Where we last left off, tensions between Cole and Ramse were getting stronger, especially at the revelation that Ramse has a son, born after the plague and therefore would be eliminated if Cole was successful in stopping the Army of the 12 Monkeys. This drove Ramse to desperation and caused him to try and shut down Project Splinter and, in the process, resulting in him being sent through time to 1987.
With Cole in pursuit, the pair meet again at the White Dragon in Tokyo – coincidentally, the place where Cole first encounters Leland Goines. In the exchange between the Cole and Goines, our hero reveals to him that the Origin Corpse he has come to buy from the Yakuza contains a particularly potent virus… Here’s a blatant instance of Cole influencing past events in order to, unwittingly, ensure that Goines sets off down the path of exploring and weaponizing the virus for the inevitable collapse of civilization.
Mirroring the movie, this is but one indicator that Cole is the architect of his own destruction.
In the club, Ramse takes on his former friend and mortally wounds him. This is the catalyst that finally reveals the Witness to us – unexpectedly, that person is Ramse.
He is incarcerated and starts to play a cold and calculated game with the help of Olivia and the Army of the 12 Monkeys on the outside. Unaware as to who is aiding him initially, Ramse takes his time spent in prison to educate himself – studying the works of Sun Tzu and other tacticians – as well as mastering several languages and increasing his knowledge. Through the course of this, he becomes an incredibly powerful, influential and dangerous man – the perfect weapon for the Army of the 12 Monkeys.
Over the course of Shonin, we get to see Ramse’s development into the Witness and his manipulation of events to make certain that Cole goes through the motions that will lead him to the White Dragon in 1987. This infuriates the Pallid Man but he is still in awe of Ramse following the creation of Red Forest. What the purpose of this is remains unknown – perhaps it hints at the merger of the two universes through time travel or merely a symbolic event symbolizing the arrival of the Witness – but it seems to be a signal for the Army of the 12 Monkeys to defer to Ramse.
He becomes increasingly unlikable and it does jar slightly with his mostly selfless actions through the rest of the season. At heart, Cole is more than willing to sacrifice himself in order to save the planet. Running at odds to that is Ramse’s mission to sacrifice most of the human race to ensure the survival of his son. It makes him cold and detached but I think that’s the point.
It’s also during Ramse’s tenure that Jennifer Goines becomes embroiled in the machinations of the Army. It’s interesting to see her so vulnerable in the past compared to the version of her in 2043 who commands so much respect and loyalty. Could she advance to become the leader of the Army of the 12 Monkeys? And what is her desire to see Cole fail?
Jones remains crushed but bizarrely hopeful towards the end of the episode. Managing to save Cole but losing Project Splinter in the process, she is left alone with the machine to await her destiny – something she seems more than ready for. What else does she know? We know she keeps things very close to her chest but there really seems to be something else underlying with her reluctance to leave the facility which reeks of more than just a relentless obsession with her cause.
Yes, Cole survived and was brought to Railly in 2015 in what should be his last jump. This leaves everything to play for as long as the good doctor can stop the bleeding, of course. It means that Ramse now has no idea of what to expect from our protagonist in the future and this could potentially render his worthless to the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Do they even really need him other than as a pawn to use against Cole – someone else knew where and when to send Olivia and instruct Ramse in his position as the Witness. Who that is, of course, remains to be seen…