12 MONKEYS Recap: A Time for Every Purpose


Season 2, Episode 2 “Primary”
Written by Sean Tretta
Directed by Magnus Martens

Well, I am no longer worried as to how Cole (Aaron Stanford) will like the new, hardened version of Cassie (Amanda Schull); I don’t like her. Not only is she acting like a psychopath, but she seems to have lost a few brain cells as well. It’s as if being tough has taken away her ability to reason. Let’s hope she returns to a closer version of her season one self in season two.

Lee Vibber gets the prize for most insightful comment on last week’s recap. It turns out that some of the question as to why Jennifer (Emily Hampshire) thinks it has to be her is answered in this episode. I don’t think Cole was acting like it had to be her, just stopping the incident as it happened. Cassie was just acting brainlessly.


We start with a short montage of Cassie’s eight months in the future. It serves to give us some sympathy for her changes, but doesn’t explain the lack of intelligence. We then return to seconds after the last episode. Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) runs towards the gunshots. It turns out that Cassie was the one who sucker punched him. He distracts Cassie from killing Jennifer, and Cole talks Jennifer into giving up the vial. They then find the cases of vials that are in a plane waiting to be delivered elsewhere, and burn them. I’m not sure if that’s the safest way to destroy them, but maybe it is. Cassie should know. Cole, Cassie and Ramse are afflicted with headaches and nosebleeds. Jennifer is not, but does a Bob Dylan impression “the times they are a-changing”.

Dr. Jones (Barbara Sukowa), in the future, also feels the change. She has ghostly figures and a changing landscape around her. She immediately goes to find her daughter’s baby blanket to check and see if she is still dead. The blanket is still there.

12 MONKEYS -- "Primary" Episode 202 -- Pictured: Barbara Sukowa as Katarina Jones -- (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Syfy)
I know if I keep working at it I can beat this level of Candy Crush! (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Syfy)

Cassie insists that they can’t leave Ramse and Jennifer alive. Cole refuses to let her kill them. Very calmly, actually. Cassie uses Cole’s injection on Ramse and the two of them go back to 2044. Cole is stuck in 2016 with Jennifer, fleeing from the police and presumably some pissed off monkeys.

Dr. Jones tells Cassie that time changed and the injections kept them from changing with it. I think they may blame the injections for too much. You live too long? Must be the injections. Time changes and your memories stay the same? Must be the injections. She has gathered from investigation that the virus was released two years later in this timeline and that fewer people died. Cassie tells Jones that Cole is emotionally compromised and they should go on with the mission without him.

Jones, by the way, finds that she has a relationship with someone who was not in the previous timeline and whom she doesn’t remember. He’s adorable. I’m not sure adorable is a good survival trait. We shall see.

They send Deacon (Todd Stashwick) to torture Ramse to find out when and where the messengers, the monkeys who went back in time last episode, went. They need a tracking device on their time machine…but then again, they blew it up, so it may not have helped. Ramse knows nothing, probably because the messengers were sent back in time AFTER the first time Cole changed history by not killing him. He has the original memories and would have been dead by that point anyway. But they are convinced that he knows something. Ramse took some time in the past to look up Deacon’s past and throws it back in his face, causing him to try to kill him.

Jennifer tells Cole that the way home is 607, and makes him stop the car at a hotel that they pass by. Cole wants to call Jones in the present and they have to get a room to use a phone. They give him 210, and Jennifer says he needs a prime number, 607. Cole calls Jones, who lives in the here and now, but is rebuffed. Jennifer is still crazy. In the course of the time they are there, she shatters a mirror, assaults Cole, and makes a half-hearted suicide attempt. We can see from her inner thoughts and memories that Olivia (Alisen Down) was working on her. Jennifer talked about wanting to be a daughter again. Olivia told her that she was prime, she was time, and that she and Cole would be together after the virus, when the red forest happened. She seemed to realize that that last part was false. But it gives some explanation as to why she was going to deliver the virus.

The hotel management shows up and tells Cole that he’s in the wrong room, and that he has had a room, 607, held for him since 1944. This guy is as excited as the telegraph guy in Back to the Future that someone has finally shown up to use the room, but Cole gives him nothing, not a smile, anything. They find a picture of him and Cassie from 1944, which Jennifer is not happy to see. I think that there’s a Tab cola can in the room, which would imply that it was used in between 1944 and now.

12 MONKEYS -- "Primary" Episode 202 -- Pictured: (l-r) Emily Hampshire as Jennifer Goines, Aaron Stanford as James Cole -- (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Syfy)
You think YOU have problems? Wait until you see Cassie. (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/Syfy)

Cole talks Jennifer down from her mania and tells her that even though she has lost her purpose, she needs to find her own purpose. And she needs to stay away from the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. She leaves, alive and unharmed.

In the meantime, Cassie has threatened to hurt Ramse’s kid. Jones is kidnapped and told to fetch Cole and where he is by a group of women called “the daughters”. They also remind her that her past self failed to help Cole. She sends Cassie with an injection. She shows up in the 1944 hotel room with a piece of paper on which Jennifer has written “I found my purpose.” We see 2044 Jennifer in fortune telling garb with the daughters.

Cole comes back to find the timeline has changed. Ramse tells him that Cassie threatened his kid. Cole tells Cassie that killing people didn’t change anything, but then he saved someone, and it did. And he’s right, saving Ramse changed the future, saving Jennifer changed the future, but I don’t know if that will always hold true. He gives Cassie the picture of the two of them in 1944 and says he is ready to go when she is.

Jennifer is fascinating. Is she seeing the future, remembering the past, or actually affecting history? She picked out the hotel, knew Cole had been there before although he hadn’t done it yet, and knew the room number. But what if it isn’t prescience? When Cole goes back into the past, he now knows the hotel and room number he HAS to choose to be picked up in 2016. What if she doesn’t see what happens but actually causes it to happen? That could be why she had to deliver the virus. If she didn’t do it now, maybe they don’t find it in the past? Just a theory. Causality is always a big problem with time travel. When Jones builds a time machine to go back into the past to correct it, she erases her motivation for building the time machine. IF she and the others are really immune to the changes, she keeps causality intact since they don’t live in or remember the new timeline. This also means that they could correct it and enjoy it. She could live to see her daughter, although grown, and Cole could save Cassie and it won’t matter that she didn’t send the dying message.

I have complaints about Cassie, and for that matter Katarina Jones. There is no way that leaving Cole in the past is the appropriate response to thinking he has joined the other side. He doesn’t belong there, and could screw up stuff even if he didn’t mean to. And why would she jump to that conclusion? I do realize that Ramse was helping the monkeys and was thought to be the Witness, and that Jennifer was Goines’ daughter, and apparently just wanted to see the world burn, but she should have had some faith in Cole. When she tells Jones that he’s let emotion get the better of him and abandoned the mission, not something he ever declared, Katarina doesn’t argue. Jones should have had more faith in him as well.

Cassie is really screwed up. I don’t know if it’s culture shock, cognitive dissonance, or if she has spent too much time with Deacon. She’s not thinking clearly and she’s making emotional decisions even if she thinks she’s not. I wonder if she doesn’t want Cole around so he won’t see what she’s become. I can’t think of anything that would make anyone so vicious except fear.

12 MONKEYS -- Season:2 -- Pictured: Todd Stashwick as Deacon -- (Photo by: Kurt Iswarlenko/Syfy)
Everyone’s new best friend, Deacon. (Photo by: Kurt Iswarlenko/Syfy)

And Deacon. I laughed out loud when Ramse said things were different and Cole said everyone was really chummy with Deacon. I’ve been thinking the same thing. Who would have thought that Deacon, of all people, would get some character development and back story?

Next week we go back to 1944, I think, although IMDB calls it “World War Three”, which would also be entertaining. Must be a typo.


12 Monkeys airs on the Syfy channel on Mondays, 9pm/8c.


Teresa Wickersham

Teresa Wickersham has dabbled in fanfic, gone to a few conventions, created some award-winning (and not so award winning) masquerade costumes, worked on the Save Farscape campaign, and occasionally presents herself as a fluffy bunny or a Krampus.

6 thoughts on “12 MONKEYS Recap: A Time for Every Purpose

  • April 27, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Great write-up! I agree with everything. This episode was one of my favorites of the entire series. I loved seeing how destroying the vials changed things. I loved the moving scenes between Cole and Jennifer and how Cole now believes saving people might be the best way of changing time. I guess it depends on who you save and who you let live. Obviously saving Jennifer led her to found the Daughters, which seems like a force for good.

    I also loved Katarina in this episode. I agree that she should’ve argued for bringing Cole back, but part of me wonders if she “remembers” something else that tells her she did bring him back, so there’s no point in arguing with Cassie. And one of my favorite parts of the episode was Michael Hogan! Katarina has a boyfriend, sort of! And what a great guy he is. I can’t wait to see him try to break down her walls. The look on her face when he said that was great.

    This brings me to Cassie. I do not buy her change. I hadn’t thought about how stupid she’s become, just that she’s way too cold for her character, but I think you’re right. She’s lost all sense of logic. And I have to say I’m not thrilled with Amanda Schull’s performance. She does a lot of jaw-clenching and teeth-gritting now. It makes me want to slap her. I just think it’s over the top, and even if Cassie did become more brutal it wouldn’t be this extreme.

    One thing I was glad to see was that Katarina seemed to welcome Cole back into the mission, and the way he told her (and Cassie) that their next jump was to 1944 made it seem like he was back in charge, so to speak, as the main time traveler. I just don’t think Cassie is cut out for that, so I’m glad Cole will be taking the lead.

    • April 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Andrea, I have to aggree about Michael Hogan! I love his “Oh, goody, I get to break down your walls again” comment! LOL! Though I did wonder what the Cylons have to do with the plague….

      • April 27, 2016 at 9:40 pm

        Aha! It was the Cylons that started the plague!

    • April 27, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Katarina did have a look that might have said let’s not argue with the crazy person-like she was keeping her own counsel. I loved the break down her walls bit, too.

      What makes Cassie’s change bearable to me is that they aren’t trying to say it’s good, and they aren’t trying to pretend she was always that way. Cole’s reaction to it is much like ours, an example being his asking what happened to her in 2044, and his saying that it’s his fault that she is like this. I can so see an ordinary couple and her responding like what? I’m fine. And I think maybe that means they will deal with it soon. But it is so unsettling.

  • April 27, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    To start more or less where you ended, I agree with you that Cassie is very screwed up. I’m inclined to think it’s culture shock — the 8 months of living in this terrible world that Cole has told her about but which is completely alien to her world, plus having to do some really awful things to survive and to have any chance of stopping this future seems to have pushed her into a very bad place. As you say, she’s acting out of emotion even if she thinks she isn’t. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re going to fix this over the course of the season — maybe even early in the season. It’s rather funny to see her and Cole change places — last season it was Cole who killed without a thought because he NEEDED to stop the plague, and Cassie who argued with him. Now it’s Cassie, and Cole has become rather battle-weary, and wants to try other tacks if at all possible. The fact that she actually seemed to listen to his speech about going back to kill one man, and it didn’t work, then more and it didn’t work, then saving someone and it DID change things suggests to me that this current Cassie is brittle and probably won’t last.

    I’m with you on Jones. She should not have simply taken Cassie at her word about Cole.

    They have reason (in the future) to believe Ramse knows this stuff. He WAS working with the 12 Monkeys and DID help them to get the virus in the first place. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw him. The only reason Cole is less judgemental is that he’s spent some time on the run with him, knows he had a tracker in him (a sign of a lower level member, I would think). And Ramse has been such a jerk about all this that if I were in 2044 I’d think he was holding back, too.

    The shot serves as the excuse for why at least some of our people know that the timeline has changed. The people with the shot, the people in the machine, the people next to the time machine, whatever it is, SOMEBODY has to remember how it was, or telling the story is less interesting for the audience (plus you have to hope the audience remembers what’s changed). So, I give them that.

    I was much happier with Jennifer Goines this week. As you said, we see how much Olivia worked on her, and made her feel she had a purpose, to start the plague, that it had to be her, and it was to save humanity, etc. If she hadn’t been crazy in the first place, it would probably have been a tougher sell (both to Jennifer, and to me), but it works. And Cole’s talking her down and sending her off worked well, too. Don’t know whether she’s causing some of this to happen, or just sees it — her future persona is rather like a wise old woman/witch who sees things unfold. Maybe she IS time. 😉 (We’ve seen her in this persona already, last season, unless I’m completely mistaken.)

    I like that they got a little better future this time around. Didn’t fix everything by a longshot, but it was better. They even managed to raid the other compound for parts without killing the leader. (Names escape me.)

    Oh, and I assumed that blowing up the time machine destroyed whatever tracking they had. 🙂

  • April 27, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    I don’t think Ramse knows anything because of causality. IF they went back in time because of Cole’s changing the timeline by not killing Ramse, they may not have crossed paths at all. And if Ramse has memories of them (which it sounded like he did) he would be the last person that they would reveal their plans to. On the other hand, if he did know anything , that would be a good reason for the army to try to kill him.

    Yes, we’ve seen Jennifer in this persona before but I have to admit to being completely mystified when we did.And it does make it much easier that she’s crazy in the first place. Mentally healthy people would have a little voice that tells them that what Olivia’s saying makes no sense. But if Jennifer feels that skepticism, she can’t trust it because her mind plays tricks on her and time plays tricks on her and her emotions are out of control. It’s easier to convince someone of something if they can’t trust themselves.


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