12 Monkeys Recap

12 Monkeys Season 2 Finale Recap: The Witness' Identity Is Revealed!

12 Monkeys finally unmasked The Witness during Monday’s Season 2 finale, and the reveal was exactly what you want out of a twist: shocking yet somewhat expected in the sense that it had been carefully crafted to reach this point, so it made sense. Long ago, the show planted the seeds for the humdinger, and when they finally came to fruition, it felt like it was always meant to be this person: Cassie and Cole’s son!

When the episode begins, the new lovers are enjoying their life together in 1959 and exchanging Christmas gifts. He’s sweetly nervous about the butterfly hairpin he got her (“I’ve never done this before,” he explains), while she gives him a razor… and a card announcing that he’s going to be a father. But it can’t be all presents and happy news for the pair.

When time begins to freeze around him, Cole ends up visiting an insane asylum, where he meets Lillian (guest star Madeleine Stowe), a primary who killed her parents and siblings. She warns him that the fight is not over yet, and the red forest is here. He needs to go back to 1957 to stop the paradox, which would mean erasing his newfound family, Cole realizes.

“Death can be undone, James,” Lillian tells him. “Love cannot.”

So after drinking some crazy red forest tea leaves, Cole travels to different moments from the first two seasons before finally landing back in the factory, just moments before the paradox. Cole tells Cassie he understands the messenger’s love for his primary wife and then shoots the other man. With that problem solved, the travelers are catapulted back to the future, where time has, indeed, repaired itself. But Ramse, Jennifer and the others are still walking into a trap in Titan.

Cole, Cassie and Jones use the machine to travel to Titan and stop the attack. Unfortunately, what they didn’t foresee is that the entirety of Titan is The Witness’ machine. Deacon sacrifices himself so that Jennifer can escape, but she still gets caught in a splinter and ends up on a French battlefront in 1917. (How hilarious was her asking to use a telephone and then, after a scary explosion, a toilet?)

In all the commotion, The Striking Woman takes Ramse to his son, while Cassie somehow starts to remember her and Cole’s life together before splintering even further into the future. Cole gets in the machine, determined to bring her home. But maybe she’s not in danger? In 2163, Cassie is led into a huge auditorium full of messengers. The Pallid Man informs her that The Witness is safe because she brought him here. A horrified Cassie realizes the child she’s carrying is the man they’ve been chasing as the room breaks into a “mother” chant. And all of a sudden, her visions of the house in the red forest and The Striking Woman urging her to go to the man (aka Cole) and “know him” make so much sense.

12 Monkeys fans, what did you think of the season ender? Grade it via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your pick!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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63 Comments
  1. Diane says:

    I knew it, but was surprised the Pallid Man was in on it. Loved Jennifer in France and Jones and her dog. Poor Deacon.

  2. Megan32 says:

    Great season finale. I had my suspicions about the witness but I was still surprised by how it all ended up. I seriously love this show!!

  3. Katherine215 says:

    This show is so freaking good I can’t stand it. I can’t wait for season 3!!

  4. Kate says:

    I had my suspicions because the evidence was so pointing toward Cole especially in the last few episodes. This option had occurred to me but Cole and Cassie were so parted for most of the season and then the nagging thought I kept having was she always needs to return to her time just to start all of this. But now,yes it makes sense that the Witness has been referred to as being out of time. And I can’t wait for them to figure out how she remembers. Likely something to do with her being like water boarded with the red tea earlier this season. Oh I hope they don’t think bringing Ramse to his son will get him on their side. He will forgive Cassie and probably chase them down. Actually he probably has to go get Jennifer being the only time traveler in 2044.

    • Katherine215 says:

      She remembers because she has had Jones’s injections. When time changed at the start of the season, Cole, Cassie, Ramse, and Jones all remembered the old timeline which is why Jones didn’t know Dr. Ekland even though they were together. Time “moves around” those with injections. I was more surprised she didn’t immediately remember.

      • Astride says:

        That’s not why she remembers. The injections only work that way if you travel through time with the injections. However, Cole found a different way of traveling and went to a different time line that Cassie from that time line did not travel on so she isn’t supposed to remember. The reason she remembers has to do with something else…and I’m guessing it has to do with the baby and/or having been given the vision when she first drank the tea.

    • Aaron says:

      “Oh I hope they don’t think bringing Ramse to his son will get him on their side.”

      The group that took Ramse to his son isn’t working for the witness anymore I’m almost positive, Assuming Cole and Cassandra don’t want to kill their kid then that pits them against Ramse, and the hypnotist lady’s group. Please correct me if you saw it differently.

  5. Rachel says:

    The finale was awesome. This show is so, so good! “Be excellent to each other.” Lmao!!! I don’t think she missed a movie quote.

  6. Aaron says:

    So in the first timeline before time travel The Witness killed his mom with a virus before he was even born so that his dad (while trying to stop the virus) would save her and he could be born. Conceived in the 1959, and possibly born in 2163 making the baby 204 years old. Wow. I love this show. Btw, do we know that Cole’s baby is actually a boy, or could the witness be a girl?

    • Matt says:

      Way I see it, the original plague was just caused by Operation Troy and then Jones sent the first traveller, Cole, who proceeds to cause Ramse to try and stop him. The Witness didn’t come into the picture until later in the cycle or a few cycles later once Cassie and Cole get it on.

      • Aaron says:

        I’m going to watch Season 1 and 2 over again but I thought the hypnotist lady (working for the witness) was at those meetings when the virus was planning on being leaked. Technically I know the witness didn’t release it, but the people under his influence did. I’ll watch those over and see if I’m not remembering something right.

    • David says:

      I think they have slipped and said “He” a few times before (the Striking Woman has said it I believe) and in this ep in front of the Children of the Witness I think the Pallid Man said “He”. But honestly I was expecting it to be ultimately be a woman. (I was rooting for Madeline Stowe’s character to be the Witness so we could keep her lol :) )

  7. amazing season. so addictive!

  8. James D says:

    loved everything except the reveal because it was predictable. Madeline Stowe was awesome hope they can bring her back next season. Should be another great season next year can’t wait for it.

  9. EE says:

    Truly fantastic episode.The witness twist was both hinted well and yet surprising.This is easily one of the best shows currently on tv. Can’t wait for season 3.

  10. Mike says:

    This show is even with Fringe for me. Love both them. Clever and fun and so damn interesting. I think most of us figured out it was their kid last week when they got together.
    Loved Madeline Stowe. She was great. And dang she looks amazing. Fun detail to bring her in like that. Having Titan be a time machine I did not see coming. That was cool.
    Thank goodness they got a season 3. Now for the long wait. If this was a novel, I would buy it and not be able to wait.

  11. David says:

    Loved Jones getting all hard core, too bad she couldn’t have David come back. I enjoyed having Michael Hogan around, (all he needs is his Con. Tigh eye patch!) Do you get what the deal is with Jennifer in 1917 France? That threw me way off, guess i’ll have to wait and see. And yes, Poor Deacon, I really grew to enjoy him. Now we wait until March? April? sigh. I hope we get Madeline Stow back though. And Dear Lord the Children of the Witness? I thought Cassie was going to off herself right there!

    • Eric Van Boven says:

      I think that is the same war from the original 12 monkeys when cole gets sent back too far.

      • Real James Cole says:

        Yeah, I think that too….It is the same war from The Original 1975 movie Twelve Monkeys, where ‘that’ james cole accidentally arrives….And did you observe I said ‘that james cole’..?? Remeber when Madeline Stowe met Cole in this episoded the first time in prison cell, she said “Are you real Cole…??” And what i think is the real cole is that of the movie and the time is changed in such a way that for this time Cole is a way different person than once who he was…Or maybe he can be the son of that Cole from the Movie…If that would happen then it will be cooler connecting the TV series with that Old movie somehow in the next season…

  12. Jason says:

    Im a bit confused i may have to re watch the ep before the finale. The conception of the witness still hasnt happened. At least not yet. Someone explain it if im wrong please

    • Andrew says:

      That’s what doesn’t make too much sense to me.
      They were happy in 1959, Madeline Stowe’s character tells Cole how to reset the 1957 mishap. He goes back and hits redo button, so happy times “never” happened, yet, they can remember them because of the injections, so how is Cassie pregnant if they never were together in 1959? Does the magical witness-baby still exist in that erased timeline?

      • Katherine215 says:

        Yes, I think it does. I think it’s not just that they “remember” it’s that those things in the original timeline happened to them. And the baby was conceived “out of time” and has its parents’ time traveling serum in it so I think everything that happened to it (including conception) would still have happened.

        • First Name Last Name says:

          “Death can be undone, love cannot.”

        • The Witness says:

          Thank you! Someone just explained it.. xD I was conceived out of time since both of my parents had the injection and thus time moves around them. This also means that I have the power to get inside anyone’s mind so long as they are under the influence of the Temporal Tea Leaves.. See you guys on the next season!

  13. Ioneer says:

    Then i would ask
    If Cole destroyed the machine before his first travel, should the problem be solved?

  14. cynblack says:

    my brain hurts from it all but I love it. I like shows that answer all the questions but Im not sure if they can. I was just thinking the other day did the writers have this all set out start to end from the beginning or are they just making changes as they go along because apparently everything just works out in the nick of time so to speak. I really want to know how it all ends but then again its one of those shows that I enjoy so much watching and going along with all the twists and turns. I love the characters and even the ones we used to hate we miss when they die. Thats good writing and good acting.

  15. Brandon S Bevins says:

    Not ashamed to admit I am so confused especially after reading this article, which was great but I saw the finale and it did not start off in 1959 I’m not sure what they’re talking about. Somebody needs to make a YouTube video and break this down for some of us not so intelligent or maybe just didn’t have the time to catch every minute of every episode

    • Katherine215 says:

      Cole and Cassie were living in the house of cedar and pine at the start of the episode, and it was Christmas 1959 then.

  16. kristen torres says:

    where were hints that this would Cassie and Cole’s kid? I love this show and i dont remember seeing any

  17. Kotrolee says:

    Awesome season finale! I really love this show and I’m very happy it’s getting a season 3.

  18. Grace says:

    During season one, Cole meets Cassie before Cassie died of the virus. If she dies, how would the Witness have been born?

  19. Patrick Gillease says:

    As a standalone season finale, this episode of 12 MONKEYS was awesome! Lots of action! Big reveals (even if the Witness was no surprise), and a juicy cliffhanger. Therein lies my biggest complaint. If SyFy had announced that this series has a guarantee of 4 seasons, like they did upfront with their previous signature series, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, I would have given this finale top rating! Unfortunately, the SyFy channel we have come to know these past few years doesn’t do this anymore and has canceled low-rated series on its network without proper resolutions. So, for this reason, I was very annoyed that the writers and producers would end season 2 this way in the event that 12 MONKEYS was canceled. It would have been a lousy ending to the series with far too many unresolved questions. For that reason, I can only say that it was “very good.” Going forward, unless SyFy guarantees the series to the producers’ vision of 4 seasons, each season finale should be written with enough closure to act as a series finale IF SyFy cancels it. Ratings for the show have been sadly and mystifyingly low, so even the season 3 renewal was a bit of a surprise. Don’t screw the fans you have! Write the season 3 finale with more resolution! This is the ONLY series on SyFy (outside of the now-canceled DEFIANCE) that I have watched and cared about since BSG. I think the network heads know they have a smart, exciting series on their hands, despite the low ratings, which is why they renewed it. But, like Time itself in this series, it will catch up to them if ratings keep falling, so do right by your fans!

    • Ann says:

      I believe that SyFy already announced there would be a third season a few episodes into season two, so the writers knew there would be another season to tell their story. I do wish the network would give them an end date for the show, because a show like this needs to be able to plot out their entire story, so they need to know an end date.

  20. Shameena says:

    The finale was so exciting! Can’t wait for season 3. Really wanna see how the story goes from here!

  21. Kevin Hess says:

    the witness isn’t cole’s and cassie’s kid and the story’s intended end was a few episodes back, Gratis and thank you friend. The 12 monkeys is a cult, now the witness wants to steal there kid and, I don’t know, adopt him. They’re just sick believers. We all knew who he is? didn’t we always. Get over it already. Can’t wait for season 3!! Thank You again Friend

  22. laurelnev says:

    WOW. Mind blown. So glad to see that undoing time could undo all our favorite characters; deaths, and Madeline Stowe was a nice tip of the hat to the movie. The psychologist becoming the institutionalized patient. Well I guess Cassie and the Red Tea really DID bring the witness into this whole thing. We need longer seasons! I cannot WAIT until 2017 for more!

  23. Misti says:

    These last 2 episodes were fantastic! I’ve been a little less excited about this season than I was the first, and I think the main reason was because Cassie and Cole were at odds for so much of this season. The world just seems more “as it should be” when the two of them are on the same page and working together. That ending just made my heart beat faster and I can’t WAIT for season 3!

  24. Carolyn says:

    How can Cassie still be pregnant if she and Cole never lived in that house from 1957-1959? If that never happened due to Cole killing the Primary in 1944, how can the Witness be telling Cassie in 2169 that she is pregnant?

  25. Cephus says:

    I was really disappointed by the whole direction the show has taken. Some suicidal cult? Why? The show went from a pretty solid sci-fi series to one that is almost entirely fantasy with sci-fi trappings. And the identity of the Witness was no surprise at all, my wife and I called it the second we found out Cassie was pregnant. This thing is painfully predictable and time travel has gone from being an integral part of the story to being an excuse for lazy writing. Whatever happened to Cole being the only one who could time travel? Now pretty much anyone can jump in the chair and go. Everything that can go wrong with a time travel story is going wrong with this one.

    • Carolyn says:

      I’m trying to figure out how Cassie is still pregnant since Cole went back (without the machine) and killed that Primary in the warehouse in 1944. Since she and Cole did not live together for 2 years from 1957-1959, she would not have gotten pregnant.

      • Cephus says:

        True, but it’s all just convenient storytelling. The whole show has made time travel a plot device, it works however the writers need it to work at the time and can be used to undo anything that goes wrong. If nothing is ever permanent, why care what happens at all?

        • Carolyn says:

          How could the Witness physically touch (restrain) Cassie in 2169 while she is pregnant with the Witness? Wouldn’t that cause a paradox? Like when Young Jennifer met Old Jennifer….Old Jennifer said “not too close…you don’t want to blow everything up”

      • Clarifying says:

        That is simple: Cole ans Cassie lived 2 timelines at the same time. When they took the “time tea”, that became possible. Pretty fictional, but you can see it when Cassie is forced to take the tea made from the red leaves and she starts to remembering 1959, which didn’t happen yet at that time. Then, Cole took it too, so he could have a son out of the time with Cassie.

        That last episode is just the best episode i see in a show in a long time.

        (Don’t remove please, just explaining)

        • Carolyn says:

          So……when Cole and Cassie were actually living the two years and playing house with the Christmas tree and everything, that was the prophesy that the Striking woman made when Cassie drank the tea. The white house that was falling down and going back up. If Cassie is pregnant in 2169 with the Witness, how could the Witness touch Cassie without causing a paradox?

          • Kdrei says:

            The witness didnt touch Cassie in 2163. The Tall Man touched her and he quite clearly said he isnt the Witness. Although I’ve no clue how Cass is still pregnant.

  26. Alan Jones says:

    Great twist, you knew it would be someone they knew. But at the same time they didn’t. Character development and interaction gets stronger each episode. Tense and spellbinding , looking forward to season 3

    • Carolyn says:

      I love the progression of the character development except for Jones’s lost love. I was hoping they would revert back to that time for her.

  27. Feity says:

    Great final, great show. But what do you guys think of the following theory: Cole can undo the plague, as well as the destruction of time simply with one action: If he prevents Ramse from ever going to Spearhead, Ramse never finds out he has a son. As a result he never goes back to the past to be “a witness” (not THE) and Cole stops the outbreak. The 12 monkeys never get the virus. As the plague did not happen, the time maschine wont get finished and the messengers cannot paradox the primaries. So time does not fall apart. Cole and Cassie are both out of time, so they can happily live to the end of their days. The only problem is, that Cassie is stuck in the future, even tho Cole can undo everything because she is out of time and this way is not affected by changes in the time line – so she will stay in 2163. What do you think, did I miss something or get things wrong?

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  30. Milton says:

    YES THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD I’VE BEEN ADDICTED SINCE THE VERY START!!!

  31. Damien says:

    The finale makes no sense whatsoever. If the person who started this was their son, then the plague would never had happened as they would only met due to the plague and attempt to disrupt time itself. So If Cassie and Cole never met, they would never have had a son, who would never had become the witness to begin with.

    • alicia89blue says:

      It talks about circles a lot, time being in the concept of a circle. How we don’t really understand time, the beginning is the end, the end is the beginning etc.
      so it make sense if we look at time differently in that way

  32. alicia89blue says:

    I think it was well hinted/ easily predicted, Cassie was important to the witness and he didn’t want her killed. Everyone seemed to know who James Cole was already, so the Witness may have spoke often of him…maybe fondly, maybe not.
    My big question is who raised the witness? Was he orphaned? Or was it either Cole or Cassie alone after one of them was killed? Raising him to seek revenge against time for the others death.
    Or was the witness just born evil as he was some abnormalitie being born “out of time”?