Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Monday’s episode of 12 Monkeys. Read at your own risk!
Jennifer Goines warned this could happen. We warned this would happen. And during Monday’s episode of 12 Monkeys, it happened: The search for Titan did, in fact, lead to the death of a main character.
Upon returning from the failed 1940s mission, Cole (Aaron Stanford) put Railly (Amanda Schull) and Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) on lockdown. However, the duo staged a coup in order to use the machine, travel to Titan, and kill the Witness. But Cole fought back, determined not to be thwarted from jumping to 1957 to prevent the final Primary from being paradoxed.
Cole then turned to Jennifer (Emily Hampshire) and her Daughters for help getting the machine back, leading to Future Jennifer accidentally being shot in the ensuing chaos. Knowing the Daughters would kill everyone should Future Jennifer perish, Cole brought past Jennifer into the future in time for young to witness old’s death and take over as leader.
With the machine secure, Cole headed to the past alongside Railly, while Ramse and Jennifer led the Daughters on land to Titan. But the Red Forest storm reached the facility, taking Jones down with the ship as well. What’s next? And how did that big death come about? EW turned to executive producer Terry Matalas to find out:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What came with the decision to kill off future Jennifer?
TERRY MATALAS: It seemed like a pretty amazing time travel thing that I had never really seen before, for someone to be at their own deathbed. What really inspired me to go there was basically, what do you say to your younger self after you’ve lived an entire life? It’s probably pretty surprising.
If there was an orphan black amongst us, it’s definitely Emily Hampshire, so it seemed like there’s no better situation for it. And, at that point, you really came to love Old Jennifer. It was a way of killing off a character, but not killing off a character. Now you get to see how she became that woman. It still hurt you about as much. You didn’t want to see Jennifer die, but she did.
For me, I knew it would be an emotional thing. That last scene with Jennifer and Jennifer, it’s pretty heavy to talk about the choices you made in your life, where you made mistakes, and to tell yourself that you love yourself. It seemed like pretty amazing emotional territory. It was something we never looked back on; we knew we definitely wanted to do it.
Talk about writing that death scene. Jennifer is probably one of the few characters who could get away with saying, “I’m dying now,” and not have it be over the top.
There were three writers who wrote that scene: Me, Sean [Tretta], and Richard Robbins. We all added a little something. For me, it was a lot of the “Hello, egg, I’m chicken,” “May I have a moment to myself?” That kind of thing. Richard Robbins got into the heart of, “Look how pretty I was,” and then Sean brought it home with, “I love you.” I knew the last line was, “I’m dying now,” because in episode 2, she asked the question of Pallid Man, “Am I dying now?” and he says, “Not today, Jennifer.” If Jennifer is going to have a last line, it’s just like, “OK, and now here’s the part where I die.” It just felt like Jennifer. It was this great cathartic thing for all of our writers to be apart of, to put a little bit of ourselves in that scene. I’m really proud of it.
If Cole brings Jennifer to the future, how did she grow old with the Daughters in the first place?
Eventually, she has to go back and live her life in the present, just in the same way eventually Cassie will have to go back to the present and die at the CDC. Just because you spend some time in the future doesn’t mean you’re not going to go back and live your life linearly.
We got another mention of Deacon’s baby brother. Are you dropping that hint to humanize Deacon, or might we see his little brother at some point?
We’ve teased it before in the episode with the Foreman; he implies that the Foreman had something to do with his little brother’s death. We always thought that Deacon looked at Cole as a surrogate baby brother that Cole was filling a void that Deacon had in his life. We know from Ramse in the second episode that Deacon probably had to protect his little brother from an abusive father. It was just another way of showing that there’s a lot more to this guy than the sociopath, alcoholic Cassie-stalker.
Cassie actually attacked Cole in this episode. Can you talk about how far the divide is between them right now?
Cassie is really hurt at the moment, really damaged, and is so afraid of vulnerability, because that vulnerability let the Witness inside her head, so the only person who could get her riled up and challenge her is Cole. It seemed like the apex of their disagreement — we’ve argued about it in the writers room — is how far is this fight really going to go? We knew we owed it. She’s his equal in almost every way at this point, including the fight. When she comes back at the end, when there’s that lover at the airport running to make sure she can be with him, you really feel it. Amanda is really fantastic in this episode.
Cassie decides to join Cole on his mission. It’s meant to be a year-long mission. What does their working relationship looking like moving forward?
They’re going to have to live together in the Emerson Hotel under high-stress circumstances. If they fail, the world will be destroyed. It’s entirely up to them now. Hopefully the mission to Titan will show rewards in other ways to get the Witness, but right now it’s up to them. They’re going to have to find a way to connect again.
Ramse looked like he wanted to join them, but was too late. Or was he just solely focused on Titan?
There’s a part of him where his heart will be with Cole, but he really, really wants the Witness. Ramse is going deeper into the rabbit hole of rage. By the next episode, we’ll see how far that’s going to take him.
Can you tease Ramse and Jennifer’s hunt for Titan?
It will also be a year-long mission for them to get across and navigate the storms and the deadly scavengers that are out there. By the time we see them again, a considerable amount of time will have passed. We’ll see them all on the brink of disaster.
Jones and the machine were destroyed in the Red Forest storm. If Cole and Railly’s mission is successful, will that effectively bring her back to life?
If they are able to stop the last paradox, that should undo the destruction of the Temporal Facility in the future and stop time’s collapse.
12 Monkeys airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.