Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Monkey Musings 2 - There are no straight lines

One of the themes of this show is that there's no straight lines, and they've done a really good job of running with that. The virus wouldn't have happened if they hadn't sent someone back to stop it--the old Terminator Syndrome. But also, Cassie wouldn't have been there to save Cole when he landed in 2015 if he hadn't wound up too far back and told her to be there. They never would have found Jones to save him later in the season if he hadn't landed too far forward and met a later Cassie. Hell, he wouldn't have been there to begin with if he hadn't gone there to begin with and called home to tell them to send him! And as they said, it took time travel to invent time travel.

And there is, of course, the loops that the story takes, so that they're only linear if you follow the characters--once you start time traveling, your future and The Future are no longer the same thing.

But what's most fascinating to me is that there isn't any straight lines on the emotional level, even. 

If it weren't for time travel, Cole and Cassie never would have met, and Cole and Ramse never would have wound up on opposite sides. If Cole hadn't been there in the room with Cassie the last time she died, holding her in his arms, would he have realized just how much she meant to him? Would he have come back more determined than ever to save the world for her? Definitely, Ramse's defense of his child wouldn't have hit the brick wall of Cole's resolve if being out of sequence hadn't made it.*

And now, here in episode one of the new season, they're out of sync again. Cole has been in 2015-16 for only three months, and it's been rough but it's also been in civilization and all it's available luxuries. He's learning what it is he's saving, even if that's just a side-effect of being in it. Cassie, though, she's been in the future for eight months, more than twice as long.** What happened in her own time sits differently in the context of the reality of 2043-44, and what she has to do there. Cole is the one who has to wait for the heroic time traveler to come back, he's the soft one who values life. She's the badass, hard-nosed killer. And they don't match up now.

If humanity is the mark of progress, Cole has gone forward while Cassie has gone backward, and Ramse went off on some side route. Who knows where Jennifer is, or how she got there, but she's also in the future, pulling strings and sending people back--Ramse wouldn't have known what to do if she hadn't given him that necklace and told him a bunch of things he's now had almost 30 years to mull over as he goes back into association with her younger self. And isn't that an interesting thing? My tendency is to focus on Cole and Cassie, but behind them, we have Ramse and Jennifer; she said he'd be a good friend to her--but is that because of what happens now? While Cole and Cassie are coming back to common ground, how are Ramse and Jennifer going to deal with being on the same team now? How much did he have to do with her life when he was Ethan Seki and she was Leland's weird daughter?*** How much will that bear on their adult interactions now?

It's fascinating. It's complex, and a bit addicting, watching how people line up, or don't line up, watching them moving through their own timelines and coming into sync and falling out of it with each other. I feel like I need to make a character-infographic, but how would that even look? There's no straight lines to draw on it!

*And now--he's got that memory, that knowledge of her personal future (assuming it doesn't get changed along with everything else as they alter stuff this season), and if things start looking close to that, will he try to divert it? Will the still try to save her?
**Almost long enough to have had a child there, if they'd gotten to hook up before the left...(sorry, that's literally where my mind goes every time it's mentioned that something is eight or nine months)
***I would love to see a flashback of her as a little girl, and him talking to her because she's the only kid around and he misses his son.
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