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…


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?


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.

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.

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?
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. =)

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!


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.

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.


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~


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