12 Monkeys Season 2 Finale Review
The final episode provides some huge revelations but feels satisfyingly complete even as new mysteries are posed for season 3.
This 12 Monkeys review contains spoilers.
12 Monkeys Season 2, Episode 13
12 Monkeys season 2 has delivered top notch episodes every week, and the finale entitled “Memory of Tomorrow” is a fitting capper to an unbelievably complex but expertly woven story arc. The fulfillment of many fan wishes came to pass, whether it was seeing Cole and Cassie have a life together, discovering the identity of the Witness, or perhaps even experiencing a time jump to the future rather than to the past. As finales go, this was the perfect mix of storylines resolved, new mysteries posed, and character development taken to its next logical step. Couldn’t have asked for much more!
The only thing that might pose a problem for the writers room next season is the introduction of time travel via red tea. If the characters have too many opportunities to get a do-over on their mistakes, there won’t be true consequences for their choices. Fortunately, that’s a conundrum for another day, not for the finale itself, as it became such a wonderful narrative device for Cole to revisit key moments from season 1 with Cassie, Ramse, and Jennifer.
Such nostalgia took the sting out of the sacrifice Cole had to make in giving up his life in 1959 with Cassie. It was hard to ignore the moments of frozen time that likely preceded the arrival of the red forest from the future apocalypse. Cole’s trepidation about following the advice of another Primary (played by Madeleine Stowe in a wonderful nod to the original Twelve Monkeys movie) and getting back into the fight against the Witness was logically interpreted by Cassie as reluctance on Cole’s part to become a father.
And what a wonderful misdirect! Viewers were so focused on Cole having to undo the timeline in which Cassie got pregnant that perhaps they forgot about the house of cedar and pine portending the arrival of the Witness. Cole writing “1957-1959 This was home” may have come together with other clues that pointed towards Cole himself being the Witness, but of course he wasn’t; it was simply his reminder that the months he was about to obliterate really happened.
Thank goodness Cassie remembered it, too, and of course she would, thanks to Jones’ injections which protect time travelers from changes in the timeline. Jones herself remembered both her own death and her year alone, killing invading scavs and watching the red storms recede, so naturally Cassie would remember the alternate series of events as well. But the moment of hope that provides is as fleeting as one would expect, and Cassie’s splintering with Titan to the future came with the ultimate reveal: the child conceived out of time is the Witness, and it makes perfect sense!
It was curious, though, that Titan’s splintering capabilities sent Jennifer and Ramse to such disparate locations. Who even knows where or when Ramse is? Olivia’s appearance was certainly unexpected, but the grey streak in her hair, which was absent in the revealed scene where she took Sam’s hand, means that Ramse’s son could be quite a bit older in season 3! And in another nod to the Terry Gilliam film, Jennifer ended up in a World War I trench just as Bruce Willis did in the movie. What will become of the most beloved Primary of them all?
At least she got to deliver that epic mash-up speech from Braveheart, Return of the King, and Independence Day (not to mention another Bill & Ted reference)! Other added details such as the noble sacrifice of Deacon, the acquisition of a dog for Dr. Jones, and the fact that Adler and Whitley will have to hoof it back from Colorado were just spices to add to the already delicious mix.
Another way to enhance your enjoyment of 12 Monkeys is to listen to the author’s 12 Monkeys Uncaged podcast and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.
12 Monkeys Uncaged Ep. 29 – Memory of Tomorrow Review