Season 2, Episode 3 “One Hundred Years”
Written by Michael Sussman
Directed by David Grossman
I’m so confused! No, not really. With a second viewing I think I pretty much have it straight in my head. I’m still having issues with Cassie (Amanda Schull) and Jones (Barbara Sukowa), while Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) is being endearing and a much better person than most of us.
We start out in the year 1944, with Bing Crosby and the Andrews sisters singing Pistol Packin’ Mama on the record player. A woman is getting ready for a party while her husband waits impatiently. The lights flicker and the messengers appear and kill the husband and wife for their clothes and their invitation to the event. The messengers are beautiful people in their own right, but they look like movie Nazis. Well, except that Vivian Rutledge (Scottie Thompson) looks French to me because I remember her playing Jeanne Benoit on NCIS.
Cole (Aaron Stanford) and Deacon (Todd Stashwick) are beating the crap out of each other. Ramse cheers Cole from the sidelines because he is still handcuffed. I assume they are fighting over Deacon interrogating Ramse. Cassie interrupts them, points out that they are supposed to be figuring out where the messengers went in the machine, and hands Ramse the picture of her and Cole from 1944, which he does actually know something about. The monkeys are going back to kill Prof. Thomas H.Crawford (Jay Karnes), a scientist. Ramse knew that they were looking for his grave to dig up at some point. Cole wants to go back. Cassie doesn’t. Jones says they are going, and provides jewelry for money. My favorite exchange is when Cassie says Cole could barely navigate 2016; Cole says he is standing right there, and Ramse grins.
Because of the recent time anomalies, they can’t predict whether Cole and Cassie will arrive at the same time. She ends up arriving a couple of months later than Cole, during an air raid drill. He has everything planned out, tickets to the event, clothes for her, everything. So much for barely being able to survive in 2016.
They get to the party and have the famous picture taken. Cassie spots the messenger right away with Crawford, while Cole gets into a verbal tangle with a jerk FBI agent, who starts in on him because he didn’t like the fact that he wasn’t clean shaven. Cassie bails him out by telling him that Cole was on the Bataan death march but then emasculates him by saying he was shot ‘down there’. They run after the messengers and get there too late. They are traveling by time machine and still they get there too late? The messengers kill Crawford in a ritualistic fashion, with flowers all around and stabbing him with his own breastbone, brought back from the future. They are very surprised when nothing happens and come to the conclusion that he is not a primary.
Cassie wants to wait and go back to the future and regroup. Cole discovers something in the back of a painting of a monkey that is in Crawford’s office. It’s a picture of his son and his son’s psychiatric records. Cole concludes that the son is like Jennifer, not crazy but connected to time somehow. Cassie doesn’t see Jennifer that way but her jealousy is probably getting in the way. She and Cole talk a bit about what’s bothering her. She blames him for Aaron’s death and feels that she can’t trust him. Cole even comes to the correct conclusion that the messengers have accidentally pulled a terminator and killed someone with the same name as the intended target.
In the future, Jones tells Ramse that she can’t protect him from Deacon. She’s still mad at him for trying to keep the future from changing. You can see that there’s a big difference in how they view events. She sees the epidemic as something that hasn’t happened yet, that can be changed. Ramse sees it as history that maybe shouldn’t be changed.
Cole and Cassie find the mental institution and the boy, Thomas Crawford Jr. (Eric Knudsen). He is played by the actor who played the kid in Continuum, he of the eternally youthful face. He knows the monkeys are coming and that this is the day he dies, but he acts to protect Cassie and Cole. He is as convinced of his fate as Jennifer was. He does get killed, and an explosion happens. Cassie and Cole are left unconscious at the scene.
Deacon takes Ramse off the premises with one other guy to kill him. They drive to the woods, and as they do, the anomaly happens. The sky and parts of the forest become red. The other mercenary gets hit by the anomaly and ages, then doesn’t, then ages again. Maybe not aging. It looks more like decomposition. Ramse takes advantage of the distraction to strike out at Deacon’s legs and grab a gun. He turns around wildly looking for something to shoot, but there is no clear target. He grabs the wounded Deacon by the arm and drags him away from danger. And that’s why I say that he is a better man than I. I would have left Deacon’s sorry self in the woods. Every person in 2044 would be better off without him.
Cassie and Cole’s tethers are lost and they are stuck in 1944. They are also probably in jail, since they were both unconscious and the obnoxious FBI guy, who was suspicious of them to start with, has shown up on the scene.
Cassie is cracking a bit, in a good way, but isn’t acting any more sensibly yet. She really didn’t want to go to 1944, but I can’t tell if she is afraid of time travel (who could blame her?), thinks it’s useless, or just doesn’t want to be with Cole. She’s not comfortable in her own skin, and not comfortable in 1944. She treats Cole with a great amount of contempt, which is a terrible sign in a relationship. She’s only comfortable at the party, where she uses her considerable verbal skills and memory to bail Cole out. Her decisions are almost always wrong, and she’s refusing to consider information that others present to her. Jones is happy with her and Deacon being together because she keeps Deacon under control and around to defend the lab. I don’t know what the lingering glance to Deacon meant when she was splintering. Did she think she wasn’t coming back?
The only part that I can understand her being upset about is her boyfriend’s death. The part that Cole thought was unfair.
Jones pulled a sick, passive aggressive trick when she decided to let Deacon kill Ramse and claim that she was unable to stop him. It’s no accident that she did it when Cole was in another time. She hoped to escape blame or recrimination from Cole, but she was setting up a deadly confrontation between Cole and Deacon. I would have thought more of her if she had declared that they were going to execute him due to crimes against humanity. Her saying that Cole would just have to believe that she had no control over it, or for that matter suggesting that everyone get used to the new normal as time becomes increasingly unpredictable, is very much in her character. She has the kind of arrogance expected of someone who thinks she can bend time to her own will. But abdication of responsibility for evil is about as low as you can get.
The redemption of Ramse is going great guns. From seeing him with his kid, cheering at the fight, and laughing at the infighting, he is relaxed and making the best of his fate. He did come up with useful information and provided it. Rescuing Deacon was way above and beyond.
I have no idea why the monkeys want to kill the primaries. (Shouldn’t they be primes? Because that’s the noun? Primaries makes them sound like elections.) Tommy says that it’s because of what he has in his head, which makes it seem like the destruction of space/time is just a side effect. He also said that he was a neuron, part of the system, but I’m not sure whether he meant of the Witness, or of time itself. Either way, it seems like they are useful and unique and yet they killed Tommy and were very cavalier with Jennifer’s life. Maybe it’s to keep them quiet, although no one listened to them anyway. Maybe destroying space/time is the purpose, despite what Tommy said. It might make it hard to prevent the virus.
The ritual surrounding the deaths has a scientific purpose, I’m sure. Using the bone dug up from the future puts the person into contact with themselves from another time, which was speculated to be destructive and dangerous.
The messenger who grabbed Cole appeared to know more about Cole than he did, and more about Cole and Cassie’s relationship than we do.She told Cole that Cassie couldn’t take the shot, and wouldn’t abandon Cole. She told Cole he was important. Important enough not to kill, but not important enough not to use electroshock therapy on.This must be information that they have gotten from the Witness, since they were from the same time and timeline as Cole. The messengers did not expect to see them in 1944.
I’m still waiting for Jones and Cassie to become more like their season one characters. I am worried that we may be witnessing deconstruction of the two strongest female characters on the show. It’s hard to count Jennifer as a strong female character, because she’s so disorganized and out of control. Both Jones and Cassie are being less than upfront. It’s a destructive and unfair stereotype that women use sneaky tactics while men prefer guns and fists, but that’s what’s happening on the show. Neither one are making good decisions. We already have Jennifer as the crazy but wise woman. We don’t need two more.
It appears that next week they are going to send in Ramse to retrieve the time travelers. During this week’s ep, there was a phone call for Cole and no one on the other end of the line. I expect that time travel had something to do with that.
12 Monkeys airs on the Syfy channel on Mondays, 9pm/8c