Things are really starting to settle into place now, aren’t they? We may(??) know who the Witness is (Aaron! Burninated!), we know the plan of the Messengers, and we know what it means for the world if they succeed. What the Witness wants, exactly, we still don’t know–but, as we will find out this episode, nothing is what it seems, and things are about to get incredibly complicated, incredibly fast… and the show is so much richer for it. Some of the best television on cable today.
We open in 2044, where Jones speaks to Dr. Eckland.He accuses her of being all doom and gloom about the situation, but as she stares at the red sky (which is clearly getting worse), she simply says she needs to find the next Primary. And lucky for her, Dr. Eckland has been of some use, and provides her a dossier on the very man. Meanwhile, Cole and Ramse are playing with Sam (Ramse’s kid)–it’s a fun, nice little scene, but it’s quickly over as Jones announces that they’ve found the location of the Primary. Sam asks if Ramse is going with Cole, and when Ramse tries to say no, Sam tells him, “I know you love me, but this isn’t about me. It’s about everybody.” It seems the kid is smarter than Ramse, thank goodness. Because he is right–no one life should be more important than billions.
Remember how Cassie told Cole that she was worried about this particular Primary? She was right to be: Kyle Slade (Primary #3) is ‘The Immortal’, a serial killer who has killed twelve people. Lovely–just lovely. To track Kyle, they have to do it through his last victim–again, just lovely. Ramse announces that he is going with Cole because his best friend is all leap and no look. He isn’t wrong in that assertion. Cole has always been driven by instincts. In some ways, he’s the superego to Ramses id and Cassie’s ego (and yes, I just used Freud. here is a simplication). When asked about the victim, Jones says they should let her die–to change time too much is dangerous, but I really doubt that is going to go to plan. We have learned repeatedly that saving lives is more important than killing–so saving this woman is going to be more important than anything, and will help in the end, I think.
So Cole and Ramse head back to 1975, and bless this show, we get some awesome seventies music that leads straight into the credits. This show, despite it’s heavy subject matter, really knows how to have fun. The boys head to a diner where Cole finds the magic of Tab, and Ramse enjoys the magic that is coffee… and flirts with a very pretty girl, who turns out to be Kyle’s victim. Her name is Victoria, and she seems pretty sweet. As an added kicker to the whole ‘don’t save her’ situation, we find out that she has a kid. I really, truly doubt the boys are going to be able to help themselves now… even after finding out that she does drugs. Well, nobody’s perfect.
Kyle starts attacking her and, as I predicted, Cole can’t stay out of it, and they manage to save her–but they lose Kyle in the process. Time does that whole ‘shudder’ thing and, in the chaos, Kyle gets away with a Messenger hot on his tail. So what do Cole and Ramse do? They take Victoria to the Emerson hotel… and tell her the truth? I really don’t understand how they tell people about time travel and expect them to accept it as fact instead of a really bad drug trip. But hey, that’s just me. Ramse starts laying into the woman about her parenting habits, and Cole rightly points out that maybe he shouldn’t be passing judgement. They start bickering, but then realize, hey, maybe they should find Kyle instead? Right.
So our gruesome twosome pose as reporters, drop some knowledge on the cops about The Immortal, and get a ride along as they try to find their Primary. Good buddy-comedy stuff right here.
In the Emerson hotel in 2016, Cassie gives Jennifer some sedatives to let her rest. Like Jen, at first I was unsure about Cassie doing so–but I think Cass has finally gotten over most of her ‘devious’ phase. Perhaps. Jen, as she starts to ease off to sleep, asks if Cass believes in ghosts, and if she doesn’t, perhaps she needs to open her mind before someone opens it for her. Sadly, we know in some ways that has already happened. Hopefully her mind isn’t too open, though–because when she goes out into the hallway all the lights start to flicker and she hears a voice calling out to her. She heads back to the room, and who is there waiting for her? …Aaron.
Back in 1975, Kyle has taken a cashier hostage in a store nearby. Seriously guys, we have a winner on our hands. The cops are trying to deal with the standoff, but Cole runs in like the idiot he can sometimes be–but lucky for him, the Primary was waiting for him (of course). Kyle says he knows where the Witness is, and can take Cole to him. Which, hey, would be awesome, except a) that’s not their mission this jump and b) the cops arrest Kyle first. Not that it really ends up stopping Cole from ignoring reasons a and b–because Cole simply steals a cop car and eventually Kyle too. Where is Ramse in all of this, you might ask? Well, he was left on the streets–because he told Cole he wasn’t listening and Cole didn’t take too well to that idea, apparently.
Back in 2016, Aaron sits Cassie down and starts to spew all of this Monkey propaganda. He says that the only thing that has kept him going this entire time has been Cass, and, really, is she supposed to be flattered? She only seems disturbed. He tells her that there is only one true enemy in the world–time itself. He keeps telling her that he and the other Messengers are trying to stop death entirely, and that it is beautiful. He’s trying to seduce Cassie to buy into the idea with him, and even as she seems to be swayed, there is something within her body language that shows she is still unsure. It’s some amazing acting by Amanda Schull: the way she pulls off the subtle nuances of fear, uncertainty, and desire.
In 1975, Ramse ends up back at the Emerson, only to find Victoria tied up by a Messenger. They fight, and lucky for Ramse, Victoria is a secret little badass and helps him kill the man. It’s a great little scene, and we see Victoria off into haze-filled New York with a promise she’ll stop doing drugs for her son. I hope we might see her again. Meanwhile, Cole and Kyle are inside his little lair, and wow it’s a nice little psycho-lair. It’s filled with dripping body parts, blood, booby traps–the whole shebang. Kyle tells Cole he’s been killing Primaries this whole time to keep them from being paradoxed (can’t paradox a dead person). That’s… really fucked up–logically sound, but fucked up.
Kyle goes on to say that Primaries can’t hold up time forever. We’re given all of this world building by this creepy character… it’s great stuff. He mentions that the Witness wishes to be Immortal, and leads Cole to a man captured in a cage, wearing a mask. What exactly does Kyle want Cole to do? Well, he wants him to kill the Witness of course, but here is the kicker–Kyle wants to go back to the future with Cole; says that is where he belongs. Sorry to say, Kyle, but we have enough crazy people in 2044. We don’t need you there, too. Cole is unsure about killing the Witness–and rightfully so. Nothing is what it seems on this show, and all deaths should be approached with some hesitation. And… surprise! It’s not the Witness, it’s the other Messenger. One thing leads to another, and the whole place explodes, with Ramse managing to save Cole just in time. The Messenger ends up dead, and Cole shoots Kyle. Because, hey, “everybody dies.”
In other creepy news, Aaron starts to get desperate with Cassie when he sees that things aren’t going his way and his eyes go pitch black. Well… guess he isn’t actually Aaron. He says, “perhaps I just chose the wrong person to convince you,” and morphs into Cole. Cass freaks out (understandably) and is suddenly downstairs with Jennifer by her side. I think this really clears things up–sort of. We know who the Witness isn’t now, at least. Who he is, is still unknown–perhaps he is just Legion?
Cass, to her credit, tries to get Jen to leave her, saying it isn’t safe–and Jen, with a smile on her face, says that things might just be in Cass’ head. She gets ever more excited as she realizes that this means that the Witness is scared of them–and that they need to take the fight to the Monkeys. As she says, “like a pack of hyenas” (and we all know hyena females run the pack). Cass seems unsure but Jen just reassures her and tells her that the Witness is wrong–death is important–that it is everything. It makes us love harder, and makes us human. Ever since Cassie and Jennifer have become friends, I have grown to love their interactions so much–they are my favorite on the show. They have such heart and soul together, and I hope we always see them together.
Back in 2044, we see the storms have receded; Cole and Ramse have a lovely bro-bonding moment, and hey, glad they are having a good time. They deserve it–and let’s be honest, it won’t last long.
We find out that Jen has left Cassie, and tells her to take the fight to the future, as Jen takes the fight to the streets. It’s amazing to see Jennifer growing into this character who imparts such strong words to both Cole and Cass–and they are both going to need them. Because as Cass looks up, she sees the Witness is in the room. Everything starts to flicker, and suddenly he disappears… and we see Cassie’s eyes go pitch black.
Guess the Monkeys have a ringer into the Future, now.