Tuesday, April 05, 2016

12 MONKEYS: Rambling on the rules…

This is a ramble on my take on the rules-slash-nature of time travel in the universe of 12 MONKEYS, after watching the season 2 premiere, “Year of the Monkey” (available via Hulu and Syfy). So, if you haven't watched it, turn back now, for here there by *SPOILERS!*

RAMSE: Listen. You believe in the past. I believe in the future. It is what it is.
Honestly, I wanted more to happen, and maybe didn't love the way that some question marks at the end of the season 1 finale have been resolved (I say maybe because I feel like I'll need to give the ep another viewing to properly take it all in), but I love the reinforcement of the rules (or illusions thereof) that we get to witness. More on that in a bit. First off…

I do believe we now know where the Annapurna Remains came from—the first Blue Man to take the Splinter chair. What do you think?

Pretty foolish and naive of the Smurfs to let Jones have the Splinter helm all to herself. Until Rodell (Do we know this guy? I've completely forgotten : P) explains that Jones set the machine to Splinter only part of the subject's body, I simply believed that Blue Man Group set coordinates that were too deep in the past, resulting in spatio-temporal vaporization. In the first season, Project Splinter was pushing hard to get Cole safely back to the 80s, remember? Was it established (and did I forget) that the acquisition of the Spearhead's core increase Splinter's "chrono-range?"

Anyhow, Blue Leader is not pleased with the mistification of their first soldier—LOVED Deacon’s reaction, heh—but I believe that it went exactly as it was meant to (sorry, Blue dude). Of course, few individuals in the world of 12 MONKEYS can see the entire picture (how events across time are connected), so Blue Leader of 2015-2043 couldn't know that the ancient remains of one of his soldiers was uncovered in the Himalayas in the 80s and sold to Markridge.

Hrm… It's totally possible that no one knows that except for us (the audience) and *maybe* the Witness.

If I'm right, this is an illustration of the rules that are at work when it comes to the timeline/history in 12 MONKEYS—basically, that time or history or the past or the future or whatever you want to call it from your vantage point canNOT be changed. Everything happens exactly as it is supposed to (and has already happened). The illusion of change is the phenomenon experienced by those who are told that something is supposedly recorded history in the future and that they've failed to make or allow it to happen.

So, the Witness has a note in his future diary that Ethan Seki is found dead in 2015 next to the Time Machine he helped build. But, we see Cole rescue his bro-from-another-mo, thereby giving fate the finger, right?

OR… We understand that the Witness's future diary is wrong. Or perhaps inaccurate in just such a way that it sets the Army of the 12 Monkeys to tracking him, which for some reason is the truly significant outcome.

I like thinking of the 12 MONKEYS Witness's predictions like THE MATRIX Oracle's readings: people are not necessarily given the truth, but rather, what they need to hear to get them to do or be or understand what is needed at just the right time.

Oh—Another example! Right after Blue Man one is turned into time traveling jerky, Blue Leader attempts to motivate Jones to cooperate by threatening Cassie's life. Jones plays the very awesome time traveling card of "You can't kill her because you need her to live long enough to leave us the message that leads to us being here in the first place!"

Awesome. =)

I have to admit, I was surprised that Blue Leader would threaten Cassie's life, as if they didn't know who she was. I have this vaguely remembered impression of the season 1 finale showing us that the Blue Man Group seemed to be awaiting her arrival… Am I way off on that? Frack. I'm gonna hafta do a season one rewatch, aren't I? *sigh* I need a Splinter device of my own.

But, it seems he does know who she is. He is ready to use a threat on the life of an individual who is crucial to the events that lead to the plague and Project Splinter as a lesson, challenging Jones to stand by her abstract intellectual understanding of time in the face of a deadly threat to a friend and ally.
BLUE: Your philosophy is still marred by your simplistic notion of causality. If something is meant to be, it shall be.
BLUE: If causality is your religion, madam, have faith in it.
Jones believes that the Smurfs can’t kill Cassie without punching a hole in spacetime. Blue Leader believes that he can execute Cassie and somehow, a message will be recorded that leads to the creation/resurrection of Project Splinter. To misquote JURASSIC PARK’s Dr. Malcolm: Time finds a way.

We'll never know if Jones caves in to Blue Leader's threat because Rodell serendipitously manages to crack the encryption on Jones's Splinter programming. This is another demonstration of history being unchangeable. In this case, the universe itself steps in to keep history and Cassie's personal timeline intact and continuous. It does this by nudging Rodell to try exactly the right algorithm or whatever to bypass the encryption before Blue Leader can kill Cassie.

Crazy talk? Perhaps. But I don't think so. I like it.

I'm certainly still open to the possibility that history can be changed cuz who doesn't love free will and saving the world, right? But between Cole and Cass and Ramse and Jones living thru history one day at a time, without only clues and not true foreknowledge of events, and the Witness and his monkey army being unreliable fortune tellers, the net experience of this story in a universe in which history canNOT be changed will be just as rewarding (like season 1—SO good =). And—hey!—the future beyond 2044 is still wide open and "unwritten."

Okay. I'm gonna hafta wrap this up. I hope to get around to really digging into the action of the ep in a later post, cuz I definitely need to gush over crazy lovely Jennifer Goines and her end-of-the-world speed dating session!
JENNIFER: Stock tip—invest heavily in very deep holes.
Would be a-MA-zing to see Dale in 2044 among the West 7, talking about his now-worthless investment portfolio… =)

Hopefully, I'll get around to it before the second ep of the season airs! =)

Keep on keepin' on~

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