The best line of the whole episode, to encapsulate the varying degrees of enemies represented, was Katarina’s: my friend’s friend is no more trustworthy than my enemy’s enemy. Alliances have changed so much for these core characters, and clearly will continue to change, that the concept of enemy is in constant flux. Time was the enemy for a while, but as knowledge of the 12 Monkeys became more concrete, it felt more to me like the 12 Monkeys were wielding time like a weapon. Time still is not conscious, as much as Jennifer would like to convince us otherwise.
Diving into episode three, now, there are three enemies to examine: Olivia, Ramse, and old man Deacon. While Olivia and Ramse could almost be deliberated on as partners, since it is revealed they are colluding, I am going to discuss them as two distinct enemies. Their interests may have casually (causally?) aligned for an instant, Olivia’s story grows richer each season and Ramse’s situation is the perfect playground for her genetically-enhanced mantis-like plans. She jumps at the chance to take advantage of Ramse who, having lost his son yet again, is looking for purpose again.
Clever, clever Ramse. WRONG. Clever Olivia. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the Ramse character from the beginning. He has an interesting arc. I’m so tired of his one track mind, though, and this episode, more than ever before, I can see why he is considered an enemy. I’m starting with Ramse for two reasons:
1) He led Olivia back to Raritan under the guise of his prisoner, a Trojan horse of sorts (or gift wrapped… with a bow), and yet he is the least creative liar. The only reason his deception (seems) to work is because Olivia’s is all that more convincing.
2) The worst enemy is the one who pretends to be your friend.
Maybe #2 is subjective, but I adamantly believe that it is true. The betrayal that hurts the worst isn’t trusting an enemy in order to achieve some end. We expect our enemies to betray us. What hurts worse is trusting a friend, who you suspect you shouldn’t trust but hoping for the best, only to be confirmed that you shouldn’t have trusted them.
This place is so steeped in bullshit, it’s the truth I find hardest to believe.
When the lie doesn’t work on Katarina, Ramse goes deeper. Ramse knows his target. He knows Dr. Jones and what has transpired with Hannah, so he can play the death of a child card and, on top of it, refuse the pity Katarina offers. To Katarina’s credit, her healthy skepticism of his presence on base is likely the one thing keeping the Oliv/amse plan at bay; on the other hand, it is probably the thing that is giving their plan the proper steeping time.
There is no doubt that Ramse is hurting, and I think he genuinely does believe that he’s got it coming to him. But it’s his point of drilling home that he wants the Witness, and that any risk of Olivia’s lie is a necessary risk, before he gets what’s coming, that convinced me he’s in on it with Olivia.
Perhaps it was intended, but I was transported back to season one when Cole and Ramse had the conversation about Cassie and Ramse’s plea for Cole to get some and, while he’s at it, tell Cassie about his BFF who devours blondes for dinner. Better times between the brothers there certainly were, even as they stare off into No Man’s Land and consider how much better things were when living was lucky and dying meant nothing at all. He knows that he doesn’t have to play a Cassie card on Cole, then. Instead he appeals to him as family. No matter what future comes, Ramse says, you’re family in all of them.
This whole episode was an invasion of different enemies (fear, worry, possibility) that both Olivia and Ramse bred amongst the herd at Raritan. Placing doubt into their minds and pointing at other, worse enemies spread throughout space and time, they seem to have convinced everyone to focus on something other than themselves.
After Jennifer broke Olivia’s back last season and Pallid Man begrudgingly brought her back to full health, while simultaneously stealing her birthright to lead the 12 Monkeys, I could not tell to what end she was still needed. Now with the added knowledge of her origins and abilities, her immunity to the plague and her genome’s similarity to the Messengers, it is now less questionable and more of a mystery. There is still something in her, and her purpose, that has yet to be revealed.
For the first time, Olivia and Cole want two sides of the same thing; they both want Titan, Olivia for the Witness and Cole for Cassie. While they are momentarily aligned, their motivations overall are so entirely separate that it doesn’t seem possible for Cole to entertain the idea of an alliance. It makes me wonder if Cole sees straight through his brother; his spidey-sense in the wake of the information Olivia revealed may reveal a Ramse more as the 12 Monkey’s informant rather than his brother.
Ramse’s comment in the final scene, that Olivia will need to take a beating, really makes me look at the entire episode much differently. The information she revealed, about the Witness’s vulnerability in 2007, was information she was going to feed them all along. But they were far less likely to follow that intel had she just given it up rather than Cole and Katarina believing that they tortured it out of her.
As we learn in this episode, it was Olivia that Cole and Cassie encountered back in Fatherland (season 2), the subject of Kirshner’s experiments and where the Witness’s map (and thus a not-where-but-when location for Titan) was first unveiled. In the first scene with Olivia and Cole, in this episode, she seems to count him somewhat responsible for her continued imprisonment. He could have set her free. That bitterness immediately set the stage for an antagonism Olivia wanted them to feel for her. She wanted to play the victim, but at the same time make herself capable of being victimized in order to get what she wants. Really, the whole setup is genius.
Old Man Deacon
Since we’re talking enemies, but still have this completely separate Deacon storyline, I want to discuss Deacon through his old man. I found this whole portion of the episode strangely relieving. Not, like, relief from the on-going story, but it is genuinely set apart from the angsty build-up happening in Cole and Ramse.
Teddy is saved by Mallick, but just barely. His life is spared, he’s stitched back together, but Mallick isn’t really giving him everything he needs to grow strong and healthy, he’s only giving him what he needs to survive. It becomes up to Teddy to not just survive, but live. And in order to do that, he has to dig deep, he needs an enemy greater than his pain. Much to his own dismay, and yet to his fortune, the enemy that arises his his own father.
I genuinely loved this back story. The twisted mind-games Teddy’s dad played on him as a kid were the motivating factor in overcoming an abusive household, and yet it was ultimately Teddy’s soft spot for his brother which held him back from truly taking on the role as Scav King. As the story of his past unraveled through the menacing, dulcet tones of his father, the full picture of Teddy’s life became much, much clearer and a character I found passively interesting over the last two seasons suddenly became one of my favorites.
I never liked you so much as the day you started hitting back.
Deacon always had it in himself to rise up. Whether Mallick had information about Deacon’s purpose in the future or it simply comes down to the fact that Mallick’s motivating factor is altogether different from Pallid Man’s, he seemed to know exactly what Deacon needed to become the man Cassie needed to break her out. Is Mallick on Cassie’s side? I want to know more about this guy and why he’s helping Cassie. And whether he helped Deacon just because Deacon would help Cassie, or if there was another reason.
Deacon’s story was the most poetic use of an enemy and one that I really, really enjoyed watching. After two seasons of Deacon, this story was rewarding.
If I’m reading the final scene right, and they’re setting up Ramse and Olivia’s secret partnership through this nonsense about one time in the past when the Witness is at his most vulnerable, then this betrayal from Ramse is going to sting bad. I’m glad Jennifer is at least vocalizing how bananas this trip to 2007 is, because Cole will always follow his brother no matter how many bad feelings he gets about it.
But Ramse knows, now, that Cole and Cassie are the origins of the witness, which means that 2007 may be less about the Witness and more about Cassie.