WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for 12 Monkeys season 3. Seriously, don’t even scroll down if you haven’t seen all ten episodes.
Ask any 12 Monkeys fan if they’ve ever had an interaction with showrunner Terry Matalas, and chances are he’s answered a tweet, liked a Facebook comment, or even spoken to them directly. The show’s creator and executive producer is always ready to talk about his time travel show and tease details that are to come or give further explanation about what has already happened. Matalas spoke to us from an undisclosed wooded location while filming season 4. “There are a lot of horses, so I’ll say that,” he offered.
Here are a few things we learned about 12 Monkeys season 3 during our recent conversation with Matalas.
That’s a much older Cassie that comes out of the shadows during Cole’s conversation with himself in the 2163 Emerson Hotel.
Yep, that is future Cassie! Did you remember any of the things he said? Did anything stick out? You’ll be able to go back when you watch seasons 3 and 4, and you’ll be going, “Yep, uh-huh, okay.”
The scene between Ramse and his son was not originally so brutal.
I’m going to give you an exclusive on this. How that scene played out isn’t actually how we scripted it. It was actually something that came up on the day. Sam was going to die, and basically with his dying breath, he was going to give this mission to Ramse: “You have to go be the Traveler again; you’re going to have to listen to Olivia — she knows who the Witness is.”
And on the day, [Kirk Acevedo] was like, “You know what would really make this great, what would really push this forward, is if he had to put his son out of his misery.” And in my gut, the scene where Sam had died just never really… I mean, it made him sad, but it needed something more powerful.
Just keeping in mind where Ramse was going to go and how extreme it would have to be for him to be, “I’m going to betray my brother. I’m going to go back, and I’m going to put a bullet in the woman that my brother loves to try and save the world and my son…” it just seemed alright. So what we ended up doing is kind of just finding it on the day between these two actors. And Kirk brought it!
Mallick pinned that note to the tree and staged the attack on Sam’s camp.
That was left by Mallick. The attack on the camp was staged by Mallick and Olivia so that Ramse would have the drive to go after the Witness. That was always part of her Machiavellian plan. So the note, when she gets it, is, if this plan works, she’ll know exactly where and when to splinter to to be able to take Titan in her coup and be ready to kill the Witness.
Olivia wasn’t lip-syncing Jennifer’s Word of the Witness history. That was a spot-on impression!
That’s her! Originally the idea was we would shoot it, and then we were going to dub in [Emily Hampshire’s] voice. So I got in a room with Emily and [Alisen Down], and Emily did it how she would do it, and Alisen recorded it on her phone. Then on the day, when we saw what Alisen… I mean, she channeled Emily Hampshire! She was practically possessed. There was no reason to go in and dub Emily over because it was so brilliant what Alisen had done. It was really a great moment. (see clip below)
Dr. Jones’ admission that whiskey-induced “hallucinations” helped her solve her initial time travel issues was not an idle comment.
It is interesting! There was something going on in her head in that moment, and you’ll know what that means. Nothing is nothing in all of this. That’s actually a line in season 4 that Cole says: “Nothing is nothing here. Everything has meaning, so we need to pay attention.” So yeah, we wanted you to look at that.
Jennifer’s vision, which included the ancient precursor corpse, the origin of the plague virus, was a reminder.
Nothing is nothing in all of this; it’s all of a part. It’s also a way of telling the audience we haven’t forgotten. This all ties into this. Everything has meaning. It plays a part in this cycle.
Cole’s mother is important, but not necessarily Primary.
I don’t know if there’s any indication that she’s Primary, but she’s certainly connected. She’s definitely a part of it.
There’s no shared responsibility for what the Witness did throughout time.
Athan was never the Witness. Athan was Primary… Athan wrote the Word of the Witness, and he was told he was going to become the Witness. But it’s very clear that by the time his soul was saved by his parents, he never did any of those things. He didn’t send orders through time to the Army of the 12 Monkeys. He wasn’t that entity in the house writing on the wall. He wasn’t the one who possessed Cassie. He wasn’t any of these things: this masked demon that we saw. So who was that and what was that? And the answer is: it’s Olivia.
She hasn’t done those things yet, but you’re going to see her do those things. And when you understand that point of view, too, Olivia has quite a journey left in her in that she resented this thing that she finds out was her. This promise of a Red Forest came from her. The orders she received through time were from herself. So she has hated herself for decades. And the other thing is – she’s not Primary. She doesn’t have a plan. So what is she going to do to be the Witness?
12 Monkeys season 4 can’t come soon enough! With season 4 being the final run for the series, fans might wonder where they will be able to find Matalas after the show ends. The good news is he has inked a deal with Universal Cable Productions (UCP), which produces 12 Monkeys, to develop and produce scripted programming for the entire NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment portfolio, including Syfy and the USA network, as well as for external networks and streaming services. So Matalas’ crazy genius isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
For the full audio of this interview with Terry Matalas, visit 12monkeyspodcast.com or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.