Ramse and Jones plan to have Ramse place a classified ad in the paper for the team to find in the future. Jones has a theory that by tracking the paper, they can bring all three back home. Ramse instead accuses her of being afraid of the events happening outside the base in the disaster. Nevertheless, he agrees to help and is sent back in time to 1944, only to be hit by a car once he arrives.
Ramse: I can only fix one of your mistakes at a time.
The team explore the outside area where the forests have turned red. The soldiers who stayed have been ravaged by time hundreds of years, becoming skeletons in the process. Whitley questions why if this happened because of Cole and Cassie’s travel. Jones meanwhile states that the cause will devastate the base in a matter of months. Whitley asks why it’s affecting them now, but Jones is mostly at a loss to her dismay. Whitley remarks that they are being watched by the Daughters and believes they know of what’s happening. Jones instead returns to the base.
Ramse wakes up in a 1944 hospital just as Cassie has arrived at the Emerson Hotel. The nurse takes his vitals and remarks that he heals rapidly despite also suffering from osteoporosis, unusual for a young man. He’s assured that this is September 1, 1944 and works to find Cole. However, the nurse refuses to let Ramse leave with his injuries. Ramse sneaks out of his room to reach a nurse’s counter. There, he finds a phone and calls the Emerson Hotel for James Cole, revealing to be the mysterious person who rang for him in the previous episode. Before he can speak to Cole, the nurse and security find and sedate Ramse for surgery.
Jones and Eckland watch the red storm draw closer to the base without any knowledge of what it is. Eckland also notices the Daughters spying on them. With no other option, Jones goes out to the forest to speak to an older Jennifer Goines about the events. Jones tries to get answers from the woman, but Jennifer proves to be more elusive. She refers to people as ants in a line who only know of three ants: the one in front, behind, and itself. Once the ant steps outside the line, however, it can truly witness time. Jennifer understands this as a primary and tries to explain it with a red leaf. Jones fires back that the leaf is just a reaction to the temporal anomaly and storms out after not receiving any clear answer.
In 1944, Cole and Cassie’s events play out as usual while Ramse tries to escape the hospital. He knocks out a visiting man, steals his clothes, and makes his way to the mental hospital just as Cole and Cassie arrive. Unfortunately, he crosses paths with the female messenger. She recognizes Ramse as the traveler and threatens to kill him since his cycle has completed. Ramse tries to convince her that he is on her side for the sake of protecting his son asked by the Witness to return. The messenger is touched by his story since hearing it from her childhood and realizing that he had something she will never have: a child. She states that she is destined to die on this day and doesn’t believe Ramse’s story, remarking that the Witness would not ask for anyone. The male messenger than handcuffs Ramse to a heater as the two continue their plans. Meanwhile, in 2044, Jones becomes even more frustrated with their inability to understand what’s happening. The events occur the same despite Ramse’s presence, though he follows the FBI taking Cole and Cassie.
The FBI agents take Cole and Cassie to a motel to find out what happened. The agent from the night before, Gale, questions Cole, who stays obstinate and instead believes that they should have splintered by now. He then tries Cassie by appealing to her less pleasant company after being caught killing Thomas Crawford and his son. Cassie simply states that they were trying to save the two and failed. Gale reveals the picture from the night as evidence that they were tracking the Crawfords and demands an answer for the term “splintered.” Before they can go further, Ramse steps in to rescue the two and beat Gale. Ramse calls for them to run, but Cole states they have to find out what happened to the female messenger. Cassie states that they have to return to 2044, a statement Gale hears in shock. Cole thanks him for his service and knocks the agent in the nose.
The three gather at the Emerson Hotel where Ramse explains the feeble plan. In the midst of their waiting, Cole still plans on searching for the female messenger to find out the army’s plan. Cassie questions why they should since she likely died in the paradox explosion, and they have nothing to work with at this point. Ramse, despite previous misgivings, ends up agreeing with Cassie and suggests they simply wait at the point he advertised for Jones to find them. He then leaves the room with Cassie following.
Cole: I was just starting to like this place.
At the base in 2044, Eckland confronts Jones on why she is acting like an asshole. Jones simply replies that they know nothing about what’s happening, but Eckland has a different theory. He responds that she is more than a scientist: she is an explorer. Whenever she faces the unknown, she charges head-on, trying to understand and be right. It was one of the things he admired about her.
In 1944, Ramse and Cassie wait for the splinter time in the hotel bar. Ramse replies to Cassie that he understands that she hates him. However, she doesn’t have to hate Cole. Cassie says that she doesn’t hate Cole, and Ramse reveals that Cole is just beating himself over for what happened to her, that he considers it to be her fault. Ramse feels that Cole is loyal to a fault, showing that with both him and Cassie. Meanwhile, Cole tracks the female messenger and finds that she had survived the paradox.
Cole tracks her down to a hospital where crosses paths with Gale once again. Gale states that he knows Cole and Cassie didn’t kill Crawford and instead questions their real mission. He found that the jewelry Cole gave the receptionist is from a design that won’t premiere until next year and then found Ramse’s mysterious medical records. Cole then tells Gale part of the truth and convinces Gale to help him find the female messenger. They find her laying in a hospital bedroom, recovering from her injuries. The woman wakes also bemused by the situation. She had been raised to die that day in 1944 and now is free to do as she pleases, to have a child. She fights the men and nearly knocks out Cole. However, she says she is not meant to kill Cole as stated by the Witness. The woman escapes.
Jones returns to Jennifer for definite answers. Jennifer then gives Jones a special herbal tea to give her visions of her explanations. Jennifer, both old and young, explains that time works with men rather than around it. Special people, known as primaries, work as the gears of time to support the movement. However, if these primaries are killed, time is fractured. The world will be plummeted to a red forest where there is no past and no future. This is the goal of the Army of the 12 Monkeys.
Gale returns with Cole to the hotel to meet up with Cassie and Ramse. Despite the strangeness, Gale wants to help Cole on his mission. Cole states that he can’t right now but perhaps in the future. In 2044, Adler finds Ramse’s ad in the paper and is able to lock onto the group’s location. The three then says their goodbyes to Gale as they splinter in front of him back to 2044.
Jones fills in the group on what they learned. Cassie deduces that the messengers used bones from the primaries’ past to kill them, which Jones refers to as using time against itself. Although the thought is not scientific in the least, the cause of nature still presents firsts. If the messengers continue their plans, they are destined to a red forest, a hell in time. Cassie, meanwhile, also questions why Ramse is still here. Jones argues that Ramse had helped him that time, but Cassie still argues on what Ramse had done, causing a larger argument. Cole silences them stating that they have already failed in stopping the army from the fracture. However, they agree to continue as they always had, taking clues piece by piece on the messengers’ actions.
In 1944, Gale examines room 607 after the three’s departure. He signs the back of the picture of Cole and Cassie with the date they needed and places it on a desk for the future. In 1971, the female messenger, now an old woman, speaks with her son. Upon her death, he will now carry on the mission for the army. She drops a handful of flower petals, signifying her own death. Finally, in 2016, Jennifer walks herself to a clinic and asks to put an end to the voices. There, she is spotted by the messenger’s son, the Pallid Man.
Notes from 2044
- The army's plan is revealed: to kill all of the primaries. But what do they have to gain?
- The Pallid Man makes his return from season one! If you notice following the paradox explosion, his mother, the messenger, bears the same scar on her face as he has from his paradox encounter!
- The tea Jennifer gives Jones looks eerily similar to the mix given to Cassie in episode six "The Red Forest."