'12 Monkeys' Bosses Break Down Big Mythology Twist, Preview What's Next

Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett break down the events of the Syfy remake's big reveal.
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

[Warning: Spoilers ahead from 12 Monkeys' "The Night Room."]

After spending four episodes building toward the mystery of the Night Room, 12 Monkeys pushed the mythology of the series forward as James Cole (Aaron Stanford) and Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) discover what they believe to be the origin of the virus that eliminates most of humanity.

During Friday's episode of the Syfy remake, the duo discovers the Precursor, a human corpse hidden away in Leland Goines’ (Zeljko Ivanek) secret lab. According to the Pallid Man (Tom Noonan), a member of the Army of the 12 Monkeys, the remains are centuries old. Although Cole and Railly are successful in destroying the Precursor, Cole does not blink out of existence as he expected once the virus was destroyed. In an attempt to escape from the Pallid Man, Railly is taken hostage while Cole splinters back to 2043 where he finds an unkempt Temporal Facility that appears to be under West 7 control.

Read more '12 Monkeys' Showrunner Previews Syfy's Adventurous Time Travel Tale

 With Leland’s Precursor destroyed, 12 Monkeys executive producers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about what’s in store for the rest of the season.

The Night Room is a big return to our mythology and the next big step in learning more not only about the virus, but the origin of this conspiracy,” Matalas says. “We learn quite a bit about the future, too. There is a very big storyline regarding Jones (Barbara Sukowa) in the Night Room. We get to learn what it took to get this time travel project up and running and the sacrifices she made. This episode is the one where we inhibit our skin a little bit more. The show gets a little bit more unique and a little more off-beat from what you may expect. We bring the weird a little bit here in a good way. It’s what makes it 12 Monkeys.

The two creators have a bigger plan in mind for Jones, which began with the early and rare moment of levity from the character at the beginning of "The Night Room." “It’s definitely building up to something. Jones becomes from here on out a more prominent character with more screen time. That is something we wanted to see, her among the other characters, but also her backstory is really important to the mythology of the show and that is the first hint of it,” Fickett said. “When Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) goes into her room and opens up that chest you see the baby blanket with the name Hannah on it. Suddenly we know there is a whole lot more to this woman and maybe she has deeply personal reasons for changing time as well.”    

Read more '12 Monkeys' Boss on the Army's Identity, What 2043 Holds

Matalas, however, notes that messing with time has its consequences both to Cole and time itself. Throughout the Night Room, Cole starts to experience debilitating headaches. “Keep in mind, this is a new process. Cole is the pilot program for this. No one has traveled as much as him. He does have a time clock on himself,” Matalas said.

The changes brought about from the destruction of the Precursor are a major according to Matalas. It’s big enough to break time. “We are not talking about multiple universes. We are talking about one singular timeline. Jones, in [episode] six, explains the difference between loops, or what’s called a jinn, and that’s basically the Sarah Connor. … How Reese had to come back in time to pregnate Sarah Connor so that she can give birth to John Connor who will send his father back in time. It’s one of the infinite loops. That’s called a jinn,” Matalas explains.  “When there are more traumatic changes to the timeline, then you can break the change and that’s what happens in episode six.”         

Among the big changes was The Pallid Man’s first mention of hierarchy within the Army of the 12 Monkeys by naming dropping someone called The Witness. When questioned about the character, Matalas and Fickett remained tight-lipped, promising only that the answer will not be what viewers expect.  “It’s not the answer Cole is expecting either,” Matalas said. “Or any of our characters,” Fickett added.

“There is a lot going on with the Army of the 12 Monkeys and by episode eleven you’ll learn a lot more about them. Enough to make your brain explode,” Matalas said. “Releasing the virus could be one of their intended goals, but the end result may not be what you expect it to be. With time travel you’re playing the long game and if you’re dealing with the fate of the entire planet, destruction can be creative in the long run.”

12 Monkeys airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Syfy. What do you think of the series? Sound off in the comments below. 

Twitter: @Bilal_Mian

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