Spoilers ahead for “Lullaby,” the latest episode of Syfy’s 12 Monkeys!
The short version: Desperate to save time itself, Jones sends Cassie back to kill her younger self before she can ever invent time travel — it does not go as planned. Oh, then things go all Groundhog Day, and Cole and Cassie end up saving Jones’ daughter ... but they can’t reveal that fact for another 20+ years. In case you need a reminder: This is arguably the best show on television right now.
Jones is desperate enough to try and erase pretty much everything
Fresh off the death of her alt-time boyfriend and The Witness’ assault on their base by possessing Cassie, Jones makes a desperate gambit — go back to 2020 and have herself killed before she can ever create time travel. Sure, the world will pretty much be screwed by the virus that takes out most of humanity, but at least it won’t unravel upon itself when the 12 Monkeys start sending agents through time to kill Primaries. But, yeah, things do not go as planned.
The fact that Jones would make this move is shocking, along with the fact that she chose to give the job to Cassie. It’s a testament to how far Cassie has come this season, not to mention how her relationship with Jones has progressed. Cassie got a taste of The Witness’ real power last season, and she sees to truly agree with Jones. They’re willing to sacrifice the millions of lives that will die of the virus to prevent him from gaining time-travel abilities. It may not be a good world, but it’ll at least continue to exist. It also serves as a revelatory moment for viewers: Jones really is, in a sense, to blame for all of this. She created time travel to try to save the world, but her technology might be the thing that finally ends it. But, despite the best-laid plans, it seems time itself has its own agenda.
12 Monkeys goes Groundhog Day, and it’s glorious
Considering they’re literally trying to assassinate Jones while she mourns her daughter’s death over and over, this could’ve really been a bleak episode. But, as is becoming a trend, Jennifer Goines is also in 2020 to help save the day. In a nice, Doctor Who-esque twist, Cole and Cassie meet up with a version of Jennifer who is ahead of them in the timeline (meaning she’s encountered future versions of Cole and Cassie, and pretty much knows more of what’s happening than they do). But, since she’s attuned to the constant resets of the timeline, Jennifer gets to provide some much-needed comic relief to the insanity.
She gives Cole a few (very confusing and hilarious) pep talks, and helps lead him to the decision to save Jones’ daughter Hannah and finally escape the time loop. She gets most of the best lines in this episode, and really is the saving grace, with just enough levity to keep the episode from crashing in upon itself. Perfect balance, and Emily Hampshire brings the crazy as only she can. It’s pretty great.
It’s been a while since Cole and Cassie have really been stranded and forced to work together, and this was a great chance to do it. Their heart-to-heart was heart-wrenching, as Cole came clean about the reason he’s still signed on for this crazy mission: He wants to save the world for Cassie. Actually saving the world is just icing on the cake. It’s a touching moment, and after two seasons, it really felt earned. This show has never leaned hard into the ‘ship between these two, but it’s always been there just below the surface. That’s what makes Cassie’s eventual rejection of the idea so much more painful. Look up doomed in the dictionary, and there’s a picture of these two. Sigh.
Other observations: Ramse on a mission, Jones got her daughter back
The big mystery over how to escape the time loop set up one of the show's biggest twists yet: Jones’ daughter, Hannah, is still alive — and has spent all this time living with Jennifer’s Daughters group in the post-apocalypse. But, this being 12 Monkeys, every good thing has to come with a bucket full of tragedy. To escape the loop and save Hannah, Cole and Cassie had to let Jones believe she had still died. Because, had Hannah not died, Jones would’ve never been driven to finish the time-travel technology. It’s great to see them reunited, but brutal to think about the decades they’ve lost along the way.
Awesome bit of continuity fun to bring Lt. Foster back into the fold. Ramse apparently spends the episode kicking around in the Red Forest, before coming back to the base to contemplate killing Cassie over losing her son. But, when he pulls the gun, Cassie throws the episode’s final curveball: When she was possessed by The Witness, she got a look at his apparent home base: some place called Titan, and she thinks she can get them there to take out The Witness once and for all.
Yeah, bring on next week.
Line of the night: “The only world I ever gave a damn about is the one with you in it.” - Cole