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12 Monkeys reveals the time-shattering importance of Primaries

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Syfy

Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Monday’s episode of 12 Monkeys. Read at your own risk!

First we discovered that Jennifer Goines wasn’t the only one hearing voices, and now we know the reason why she’s, well, a little crazy.

During Monday’s episode of 12 Monkeys, the Red Forest began to spread in the future, threatening everyone’s very existence. Jones (Barbara Sukowa) attempted to get to the root of what was happening with the Red Forest, drinking its tea under the guidance of Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire). Jennifer explains that Primaries are basically the cogs that keep time moving, which is why the paradoxing of a Primary breaks or collapses time.

“Time and man have evolved together, and each are important to the way the other functions,” executive producer Terry Matalas tells EW. “Mankind has helped time think, and some people are helping more than others, and those people are called Primaries. They’re like pillars that hold together the structure of time in this localized galaxy. But if someone were to destroy them in a unique way, then time would collapse. Why someone would want to do that we’ll explain later, but that is the idea of what’s happening here.”

Part of that explanation involves the Army of the 12 Monkeys trying to destroy time. “It’s not so much that they want to destroy the world, but they do want to destroy time, or at least change the way it works,” Matalas says. But wouldn’t that mean everyone would die? “But doesn’t everyone live?” Matalas counters. “I mean, in a world without time, there would be no death. At least that’s one way to look at it. It may be the perverted, dark way to look at it, but it could be that whoever is doing this is not looking at the world through sane eyes.”

In the past, Cole (Aaron Stanford) also confronted the female Messenger (Scottie Thompson) who caused the birth of the Red Forest, though he was unable to glean any information from her. But the audience certainly does! It turns out, she’s the mother of the Pallid Man (Tom Noonan). “We established in episode 3 of last year that he had some kind of strange super strength, and that he seems to age much slower than normal people do,” Matalas says. “So does Olivia [Alisen Down]. We knew we were going to answer that question, and episode 4 seemed like the perfect place to hand over the story from Scottie [Thompson’s character], that she would hand the story back over to Pallid Man in the present day.”

Twist: The Pallid Man is still alive after Cole paradoxed himself in front of the Army of the 12 Monkeys’ lackey last season. “They both have survived paradoxes at close range, and they both have the same scar on their cheek from paradoxes,” Matalas says of mother and son. “We thought that was fun, too.”

12 Monkeys airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.

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