Love and death are philosophically linked from the moment we’re born to the day we die. “Divine Move”, and 12 Monkeys in general, puts this into perspective with an episode that finds Ramse turning his back on Cole and Katrina to care for his family. He made that choice in the previous episode, but this episode has Ramse making a move he can’t come back from – stealing the serum Katrina injects into Cole to help him travel through time, he ensures that the crew will be unable to make any more jumps without coming after him first.
12 Monkeys has done quite a bit to develop Cole and Ramse’s relationship, so splintering them is a compelling aspect of the show. Ramse now has Elena and his son to look after, and that’s more important to him than chasing after some past that probably can’t be changed anyway. At the same time, Cole’s relationship with Cassie has dissipated since she’s losing confidence in his ability to succeed. It leaves Cole in such a lonely position in “Divine Move” that it’s no wonder he feels like jumping through time even if it kills him.
For Cole, succeeding is the only goal, because he has no one else. Ramse now has a family to take care of, and it makes his actions reasonable enough to believe his shift in allegiances. It’s even more believable after Elena is accidentally killed in crossfire during a confrontation between Katrina’s soldiers and the scavengers in the camp. Ramse has now encountered multiple instances where Katrina has resorted to violence, and seeing the multiple failings of her time travel scheme, he’s ready to end any attempt to stop the virus and simply live out the rest of the time he’s got as a father.
Though Cole and Ramse are on the outs, “Divine Move” brings Cole back into contact with Cassie in 2015. Unfortunately, she’s kind of moved on without him – after all, she thinks he’s dead, so slipping back into her relationship with Aaron is the most natural thing to do. She’s not even completely sure she wants to help him, because she knows they’ll just get some answers and then have to do something all over again because it didn’t stop the virus. It’s sort of 12 Monkeys hinting at metacriticism, and I like that it has a sense of humor about the repetitious manner of these missions.
“Divine Move” has Cassie searching through records to locate Dr. Peters, another scientist working on the virus with Leland Goines. She finds him after tracking down a large shipment of monkeys, but it’s already too late – he finished the virus, and it’s been given to the 12 Monkeys. But they’ve got another plan anyway; Cole will head back to 1987 in Tokyo to meet with Leland Goines, and hopefully it will be his last jump, because he’s not well enough to do another one.
But Ramse gets in the way – for a person who used to be so buddy-buddy with Cole, he sure does put the kibosh on the plans. There’s an all-women group named the Daughters who blame men for the apocalypse, and in 2043 he meets with Jennifer Goines, now old and wearing an Asian conical hat, who spouts off a lot of confusing stuff about 12 Monkeys, chance meetings, and how fate doesn’t always play a role in things. Right now it’s difficult to understand what she’s talking about, but it does seem like she already knows about Elena’s death before it happens; she’s a big piece of this puzzle, and although 12 Monkeys casually sidesteps explaining it, I like the inclusion of her character’s enigmatic dialogue all the same.
It leads Ramse to attempt to destroy the time machine, but failing that, he decides to jump in and head back to 1987 himself. Just what he plans to do there is a mystery, but now it prompts a cat-and-mouse game between him and Cole – since Ramse has no tracer to bring him back to 2043, Cole’s got to find him and stop him before he causes irreparable damage in time. There’s a lot of room for 12 Monkeys to play with this turn of events, and I’m seriously excited to see what they do with this plot (and how they depict 1987!).
At the same time, it’s hard to predict where the show can go from here. It can’t keep skirting around finding the virus forever, nor can it afford to continue sending Cole into the future since it’s already backed into a corner with Cole’s body failing. Whatever the case, the last three episodes of the show promise to be explosive, more fun in a surprisingly successful show that’s hooked many viewers in.