’12 Monkeys’ Showrunner Breaks Down Powerful Series Finale

Lauren Gallaway
TV Sci-Fi
TV Sci-Fi

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the 12 Monkeys Series Finale. Proceed with caution.

Tonight 12 Monkeys wrapped its fourth season with the two hour finale titled “The Beginning”. The back-to-back finale revealed the demon, the Witnesses end game, and revealed just how our time traveling super team could save the world.

The finale was full of tearful goodbyes, as Cole agreed to sacrifice himself to save the world. Cole needed to be erased from the timeline completely for everything to be reset. With Jones’ dying breath she erased him, and everything was reset.

Ramse was restored to his son, Cassie to her medical practice, Jennifer to her family’s wealth, Deacon to his brother, and Hannah to her mother, Jones. Everyone got exactly what they wanted, even Cole, who was spared at the last minute by a sympathetic Jones.

So, how exactly do you wrap up a time travel show? Showrunner Terry Matalas walks FANDOM through his process:

Preparing for the End

FANDOM: How much did you know ahead of time that this was how the series was going to end?

Terry Matalas: It’s not one of those shows where you can wing it in a satisfying way. At the top of Season 3, you were seeing scenes from the series finale, you had to be really ahead to pull that off. There are some elements of the series finale that started in Season 1. It’s really satisfying and we’re fortunate to show the complete puzzle.

It was surprising to learn that Cole was the demon at the center of the Season 4 mystery. Was that always the plan?

I was actually surprised that more people didn’t see Cole as the demon. But I’m glad we were able to wave our hands in a certain way so that you couldn’t see it.

When Jones realizes that Cole is the demon at the center of the puzzle, she looks like she has tremendous guilt…

What a brilliant performance by Barbara Sukowa [Jones]. I just wish more people would see it because it’s absolutely an awards-worthy performance.

Like Mother, Like Son

Tell us about revealing Hannah as Cole’s mother…

I’ve known it was Hannah since Season 1. I first came up with the idea — I don’t know why — I just remember working on Season 1 Episode 12, I knew that I wanted to bring Hannah in during Season 2. And how crazy would it be if she was in fact his mother. Brooke William’s first day on set, I told her. She adapted certain mannerisms and put it into her performance. It was extraordinary thing to be able to unravel that for everybody. And there’s lots of Easter eggs and clues along the way, if you go back and watch the series.

Bringing Everyone Back

One of our favorite parts of the show has always been the relationship between Cole and Ramse. What inspired you to bring Ramse and the others back for the final episode?

I go by own taste. If I was watching the show it’s what I would have wanted. It’s something we planned for. And we had to make you love Ramse again. In the end you don’t love him as much. He’s made some really horrible choices. So we brought him back at the beginning of Season 4 to remind you, hey, you did love this guy, but more importantly Cole loved this guy. This is the story of one big family who is tragically caught in this temporal loop. The villains are too. At some point everyone has guns on each other but at the end they are a family trying to save the world.

That tension definitely came across between Cassie and Ramse when they saw each other again. The look between the two of them when they said hello… 

That was one of my favorite moments in the entire series. They wanted to cut it but I couldn’t. What do you say to each other? We have to let bygones be bygones so it was just “hi”, “hi”.

What are your final thoughts would you like to share about wrapping up the series?

I don’t know if there will be anything quite like this for me. It checks a lot of boxes: love story, sprawling science-fiction epic, adventure, time travel, bromance, horror, surreal poetry, waxing on time and space. You don’t get a lot of bites of that apple, to do all the things you want to do. This show has been that, for me. I’m very lucky to have been able to tell the complete thing. And to work with extraordinary people throughout — all artists. It’s a rare thing where everyone comes at it with their very best and love in their hearts. That’s hard to beat.

Lauren Gallaway
TV editor at FANDOM. Creator of The Marvel Report. Journalist, Comic-Con reporter, Podcaster.
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