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12 Monkeys Season 3 recap: A brilliant end to a gripping season

Cole and Cassandra dressed for a masked ball on 12 Monkeys
Cole and Cassandra dress the part as they seek information from the Witnesses guardian in 1899

If you are reading this, then you have probably just finished watching the Season 3 finale of 12 Monkeys.

Here we recap and discuss some of the finer points of what has been a fabulous season.

Recap of the final 3 episodes

You can read our recaps of the first four episodes here and the middle three episodes here

The final three episodes picked up with Cole and Cassandra trying to find out about their son, The Witness.

Their journey takes them to London of 1899 where they have to scrounge together enough money to get them into an exclusive ball.

This allows for some fun and games as Cole tries to teach Cassandra the fine art of picking pockets.

In turn Cassandra tries to teach Cole how to dance.

Back in 2346 Jones, Deacon and the gang have just found out where Cole and Cassandra are and have used information provided by Jennifer to track their location.

Meanwhile, Olivia continues to make herself as indispensable to Jones as she humanly can.

At the ball Cole and Cassandra eventually track down the final Guardian who has taken care of The Witness.

They learn that The Witness dismissed his Guardian a few years ago, but they do get an address from the Guardian — who is eventually killed when Jones and the gang try to capture Cole and Cassandra.

Luckily, Jennifer creates enough of a distraction for Cole and Cassandra to escape to another time and place.

Having returned back to 2346 empty-handed, Deacon and Jones are rather ticked to say the least. Jones has Olivia released and places Jennifer in her cell.

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The Witness and his tragic story

Ethan aka The Witness attempts to save his love from death 600 times

Moving into the penultimate episode, it’s London in the 1800s and Cole and Cassandra find themselves at the home of The Witness, who is called Ethan and is played by James Callis.

While looking around they find his journals and read what amounts to a tragic love story.

This episode mostly plays out from The Witness’s point of view as we see him fall in love, but ultimately lose his lover because she is pre-destined to die on a certain time and date.

Ethan tries to use time travel to save his love about 600 times, but every time she dies on the same day and of a different cause.

We even get a few flashes of moments in time where Ethan had actually knowingly met his parents.

The 12 Monkeys Season 3 finale

Olivia retrieves some time co-ordinates from the past

The Season 3 finale sees everything come to a head as The Witness is forced to converse with his parents as they try and talk him out of ending time.

Cassandra and Cole ultimately fail as The Witness sets about his task, but is shot dead by Jones and her team as they intervene. At least they think he is dead.

Jennifer Goines is released by Deacon, who has stayed behind. He sends Jennifer to her own time, the London of 2017.

While there she enlists the aid of two kids as she makes camp in a mausoleum. Jennifer has had visions of this place and has been drawing it feverishly the whole season.

While Jones is in the past catching up with Cassandra and Cole, Olivia has pretty much taken out most of those left behind in the facility. She has a huge fight with Deacon and eventually gets the better of him.

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It is only when Jones returns with Cole and Cassandra that they realise they have all been played for fools. Olivia has sent her team from Titan to intercept and capture them.

Back in 2017 Jennifer has found The Witness and healed his wounds. He leaves her and sets off for Titan to help his parents escape.

By the close of the episode Ethan, who we have believed to have been The Witness, makes the ultimate sacrifice so that his parents and Jones can get away.

Olivia, who is now back at Titan, announces herself as The Witness — but it’s pretty apparent that it has been her all along.

We then get a brief scene from Cole’s past. His father is reading to him. A note with a quotation drops out the book. It’s a quote that Olivia had used earlier in the series.

Cole asks his father who wrote it, and he reveals that Cole’s mother — Olivia — wrote the quote.

Our final thoughts

This third season of 12 Monkeys has been both dark and funny to watch with some fantastic performances from the cast.

By far the most fun character for us was Jennifer Goines, who is played brilliantly by Emily Hampshire.

Her character had a very strong thread throughout the season and she was very much the one that Cole and Cassandra looked to for insight.

Another interesting character was Jones, the inventor of the time machine that Cole and the team use in order to splinter back and forth through time.

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She is a character that has a tragic past and, like most of the main team, she’s done questionable things and not always for the greater good.

I felt it was clever how the story thread of the season slowly revealed Olivia to be The Witness.

The closing moments where we learn that Olivia aka the Striking Woman is Cole’s mother makes a lot of sense.

Since the series began, Cole has very much been living on borrowed time.

He was supposed to die when he killed Jennifer Goines’ father, who was the architect of the virus. But when he did that it changed everything.

Season 4 predictions

We already know a fourth and final series is on the way.

We predict that next season will focus on the hunt for Olivia and Cole and Cassandra will be tasked with the job of stopping her by whatever means necessary.

Does this mean that they will have to kill her?

If it does, it will most likely mean that Cole and the dark future of 2346 will never have happened.

Would this actually destroy time?

Either way, it will be a lot of fun watching what the writers come up with for the final season, but I can’t see it ending well for Cole.

12 Monkeys Season 4 is set to air in 2018 on Syfy.

Ian Cullen is a TV journalist and when not writing more

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