'12 Monkeys' recap: 'Divine Move'
Ramse fights to end Jones' time-travel plan, but loses something important in the process.
“Tomorrow” left the 12 Monkeys cast at its most emotionally distraught. Ramse and Cole, best friends—and the show’s best relationship—since the start, are now completely at odds. Jones may have her time-travel plans back on track, but she had to murder dozens of innocents to do so. And Cassie in 2015 hates that, even if the world is saved, she’s lost Cole in her life.
If that episode ignited the emotional turmoil, “Divine Move” sets it ablaze, literally, in the episode’s open. Ramse comes into the lab, steals a box full of vials and torches all of the research Jones and her team have done into stopping the virus. He refuses to let Jones keep pursuing this plan, and killing Cole in the process. If Jones and Cole won’t stop trying to alter time, he’ll alter their ability to do so. The vials he steals contain the liquid Jones injects in Cole before every time jump to keep him alive, but when he returns from his next trip, he wants to keep Cole in 2043, permanently.
So Cole needs to make this (possible) final trip count, even if he’s unaware what’s at stake.
He stumbles in on Aaron and Cassie in 2015. Aaron is furious to see him—they prevented the plague, he should be gone in Aaron’s mind—and Cassie is disappointed that the mission failed. But she is in no way disappointed to see Cole. They determine the one loose end left is Oliver Peters, the doctor who worked with Leland Goines and developed the original virus, but when the two of them arrive at his home, all that’s waiting is his dead husband.
The Pallid Man arrived first, and Cassie and Cole commiserate over what to do next at a bar. Cassie’s dissatisfaction with the Sisyphean loop they’re caught in of trying and failing to stop the plague hangs in the air as she chugs down her beer. They find a link to the White Dragon club in 1987 (which has come up on their radar before), but Cassie is only offering Cole begrudging assistance to search for Peters at this point. She doesn’t want to be party to a task that is killing someone she has feelings for. Any chance of hashing out their issues is cut short when Cole splinters back to 2043 while in the bar with her (Seriously, is no one weirded out by the room shaking and a man disappearing before their eyes?).
It’s another great turn for Amanda Schull and Aaron Stanford, who really excel in the more dramatic moments. The show’s early episodes forced some lighter banter between Cassie and Cole, but the writers have settled on a much better back-and-forth in the season’s second half.
Cole leaves one bad situation for another, returning to find out what Ramse has done as his health deteriorates until he collapses. Jones, assisted by Max (remember her?), places Cole in a machine to stabilize his health for at least a little while longer. He’ll still die, but they might squeeze another splinter or two out of him.
But Jones has another problem on her mind. They can’t send Cole back without the formula Ramse stole, and Cole is the only one who might have an idea of where he is currently hiding. Cole gives up his best friend for the promise that Ramse will remain alive, to which Jones agrees. Though when she sends Whitley out on a mission to find him, she makes her true intentions clear—that formula matters far more than Ramse’s life.
NEXT: Ramse’s life is changed forever.
So what is Ramse up to? He’s holed up with Elena and Sam at a survivor camp in an abandoned campground. Ramse becomes distracted from keeping them safe, however, when a caravan of survivors full of only women called The Daughters sets up camp near by. They attract his curiosity, but then command his attention when he notices a 12 Monkeys portrait on the side of one of their cars.
Confronting the group, he’s quickly surrounded by a dozen armed daughters until their leader comes out to greet him. Her face, save for a few wrinkles, is obscured by a long brimmed hat, but her voice can’t hide that it’s Jennifer Goines. The two sit down for a discussion in which Ramse can barely keep up; most of what she says sounds like gibberish to him. But she does mention that they must undo what she, Cole, and Ramse have done.
Whatever Jennifer is hinting at, she continues speaking in vague terms, explaining to Ramse that he’s a good friend. Not yet, she clarifies, but he will be, noting that something will happen on this day that forever changes Ramse.
And while Ramse may not know what will change him, the show immediately reveals it. Whitley and his soldiers invade the camp to peacefully search, but one of his trigger happy guards shoots into the crowd and kills Elena. Ramse returns to camp to find the woman he loves dead, his newfound son now his full responsibility. More than ever, he doesn’t want Jones to take away his family by reversing time and preventing Sam from ever existing.
Scorned by Elena’s death, Ramse returns to Jones’ headquarters, kills a few guards (but spares Whitley). He confronts Jones and Max in the time-travel machine’s room, attempting to blow up the apparatus and putting an end to Jones’ schemes. Max distracts him, paying the ultimate price for it with her life, but Jones is able to run the bomb out of the room and lock Ramse inside.
Cole awakens from the stabilization machine midway through the ordeal, finding Max moments before she dies to say goodbye. He attempts to calm Ramse down, but the angered father is on the warpath. Stuck in Atari, Ramse pulls the only move he has left—he decides to jump back through time and winds up in Tokyo in 1987.
Jones and Cole come to the same conclusion—Cole has to follow him and prevent Ramse from ruining their plans, and he’s willing to kill Ramse to succeed. Just like that, in a little more than an episode, these two have gone from best friends to mortal enemies. And it looks like things will get much worse before there’s hope of them improving.
- While Ramse makes his discoveries in 2043, Cassie and Aaron do their own investigating in 2015. They eventually stumble onto Peters in a mobile lab. But again they’re too late, he’s made another version of the virus for Pallid. All he wants is death, but Cassie refuses to kill him.
- Aaron has a role to play here too, but for now it’s unknown. The woman who appeared with Pallid back in “The Red Forest” comes to him while they’re out investigating, asking him how far he’ll go to keep Cassie alive. My bet? Pretty damn far, but that’s for another episode.
- Cole experiences his worst flash yet, as the recurring memory of a glass shattering is shown almost in full during the episode, but for now, whether it’s a flash-forward or backward in his memory is an absolute mystery.
- At the bar, Cole puts “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” on, which, while I love, may be just a bit too on the nose.
- Mythology clue alert! When Cole splinters at the bar, a nearby plant turns red, much like the forest Cassie saw on her drug trip a few episodes ago.
- When The Daughters are explained to Ramse, he’s told they blame men for the apocalypse. “Hard to argue there,” Ramse retorts with the funniest line in an otherwise serious hour.
- Whitley kills the guard who shoots Elena in front of Ramse’s crowd, which is why Ramse keeps him alive. Ramse sparing him is a small moment in the overall episode, but a great commentary on both characters. The show continues to do a great job of transforming Whitley from nothing but a hardass in the way of Ramse and Cole to a surprisingly sympathetic and understandable character.