12 Monkeys Season 2 Primer

12 Monkeys returns tonight, and we have a Season 2 primer for you, filled with intel that we learned while visiting the set. Here’s what Terry Matalas (Creator and EP), Aaron Stanford (Cole), Amanda Schull (Railly), Emily Hampshire (Jennifer), Kirk Acevedo (Ramse), Todd Stashwick (Deacon) and Barbara Sukowa (Jones) shared with us!

There’s a bigger threat than the plague.

This season, the plague is still something that’s happened in history, but the threat is much bigger than the plague.” The Army of the 12 Monkeys is somehow connected to time travel, and there’s a villain called “The Witness” that knows how it’s all going to play out. The plague was never the ultimate goal, and in Season 2, we will find out what that goal is. Oh, and the hooded men are now known as “The Messengers.”

We’re going to see new pairings/groupings of these characters.

Now that it’s not just Cole traveling through time, characters traveling together is going to make for some “uncomfortable situations.” At the top of the season, it’s significant between Cole and Cassie. Matalas told us, “They’re going to be worlds apart but still on the same journey.” There are going to be more missions and more social settings in Season 2.

Although Cole is the more experienced time traveler of the bunch, Stanford noted that none of the others will be coming to him for advice. He said that they “all take to it pretty quickly,” but he does like the team element that it has added. As for the physical toll that time travel was taking on Cole, Stanford said that the process has been tweaked so it’s not as taxing on the body.

Schull loved being able to work with people she didn’t really interact with in Season 1, like Kirk Acevedo and Todd Stashwick. She also got to play with some amazing guest stars.

There’s an important new set this year.

The Railly family bookshop has been blown up in a paradox, so there’s a new location — The Emerson Hotel — where the team’s had a permanent suite since the 1940s. When they first find it, there are relics from their travels through time. Matalas told us that The Emerson mirrors a lot of the once-great hotels of the past that are now seedy with drugs and prostitution. We will see it throughout the decades, each with its own wardrobe and period-specific set decor. He added that The Emerson becomes a character in itself in Season 2.

Matalas added that Suite 607 at The Emerson stays the way it was in the 40s. Cole finds it in their present day with the help of Jennifer Goines, and it’s filled with lots of treasure, including passports, info about the Berlin Wall, dossiers and more. There are hints and easter eggs from the first episode that will tease the finale. In fact, they had the very last scene of the finale planned from the beginning of the season, and the cast reaction when they read it was simply: “HOLY SHIT.”

Time has an awareness of itself.

The “cognizance” of Time is a big issue this season. Time wants to course correct itself, and we’ll learn more about how time works. Jones, as a scientist, knows quantum physics and what is theoretically involved in time travel. Matalas said that she’ll have to throw away everything that she’s learned. How time and humans work together is a big element. He also shared that there’s “a dangerous and explosive quality to time travel” and that “at any moment, it could get completely undone.” There are consequences to undoing actions from the past.

Cole has learned to value life.

Aaron Stanford talked about Cole’s growth in the first season: “He comes from a hard life at the beginning. He’s been beaten down by that life and lost a large portion of his humanity. He is looking for some form of redemption. He’s ready to take any life that he needs to and also give his own life.” Human life didn’t have much value to him at the beginning of this story, but as Cole travels through time and interacts with new people, it changes him. By the end of Season 1, he has compassion that he didn’t have before.

Railly’s going to connect with her dark side even more.

Matalas teased more darkness for Cassandra Railly, and how they tested just how far they can push Amanda Schull. Schull said, “Not that Railly was ever light and cheery and bubbly — she was always very pragmatic and obviously an intelligent woman — but it’s a lot of fun being darker and getting to explore that side.” She also got to do some more physical work which she really enjoyed.

Jennifer Goines will become less of a mystery.

We’ll get into Jennifer Goines’ head a bit in Season 2, and Matalas noted that the voices in her head are something to pay attention to. She’s not just crazy; she can actually see the changes that the time travellers are making. Emily Hampshire shared that there are a lot of changes to Jennifer this season, and we’re even going to see a “sane” version of her at one point.

Hampshire was excited that she got to work with Barbara Sukokwa, but couldn’t say how Jennifer and Jones end up together. She also teased a scene with Amanda Schull that she’s excited for everyone to see.

Jones is constantly dealing with inner turmoil.

Barbara Sukowa said that Jones always is in conflict between her mission and her relationships with the others. It always comes down to what is going to “serve her trajectory.” We learned a bit about Jones in Season 1, and are going to learn more about Jones’ backstory this season. What really broke Jones was her daughter’s death, and that’s what fuels her work.

Sukowa also talked about the relationship between Cole and Jones. “He’s the most important person for her … this is the person who will lead her where she needs to go.”

Ramse remains set in his ways.

Kirk Acevedo said that Ramse “knows who he is and what would make him content.” Nothing is going to change Ramse’s mind. While the other characters are in flux, he remains steadfast. Ramse also had a huge falling out with Cole, but we may see a bit of that brotherhood again in Season 2.

Deacon is no longer just the antagonist.

The story picks up right where Season 1 ended, which immediately creates a dynamic between Deacon and Jones and Cassie. Stashwick mentioned that there’s a lot more interaction between Deacon and characters he didn’t work with in Season 1. This means that there are some major developments for that character. Stashwick said “Deacon was an opportunist” that didn’t care about the larger things in play. Meeting Railly and getting into the temporal facility has “a profound impact on who he is and his point of view.” His priorities shift this season as relationships develop. He added that Deacon’s still a sociopath, but with more emotional options. We are going to learn learn what made him what he is.

Photos Courtesy of Syfy

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