Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of 12 Monkeys. Read at your own risk!
12 Monkeys revealed the identity of the Witness in the season 2 finale — and it probably wasn’t who you were expecting.
On the heels of the reveal that the infamous cedar and pine house belonged to Cole (Aaron Stanford), it seemed evident that our weary time traveler was actually the Witness, but that honor belongs to — wait for it — his child with Railly (Amanda Schull)!
After sleeping together in the past that Cole then changed, the Witness was born to two travelers outside of time. In final moments of the finale, Cassie was abducted to the far-off future to give birth to the Witness. How will she deal in the wake of that reveal? EW turned to Schull to find out. (Read our full postmortem with executive producer Terry Matalas here.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you feel when you found out that Cassie was not only pregnant, but their child was the Witness?
AMANDA SCHULL: [Executive producer Terry Matalas] told me fairly early on. I hadn’t had all of the moments with the Witness — understanding the gravity of how upset and just how violated she feels by the Witness — so it didn’t have the gravitas when he told me initially. Then, as we progressed throughout the season, every single interaction with the Witness, realizing how much she despises and how much it makes her despise herself for what she’s done and everything about it, that’s what is upsetting. It’s much more impactful knowing later on after having been able to reenact those scenarios from the page.
Then [with] the pregnancy [reveal], I don’t have a child, I’ve never been pregnant and I really loved being able to have the moment. We don’t say it, it’s all done through looks. I really liked the challenge. I really like having that interaction with Aaron. I work really comfortably with Aaron. I really enjoy everything that we get to do together. We shot those moments the final week of season 2, and it was just us in this tiny little set and we kind of had a skeleton crew. It was really special and I think they chose an even less emotional take of mine, because we did his coverage first and I just kept crying every time he opened the card. I’ve never told anybody that I’m pregnant, so I’ve never had that opportunity to tell somebody that. And his reaction, just everything that they’ve gone through up until that point really moved me.
What do you think that internal struggle will be like for Cassie between wanting to protect her child and considering other possibilities?
My initial reaction to that when we were talking about it was very un-[politically correct]. It was basically, “Get it out of me at any cost.” But then in thinking about that, it becomes a question of nature versus nurture: Is there a possibility that she could change it? She could rewrite history if she were able to undo this. If she’s never going to see Cole again, is she going to hang on to the very last bits of his DNA that she has and try to salvage the upbringing of this child in a way that isn’t destructive to all human kind? It is really a fascinating battle and I think will largely have to do with the certain circumstances in which she is being kept in the future with the Army.
We know that Cole is headed toward the future to try and save Cassie. With the concept of nature versus nurture in mind, do you think her choices about the Witness might put her at odds with Cole?
I think it will be really interesting and I think that it could perhaps put them at odds, but the fact is they seem to end up coming around to the same page. Of anyone’s partnership on this show, they seem to have the understanding of one another for whatever reason. They were sort of meant for each other. I think they would have an understanding. They might be at odds at first, but I have no idea how Terry and his evil genius brain wants to play that out.
Do you think that there is any resentment there that Cole changed time without telling Cassie?
Uh, yeah. [Laughs] I think there’s a lot of resentment. We didn’t see how he came to explain to her, “This is how I know this is going to go down and we need to stop the paradox,” in episode 13. We don’t know how he told her. He obviously convinced her in a way that didn’t raise a whole lot of suspicions with her, but we did have a little extra scene in episode 13 that Terry cut out. There’s a moment after Cole says, “There’s something else about Titan, they all die,” and Jones gets to work trying to figure out the time machine and heads out. Cassie turned to Cole and she said, “After the paradox, in this other reality, in the paradox did I survive? You said you survived, did I survive?” And he said, “Yeah, I heard that you became a doctor.” And she said, “You heard? You mean we weren’t together?” He plays it off and then she had a little moment of queasiness, which was supposed to be a hint and maybe a little wink that she was still pregnant. So there was a little bit of her questioning in the original script how he came about this information. I think if she knew he had betrayed her and betrayed this life together and this possibility for happiness, she’d be furious. She’d also be furious that he is withholding information because I think she wants to be a partner in every sense with him.
What was it like shooting that love scene between Cassie and Cole? Had you basically been expecting this since the beginning?
I’m going to give you a totally honest answer: I was really nervous about it, because at this point it’s been two seasons, and people keep asking about it. It had to be done in a way that’s going to satisfy an audience that has been requesting this moment. Also, on a personal level, Aaron is now my friend. This is somebody who I worked with for two years before this has happened. We’re buddies now. I’m really good friends with his girlfriend and he’s really good friends with my husband. I was nervous. But then on the very first day, we shot the scene in the living room when they first kiss and then the scene in the bedroom maybe three or four days apart. After we got the first kiss out of the way it was like, “Oh, okay. This is going to be fine. We’ll be okay.”
Cole and Cassie did have two years of love between them, and there’s a hint there with Madeleine Stowe’s character Lillian basically saying, “Death may not stand, but love always stands.” So do you feel like those feelings survived Cole changing time?
Absolutely. Cassie says when she has the realization about the butterfly, she’s making the reference to Jones because he said, “I never thought I’d see Jones packing heat,” and she said, “Well, not every caterpillar becomes a butterfly.” Suddenly everything comes flooding back and it is because of the reason you just stated, which is that love survives. She says to him, “A house, cedar, and pine. We lived together, it was our home, we were in love.” Just in that moment that’s when the Titan awakens the machines. We shot the scene where Cole runs after Ramse and Cassie follows him and I think she probably always would have followed him back in, but there’s a desperation at that moment because then she’s following her life partner, not just her partner. They added a couple of lines just on the day in the moment, when he’s yelling for Ramse and Cassie yells, “Cole, please.” And we added that and then we added, “For me.” Because it’s different now, she remembers it’s for me. It’s almost like a choosing moment, “Choose me. Let’s go have our life, forget about Ramse, let’s go.”
Speaking of Ramse, he and Railly had plans to kill the Witness, so how do you think he’ll feel when he learns the Witness is her kid? Will that put her in his crosshairs?
Absolutely. I don’t think that her baring the Witness is really going to change his perspective at all. He’s been willing to kill her before, when she was holding the gun to Sam’s head. He’d be willing to put her in his crosshairs absolutely. Things are not really looking good for her at the top of season 3, are they?
Well, also the fact that the catalyst for basically everything is Cassie’s death at the CDC. Do you think there is no saving Cassie at this point?
I don’t know. I mean the show obviously is science fiction, but then there’s a very moral undercurrent to it. There are several undercurrents to it, but from the beginning we’ve been grappling with fate, whether it exists and whether you can undo your destiny basically. I don’t know whether she has to end up back there. I also don’t know if, in another existence, that just keeps happening like a butterfly effect — keep changing little bits and details of it until maybe it undoes itself in its entirety. I don’t know, that’s getting super science fictiony. I’d have to sit down with a chart to try and figure that out.
Or the word of the Witness?
12 Monkeys will return for season 3 in 2017. Check out the first promo below.