12 MONKEYS (2015) – S01E12: Arms Of Mine Review
After an entire season of trying to change the past, ’12 Monkeys’ finally accepts the futile nature of time itself, as it introduces a new concept that promises to change the entire premise of the show. The Season 1 Finale titled ‘Arms Of Mine’ ends the season with new conflicts, a tremendous sense of awe and great over arcing theme to the episode as a reflection of the season gone by. As The Army Of 12 Monkeys prepares for its new dawn, Kirk Acevedo’s Ramse reveals himelf, while Amanda Schull’s Cassandra suffers a loss and by the end, everything is drastically different for the characters.
The episode begins with something that the show’s been building towards in the last few episodes: the acceptance of fate. Aaron Stanford’s Cole narrates how the actions of everyone in the show thus far may not have been motivated by free will wanting to change something thats happened to them, but more due to fate, something they were all meant to do. This works through the episode and is something that I’ve praised the show for in my previous reviews as well. The fact that the characters never truly change anything with their meddling in the past, but instead end up closing a cyclical loop where the consequences they were trying to change occur as a result of their interfering with them to begin with, is something that has been hinted at throughout the show. ‘Arms Of Mine’ articulates that clearly while using it to misdirect audiences for the climax.
The episode sees Noah Bean’s Aaron accidentally die in a fire after being interrogated by Cole for his part in betraying them to the Army Of 12 Monkeys. Clearly though, the death is just him stuck underneath an object while flames start to engulf him. So he could easily be alive. And I suspect that Aaron is the real Witness. While Cole & Cassandra believe Ramse to The Witness, it never made sense, as he was treated by the Pallid Man & the Striking Woman as more of a resource than a leader. Also, Cassandra supposedly knows The Witness, as shown in the episode The Red Forrest, and Aaron certainly fits the bill. Aaron being alive and scarred would also explain why we saw a mysterious figure in a mask in the visions in the same episode, and his hatred for Cole and love for Cassandra definitely makes her important. So, in case I was being too subtle, I’m saying that Aaron is The Witness!
We also discover this season that The Army Of 12 Monkeys are the ones who build Project Splinter to self fulfil the prophecy of Ramse’s return and also to survive the Plague. The Army is hinted as being 12 children, who seem grow into being same creepy Silver Skinned molemen in the future, who are taking over Jones’ complex; the same complex in 2015 where Cole goes to confront Ramse. During the exchange, we discover that a man with the last name of Jones, is the one who built the time machine that we see in the future, and the mysterious red plants that are showing up in the chair, is actually him running experiments by sending plants to the future! Its a great tie-in and one that also raises some questions about the back story of Jones herself. Given that this actor is played by the recognizable Peter Outerbridge, its hard to believe that he’ll have such a brief appearance in the show.
The confrontation in the past allows Ramse to explain himself better to Cole, invoking a bit of sympathy from him as well. As Cassandra shows up, believing Ramse to be rsponsible for everything bad that’s happened, including Aaron’s death, things get out of hand and both Ramse & Cassandra are shot. In an effort to save her, Ramse offers the injection meant for him to return to the future to Cassandra so that she can be sent to the future instead in order for Jones can save her. It’s a far fetched plan, especially given that minutes later, Cole walks out with Ramse, who is also shot, presumably saving his life. So he could have easily done that with Cassandra as well. While it doesn’t reek of much sound logic, it sets the stage for Season 2.
‘Arms Of Mine’ is a fitting Season Finale, as it ties in a lot of the elements of Season 1 that’s been teased through out, with some misdirection towards others. Ramse was thought of as The Witness, the main baddie, but he clearly isn’t by the end of Season 1. The immovable cocnept of was Fate was introduced, and contradicted in the last moments of the Season as we see Striking Woman narrating Ramse’s death as written in history, while Cole returns back to the complex to save Ramse, proving that the past isn’t set in stone. Another indication of this is how surprised everyone is when Cassandra shows up in the future with Jones and the 12 silver men. Clearly the future hasn’t been written yet, something the show promises to delve further into Season 2.