Moments Easily Missed – The Last Thing

12 Monkeys is filled with moments between or beyond the dialogue—often the moments easily missed. I’d like to share a few of them with you so that we can fully appreciate them.

Today we’re taking a closer look at a piece of dialogue from episode 1×10 “Divine Move”. Cole’s last splinter drained all his reserves. Jones put him on blood infusions and is preparing him for the molecular stabilization treatment to give him a few more jumps.

At the same time, Ramse has left on his own, unsanctioned mission to save Elena and his son. Unfortunately, he’s also taken the remaining time travel serum syringes, which Jones urgently needs back. So she asks Cole to tell her where Ramse is.

“Where’s Ramse?”
“Tell me he won’t get hurt.”
“Why would that matter if you are successful?”
Because getting Ramse killed, it can’t be the last thing I do here.

Now we jump to episode 1×13 “Arms of Mine” and the stand-off between Ramse and Cole in the Raritan Lab. Cole is threatening Ramse with a gun. Ramse can’t be allowed to jeopardize the mission and kill 7 billion people in his wake just to save his own family. Cole knows he needs to stop him.

Things between them are complicated. Until a few moments ago, Ramse thought he had killed Cole in Tokyo in 1987. Cole has no idea who this man opposite him has become in the three decades since. They were once best friends who would do anything for each other. He tries to size the new Ramse up.

“You were my brother.”
“I know. I thought I killed you. I lived with that guilt for a long time. Killing you again can’t be the last thing I do here.

And there we have a genius piece of television writing, because it’s subtle, yet filled with so much underlying meaning. The roles are reversed, but the struggle and the message is the same. Neither wants the other person killed, no matter how large the gap between them.

They’re brothers. They will always be—until the end. And that’s why it’s so badass that Cole defies his fate and runs back to save Ramse at the end of the season 1 finale.

2 comments

  1. I have noticed several of these, what I call, “call-back” lines. Little james and little ramse both say “hello”, very similarly. And, i think i noticed more – i need to remind myself of the others.

  2. The brilliance of the snow is that they do more with less. Small things turn out to be meaningful, something not said later turns out to be the most crucial point of the scene. This serves to make dialogue and encounters more realistic… in “real” life there is not a monologue or exposition scheduled every 12 minutes… instead information comes in bits and pieces, It takes skillful writing to make this work… which happily the show is blessed with in abundance!

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