’12 Monkeys’ Immortal Review: Everyone Dies Eventually

12 Monkeys
Season 2, Episode 6: “Immortal”
Air Date: May 23, 2016


In 12 Monkeys this week, it’s up to Cole and Ramse to find primary Kyle Slade before he is paradoxed by Messengers sent back in time.

In 2044, Jones (Barbara Sukowa) stands outside smoking her cigarette and watching the red thundering sky as time continues to collapse all around them. Eckland (Michael Hogan) interrupts her brooding with information on Kyle Slade (David Dastmalchian). Meanwhile, Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) and Cole (Aaron Stanford) are playing a game with young Sam (Peter DaCunha). There’s a particular moment when Ramse says, “That’s your problem. You’ve got no plan! You rush down that hallway naked, he’s gonna get you.” Cole goes for it of course and they are both ambushed by Sam (with paper bullets). Their little game comes to an end when Jones finds them and says that they know how to find the primary in 1975.

Ramse has a heart to heart with his son in the splinter room where Sam tells his dad that he could have saved the lives of a lot of people but didn’t. The young boy understood that his father loved him but it wasn’t just about his future, it’s about everyone’s. Well ain’t he a wise kid? You did good Elena.

In the meeting room, we find out that Kyle is a drifter and is believed to live somewhere near Greenwich Village. There are also four unaccounted Messengers and Jones believes that there is a good chance that two were dispatched to handle each primary. The scientist goes on to say that Kyle was believed to be the serial killer known as the Immortal, responsible for the murder and dismemberment of at least 12 people between 1974 and 1975. Jennifer wasn’t kidding when she said he was dangerous. The primary had been dishonorably discharged from the army after reportedly butchering numerous Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War. Cole of course is clearly disturbed that he has to protect this guy but Jones makes it clear that he only has to prevent him from being paradoxed. That’s good? To find Kyle, he first needs to find the killer’s final victim, a waitress named Victoria Mason whom was murdered on July 22, 1975 (incidentally the same day Slade’s body was found).

Ramse comes in saying they follow her to Slade, wait till the Messengers come and then they take them out. Looks like his son’s word made an impact as Ramse has voluntarily agreed to go on a mission with Cole in order to watch out for him. The bromance is alive and well right now as the two trade barbs and Ramse claims that Jones would send him anyways to save Cole’s life yet again. Jones warns the two though not to change time anymore than they already have (aka let Victoria die).


As they arrive in 1975, both men walk into the diner where Victoria works and Ramse is obviously the edgier fashionista with his patterned shirt. The two get some grub and seemingly unable to stop himself, Ramse ends up flirting with the soon to be attacked waitress. Unexpectedly however, they see that Victoria has a young son and both feel conflicted about letting her die. That night though as they wait in the alley, Ramse is adamant that they do not alter the future. Kyle makes his appearance and begins to abduct Victoria and Cole is the one who comes to her rescue with an annoyed Ramse following. Preventing the her death though alters the timeline and causes both chrononauts to be disoriented, allowing Kyle to get away with one of the Messengers (who looks to be Adam Kenneth Wilson, aka Ragnor Fell in Shadowhunters) chasing after him.

The boys bring Victoria back to the Emerson and tell her the truth, which of course sounds crazy. The woman though is not quite so grateful to her saviors at getting a second chance. She is told to stay put while the two of them go to the hotel bar to grab some drinks. There Cole gets the idea of calling in the local NYPD and submit a tip to help them find Kyle. They pass themselves off as two journalists looking to get an exclusive of the Immortal’s arrest. At first the two NYPD officers refuse to have them ride along but Cole shows them an article of the police bungling the arrest and threaten that this goes to press unless they are allowed to come. Reluctantly the cops agree.

Kyle has taken a hostage at a small convenience store and Team Splinter has arrives outside with the police. Cole, not heading Ramse’s warnings plunges ahead (yet again) and goes inside. He then tells the primary that he knows who he is and that last night a man from the future tried to kill him. Kyle confirms it and says, “It’s you. James Cole.” The serial murderer has been waiting for him after all. The time traveler convinces the other man that he would be safer in jail and that the Messengers can’t get him there. Kyle blurts out that he can take him to the Witness now. What the what? How is the leader of the 12 Monkeys there? The primary claims that he’s captured him but before he can say anything else the NYPD burst in and he is taken into their custody.

Undeterred, Cole commandeers a police vehicle and follows the two detectives who have personally taken Kyle. He then is able to overtake the detectives’ car and forces the two law enforcement officers out so that Kyle can take him to the Witness. The boys argue because Ramse is trying to get his friend to see sense that they can’t trust this primary. Their mission is just to protect him not to chase this lead on the mysterious 12 Monkeys leader. At this point Cole is beyond reason and he chooses to follow Kyle. Ramse calls him an idiot but lets him go despite knowing that this cannot end well. Cole counters with, “it was always my mission, not yours,” before leaving the scene.

Back at the Emerson, Ramse enters room 607 with Victoria tied up to a chair. The other Messenger asks him if Cole with the primary, to which the traveler answers yes. The end up fighting (of course) but Victoria manages to stab the messenger with a letter opener distracting him. Now that he’s trying to kill her, Ramse is then able to overpower him and deliver the killing blow. He asks the waitress if he can borrow her car and tells her from one parent to another that she needs to go home and take care of her son because her life is not about her anymore.

12 MONKEYS -- "Immortal" Episode 206 -- Pictured: David Dastmalchian as Kyle Slade -- (Photo by: Russ Martin/Syfy)

Kyle takes Cole to his hideout where there are hacked limbs and blood all over the place. As they walk over, the other man claims that the people he killed in Vietnam were all primaries and that he had no choice because the Witness wanted to paradox them. Cole asks about Victoria because she wasn’t a primary but Kyle says that she was a means to an end and that he didn’t actually want to hurt her. He begins to also talk about an ancient group of warriors called the Immortals that had no attachments in life and their only purpose was the battle. Kyle seemed to view Cole and himself like these guys. He also mentions how the Witness wants to be immortal in the timeless forest and then enters his home. Interesting.

Inside, he warns Cole about a trip wire for uninvited guests and as the two men go deeper in, the chrononaut must be wondering what he’s gotten himself into with all those bloody limbs hung about. Kyle then points out a tied person towards the back of the room whom he says is the Witness. We then get a close up of the person who is wearing a black hood and some weird looking stitched up skin mask. When both men stand in front of the cage, Kyle explains how the Witness had come for him but he was smarter and had trapped his would be killer instead. He had used Victoria as a way to bring Cole to him in order to have the other man kill the Witness. To make matters even weirder, the primary says that once it’s done they can go home together to the future. Well now, Cole has got himself a new companion! Kyle though does tell us something intriguing that the Witness is from the future as well and he also been time traveling but has done so for far longer. The leader of the 12 Monkeys also has technologies far more advanced that theirs and has special abilities (like getting inside your mind), but he is still just a man who can be killed. Kyle then shows him the bone dagger (just like Tommy’s) and urges Cole to kill the prisoner with it because time wants him to do it. The primary insists that he must be the one, but when the skin mask is removed, we discover that this person is not the Witness but the second Messenger.

As he explains this to Kyle, the man flips out believing that he was too important and that he knew the Witness wanted to kill him personally. The primary then pulls out a gun but Ramse arrives with his own weapon and tells his friend that they should end both of these guys and get out of there. To make matters even more complicated the two NYPD detectives show up and Cole tells Ramse to get down knowing about the trip wire. After the explosion, Kyle tries to choke the time traveler, the messenger attempts to paradox Kyle but is shot by Ramse, Cole then frees himself and then shoots the primary (deciding that this guy was not worth saving).

Meanwhile at the Emerson Hotel in 2016, Cassie (Amanda Schull) injects Jennifer (Emily Hampshire) with a sedative so that she can sleep and recover. At first Ms. Goines feels wide-awake and complains how their room smells old and is probably haunted. She babbles that some people think ghosts are just replays, dramatic moments recorded in their surroundings into time. Is that another nugget that will come into play in future episodes? The drug soon kicks in though and Cassie helps her into bed. Sleepily Jennifer asks the doc if she believes in ghosts to which the other woman replies no, but she can’t get the flashes of the Witness morphing into Aaron (Noah Bean) from her mind.

Cassie goes out into the hallway to get some ice from the ice machine when she begins to hear someone calling her name. Following the sound, she goes back into the room where a scarred Aaron has appeared before her. Understandably, she’s freaking the F out because he’s supposed to be dead. Cassie is feeling guilty, confused, and shocked all at the same time. The former political aid begins to explain that the 12 Monkeys saved him and that they aren’t the enemy. They are all basically fighting the same battle only on different fronts. Aaron says how in the fire the only thing that kept him going was Cassie and how horrible he felt that he would die without getting the chance to say he was sorry. He wants her to understand that time is the real enemy and that without it you could be with the one you love forever. Still somewhat confused from this surreal conversation she was having with him, Cassie protests that it can’t be this way. As Aaron gets more adamant about how the red forest is the only way to beat death, she realizes that something is not right with him. He tightens his grip on Cassie’s hand and then his eyes go all black, prompting her to realize that she’s actually talking to the Witness. He then morphs into Cole, asking if this is the face she prefers. Freaked out even more, he then vanishes before her eyes as someone grabs her shoulder.

12 Monkeys - Season 2

Jennifer snaps Cassie out of her experience and somehow they are both at the lobby of the Emerson. The primary tries to cover Dr. Railly’s trance walking by saying that the other woman had a little too much to drink because it was her birthday. Confused and scared, Cassie tells Jennifer that the Witness was here and that she needs to leave because she is no longer safe here with her. The other woman though asks the doctor what if it was all in her head (appreciating the irony coming from her). Cassie is convinced that it felt real and she doesn’t want to take the chance. Jennifer sees this whole experience as a positive event though because now she thinks that the Witness is scared and that they need to go monkey hunting. The gals need to become a pack of hyenas and take the fight to them! Except Cassie doesn’t have much fight left in her and Ms. Goines asks what he had said to her to cause this much fear and anxiety. The doctor answers that he wants to destroy time so that there’d be no death and that he made it sound almost beautiful. Poignantly, Jennifer states that death is a time clock and makes us better, makes us love harder and what makes us human. Well said.

Back in 2044, Ramse, Cole, Eckland and Jones are outside and we can visibly see that preventing the 1975 paradox has caused the temporal storm to recede. The two bros have a heart to heart and Cole apologizes for almost getting his friend killed. Ramse essentially accepts and says that he thinks Cole’s leaping without thinking is really because he has a good heart and that one of these days its going to help them out of this whole mess. Till then someone’s got to have his back.

Cole: Listen man, you know I lov…

Rame: Ohhhh what are you doing??

Cole: What?

Ramse: You don’t say that…

Cole: Say what?

Ramse: You never say that!

Cole: I was going to say I love whiskey. We should go find some and drink it.

Ramse: No you weren’t. You were going to declare your undying love for me brother.

Oh these two, how can you not love them? After everything that’s happened so far it warms my heart to see their bromance alive and well. As they leave the roof Ramse says, “me too.” AWWWWWWWWWW GUYS!!!

We end this week’s episode in 2016 where Cassie has discovered that Jennifer has left the Emerson. She leaves a note telling the other woman that she still has a lot of fight left in her and to take it to the future while she’s going to take it to the streets. As Cassie looks at the injection that would activate her tether back to 2044 the lights begin to flicker and we get various of flashes of her in the red forest, inside the creepy house, the Witness approaching her, then him actually flashing into the hotel room (though it could be in her mind), and then her eyes turn full black the way the Witness as Aaron/Cole did earlier.


What could this mean? Could what Kyle said be true and that the Witness can go into people’s minds? This could be what “full immersion” meant but to what purpose?

Also if you are wondering why Kyle looks so familiar, it’s because the awesome David Dastmalchian was Kurt in Marvel’s Ant-Man! He did a fantastic job playing the complicated Mr. Slade and showed audiences how primaries can go dark as well.

This week’s themes seemed to revolve around death and friendship. Kyle felt that he was an immortal and was too important to be killed. The Witness telling Cassie that he wanted to destroy time so that there would no longer be death and suffering (but according the the primary, he wanted to be immortal himself). Jennifer then giving her two cents that death makes us love harder and thinks that its what ultimately makes us human. We also saw the strengthened bond between Cole and Ramse, while Cassifer’s relationship also grew as it was Jennifer’s turn to take care of Dr. Railly through her recent traumatic experience.

We learned a lot in this episode, most importantly that the Witness’ real identity is still unknown. We know that he can morph into different people and potentially can enter people’s minds. In a previous article I pondered on who the Witness could be (click HERE) and thought that we could possibly rule out Cole and Cassie, but now I’m not so sure. The writers have been incredibly clever in setting up twists so it really could be anyone darnit but the anticipation is part of the fun.

We’re nearly halfway through season 2 and the excitement just doesn’t stop. We’ve also gotten significant character growth for all the major players and it’s been so fascinating to see them deal with new circumstances out of their comfort zone. The stakes keep on getting raised on both sides and it seems that everyone will experience great challenges in the episodes to come and I can hardly wait!


12 Monkeys airs Mondays 9/8 central on Syfy.

Catch up on all things 12 Monkeys here.

Nicole C
Nicole Chttps://theworkprint.com
Nicole is the Features Editor for The Workprint. She may or may not be addicted to coffee, audiobooks, and sci-fi.

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  1. Nicole C, you and your colleagues are covering the hell out of this show. Fortunately, it is worth the effort. Too bad a lot of the audience wants time travel shows where you can’t change what happened. They have been misled into thinking that is how it works. Self-correcting time doesn’t make any sense to me. There is no mechanism that could detect time changes and no mechanism to make a correction. Give up on the LOST pseudoscience people! Enjoy a good show–one that won’t tell you its last year takes place in Limbo/Purgatory.

  2. Good recap! I love this show. That ending with Cassie worries me. I love what Jennifer said about death, and the
    whole idea of ghosts being basically a memory of the past. Can’t wait to see where this is going!

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