As I stated in the last episode review, 12 Monkeys has really been exploring territory where Cole isn’t the main dynamic of the plot. “Tomorrow” again uses this technique to its advantage, not forced to rely on Cole’s actions jumping through time. In fact, Cole is actually more of a pawn in this episode than he has been in the past: things happen to him, rather than having Cole initiate those things in the past. Since Cole is still stuck in 2017, with the time machine’s core destroyed, there’s not much for him to do besides hope that he can be pulled back to 2043 at some point. In past episodes of 12 Monkeys, it might have amounted to a boring episode where Cole and Cassie sit around waiting to be reunited; but since the show has adopted the secondary characters into the main plot arc, there’s a lot to love about how “Tomorrow” juggles multiple timelines at once.
In 2017, Cole has managed to make his way out of the rubble of the missile strike, but it’s not any better on the outside – the virus has ravaged the community despite his efforts to stop it, and nearly everyone is affected. He manages to get some soldiers to take him back to the United States, where he visits the CDC to find Cassie also suffering from the virus. In a terrible turn of events, she dies while he cradles her in his arms, another moment where Cole has failed to protect her even though he’s made a number of jumps through time to stop the progression. 12 Monkeys has been particularly cruel to Cassie as a means to motivate Cole, but it’s technically not a woman-in-refrigerator type of scenario; Cassie has her own strengths, and though “Tomorrow” doesn’t show it, she’s been on the forefront of fighting the virus. That she dies is not a flaw, but the inevitable end of her fight.
It’s particularly tough on Cole, though, and 12 Monkeys has really been building his relationship with her despite their distance apart. But it’s not just Cole and Cassie – “Tomorrow” continues to show Ramse’s relationship with his old flame and his kid in 2043. They’re held hostage after trying to steal Foster’s core, and it puts a thought into Ramse’s head – they don’t need to continue to fight to stop the virus, because he’s got everything he wants in the future despite the wreckage.
“Tomorrow”‘s best segment, though, is a dialogue between Foster and Katrina as she attempts to persuade him to give up the core. Their expository statements are particularly blunt, but at the same time this is a side of Katrina we’ve never seen before. Both Foster and Katrina lived underground for a time after the virus developed, and they shared a lot of memories. It’s a calm, peaceful conversation that is quickly obliterated when Katrina pulls a gun and brutally shoots Foster, not in the head but in the stomach. She blames him for her daughter’s death, and she believes her time machine transport is the best way to stop the virus. But 12 Monkeys goes further than that to show that her motivations are more selfish than anyone knows. Foster had been working on a cure for the virus, and had successfully done so, yet Katrina secretly burns the documents. The time machine isn’t to stop the virus, but to find a way to save Katrina’s daughter. It’s a great revelation, one that will put Cole at a crossroads.
And there’s another problem with his time travel as well. When he gets back to 2043, Ramse urges Cole to quit splintering. In flashbacks to 2041 when Cole and Ramse first met Katrina, it was Ramse who compelled Cole to help out; now, he’s asking Cole to stop. But Cole is too invested in saving Cassie, a sentiment that he shares with Katrina. How their similarities affect what happens next is a plotline I’m particularly looking forward to, because 12 Monkeys has shown that it can handle multiple time jumps with ease.