Monday, May 30, 2016

12 MONKEYS: 02x06: Immortal: What is the deal w/Kyle Slade?

First off, something that hit me a few days after "Immortal" I think we finally know what Jennifer means/meant when she says…



She's referring to Kyle Slade's twelfth victim, Victoria Mason. Victims one thru eleven, according to Slade himself, were all Primaries, while number twelve, Victoria, was not. I vaguely recall Jennifer getting excited at the idea of thirteen, following twelve, but don't remember hearing her expand on that. Perhaps Kyle continues his serial killing posthumously under a different name?
If that’s correct, then Jennifer’s been cluing James into his reality-changing encounter with Kyle since they first met. Or at least, since *he* first met *her*. I still think that Cole’s otter eyes will make an impression on a younger Saturday-morning-cartoon-watching Jenny G. in a Splinter yet to come for him.



From the research done by Team Splinter in 2044, we know that Kyle Slade is the identity of the serial killer known as the Immortal. He was responsible for 12 murders in the 70s, and died under mysterious circumstances on the day he killed his final victim, Victoria Mason, who worked as a waitress at a coffee shop. Those "mysterious circumstances?" Death by paradox, stabbed in the sternum w/one's sternum. Team Splinter takes this information and turns it into a plan. First, find Victoria at the coffee shop. Follow her until Slade kills her. Follow Slade from the scene of the murder. Intercept the Messengers when they try to paradox him, saving Slade.

What could go wrong?

When Cole and Ramse find Victoria, they learn that she's the mother of a young boy.
COLE: She had a kid…What's gonna happen to him when she dies?
RAMSE: Whatever already happened.
Gotta love time travel!

Then they learn that she's probably not up for mother of the year. They only just start to process that when Kyle Slade strikes.
COLE: This is me looking and not leaping, this sit right with you?
RAMSE: Don't like it any more than you do, but it's how it has to be.
But of course, our man James cannot sit by and watch this woman being killed by a psychopath. Cole's fist meets Primary jaw, scaring Slade off and saving Victoria from becoming his twelfth victim. Our heroes' reward? A wave of reality-rewrite pain, a… Timegraine? In the wake of the reality wave, both Slade and the unseen Messenger—who paradoxed him in the previous reality—escape.

Later in the episode, Cole has apparently won the trust of Slade, simply by revealing his identity. It's interesting… Slade does not immediately recognize him, but *we* know that he knew he was coming for him (as seen at the end of previous ep, "Bodies of Water"). It turns out that slade has been waiting for him. He explains to James that he can take him to the Witness. He's holding him captive in his abandoned warehouse-slash-bloody artist's loft lair.

On the way to his bloody sanctum, Kyle explains to James that he's aware of the Witness's plan to destroy Time by paradoxing Primaries. In order to ruin that plan, Kyle has been killing contemporary Primaries so that they cannot be paradoxed. He believes that he's been so successful w/his strategy that the Witness decided to paradox Kyle personally. He shows Cole the bone knife that was meant to kill him in a previous reality. We see his physical reaction to being in close proximity to it. When he then shows Cole the Witness himself—a man clad in a hooded robe with a mask sewn together from human flesh—he insists that it's Cole's role to take that bone dagger and kill the Witness with it.


Oh, before I forget, when Kyle mentioned that his victims were all Primary, Cole pointed out that Victoria was not. Kyle explains that she was a "flare" that he sent up, to call for (Cole's) help across the decades. He selected Victoria knowing that she would be his last victim, the one whose death, connected to his mysterious demise on the same day, would lead Cole to 1975.

Now, where was I? Oh yes…

KYLE: Take the dagger and kill the Witness. It is why I brought you here. It is your fate to do this!
RAMSE: [whistle] Hey, Cole, let's do both of these guys, get the hell out of here.
KYLE: What's he doing here?
COLE: Easy, we're all on the same side.
KYLE: Are we? Cuz I am seriously starting to doubt your commitment, man. Put your gun down.
RAMSE: You first.
KYLE: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is not how this is supposed to go. It's supposed to be you [COLE] and me. Blaze of glory in the future and he [RAMSE] is NOT a part of it.
So, there's a lot of weirdness here, and yes, it *could* be chalked up to Kyle's apparent mental instability, partly fueled by his Primary connection and visions, partly fueled by whatever additional ding his brain chemistry took that led him to his brutal homicidal practice, but let's take a look at what he's given us (and Cole and Ramse) and see if there might be any useful clues.



I've got a theory that he believes this because essentially, it was true when he caught him. When Kyle reveals his prisoner's face to Cole, we know that he has a Messenger caged up, not the Witness. But, what do we know about Messengers?
VIVIAN: They never imagined I’d survive the paradox, but Father, he made us too well.
The Messengers were engineered. The Army invested in a number of technologies in the late 20th century and in Markridge, not only did they get the resources needed to create a humanity-decimating virus, but also a pioneer in human cloning. I think Father (whoever he is) used Markridge tech to create the twelve Messengers. We know that they are imbued with enhancements that resemble those possessed by quantum serum users. That's increased strength, speed, resilience and healing, as well as the ability to Splinter. I don't think it's a huge leap to think that Immersion is part of the standard Messenger package as well.

Giving the Witness a direct psychic link to the Messengers would be very valuable. Granted, if the Witness *is* riding psychic shotgun on the Messengers, he's only seeing 50-50 success so far, and that's in those who survived to Splinter in 2043. Nevertheless, I'm pretty certain everything is still going according to the Witness's plans.

In any case, if the Messenger in Kyle's cage had been Immersed, that would allow the Witness to inhabit his body when he attacked him. I believe that on encountering the Witness-controlled Messenger, Primary Kyle would *sense* the Witness's presence, and believe the man standing in front of him to *be* the Witness. Kyle gets the better of the Messenger, probably exactly as the Witness wished, for his capture (the reported capture of the Witness) is what leads to Kyle sending up his flare, Cole being Splintered to 1975, the conventional death of the Primary-killing Primary, and the extended life and motherhood of Victoria Mason. I have a feeling we'll find out what that's worth in future episodes. Perhaps a new Project Splinter labcoat w/a tag that reads "MASON?"



For some rason, Kyle insists that Cole is the only one who can kill the Witness. I'm thinking that he's right about that, but that he's wrong about the time and place. Will it be with a knife made from a homicidal maniacal Primary's bone? I don't know. That seems like such a strange detail. If it's an accurate detail… The only thing I can think of is that some version of Kyle Slade must be the Witness, then being stabbed by that knife would cause a paradoxidation death. Could that be right?
It feels unlikely, but honestly, still very possible. Within the events of this one episode, we saw Kyle Slade manipulate history in a way that resulted in him saving himself from the Messengers by tricking Cole into changing reality. That's pretty frickin masterful. Imagine if he was sane?

Hrm… I will have to think on this some more. I've been in love with the notion that the Witness began life as one of our heroes (or Sam, or Elliot Jones =), but the possibilities of Kyle Slade are interesting. It's the personal connections that are missing, tho. Why is Cassie so important? Why the focus on Ramse's story (and his love for his son)? Perhaps the relationships and stories aren't what's important to the Witness, and instead it's their tactical and perhaps misdirectional value. Cassie has to be kept alive until she leaves her "Leland Frost" message for the future. The story of Ramse and Sam is a parable for his followers, and perhaps meant specifically for Vivian.


Is there some other reason that Kyle can't kill the Witness himself?

1. The Witness can only be killed with the bone of a Primary? That's crazy. Unless… Unless the Witness himself is that Primary. Hrm…

2. If Kyle kills the Witness it leads to Something Bad. Perhaps for Kyle alone—his death, perhaps for Time itself—his paradoxed death. Well, it seems that if Kyle had killed the Witness-Messenger right away, Cole and Ramse never would have come to 1975, and the Messenger partner would have paradoxidized him, just as it was reported. That just covers the notion that waiting to kill the Witness-Messenger contributed to saving Kyle’s life. It does not explain why Cole can’t kill him.

3. Kyle insists that Cole has to kill the Witness with the knife made from his own bone. If he really believes that, I supposed that explains why he couldn’t kill him himself. Holding the knife would be incredibly painful for him and could potentially trigger a paradox.

There’s just not enough reliable info to come up w/a definitive reason or reasons. Boo…



For a few minutes I thought that Kyle's plan "clicked" for me when he talked about going to the future with Cole. That he himself was somehow an agent of the Witness and had manipulated everything to get Cole to kill the real Primary and sucker him into getting him to 2044 because… umm… history recorded that he disappeared after 1975, maybe that's the reason because possibly.

Of course, things didn't work out that way, but for a few minutes, pretty cool. Pret-ty pret-ty cool. =)

Yes, he's all mixed up in the head, even for a Primary, but he seems mortally offended by Ramse's presence in 1975, doesn't he? In fact when he talks about going-slash-returning to the future with Cole—ominously described as "blaze of glory"—it sounds like he's mistaken his life for Ramse's (or vice versa). Could his cracked version of Primary vision have dropped him into Ramse's POV for some reason? And/or the Witness's, pre-Red Forest?

Gotta wonder what's in store for Ramse and Cole that a mistaken-Ramse-identity would consider "blaze of glory," right?

Could it be that Kyle has held onto Primary visions from a previous reality? One in which Cole did NOT go back to save Ramse at Project Splinter in 2015, which would mean that Ramse wouldn't be around to jump to 1975 with Cole. Of course, I don't easily see how it would follow that Kyle would end up partnered with Cole as a result of Ramse's absence, but Time works in mysterious ways, right?

Also, lotta nuts in that Kyle Slade bar.



There are a couple of things in this episode that don't quite line up for me time-travel-logically. Still, I think I can creatively rationalize them to my satisfaction. I have to say, tho, these are probably the zaniest time traveling curves thrown so far in the show.

In the episode's original reality Team Splinter found reports of Kyle Slade's death by apparent paradox in 1975. What actually happened? If the Messengers had succeeded in paradoxing Kyle, Time should have collapsed (according to 2044 Jennifer, it only takes two). Maybe there's a funky causality explanation? Because, honestly, if the Messengers EVER succeed in killing two Primaries, time should have already collapsed, regardless of *when* they're killed. Instead, the passage of time relative to our players seems to matter. That is, the effects of events experienced by our heroes are felt in the same order. Always a tricky phenomenon when messing with time.

Note that Kyle uses his Primary abilities to work out that killing Victoria will result in Cole Splintering back in time to prevent him from killing Victoria. I don't find this inconsistent. I find this awesome. =)

When Jennifer in 2016 talks about how a ghost is a replay, an event recorded into its surroundings, she flashes to a vision of the Messenger punching the hole in the hotel room wall. This punch would not have been thrown by that Messenger if Cole and Ramse hadn't saved Victoria (and Kyle). Hrm…

MAYbe a different punch or other incident creates that hole in the episode's original reality?

MAYbe if we asked Cassandra in that moment if she sees a hole in the wall where Jennifer's hand is, she would truthfully answer, "No, what hole in the wall?" So, only Primary Jennifer sees the hole in 2016 before the reality change because that is what a Primary does—sees not only forward and back, but across, to other realities.

I hope that's the explanation, cuz I love the idea that we see Jennifer read an event from a timeline that has yet to become reality. And it seems totally in line with what we've heard from the Primaries we've met thus far, right?

Also, I'd say that the disturbances to Time caused by Tommy's paradox assassination would help explain away any other apparently paradoxical (inconsistent, not spacetime-tearing) interactions. Time may not be behaving as it normally does, allowing for inconsistent experiences and discontinuities.

Or something. =)


KYLE: You're not worthy.
Ramse shoots Messenger.
KYLE: You're not worthy. You're just like the others. You were meant to protect me.
COLE: Only from a paradox.
KYLE: I'm the Immortal. I'm not supposed to die.
COLE: Everybody dies.
Man. Kyle's wackadoo words really do sell me on the Kyle-is-the-Witness idea. Kyle lambasts the Witness for being so insane as to attempt to destroy Time to achieve immortality, yet all the while he calls himself the Immortal. One of Tommy's ramblings included "The Monkeys come for the Witness," or something to that effect. A strange sentiment when you realize that the Monkeys are the Witness’s followers (if you hear “monkeys” w/a capital M there). So, Tommy’s words mean: the Messengers come for the Witness. The Messengers have been sent to kill Primaries. So, the Witness is a Primary. Y’know, if we can trust the collective word of the Primaries…

Okay, I'm gonna say it, cuz I can’t stop thinking it…


…is one of my theories. =)

Unmake history!

Keep on keepin' on~

P.S. My other favorite answers to “Who is the Witness?”:
James Cole. Jose Ramse. Samuel Ramse. Elliot Jones. =)


Anynonmouse said...

Right on! I'm so glad someone else was thinking about the wait-why-is-Cole-supposed-to-kill-the-MaybeWitness-exactly? and the um-so-what-if-he-does? questions :)

I was surprised more people aren't looking at the questions posed — there are so many things that say "Review" but there's no opinion, it's all just linear recap (pthbthbhthb).


cabinboy said...

Thanks, @Anynonmouse!

I think I actually start a lot of these thinking that I'll write a recap, as much to get thing straight in my own head as share some thoughts. But as I start considering what happened in an episode, I can't help but ask the questions, and the questions lead to some rabbit holes and the rabbit holes are probably each worth a post in the end. For me, at least.

And I don't think this show needs a review from me. It's damn good, clever, intelligent, full of lovable and despicable characters brought to life by an excellent cast, and a wonderful puzzlebox of mystery. I haven't had this much fun w/a show since LOST (y'know, before the finale =).

Keep on keepin' on~