Thursday, May 12, 2016

12 MONKEYS: 02x04: Emergence: Rambling on the plague and Time…

Collecting some of my thoughts on the pros (for the Witness and his Army) of a plague in the world of 12 MONKEYS after “Emergence” or “How Katarina Got Her Temporal Groove Back.” =)


“Kill Time” as in *destroy* Time, not, like, playing solitaire… =)

If all the Witness wants to do is kill a few mental patients (and thereby destroy Time), why does he have the Army spend decades ensuring that most of humanity is wiped out by a viral outbreak in the early 21st century?

Well, In order to kill those Jenga Primaries by paradox, time travel is needed. To cause a paradox, matter from one time must be made to contact with that same matter from another [more on paradox]. Well, it turns out that the only realities in which human beings develop time travel technology are those in which a catastrophe like the 2017 plague (or whichever year it’s shifted to in the “latest” reality) motivates scientists like Katarina Jones and her team to revive and complete Project Splinter.

That’s some legit supervillainous mastermind calculus right there, isn’t it? Release a virus that kills billions so that you can hitch a ride to the past in the survivors’ time machine. Impressive planning and execution. But, hey, no supervillain believes he’s a supervillain, right? I’m sure we’ll find that the Witness has his reasons [more on the Witness and his possible plans/reasons].

The good of the many…
The life of his son…
The life of his father…
The life of his fiancé…
The end of his own life…
Y'know, something.

Cuz no one believes they’re a bad person.


I can’t remember when I started thinking this, but it arose out of a consideration of paradoxes—Time has a will. It makes choices. It cares about what things mean. I’ve had this loose idea of Time being given this will, this sentience, by the creatures that inhabit it, specifically, human beings.

In “Emergence,” characters finally begin to explain this idea for us. Katarina is right, time has existed and will exist as long as the universe does. But when does time *matter*? When does it have *meaning*? When it’s marked, experienced, lived, anticipated, remembered, shared. Pretty metaphysical, I know, but I like to think that it’s (armchair) quantum physical, connected to the notion that observation affects the observed. I like it.

If a clock ticks in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

It’s a classic conceit, but I’m just gonna go with it since Jennifer Goines is the one who told us: Time only started to matter when HUMANS began caring about it. Jennifer seems to go so far as saying that Time was born with the first human. And I believe that Time becomes stronger as the human population that experiences it grows. So, more humans, stronger Time. Fewer humans, weaker Time.

So, if you buy that bit of crazy talk, what can you say about the state of Time circa 2044? Given the decimation of humanity in the wake of several mutations of the virus, Time is perhaps the weakest its been in millions of years, right? I believe this explains why the instabilities caused by the paradoxidation of a Primary in 1944 manifest themselves in 2044 as these bubbles of chaotic time, and why additional Jenga Primary paradox deaths would intensify the disruptions, further setting the stage for the Red Forest on Earth. Time, and thus, reality, are weakest near the end of humanity, when there are fewer human minds living in it.


So, the plague may play multiple roles in the Witness’s design, but why? Why would the Witness and his Army want to kill Time? Or is that not the what he wants? The Witness wants to bring/connect/create the Red Forest on Earth, make it reality, which both Jennifer and Katarina agree would break time, but would it actually kill Time? If we are to believe Jennifer and Tommy, if all of humanity existed at once and forever, wouldn’t Time do the same?

No, because Time is NOT just the minds of humans and primaries, it’s humans and primaries experiencing and living in time. Time is the medium in which Time grows.

Here’s a question that bugs me: Why would one of Time’s synapses (Timey Tommy) willingly sacrifice himself?

The quick answer: He’s destined to. If you think about it, that seems like bull-pucky, tho, right? So, maybe it’s part of Time’s plan. Tommy’s death moves events and characters closer to some moment when Time can be properly defended and saved.

Allright, enough already. Darn this show and its frickin frackin rabbit holes. Not since LOST… *sigh*


I very much like this interdependency of Time and humanity that Jennifer explains to Katarina. Tommy’s analogy of Primaries as gears in the clock of Time and further explanation of them as synapses in Time’s brain is a little less awesome to me. It depends on where it goes from there. Cuz right now I do not want to SEE some entity representing Time, or hear its voice, y’know? Or maybe more specifically, I don’t want our characters to see or hear Time as a creature, unless maybe it’s at some weird temporal singularity moment. Whatever that is. Maybe.

Or that sentient galaxy that Bender meets in FUTURAMA. That would be cool.

Or Apollo from that episode of STAR TREK.

O man, they’re gonna do a CONTACT thing, aren’t they? Where Time will appear to someone “astrally” as one or several figures that are familiar to the character, reflecting the nature of the conversation or message that’s to be delivered. (The Speed Force just did that to Barry this week.) First I was gonna not like that, but in the span of writing the first dozen words of this paragraph, I came around. That would be okay. What would be awesome is if after Time explains its appearance to one of our gang, heh, Cole or Ramse wills Time to change into a cartoon character in mid-sentence. Could also be a way for Cole to speak to his mother, Cassie to speak to Aaron, Jennifer to Leland, Ramse to…himself? Heh.

Hrm… How many primaries are walking the planet at any given moment? I liked the idea of it being one, and roughly one per generation, a la the Slayer, but maybe there’s a need for more. If Time gets its life from humanity and its thoughts “thru” primaries having both increase as population increases makes a kind of sense, right? What happens to Time when a primary fights his/her connection, the way Jennifer did for some time in her life?

I would be more pleased by the idea that Time as Jennifer and Tommy know it is not the same time that Katarina has studied. Time is a…pseudo-consciousness that exists, lives, within time, for as long as humans have been walking around. Time is a hive mind across the millennia, composed of the minds and lives of primaries, a sentience and will that emerged from them.

But maybe that’s exactly what Tommy and Jennifer mean? It could be, I just haven’t heard that yet, at least, not to my satisfaction.

Time will tell, right?~

Hope I didn’t lose you. Too trippy? What did you expect? It’s you’re-your-own-mother-flarkin time travel! =)

Unmake history!~

Keep on keepin’ on~

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