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[Warning: Spoilers ahead from 12 Monkeys’ “The Keys.”]
Events in Chechnya took an explosive turn for the worst for time traveler James Cole (Aaron Stanford) during Friday’s installment of Syfy’s 12 Monkeys.
The episode found a budding relationship between Cole and Cassandra (Amanda Schull) as they continued to track the movements of the Army of the 12 Monkeys to Chechnya.
The U.S. government launched Operation Troy, a covert operation to use a weaponized version of the Markridge virus to take out Adam Wexler (Ari Millen), an ex-CIA employee who has leaked secret documents. Cole splinters to Chechnya in order to intercept and destroy the virus while Cassandra and Aaron find themselves pulled into CIA war room for their knowledge of the virus.
Cole manages to intercept the weaponized agent, but Wexler’s hired guns take him hostage and accidently release the virus, infecting everyone in the hideout. Wexler’s goons call in reinforcements as their symptoms worsen, leading to a firefight that leaves Cole with a bullet in his leg. In order to stop the outbreak from spreading, Cassandra convinces the CIA to launch a hellfire missile to destroy the hideout and the virus. Unfortunately for the duo, Cole is trapped inside as the missile hits.
“Cassandra is becoming more about the mission and willing to do what it takes, especially by the end of episode seven. She is willing to say goodbye to Cole if it means saving the world,” executive producer Terry Matalas told The Hollywood Reporter.
Cassandra, fresh off her kidnapping, is still haunted by the events of the Red Forest. According to Matalas, the experience she had with The Witness and 12 Monkeys “is not going to help her sort of do no harm nature.”
“You will kind of see both she and Cole are kind of reversing roles a little bit. Cole is embracing a little bit more of humanity because he thinks he’s going to die. Time is short for him,” Matalas said.
Cole’s newly self-aware nature of his impending death has caused him to look at life in a new manner. Usually the one to rush, Cassandra finds Cole taking his time and enjoying the finer things of life when they set out to track down a professor at a museum party.
“Cole just faced a time period where he died and lost Cassandra. Jones has just told him that time travel will eventually kill him whether or not he succeeds or not. He’s going to die,” Matalas said. “Cole going to one of these parties again, seeing Cassandra looking beautiful and hearing music … It’s him taking a breath and saying, ‘Let me enjoy this for a minute and get to know you. It’s his first sort of step toward away from a post apocalyptic savage and toward being one of us.”
Matalas, however, believes that a love story between the two is much more complicated than it appears. “There is clearly an attraction. Cole came into her life, kidnapped her, told her about the coming apocalypse, no one believed her, she had no one to connect with but him, and she is kind of charmed by him. He is a bad boy who killed Henri. She does recognize that he is a hurt puppy and doesn’t want to be what he is. “
Cole’s feelings and expressions toward Cassandra have evolved since the start of the series, series creator Matalas said. In the pilot, Cole tells Cassandra that she looks clean before they venture into the party to find Leland Goines (Zeljko Ivanek).
“For Cole that meant more than just actual hygiene,” Matalas said. “It meant that she was pure. She was someone who doesn’t want to kill. She is someone from this time to talk to. Someone who wants to do good. It’s not something he’s ever been exposed to. Those things definitely create an attraction and a connection.”
Whether this connection will blossom into a love story remains to be seen. Matalas hinted things would be complicated especially with them not seeing eye-to-eye down the line.
What lies ahead for our time traveler? A trip to 1987. Wexler’s exchange with Cole before his death revealed that the Army of the 12 Monkeys had caused a stir with the Yakuza in 1987. When asked if this was the moment Leland Goines mentioned in the pilot, Matalas teased a single word: “Yes.”
But before Cole can take a trip further back in time, there is the issue about the missile blowing up the building he was in. “In episode eight you will think you have some sort of idea about Cole’s survival, but you’ll be wrong,” said Matalas. “Not everything is as it seems.”
And for those of you wondering what happened to Aaron’s (Noah Bean) tuxedo that Cole splintered away in — it’s gone for good. “Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) probably took it and hooked up with a scab.”
12 Monkeys airs Fridays on Syfy.
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