I've come up with bits and pieces of a story-slash-theory to explain how several different characters might become the Witness when they grow up. I’ve dropped some of them in previous posts, but haven't been able to compose a decent "complete" story for any of them so far that fits all the data. The magically aggravating thing about the Witness's identity—given the events we've witnessed so far on the show (thru 02x11 "Resurrection"—turn back now if you haven't watched yet!), and the characters we've met: it really could be ANYone if you follow thru on the proper motivations and opportunities.
I *want* for it to be Elliot Jones, but I can't find legit motivation in what we've seen of him so far. If he knew he had a daughter, if we saw that he truly loved Katarina (I certainly believe he has affection for her), if he was more than an apparently techno-hippie egomaniacal genius, well…
Maybe that's enough? =)
I *can* come up with opportunities, but the reasons are kind of thin, or require just a bit too much imaginative heavy lifting on my part. For instance, one of my Elliot "Witness" Jones riffs posits that David Eckland is a temporal anomalitical opportunity seized by the Witness to romance Katarina again in reality—"a wild, romantic gesture to a beautiful woman all in the name of love." Cuz, if you subtract their scientific specialties—and allowing for a data set of two—I think you'll find that Katarina has a type. The science hippie, in attitude (both Jones and Eckalnd), at least, if not philosophy (only Eckland ever declares such belief, while Jones is quite focused on making a mark more than anything else).
I'd be okay with it being a grown up Samuel Ramse. But there's a lot of unaccounted for time in that. Easy enough to fill in with "indoctrination" of some kind, but I don't love that. A zany deus-ex (but then, what else would you call time travel, right?) that could go a long way to filling in the blanks—Samuel isn't blasted backward in time, but forward. To an era in which everything that he's experienced and learned about so far is history, and prelude to Something Good and/or Something Important. We've seen how Sam thinks the scales should tip with billions on one side and himself on the other. He demonstrates a particular moral and ethical clarity at a young age that could be the foundation for a Witness driven by the Greater Good.
The forward Splinter blast might work for Elliot-is-the-Witness, too, but I’m not certain that he’s got the moral balance to take on a post dedicated to the Greater Good.
I'd also be okay with it being a reluctant, for-the-greater-good(-and-also-Cassie), Cole. But would rather it wasn't, unless this is an iteration in which a decision by our Cole can change that. I think and hope he's still in the process of becoming, and isn't ready to be a final version of himself just yet.
I'd still love for the Tall Man to pull a Doctor Doom-y, Thanos-ian fast one on the Witness (only to discover it's always been him!). Some vulnerability, failsafe, or override, that he's had built into Titan. It's Tall Man's initiative to have the Army embrace technology in the first place. That sounds like just the kind of foundation on which to build a Witness. For him to take the place of the Witness, though, well, I don't know that I see a great motivation for it. What does he want? Power? Has he truly drunk the Word of the Witness Kool-Aid? Perhaps simply self-preservation. He does tell Olivia that he is off to secure their future, and describes Titan as insurance against the future, perhaps speaking for the Witness, but most certainly speaking for himself. Perhaps it's payback. A long game play that may have begun with Vivian Rutledge's resentment of the Witness after surviving her assassination of Tommy in 1944?
I'd *love* that.
But right now, if I had to pick someone for the Witness, if the men came, with their guns, I'd have to say…
RAMSE IS THE WITNESS.
He's already demonstrated that he believes that the life of his son is worth more than that of billions killed by the virus. He follows that up by choosing revenge on the Witness (his son's killer) over the preservation of Time and reality.
Yeah, Ramse's got the will for the job. But does he have a reason?
With Ramse, while he acknowledges both, it seems the needs of the one—Sam (and himself)—outweigh those of the many—the majority of humanity killed by the plague. Remember, Ramse's the one who convinced Cole to become Katarina's Splinternaut way back when. If he hadn't learned about Sam, he would probably still be 100%—well, okay, 87%—behind Katarina and her mission/s.
So, why would Ramse become Witness? Well, those two motivations are still valid.
1. To save/rescue his son. Using the Witness's resources, he learns that Sam wasn't disintegrated and killed, but successfully Splintered. And, well, if he's the Witness, we've already seen him save Sam, by engineering the Core overload that zaps him out of 2044 Project Splinter to the mystery forest and meeting him there, in person or via minion or Immersed proxy.
2. To save the rest of the world (of the future, not the past). In part to make up for killing so much of it, in part to create/leave a world in which his son can live and thrive. Remember, Sam himself chided his father for counting him as more important/worthy/valuable than billions of strangers. Could Sam sit idly by while his father proceeds to ensure that happens again, only from the POV of the Witness? Ramse would surely have to do something to TRY to redeem himself. Given that the past must happen the way it's happened (at least until the Core overload), building a better future seems like the logical way.
But when does he become the Witness? Titan Town, 2044 seems like the ideal opportunity. Ramse is following Jennifer's Yellow Brick Road, off to kill the Witness!~
In his vengeful rage, I can easily see him pulling the trigger on the big W before looking under the/a mask. In fact, maybe he NEVER gets a chance to unmask the Witness—shooting him off of some precipice into the void or something—but once he kills him, he takes his place, the way he always has, once and future leader of the Army of the 12 Monkeys and Mayor of Titan town, in command of abilities and technology that will allow him to find and save his son.
And that's how he is there to meet his son when the Splinter Core overload zaps him from 2044 to the—I'm gonna say—1950s.
Thing is, he knows about C+C's mission to that era. What does he expect to happen? That he will team up with them to prevent the paradox that creates the Red Forest? Or does he need for that paradox to happen to ensure that he and his son survive? Hrm… Too many possibilities in that to guess, but remember the writing on the wall—1957-1959 THIS WAS HOME. What could that mean if the writer, the Witness, is a future Ramse?
That he and Sam lived, happily I think, for that time. But how is that possible if a paradox occurs at the beginning of that duration? Could those two years have been lived in the Red Forest? Sam and Ramse have never visited the Red Forest, so they wouldn't recognize the house of cedar and pine. Settling there for some father and son bonding wouldn't seem obviously dangerous or conspicuous.
This may be where my story frays and falls apart details-wise (not that my story thus far is exactly a detailed script to begin with : P). I still want to believe in the Tall Man's description of what happens in Upstate NY, 1957. A paradox so massive that it results in permanent temporal erosion and the creation of the Red Forest. It fits so nicely with everything that's come before. From Katarina, we learn that ground zero of the paradox is a factory explosion in New York on November 7, 1957.
Do you suppose that date coincides with the disappearance of four soldiers from Raritan Valley National Labs? What is the nature of the device or artifact brought to the lab at that time?
My ongoing theory has had a massive paradox encounter happen in the house itself (caused by one of our heroes meeting and confronting himself). The wave of the paradox swallows the house and the immediate surroundings removing them from reality and transporting them to the red tea zone, to become the Red Forest as we've seen it. Now, it seems, a factory may be the epicenter, and the house part of its surroundings. Paradoxing the factory may be how the raw materials for Project Titan are acquired, construction to be completed in the limbo of the timeless red tea zone. when it's complete, the technology within will enable the factory town to return and re-enter reality, to appear to anyone standing near those coordinates in Colorado as if it was built in an instant. A technological Brigadoon. And where/when would the Witness choose for Titan to touch down on reality? How about September, 2044? Just in time to pick up his younger self.
What about the 1957 paradox?
A CLUE IN THE WORD OF THE WITNESS?
The Word of the Witness refers to an "expected Primary" in 1957, but does not reveal a name. Jennifer mentioned that her Primary-ness kicked in with puberty, which makes a mutant-y kind of sense to me. So, if we're to trust the Word of the Witness, and the Tall Man, then C+C will be looking for an adolescent. The young Samuel Ramse.
The Messengers have been sent back to paradoxidize Sam. What would make this a more massive paradox than any other so far? Perhaps they assault Sam just as his Primary abilities manifest? Or maybe his time displacement has somehow supercharged him in some way, augmenting his Primary potential, and thusly priming his paradox to be more powerful.
IF RAMSE IS THE WITNESS, THEN…
I think Sam is the paradoxed Primary. Given the consistently tragic turns we see in this show, I have to ask—what's the worst possible scenario we can think of?
Ramse paradoxes his own son. Why would he do that? Some kind of ultimate Atari. But he would have to believe that his son wouldn't die. Maybe he knows that somehow? That would give him/them the two years together after the reported 1957 paradox. Hrm…
A not-worst scenario would have the Messengers succeed, due to C+C's distraction or failure. This would set Ramse against them, determined to manipulate time to preserve and save his son. He would be dedicated to re-creating the scenario of Sam's paradox death, but somehow replacing Sam's death with someone else's, creating a moment of choice/decision like Young Jennifer's in "Resurrection."
Regardless of who paradoxes Sam, it happens, and the event swallows the factory, the house, and the surrounding fortress and drops it in the red tea zone. The blood of the Red Forest? The blood of all the unprotected, non-serumed people caught in the blast. Also, perhaps, the blood of anyone who ever dies in a paradox. My theory has been that the Witness ends up in the Red Forest due to a paradox involving himself. He loses his corporeal self and only his consciousness remains, inhabiting the house in the Red Forest.
Seems like what needs to happen is that Sam and Ramse are blasted into the red tea zone. They live together for some time until Sam, without the protection of quantum serum, dies or fades away. Ramse lasts longer, but begins to fade as well, as for whatever reason, he's never had complete protection from time. This is why he creates the "Plague Doctor" gear for himself.
Then, he waits. Spends his "time" in the Red Forest learning and mastering his abilities until Titan arrives to take him back to reality and give him his body back. Perhaps he takes the opportunity to run several Splinter missions to plant seeds of his centuries-spanning plan (i.e. visit Kirschner, perhaps seal the Pact of Time's Custodian). Then he waits to complete his cycle, to be killed (apparently) by his own, younger hand, only to rise again to truly continue his work. A nifty trick he learned from Brother Cole.
BACK TO TITAN…
I think that serumed-up, C+C survive the 1957 paradox in the factory, and are able to walk out once it touches down in 2044 Colorado as the completed Titan. Time moves around them, right? And paradox energy does funky things to a serumed-up traveler's speed and perception of time.
They hitch a ride w/the factory to Titan in time to meet the Witness with Jennifer and Ramse. Wacky fun ensues!
This'll all probably be dinged hard by revelations in tonight's episode, but I wanted to get some version of my crazy talk out of my head and in front of me to revisit later. If you're still reading, hope you enjoyed the ramble.
Keep on keepin' on~
P.S. This photo, posted by Sean Tretta, bugs me…
This seems like it clicks with the factory and its explosion. Who are these people? Why are they important? Are they important? Is this a crop of a larger photo of all the factory workers, and the Xes a tally of victims of the explosion?
Let's say these 12 are important. Who would be important in a paradox event? The ingredients of the paradox. What if the two remaining Messengers are sent to paradox more than one person this time, and none of them Primary (I find it hard to believe that 12 Primaries would happen to work at the same factory)? Could paradoxidizing 12 non-Primaries create the temporal event that Katarina detects and the Tall Man describes? What about removing 12 people whose actions, or whose descendants, have a significant effect on history? Would that produce an equivalent disturbance?
P.P.S. If tonight’s ep doesn’t totally obliterate the Elliot Jones possibility, maybe I’ll go back and try to sort that story out in a post.
P.P.P.S. Arrrgh! I love this show! Arrrrgh! =)