Things never manage to stay on an even keel in the world of Terry Matalas’ 12 Monkeys (which is just how we like it) and the fifth episode of season two, entitled “Bodies of Water” was an expert exercise in maintaining that state of flux.
The Army of the 12 Monkeys has a new mouthpiece for the Witness, the folks in the facility have a newfound respect for Deacon, and Jennifer Goines has officially taken matters into her own hands. In just 42 short minutes, it seemed the entire cast was flipped on its head.
What Happened Last Time
Audiences are now privy to the Army of the 12 Monkey’s underlying, fanatical belief that time is an illusion that can be put to an end. Even more fun, this task can only be accomplished by hopping through time in search of people called Primaries, who have a symbiotic connection with Time itself. Once these people are assassinated, Time itself begins to unravel.
Of particular note is the origin story of the Pallid Man (Tom Noonan), who seems to be the offspring of one of the Messengers sent back through time earlier in the season.
And we’re back in …
Dissent Among the Masses
In one of our first signs of discontent among the typically unified Army of the 12 Monkeys, The Striking Woman (Alisen Down) is registering a little agitation at the murkiness of the Witness’ plans. It seems that she’s growing a little tired of taking orders from a talking house she can only visit in a hallucinogenic state (who’d have thought?). Specifically, she’s annoyed that the Witness is clamoring to get Cassie “prepared” (whatever that means).
Meanwhile, Cole (Aaron Stanford) and Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) are having real difficulty with Deacon’s (Todd Stashwick) newly established place among the good guys. When someone from their shared past — ominously named “The Foreman” — pops up on the war path, the pair have even more reason to resent the real danger that Deacon’s presence brings with it. It’s an issue that’s left largely to the boys, as Dr. Jones (Barbara Sukowa) and Cassie (Amanda Schull) seem focused on, you know, the mission at hand.
Speaking of the good doctor Railly, she’s sent almost against her will into the past to get some information off of 2016 Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire). Of course, Cassie is still sore about Goines’ attempt to destroy the entire world from season one, so she’s not exactly thrilled to be spending loads of time with Jennifer. Making matters more complicated, Goines has gotten her shit together and gotten a grip on her mental health, which doesn’t do Cassie much good in terms of learning more about the Primaries scattered throughout time.
A Series of Tantalizing Clues
When it becomes apparent that Cassie and Goines are on the Monkeys’ radar, the duo head off to try and trigger one of Jennifer’s visions, which works (very quickly), sending the pair off to the Goines summer home where it’s revealed that Goines’ mom tried to drown her in the tub when she was young. It’s this revelation that finally makes clear Jennifer’s yearning to be part of a family.
More importantly for the narrative, Jennifer’s childhood drawings reveal the names and locations of some more Primaries, including one Kyle Slade who lives in New York in 1975. Unfortunately, Cassie and Jennifer learn this one bit of info about two seconds before the Pallid Man shows up, takes them captive, and delivers them to the Striking Woman.
It’s here that we find out what the Witness means by “preparing” Cassie. Essentially that’s shop talk for drugging her and sending her to the aforementioned talking house, a thoughtfully conceived dwelling deep inside the Red Forest that appears to occupy all potential timelines at once. It’s here that Cassie sees visions of Kyle Slade, a man she thinks is likely dangerous.
Against all odds, it’s Jennifer who keeps it together enough to escape captivity and save the day, ultimately stabbing the Striking Woman in the gut with a switchblade. It’s an uncommonly violent maneuver from Jennifer that most likely has more than a little to do with the revelation that her mother tried to kill her. The action also signals a shift in the dynamic between Cassie and Goines.
Jennifer has proved herself capable of pursuing the mission that means so much to Cassie, simultaneously displaying the same kind of cutthroat attitude that Cassie herself has developed over the course of the season.
Goines also stumbles across a parchment encased in glass called, “The Word of the Witness,” a loose, verbal map outlines the important places and people in the Witness’ plan (all three main leads are there, obviously). It also reveals to Jennifer the time and date of her own death.
Dealing with the Foreman
Meanwhile in 2044, what starts as an apparent attempt by Deacon to keep tabs on Cole and Ramse turns into a trap sprung by the duo. In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone, Ramse and Cole turn Deacon over to the Foreman, a grizzled man who looks like he’s going to enjoy torturing Deacon immensely.
Naturally, Jones is irate at the news, going so far as to accuse the pair of adopting the same merciless tactics Deacon they attribute to Deacon himself. Just as she’s lecturing them, though Deacon himself shows up, covered in blood and fresh bruises. It’s a striking image that drives home Deacon’s deadly skill. Surprisingly, though, not only does he let Cole and Ramse off the hook, he even makes overtures of friendship.
The New People In Charge
At the end of the jam-packed episode, the Pallid Man has gotten the top job at 12 Monkeys HQ. His first act after the promotion is to leave the Striking Woman to drown in a pool of her own blood.
Goines and Cassie, meanwhile, are much closer to friends after having come through the ordeal. Goines has been able to see Cassie in a vulnerable state and Cassie now owes the nutty prophet a life debt.
In the present, you can absolutely expect Deacon to cook up some kind of revenge. Nothing he’s done to date has made him seem like an understanding individual. He may seem calm, but that’s typically the point when it’s a good idea to get very afraid of the man.
As the entire group sets off to track down Kyle Slade in 1976, both teams are dealing with chaos in their midst and a new outlook on the events to come.