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’12 Monkeys’ season 3: Unpacking the top moments & findings

It’s been two weeks since Syfy unleashed its third season of 12 Monkeys into the world in one fast, binge-style weekend. And, disclaimer, due to stupid unforeseen (technological) issues, I couldn’t binge it with the rest of you and had to watch it at a later time.

But here we are! The season three anticipation is relinquished, and now we wait (and WAIT) for the fourth and final season to premiere in 2018.  The weekend flew by in 10 mind-bending episodes, but the story arcs, twists, and sentiment both delightfully – and harrowingly – linger. What we knew three weeks ago is certainly not the world we know today.

But enough intro – let’s unpack some of the best findings and moments! And it goes without saying, but…. SPOILERS!

New technology.

So, while I personally find myself hating technology this week, it seems as though the folks in 12 Monkeys got an upgrade with their Cyborg-inspired splinter vests. This super-cool gear not only allows for quick time jumps, it can also self-detonate; synchronize coordinates for multiple travelers; and even allow for some really fun fight scenes, zipping in and out of moments.

Of course, we can never really be done with Jones’ beast of a machine, right?

12 Monkeys - New technology
Syfy

Jennifer in everything.

Every season utilizes Jennifer in a cool new way, and season three is unquestionably no different. While continually playing off of Emily Hampshire’s comedic abilities (i.e. “99 Luftballons” and her pop culture performances), Jennifer’s role becomes increasingly important in the vast temporal world plan.

If one thing’s for certain, it’s this: always trust Jennifer. Whether it’s a warning about Olivia’s chameleon-like intentions or a just “bad feeling,” our lady Goines is connected to the past, present, and future. Use her abilities and insight – and more importantly, appreciate her for them.

12 Monkeys - Jennifer Goines
Syfy

New faces.

I always enjoy seeing how new characters and actors fit into the timeline(s). And season three brought us a few, including a patron saint of the time travel genre: Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Lloyd plays The Missionary, a creepy, cultish role with religious undertones. He is used to recruit the army – using tragedy to prey on the vulnerable. You know, a bad dude.

A standout for new faces is Magdalena – played deliciously by Hannah Waddingham of Games of Thrones SHAMEful fame. And, holy hell, this woman is terrifying. As one of the guardians of the infant Witness, Magdalena was there for his birth – instantly taking him from Cassie. She’s a hardened, cold expert time traveler who knows how to zip in and out of space to fix the timeline for her benefit. She eventually gets wiped out, but as we know, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve seen the end of her.

12 Monkeys - Magdalena
Syfy

If Magdalena represents the nastiness of the Witness’ family circle, Sebastian is the good. At first played by Dylan Colton, Sebastian acts more as a tutor, allowing a young and blossoming Witness to think and feel for himself. Sebastian also questions their mission.

12 Monkeys - Sebastian
Syfy

As time moves on, Sebastian is later played by Rupert Graves (Sherlock). He meets his end, but not before helping Cole and Cassie uncover what they need to know about their son, the Witness, also known as Athan.

And, of course, there’s Athan. More on that in a minute…

Agent Gale’s return.

Let me start with this: I adore Agent Gale (Jay Karnes). He may work for the FBI, but the man knows his science fiction. Upon their first encounter, Gale wanted to trust Cole and his wild story. Fortunately for us, Gale became a believer and an essential part of the timeline. But unfortunately for Gale, he heroically met his demise in season two – and this severely hangs over our team’s heads. In his episode, they know his fate – and by the end, he learns it, too (thanks to Cassie). But either way, Gale returned – and he could return again! All of which, I am a-ok.

12 Monkeys - Agent Gale
Syfy

Deacon’s place.

Season two ended ambiguously with Deacon aboard Titan splintering away to another time. So, what happened? As it seems, he became a secret prisoner of Mallick (Faran Tahir, American Crime), the Pallid Man’s seemingly right-hand man. From there, Deacon enters a roller coaster of roles.

While Deacon’s place in the timeline feels important – he does save Cassie from Titan after all – he is absent from the physical map of time, aka The Word of the Witness. And, you know, that stings a bit.

12 Monkeys - Deacon and Cassie
Syfy

After learning the Witness’ true identity, he is fueled with anger and nearly becomes a rage-induced villain (alongside Jones). And yet, he connects with Jennifer and later sticks up for her in front of Jones. It’s all over the place – but, then again, Deacon’s always been a bit of a fence-sitter.

Ramse’s death.

This season, we lost one of our own in Ramse, another fence-sitter, if you will. He and Cole have a loving volatile relationship. Yeah, that’s a thing. They are each other’s family, and yet, their code of right and wrong differs wildly. (Not unlike a lot of real-life families out there.)

After learning that the Witness is the offspring of his best bro, Ramse is charged with one task: to kill mama Cassie, per Olivia’s request. So, in a sham of a mission, he and Cole set out for different purposes. And in the end, Cole fatally shoots his brother.

12 Monkeys - Ramse and Cole
Syfy

It’s a devastating death, but it feels apropos. For Cole and Ramse, they almost seem ok with it. Above all else, there’s a sense of respect for what each one is trying to do and I think this lessens the blow for us fans. That, and of course, knowing that characters can return at any given moment. #RIPRamse #BringBackRamse

Cassie mom.

Season three is filled with a lot of gloomy sadness and worry (save for Jennifer’s amazing antics outside of 2043). But we are given a bit of sunshine when we meet Cassie’s mom (Kristin Booth).

12 Monkeys - Cassie and her mom
Syfy

Cassie decides to set up an appointment with her psychologist mom (days before her death) to discuss and analyze The Word of the Witness. And let’s just say, Dr. Mama Railly is adorable and lovely. It’s a sad moment knowing the woman’s pre-written future, but it’s all worth it just to see Cassie become a kid again, looking tenderly at her mom. It’s a much-needed family moment that seals the deal for Cassie’s decisions about her son.

Everything about “Thief.”

Before this season, the Witness was a myth, a legend, a ghost, a masked figure in a cloak. But season three breathed life into that monster and made him a fleshed-out, surprisingly likable person: Athan, played beautifully by James Callis (Battlestar Galactica). Incidentally, the name Athan means immortal or eternal life. Just saying.

As was written in his journals, Athan was a mere bystander to the world’s timeline. He stood by during disasters and major events, taking notes of his continual journey. But all that changed when his splinter vest broke in the late 1800s and he was forced to stick around for a bit, thusly meeting a nurse named Eliza (Claire Cooper, Snatch).  And we all know what happens when love enters the game… the game changes.

12 Monkeys - Athan and Eliza
Syfy

Because of Eliza, Athan is no longer an observer to his surroundings. He becomes a part of something that connects him to his emotions. Both Athan and Eliza are challenged by each other. It’s a sweet and often funny romance. So, obviously it doesn’t end well.

After Eliza tragically dies, Athan attempts to prevent her death hundreds of times, but to no avail. Time is written and Athan finds himself at the most important juncture in his being. At this time, we get flashbacks of Athan seeking out advice from the two most important and mysterious people in his life: his parents. Unaware, Cole and Cassie meet their adult son at very different times. Even though he lives in the post-apocalyptic world, Cole offers a more sentimental view of love. When Athan meets Cassie, she’s at a grief-stricken moment causing her to be hard and cynical – and this is where Athan’s mindset is headed. Until his parents intervene again.

The group’s divide.

If there’s one thing that disheartens me most in movies and TV, it’s when people you like are at odds with each other. Season three of 12 Monkeys did just that… x 10.

Cole and Cassie go rogue to protect their son, while Jones, Hannah, and Deacon go wild to complete the mission – killing the Witness, aka baby Cole/Cassie. It’s a terrible situation. But thankfully, we have Jennifer, the voice of reason in a world of temporal chaos and division. And that is one sentence I never thought I’d say.

12 Monkeys - Deacon and Jones
Syfy

So, while the majority of this season had our team in fisticuffs, next season should find that similar ground again in a common enemy.

And that brings us to…

Olivia.

Holy cow, she is the Witness.

Alisen Down’s portrayal of Olivia has always been one of my favorites. She’s cool, calm, and always has a plan – for better or worse. So, when her story shifted last season into anti-Witness territory, I was super intrigued.

But it didn’t end there. As we got more and more humanity from Athan, something else had to be in the works. And sure enough, it was Olivia. All along, she was dead-set on killing the Witness so that she could inherit the power.

12 Monkeys - Olivia
Syfy

Athan’s reign ended at Titan with Cole and Cassie, and as a result, the Witness we grew to know and loathe was Olivia all along. Now, that’s a major twist. And, dammit, I guess I have to hate you again, Olivia.

Honorable mention…

Remember when I professed by love/worry for Jones’ new dog at the end of season 2? Well, the pup went absent this season. There was a brief moment when Deacon inquired to Jones about her new pet, to which she simply replied, “He comes and goes.” And you know, I’m OK with that.

Phew.  So, did you enjoy the binge-style weekend event? Be sure to comment below on some of your favorite season three moments! And if you need a recap of the binge, check out Brad and Cort’s podcast!

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Joanna Skrabala

Joanna loves Buffy, 80s sitcoms, Beverly Hills, 90210, and all things spooky and sci-fi. She is the co-founder of Bloody Popcorn, a genre-specific website and podcast with a penchant for the off-beat. When she's not chatting it up on Twitter, Joanna can usually be found watching old slashers or car movies with her husband or dressing up as a Ghostbuster with her two kids.

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