himself on that road? What would he tell himself? He came back ready to kill Cassie and then himself and ends up being talked into living for revenge on the Witness. Perhaps that’s exactly what future Ramse wanted him to do, but he painted the situation differently, something like what Old Jennifer tells Young Jennifer… The Old Ramse was where Young Ramse was once, and he chose to continue his walkabout and ended up living the life of a scav the rest of his (short?) life. He regrets not going back to get revenge on the people responsible for taking his son.

Yeah, not a huge redirection, right? I’m just very taken with the idea of Ramse’s walkabout being a true Walkabout, y'know? The idea is to meet yourself.

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Something that’s bugged me… Way back in the first couple eps of season 2, when Cole follows Jennifer up onto that rooftop in Chinatown, Ramse is also in pursuit, slightly behind Cole. He’s intercepted by someone we don’t see, tho, and knocked out. Then we see that Cassie beats Ramse to the roof resulting in the super gun fun.

The timing implies that Cassie knocked Ramse out. Can we believe that? With surprise, serum strength, and Scav King training, I suppose…

Still could it have been someone else? Could that moment have been exploited to replace or program/Immerse our Ramse? Could the Ramse we’ve known and loved in the episodes after that be a different or compromised one? He is pretty adamant about his intentional inexperience with red leaf shenanigans while working with the Army. Protest too much?

Actually, he protested just right, and it does seem in line with his personality…

Which makes it the perfect denial, right? =)

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JENNIFER: I see everything. The others like me. The numbers. 607. You, her.
COLE: Cassie?
JENNIFER: You want her to love you, but she doesn’t. Being single is not the end of the world. You two together is, though.
“You want her to love you, but she doesn’t.” What do we think of that? Hasn’t the rest of Jennifer’s Primary rambling been accurate, once it’s been deciphered and connected to actual events?

Do we ever hear Cassandra tell Cole, “I love you?”

Is she taking a (sexy) one for the team? Maybe Cole pointing out that Cassandra has succeeded in getting herself to a place where she has nothing to lose opened Cass’s eyes to the notion that Cole needs something to fight for. He’s completely resigned to letting the world burn and living his life out in the past. For whatever reason, Cole is important, and needs to get back in the fight, so, she resolves to create something for him to fight for—their relationship, perhaps their child (then Ramse will have to eat his “You’ve never been a father” words).

There are worse reasons to live a lie, right?

Anyone ever read DC Comics’s NIGHT FORCE back in the early 80s?

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In 1961, he tells Cole that he has a granddaughter, age 2. So, likely born in 1959. That makes her 16 in 1975, 49 in 2009 (James’s likely birth year), 55 in 2016, 59 in 2020, and 83 in 2044. 49 is a bit on the mature side to safely bear a child, so unfortunately, my wish that Gale is James’s great grandfather is not likely to come true. Boooo…

Does this 2-yo in 1961 connect to anyone we know?

How about Cole and Cassie’s child, born in 1959? I imagine the situation in the moment would be that C+C have had their child, they’ve been inspired/motivated to rally back to the Mission, hopefully with some intel about their friends that need saving, about to acquire transpo back to the future to take the fight to the Witness in Titan, and need to place their baby with someone they trust in 1959, possibly for the long haul.

Agent Gale—and his child, apparently—to the rescue. Hell of a thing to do, but Gale is definitely one of the Good Ones.

Would any part of this interaction/transaction add to the “bum hair” tally?

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What if Cass and Cole and Jennifer conspired to *fake* Zeit’s story and identity in order to bring Katarina hope again?

It’s possible that Cass and Jennifer pulled off such a deception without Cole’s knowledge. It depends on whether Cole ever saw Hannah on her sickbed. I don’t think we ever saw him in the same room with Katarina and Hannah. In the several attempts Cole says they made, having that happen would have tipped Katarina off.

So, Cassie’s the one who brings the girl to Jennifer and Cole in the woods. Where she’d get another/different 5-yo, I do not know. But on seeing her, Cole wouldn’t know it’s not her. And although Jennifer never sees Hannah’s face in Spearhead, I think her Primary abilities would clue her in if Cassie tried to pull a fast one like this on her own.

Technically, to escape the loop, two things had to happen…

1. Jennifer had to escape her execution.
2. Katarina had to mourn her daughter’s death.

So, saving Hannah was above and beyond, but certainly worth the effort to pull Katarina back from the precipice of despair.

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In the moment, seeing Cassie write those words in the bar of the Emerson Hotel, it seems like she’s writing them for Cole.

We know what follows, though, at least, in the version that James recites to us in the series premiere:
Where are you right now?
Somewhere warm, safe? Next to someone you love?
Now, what if all that was gone? And the only thing you could do was survive?
You would, right? You’d try.
You’d do things, horrible things… until you lose that last thing you have left…yourself.
But what if you could take it back… All of it?
A reset switch.
You’d hit it, right?
You’d have to.
If Cassie does indeed continue to write this message, who could it be for? It almost seems to be leading up to apology for hitting reset, doesn’t it? So, written to someone who might get deleted or overwritten as a result of a reset. Yes, that could be Cole, but Cole is all too familiar with this conundrum from actual experience. He doesn’t need it spelled out for him.

It seems to me like a message Cass or Cole might leave for their child. Maybe it’s a note that’s left with Agent Gale when he takes in their daughter…?

Or maybe a note for posterity, to explain their mission. I suppose it would only ever be read if they failed, tho, eh?

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We need for Young Jennifer to come across some artifact of Old Jennifer’s, some in-case-of-emergency-break case, w/a combination lock or password, so that these numbers will open it and reveal to her just the item or words she needs to see/hear (a dose of red leaf tea?) to step up properly to Motherhood.

It’s too bad Cole wasn’t present for the recitation of the lucky numbers, because then he could flex his photographic memory later and reveal something Jennifer left for him.

If Old Jennifer *was* in cahootz w/the Witness, or rather, playing at it, maybe she contributed these numbers as an override code for Titan. I mean, if you want the right numbers, who better to ask than a Primary (and 12 isn’t one of the numbers =).

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Well, that’s all I’ve got… All I’ve got time for, that is. =)

If I can find more insomniac hours before the finale tomorrow, maybe I’ll hunker down and assemble one final pre-finale dropping. Lucky you!

LOVE this freaking show!

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin’ on~

Friday, July 15, 2016

12 MONKEYS: 02x12: Blood Washed Away: 1957 to 1959…

Okay. There’s just too much going on in my head to cover in one post. I’ve had a dozen or so false starts on posts since 02x11 “Resurrection.” I have a problem pulling back to talk about big picture stuff and keep getting sucked into probably-incredibly-unlikely what-if detaily bits.


So, what this is gonna be—what this is—is me walking thru the events we witness occurring from 1957 to 1959 in “Blood Washed Away.” I’m not touching the events that we saw unfold at 2044 Titan at all. Then I’ll explain what I think they might mean. I’ll admit, I’m going out on an ethereal limb here, but I find some stuff out there that I like, and even though it may not be suitable for prime time, I’m gonna take a look at it.

Do feel free to skip the two years of play-by-play and zip on down to “THE THING IS…” to get down to the nitty-gritty crazy. =)

1957 to 1959, APPARENTLY.

C+C spend 11 months in 1957 trying to identify the Primary as an employee at the Maxwell-Rigfield Manufacturing factory to no avail. Of course, it turns out that the Primary, Melinda, is the wife of Charlie, an employee and friend of Cole's. Charlie, whose life began in 2015, sent back in time from 2043 with a Messenger partner to kill Melinda.

Come November 7, 1957, Charlie is married to Melinda, who is suffering from cancer (and its chemotherapy, according to Charlie). His Messenger partner? Dead, circumstances unknown (I suspect that he's the nimrod who "fell" from the factory rooftop some time ago, tho). That mishap is part of some excellent choreography on the part of Charlie Messenger, as it removes the threat of his partner and sets the stage for the introduction of Reginald “Red Herring” Dupuy.

Melinda's paradoxidation is a bit perplexing to me. Emotionally, I get it. But Charlie-philosophically, it seems a bit muddy (after two viewings, maybe number three will clear it up).

She walks into the factory with the instrument of her own paradox—the bone dagger from the future. As a Primary, she has seen what happens to her, where, when, and how she is paradoxed. It happens at the factory and Charlie is the one who does it. In his words, Charlie is resistant…
CASS: You're one of the twelve. You're a Messenger.
CHARLIE: I was, but I won't be. Not to her. I can't hurt her.
CASS: She's Primary. If you paradox her, you'll destroy everyone—everything. Where's the other Messenger?
CHARLIE: He's dead. I'm not like them. Not everything the Witness said was true. Because when I saw you. I just…I couldn't do it.

In his deeds, however… Well, he accepts the box from Melinda, opens it, and takes the dagger in his hand. He is ready to use it. Melinda has a gun. Cassandra brought a gun. Cole brings a gun. If it's about ending Melinda's suffering, a bullet would do the trick, possibly near-instantly. However, Charlie chooses the dagger.
MELINDA: Do this…and we can live forever in the Red Forest like you said…
COLE: Charlie!
CHARLIE: I'm sorry, Cole. But you of all people should understand this.
Damn, that could mean so many things. Charlie doesn't just know Cole. As a Messenger, he knows ABOUT Cole. All of the gosh-shucks advice he gives him, he gives him knowing his actual Time Jesus-y circumstances.
CHARLIE: It's just so cruel. So when I say what I say, you know I know. Because when it comes down to it, the only thing you'll be wishing for is more time. Trust me.
And just a minute or two earlier…
CHARLIE: See? You do care. And whatever is stopping you two, it isn't worth it. This whole world could eat shit and die, It wouldn't matter if you were together.
An interesting echo of some of Jennifer's rambling on C+C in 2016…
JENNIFER: You know, like a kiss. You just have to close your eyes and let the world die. You can be with him.
So, Charlie seems to deny the Witness when he says not everything big W says is true. But in the end, he goes along with his mission, and Melinda's wish/Primary vision, and paradoxes the woman he loves, against his own word—he won't be a Messenger to her, he can't hurt her.

Of course, my take is that the Witness knew and planned on/for everything that happens as we saw it (see the aside above).

Charlie stabs Melinda. Cole gets a shot off, maybe hits Charlie, since his stab follow-thru has him facing Melinda, his back to Cole. The pink and gooey paradox effect seems to catch Cassie, but not Cole. Cole's paradox speed seems to kick in and he pulls her to the shelter of some machinery. We see the paradox effect blow out the windows of the factory from outside as flames from exploding tanks of something or other shoot out of them.

Nineteen days later we learn that Cassie is in a coma and no one else survived the explosion (none are as lucky as she is). Well, no one but Cole, who apparently was able to make himself scarce soon after. He visits her, surreptitiously, and explains to her that he is sorry that he failed, and that the best thing for her when she wakes up is to forget about him. And he leaves…

We then see that Cassie is reliving her trance sessions with Olivia, hearing her voice guiding her to the House of Cedar and Pine in the Red Forest.

Six months pass in a lighting and/or filter change (two seasons later, not a huge mystery, right?) and Cassandra wakes from her coma. That drops us into May 26, 1958.

No comment from the medical staff about Cassie's blood or any funky effects of the Quantum Serum. Maybe they don't have the technology to recognize that there's anything unusual? Fifteen years earlier, a physical didn't reveal anything unusual about Ramse's health (aside from the advanced localized osteoporosis). In any case, she must've been in a REALLY bad way if it takes her serum-enhanced physiology six months to heal her.

Another six months (November 26, 1958—Thanksgiving and Christmas soon) finds Cassandra working as a nurse for Dr. Ed, diagnosing Lyme disease years before it's officially recognized. I wonder if the boy she saves grows up to be someone important.

A few months later and it's 1959, and we learn that Cassie spends some of her downtime writing in the Emerson Hotel bar.
CASS: Where are you right now? Some place warm? Safe? Next to someone you love?
This must be the origin/creation of those words, familiar to us as voiceover we've heard in several episodes, first in Cole's voice, then in Cassandra's. This moment, their creation, as ink on paper, is interrupted when Cass turns to look at the man who's just ordered a whiskey sour. Alas, not James. We don't see if she continues writing, and which words follow, but it immediately makes me wonder under what circumstances does James ultimately read/recite them. After her death? Her disappearance? The words found in her belongings? Or planted in his pocket for him to find after some final mission or last stand.

Next, we see a bellhop pass along a message revealing that Cassie's been searching for Cole, at the speed of 1959. A search for Morris Morrison, the alias given to James by Jennifer Goines in 2016 (Jennifer enables Cassie to find him!), has turned up an address…

Cassandra drives there and ends up parking in front of the House of Cedar and Pine, in reality, not the Red Forest. She approaches the house and finds James playing handyman beside it. He's just cut his thumb while sawing some wood for some home improvement project.
COLE: What are you doing here?
CASS: What are *you* doing *here*?
COLE: The house? It's mine. I bought it.
CASS: Why this house?
COLE: I was driving by, saw the "for sale" sign. Needs a lot of work. The hospital… They weren't sure if you were ever gonna wake up. But I knew you would.
And they exchange pointed words about hurting each other, and when Cassie feels she's gotten the last word in about James leaving her out of fear, she turns to leave… And it begins to rain. The red tea deja vu familiarity of the rain stops her, and she turns back to him and notices that he's bleeding. The healer in her kicks in and she offers to help clean it up. While doing that…
CASS: Easy…We have to wash it first. It's not as bad as it looked. Just bled a lot.
OLIVIA & CASS: Most of the blood has washed away…

The exact words from Olivia's red tea trance guidance. The rest of the words come back to Cass as she wanders into the next room and recognizes it as the room in which she was trapped while possessed.

She understands that Olivia, the Army, the Witness, they KNEW that this moment happens, exactly as it does.
CASS: Like a memory of tomorrow… They knew this place. This moment. You.
COLE: What are you talking about?
It's aggravating how she still doesn't spill everything. The most she's ever told anyone about her experience while red tea'd or possessed seems to be what she shared with Ramse, about being in the Witness's head while he was in hers and seeing Titan. No details about the environment of the Red Forest or the house. Boo…

If you're Cassandra, what are you thinking and wondering at this point? Does it dawn on you that Cole may be the Witness? Perhaps YOU are? Even if it crosses your mind, tho, no time for that! Gotta talk Cole out of giving up on saving the world again. Nope, he’s not hearing it. So, time to leave (again). Oh, but wait, Cole's saying ridiculous stuff about doing everything for me. Gotta straighten him out. Okay, I've said my peace. Huh. He just said that I don't have him. I’ve “succeeded” and there's nothing between us. Is that true? He looks pretty damn good, even in this creepy house. I better kiss him just to make sure there's nothing, and kiss him hard.

Yeah, that's probably not how her thinking goes, but you've gotta wonder, right? There do seem to be a couple of moments when she was ready to storm off/out, but she kept getting pulled back in by something, either some Red Forest deja vu or more bittersweet nothings with Cole. In the end, she kisses James and she's thankful she packed her 2015 underwear when she followed him to 1957.

When they started going at it, I thought of that wonderful Buffy-Spike homewrecking coupling. It’s a slight stretch, but I had a flash that these two serumed-up Project Splinter super-soldiers might very well replicate that scene here, and destroying the house could save them from a Red Forest fate, right? Alas, they exhibited no super-strength, and the house stands, intact and ready to be beamed to or re-created in the Red Forest. However, the episode did provide us with some intercut mayhem and some tres grandes morts to go with C+C's petite one. A pretty excellent bit of manipulation in its mix of despair and, umm, consummation. But also an aggravating bit of storytelling in its possible connection-by-juxtaposition of the two events. Sex and death—rock on!

The show's writers are a pack of wonderful bastards, aren't they?


Cole and Cassie fail to stop the Time-killing paradox of Melinda Primary by husband Charlie X. Messenger in November, 1957. However, the effects that we see do not seem to correspond to either Katarina's or Tall Man's expectations.
KATARINA: But we've picked up an enormous amount of temporal fallout between 1956 and 1958. The highest readings coincide with a single event… An explosion at a factory in New York on November 7, 1957. Hundreds of people were killed. The temporal signature indicates a massive paradox.
TALL MAN: A paradox so powerful, it destroys the fabric of time... At least locally... Enough to maintain erosion forever. The birth of the Red Forest.
This apparent inconsistency has me thinking that C+C's experiences from 1957 thru 1959 unfold in a bubble/pocket universe—a shared reality that exists for the two of them. One in which the paradox resulted in a fire at the factory which killed everyone except the two of them, but not in the fracturing of Time. In reality, however, the paradox decimated the factory and much of the surrounding area.

I've theorized that a massive paradox caused by the physical confrontation of the mature Witness with his younger self creates the Red Forest. That the effect of the paradox of contact of a living time traveler (possibly Primary) with himself would result in blasting a chunk of the world out of reality and into the limbo of the red tea zone. This chunk would include the region that becomes the Red Forest and the house on its edge and also result in trapping the younger Witness within it. The older Witness might survive, resolved by the cosmos back into reality, and broken out of his loop, or, he may simply be disintegrated.

So, when I heard both Katarina's and Tall Man's descriptions of the 1957 event, I really hoped this is what we'd see.

Alas, not exactly. Not quite. But "not quite" could still be pretty frickin cool.

I want to reach a bit now and say that the paradox-affected region covers at least as far as Binghamton and the Emerson, with C+C as the only survivors, serumed individuals caught nearly at the center of the event. But they don't survive in reality. The paradox has bumped them *out* of reality, into the red tea zone, the realm outside of time and the limbo into which the cosmos shunts paradox remainders. A release valve for temporal pressure and inconsistencies. This is the realm in which the Witness "lived/lives" until he departs for Titan. The realm those who partake of the red leaf visit via astral projection.

We are seeing C+C living out their lives on an astral plane, a mental "Matrix" of a virtual reality. Why does it look and feel the way it does? Well, I'm not certain if the environment and its population of NPCs are…
  1. Duplicates, based on reality at the time of the paradox…
  2. Constructed by the Witness, designed to his liking…
  3. The product of C+C's own unconscious/subconscious thoughts and expectations.
So, the house that Cole chooses to buy might have been real, at 10 Old Pines Road in Binghamton, New York, and been consumed or "read" by the paradox front and transported to or replicated in the red tea zone. Or the Witness used his mind to shape the mental clay of the red tea zone to produce it, knowing that it would appeal to Cole from the outside and trigger Cass's programmed deja vu on the inside. Or Cassandra subconsciously shapes the red tea zone to create the house, based on her memories of the house as suggested by Olivia from the outside and visited when possessed.

I pondered the possibility that the bubble might be filled with and inhabited by everything and everyone caught in the radius of the paradox event, but given how much geography is covered—from Binghamton to Manhattan to wherever the Maxwell-Rigfield factory was—and that 1957-1959 includes technology that connects any place to the rest of the world, I'm not going to follow up on what that could mean in this post. But I'd love the logic of it. Alas, I think that those non-serumed individuals caught in the paradox died, perhaps experiencing the chaotic aging effects of the anomalies seen in 2044.

So what is the meaning or purpose of this bubble universe?

It's kind of what Desmond thought the Sideways universe was in LOST. It's like the Fortress of Solitude in SUPERMAN II (did anyone else get that vibe?). It's like the Mars in ANGRY RED PLANET and that one Martian Chronicle. It's like the virtual reality of the Library Planet. It's SOLARIS. It's Mabel's Prison Bubble from Weirdmageddon. It's the Nexus from STAR TREK: GENERATIONS. It's a honeypot world. A trap which gives you your heart's desire/s. A trap meant to keep Cassandra and/or Cole from pursuing the mission and meddling any further in the Witness's grand design.

What will it take to free them?


C+C begin to build a home together. They make plans that don't involve weapons and ammo checks or Splinter coordinates. They have lots of sex, and one of those sexytimes results in a pregnancy. Or rather, it will. We may not actually find out that Cassie's pregnant. Maybe we do, but maybe not. What we do find out, what we and Cole get, is a visit. A visit from their fully grown and mature daughter—possibly granddaughter?—named Lillian (Madeleine Stowe’s character). I want to say granddaughter, because if C+C have a daughter, how do they NOT name her Katarina or Jennifer, right? Hrm… But I suppose she could be their second daughter… Okay, I’ll allow it. Daughter Lillian appears to Cole one day, relatively soon after we last see him in "Blood Washed Away.""

Is she real? If C+C have children in the bubble universe, in the red tea zone, are they real? I'm going to say real enough and you're going to pretend that that's an answer.

When Lillian reaches puberty, she begins to experience visions, she becomes one of Time's neurons, a Primary. As a Primary within this bubble, she becomes aware of the experiences of other Primaries within the bubble and perhaps without. She knows about her grandparents and their time traveling history. She sees the screaming monkey. She sees the Witness.

In the future-meantime of the bubble, a scientist named Elliot Jones develops time travel into the future. His early tests of the technology result in the transformation of English Ivy into red leafed ivy. Lillian seeks it out and experiments with it, learns to navigate the red tea zone outside the bubble. From C+C's bubble future, she travels to C+C's bubble present, where and when she will explain to her not-yet-but-always-father the true state of their existence and experience. They are in a trap. They must break out. Yes, it will mean Lillian's death or deletion, but as a Primary, her duty is to the preservation of Time and Reality. Sadly, it seems many Primaries are wired to be satisfied with, even dedicated to, their envisioned, apparently predestined, fates. Also, hopefully, as a Primary, she has seen that she will succeed in freeing them, in freeing their minds.

I think that once she shows them a flaw in the logic or environment of their bubble world, it will begin to fall apart. Perhaps it will require that both C+C see it and acknowledge it, and that will be an issue (I'm looking at you, Cole). But in the end, they break out. Maybe they take advantage of some Neo-like abilities in the red tea zone and conjure up some advantages to take with them once the bubble bursts. I can see the burst being a transformation of their world, with the House of Cedar and Pine as ground zero, into the Red Forest.

That would be lovely.

But how do they get back to reality? Well, with the bubble gone, they are loose in the freshly minted Red Forest, the hottest property in the limbo of the red tea zone. If time flows at all in the zone, it's going to be wonky. Maybe Lillian will have given them instructions/Primary wisdom to follow, but maybe once the Red Forest is revealed, Cassandra will have a sense of what they need to do and where they need to go—Titan.

Remember, Cassandra saw Titan town through the window of the Witness's house. It appeared in the red tea zone without any fanfare, Red Forest-adjacent, and picked up the Witness. If C+C can catch the flow of time just right, or perhaps just camp out in the right spot and wait until Brigadoon Titan appears again/for the first time, they can hitch a ride back to reality, 2044, Colorado, by walking from the house right into Titan town.

If they beam into reality with Titan town at the right time, they may be able to prevent the deaths of their friends.

I can see Lillian and Cole engaged in a conversation similar to Yoda and Luke's in EMPIRE before he leaves to save his friends in the city in the clouds. =)


Adding a little wrinkle… In this scenario, Lillian is not C+C's daughter. She lives in reality, rooted in the/our present, 2016. She is a Primary and is aware of C+C's honeypot captivity, the Witness's manipulations, and the bleeding of Time. The skies above her are turning red. She has gained access to red leaf, perhaps thanks to Elliot Jones, maybe even Tall Man, and navigates the red tea zone to contact C+C in their bubble world. And everything after they meet plays out as it does in the first scenario.

Maybe Lillian is a best friend of Cole's mother. If Marion's best friend was a decently functioning Primary, it would explain how she was clued into the threat of the Army to her son James, right? And she'd be able to share something more than just destruction-of-Time intel with him, perhaps something that gets him to see beyond Cassie and the idyllic world of the bubble.

I'd like that.


Of course, none of the above covers any of the action in 2044. Says anything about Cole (or Cassie) not being the Witness. Includes none of my rambling on several zany Witness theories…

I’m my own worst enemy. So much so that I’d probably Katar an alternate self in the back in front of the Witness mainstage in Titan town.

Or something… =)

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin' on~