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12 Monkeys - Nurture & Masks & Thief & Witness - Review - "Season 3 Final Four Re-cap and Review - Ready for Season 4!"

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As we eagerly await season 4 of 12 Monkeys, I thought it worthwhile to take a quick look back at the last 4 episodes of season 3 to remind ourselves where we left off – and why this is such a clever and exciting show (assuming we needed a reminder!) Look for my preview teases of the first 3 episodes of season 4 shortly! First, let’s splinter back to season 3…

“Nurture was directed by Steven A Adelson with the story by Adam Sussman and the teleplay by the team of Adam Sussman and Christopher Monfette. This episode followed “Nature” and naturally featured the role of mothers with an emphasis on whether behavior is inherited genetically (nature) or learned (nurture).

The episode begins with a fabulous speech from Jones (Barbara Sukowa) to the team. She tells them that her God is time. It’s not a matter of good and evil, but if and when. She’s trying to give them the courage to kill a child – Athan (Jack Fulton). She tells them it’s one life in exchange for 7 billion lives. And this seems to always be what it comes down to. She also tells them that no God will forgive them this sin – she’s hardly making it easy for them! Jones reveals that she’s unlocked the secrets of the time-travel vests.

Cassie (Amanda Schull) and Cole (Aaron Stanford) are still keeping their secret that Athan is their son. Interestingly, Cassie tells Cole that they don’t get to change the past and keep the future. What’s interesting, of course is the poster for season 4 that says “Sacrifice the past. Save the future.” Deacon (Todd Stashwick) overhears the two and goes to Jones with his suspicions. Jones excuses their behavior and reminds Deacon that Cassie spent months in captivity and Cole just lost his best friend and brother.

The group travels to 1953 – which gives Jennifer (Emily Hampshire) the opportunity to dress up as the cutest “bobby soxer” around! Jennifer gets the Lab guy (Taybion Nguyen) to give her a tour so that they can steal the magnet they need to EMP the time vests of the Witness’s guardians. Cole tells Jennifer that he’s a murderer, but she tells him that she spent her whole life thinking she was a bad person until someone showed her a better way. She changed – and she doesn’t believe Cole is a bad person – and we get a huge clue in the final minutes of the season why…

Meanwhile, Cassie begs Jones for a favor and goes back to 1990 to see her own mother (Kristin Booth). Her primary reason for going is to get her mother’s professional opinion as a leading psychologist on the Word of the Witness and what it says about what her son will become. He mother assures her that the work – from which Cassie has removed her own name – is not the work of a psychopath. She says it is a work of art, not a manifesto of despair. It’s his story, but not of what he is but what he wants to be. She intuitively knows that the author is not a patient of Cassie’s but her child.

Cassie’s second reason for wanting to see her mother is that she never got to say goodbye to her mother before she died. She’s able to encourage her mother to insist on a young Cassie (Emily La Montagne) going to an art museum with her mother. Cassie has the proof that she’s changed history when she suddenly gets a nosebleed and fleeting memories of the trip with her mother. Her mother urges her to never give up on family.

Jones also takes a trip at Deacon’s urging. She sees Cole shoot Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) in the back. I’m still missing Ramse – but there have been hints we may see him again… Jones is waiting for Cassie with a gun and knows that Cassie is Athan’s mother. Cassie manages to grab a time vest and get to 1953.

In 1953, the group is waiting to attack the Witness. They see Cole and Cassie materialize – looping us back to another incident. I love this show! The group attacks, and Hannah (Brooke Williams) is hurt badly in a fight with Hockley (Mif) who is killed.

Time is stopped allowing Jennifer and Athan to have a conversation. He knows that she’s like him – primary. Jennifer says that he isn’t like her, he’s better. But he assures her that one day, she will be the best of them all.

Cassie arrives and fights with Magdalena (Hannah Waddingham). It’s literally nature fighting with nurture – and nature wins! Cassie uses the self-destruct setting on Magdalena’s vest to kill her. I loved Cassie using Magdalena’s own tag line against her: “Mind yourself.”

Cole shoots Sebastian (Dylan Colton), but can’t kill the boy. When Deacon shows up, Cole tells him that Athan is his son. Before Deacon can shoot, Cassie shoots him. That pretty much ends Deacon’s attraction to Cassie! Sebastian isn’t dead, and he grabs Athan while Cole and Cassie are distracted. Cassie and Cole know that they can’t go back to the facility.

Cole tells Jennifer to look after Hannah when she arrives. Much is made in this episode about knowing the truth about someone by looking in their eyes. Cole tells Jennifer that he couldn’t shoot Athan because he looked in his eyes. Let’s not forget Jennifer’s pet name for Cole – otter eyes. Cassie and Cole warn Deacon not to follow them. The episode ends, chillingly, with Deacon and Jones sharing another drink and agreeing that they have to kill them all.

“Masks” was directed by David Grossman with the story by Tony Elliott and the teleplay by Elliot and Sean Tretta. This episode centered on Cole and Cassie’s search for their son. We see him begin to write the Word in London in 1879 at Sebastian’s (Rupert Graves) urging. They’ve been jumping about in time to keep Cole and Cassie from finding them, but Athan is not happy about living in squalor in 1879. Athan sees Sebastian’s death and records it as the Masque of the Red Death, 1899.

We get a fun scene on a train in 1945 as Deacon and Hannah hunt Cole and Cassie who have become expert users of their vests. Cole and Cassie begin to think like the witness – there are no straight lines.

In 2046, they are using Jennifer’s visions to try to locate the three fugitives. Jennifer doesn’t want to hunt them because they are their friends. Jennifer freaks out when Jones decides to let Olivia (Alisen Down) out of her prison to help them. Deacon tells Jennifer that he no longer blames himself for Jennifer’s death. Olivia works to separate Jennifer from the rest of the team by telling them that she is purposely leading them astray to protect Cassie, Cole, and the Witness.

Jennifer knows that her time is short, and she knows Olivia and her tactics well. She sacrifices her turtle by creating a paradox with the young and old version. She also gets Laskey (Murray Furrow) to help her – he agrees with her about Olivia being bad and killing their friends being bad. I loved her using a pointed finger in lieu of a gun to “force” him to help! Jennifer heads to London to help the others.

We get some really sweet Cole and Cassie moments in this episode. The two determine that the Red Death Masquerade must be where Athan will be. Cole teaches Cassie how to be a pickpocket to get enough money for costumes for the ball, and Cassie teaches Cole how to dance.

When the two get to the ball, they hide their vests in the garden and then make an entrance. They have no idea what Athan now looks like, and everyone is wearing a mask. They determine that Athan will likely be wearing a red skull. Cassie does recognize Sebastian – he still limps from where he was shot. He tells them that he hasn’t seen Athan for 20 years but also followed the Red Death lead. And then suddenly, Jones, Deacon, and Hannah are there. I think Jones gets the prize for the best costume!

Jones and Cole dance and it’s a terrific scene. Jones tells him that she’s had two great pains in her life – the death of a child (Hannah) and the betrayal by one – Cole! Aw! She thinks of him as her son! Cassie apologizes to Deacon for shooting him – but he doesn’t care. Just as Jones and Cole pull guns on each other, a figure in a plague mask appears!

Of course, it’s not Athan, it’s Jennifer. And her costume gets a very close vote as second best. She throws back her cape to reveal holsters full of fireworks which she proceeds to let off, creating a panic. She tells Cole and Cassie that “this is where you run!” And we’ll hear Athan say the same words in the final episode.

Hannah gets a hold of Jennifer. Jones tells Deacon to get them at any cost. Cole tells Sebastian that Athan can choose his own fate, and Sebastian tells Cole that Athan had rejected his destiny already. He tells Cole that Athan isn’t just primary – he’s also kind. Sebastian gives them the 1919 address, and Jones shoots him as Cassie and Cole get away.

Deacon puts Jennifer in the cage and Olivia brings her a crayon – she’s not done using her yet. Athan (James Callis) is at the party in the red skull mask, and comes to Sebastian’s body to put the two pence over his eyes that is also referenced in the Word. Cassie and Cole find themselves in Athan’s home. There’s another mask – similar too but not quite the plague mask of the Witness. It clearly means a lot to him, given its place of honor.

“Thief” was directed by David Grossman and written by Sean Tretta. This episode really focuses on Athan’s story as Cassie and Cole go through his journals. We discover that Athan is cursed with seeing the deaths of people close to him. He travels time and the world to distract himself. In 1891, his vest breaks and he goes to a watchmaker (Stewart Kenneth Moore) to have the broken piece fixed and it’s immediately stolen by a thief – wearing the plague mask now in the place of honor in his house – Eliza (Claire Cooper). Athan follows her to a hospital for paupers. She steals to look after her patients. She gives the piece back, but Athan is now fascinated by her.

When Eliza collapses, he has her brought to his house and gives her antibiotics to clear up the infection she has. He eventually convinces her to come to dinner with him by hiring five nurses to take her place. This is a terrific scene as he progressively buys everyone’s meals if they will take of their jackets and vests and shoes and socks to make Eliza feel less self-conscious about how she’s dressed. His grand gesture has the desired effect and the two become lovers.

Naturally, their love is doomed. Athan thinks the greatest danger to them is his destiny and what he will become. He visits Cole while Cole is still a scav. They discover they have much in common. Both have only a few memories of their fathers and fear what they will become.

Eliza is first killed by Enslow Carver (Jim High) the criminal the watchmaker warns her about. Athan gets serious about fixing the vest and goes back and saves her. Eliza is furious that he saved her. She gives him the watch her father gave her. It’s stopped and it’s a reminder that all we have is now, today. It’s ungodly to manipulate time. Naturally, this is also the watch that Cassie took from the room dedicated to him at Titan… He’s about to smash the vest, but then she dies due to a thrombosis caused by the antibiotic he gave her. He tries 607 times to save her. In a nice parallel to the scene in which Cassie consults her mother about Athan, Athan visits Cassie saying he’s a doctor with a patient. Cassie tells him that they are always fighting the clock, but it always wins – eventually, everyone dies.

And of course, that’s when Athan decides it’s time to return to Titan and stop time. Cassie feels it’s all her fault, but Cole tells her that he was looking for an excuse. They know to go to Athan at Eliza’s funeral.

Meanwhile, Jones goes to Jennifer to ask for help in understanding the mind of a primary. Jennifer has been busy drawing, but she never does well in captivity. She’s visited by her past and future selves who tell her to “use her head.” She then bashes her head on the floor until she’s bleeding. She knows she has to try to save the dying man. Jones and Deacon apologize and splinter Jennifer “home.”

Olivia comes to Jones who is sitting defeated in the cage with the drawings. She tells Olivia she just wants it all to end. Olivia tells Jones that she’s better than she it. It all began with Jones and she can finish it.

“Witness” was directed by Grant Harvey and was written by Terry Matalas. This episode begins with Jennifer in London, 2017. She tells us that everyone has a purpose, and hers is to be in that crypt at this time. She’s waiting for the dying man.

Back in 1891, we pick up with Athan, Cole, and Cassie. Athan is grief-striken and determined to return to Titan and finally embrace his fate. We get a cool chase to WWII. Athan hits the self-destruct on Cassie’s vest, and Cole has to choose to save her. When Cole shows up again, Athan thinks he’s let Cassie die, but she disables Athan’s vest and the two take him home.

Back at the Facility, Jones loses Cassie’s signal and the ability to track her. Olivia tells her to think like a mother. Where would Cassie go? The lions are taking their cub back to their den – the house of cedar and pine. Olivia tells Jones that she can give her the where, but in order to get the when, she’ll need something from Jones – the red forest tea.

Athan resists being chastised by people younger and less travelled than he is. But are they? They’ve certainly been through at least as much if not a great deal more loss. Cassie tells him that when he was born, she knew… and he throws in “good,” but that’s not where she was going. He was nothing. Neither good nor evil. Not yet. Athan wants Cole to just kill him, but Cole still can’t do it. He tells Athan that none of them are getting off that easy.

Deacon is totally against letting Olivia drink the tea – and he’s right to be! She drinks it and sends her consciousness up the time-stream. She and Athan see each other in the mirror. She knows when they are – and he knows that they are coming. He tries to get them to leave. Cassie insists that nothing is written – she shows him that she has the watch, reminding him that there’s only the now.

Jones, Deacon, and Hannah come for them. Jones leaves Olivia back at the facility, and she’s fine with that – because she’s planning on killing all her guards. Titan arrives around the house. Jones and company turn their attention to the Witness followers. They burst into the house as Cole and Cassie get a vest on Athan and tell him to go somewhere safe. Jones has her gun on Athan, and Cassie turns her gun on Hannah. Mother to mother, she gives her a choice. Jones apologizes to Hannah and shoots Athan. It seems the vest is shorting out and he disappears. Jones seems genuinely sorry.

They are all taken prisoner by Mallick (Faran Tahir). He says that he’s glad the witness is dead. He let Cassie go to find Athan, not save him. They are all taken into Titan where Olivia has just killed the Pallidman (Tom Noonan) and taken his place.

There’s a quick flashback that outlines Olivia’s careful long-game. Deacon hesitates getting into the machine to follow Hannah and Jones as he remembers Jennifer telling him that Olivia is a chameleon and that she was never anywhere that she didn’t absolutely want to be – she wanted Jones to leave her behind. Olivia honors time with patience, waiting for her moment.

Olivia set up Cole to kill Ramse. She tells Jones that she wasn’t a fool – just beaten – and stabs her! Meanwhile, Jennifer has saved the dying man – who is Athan – when he shows up at Eliza’s tomb. Time is on their side as Athan heals and they repair the time vest, allowing the Witness to suddenly turn up in the future. This time it’s Athan who flips back his cloak, and this time he reveals machine guns – but it’s a beautiful parallel to Jennifer at the ball.

Athan saves Cole, Cassie, and Jones, who is still alive. Athan gives his vest to Cole. Jones tells them to leave her, but of course, Cole can’t do that. Athan then gives his version of Eliza’s watch to Cassie, telling her that nothing is written and telling her to go. Cassie creates a paradox with the watches that results in Mallick’s death while Athan is taken to Olivia.

Athan tells Olivia that the sad, lonely demon at the end of time was never him – it was always her. Olivia is shocked, insisting that Athan is the Witness. He clarifies that he saw things, witnessed them, but that life isn’t measured by clocks. He tells her that she’s alone, and that’s why she will lose.

Back in 2018, Athen tells Jennifer that he has to return to Titan. He tells her that Cassie and Cole will need her – and she’ll need them. Jennifer wants to know how to stop what never began, and Athan tells her again that she’s better than he is. He believes that she can stop it. He tells her it’s her mission now. Deacon and Hannah are the ones to come for Cassie, Cole, and Jones.

Olivia promises her followers that she will make the eternal now, but first, she has to kill all their enemies. Jennifer remarks that it’s the beginning of the end. Now she’s drawing the monkey’s head inside a giant snake that is eating its own tail – the Ouroboros.

In the final scene, Cole is being read The Wizard of Oz by Matthew (Patrick Garrow). Young Cole is played by Jack Fulton – who also played young Athan. A piece of paper with an Ouroboros on it falls out of the book. Matthew reads, “There once was a serpent who only traveled one direction. Always forward, never backwards. Until one day, the serpent came upon a demon.” Cole wants to know what it means but Matthew doesn’t know because he didn’t write it – Cole’s mother did! So is Jennifer Cole’s mother???!?!!??

I can’t wait for the final conflict and the answers to this question and others. I’m really looking forward to the team being united against Olivia. I can’t wait for the clever dialogue and careful plotting of the writing, and the great performances from the entire cast. I maintain that this is the best time travel show on television! What are you most looking forward to in the coming season? What were your favorite moments from season 3? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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