Today was a big day for 12 Monkeys fans. The first official art, the season 3 poster, was released. And what a poster it is. The cool thing about show posters is that the best ones are packed with fun tidbits that are a mix of reminders of the status quo and possible clues about the future. All one has to do is open the mind and see where the details take you.
The first thing that pops is that this image is dark. Like really dark. Dark colors, bold shapes, not quite as dark bits rather than real ‘highlights’. The skyline in the lower city image even uses blue tones which are a long time cinematography trick for saying ‘this is a dark scene but we can’t really make it dark or you wouldn’t be able to see anything’. All this totally fits with all the talk about the season. Way back in Oct, Terry was warning viewers that the season was going to be more extreme, more personal and darker. Even the little teaser video that was sent out played to this theme.
Second thing is that it’s all Army of the 12 Monkeys imagery. Again not a real shock. We’ve already been told that this season will get into the history of the cult. It actually makes a nice parallel with season 1 which explored Cole’s history in some depth. But unlike season 1 where we got the details in told stories and flashbacks, I suspect this will be some story telling and some actual trips into history. Which would explain many of the spoiler pics that Terry sent out over the production time. Cole, Cassie etc will be hunting for the baby and along the way they would likely pick up a few details about their enemy. Or even go hunting for details so they can understand why Baby Cole is so special to the Army and what they want to do with him. Understanding that might help them to figure out where, or rather when, he is. And since he’s almost certainly been brainwashed by the Army (creating a great nature v nuture conflict?), if they understand the Army they might better understand how to get past The Witness to The Son inside. Parallel to Cole’s stunt in “Meltdown” with some “Captain America: Winter Soldier” mixed in.
Where things get real fun and possibly real out there is when we dig into the actual elements. Let’s just start at the top and work towards the bottom.
The Red Background
This is perhaps one of the easiest things to sort out the Why? Red is the color of Titan after all. It’s also the color of Time, or at least the destruction created by Time and the destruction of Time itself. The Red Leaf effect would seem to be the same degrading of reality caused by the Red Storm just on a far far far lesser level.
But Red isn’t just the color of Titan or Time, it’s a traditional color for War (being the color of blood). And the story of 12 Monkeys has been from the start a battle between our two sides even before Cole et al were aware of the vastness of the enemy or had a name for them. For two seasons, they skirted around each other but now we have a straight up declaration. The Army by snatching Cassie and Cole by declaring he’s going to march into the Army’s city and find Cassie.
The Mask of the Witness
The Plague Mask is the traditional image of The Witness. It’s also the ‘face’ that Cole knows for The Witness which may be part of why it was used and not some kind of image of the actor who has all but been confirmed as being said character. Cole is the audience’s main POV character and as far as he knows, The Witness is an inhuman, monster thing rather than a human man or woman. Since this is the start of season image it makes sense that we would see The Witness in the form that Cole would see it right now. It’s possible that we won’t actually see the adult man identified as The Witness (or James Cole Jr) right away. So there’s the bonus of not wanting to tip off the punch line for those viewers who don’t obsessively track everything about the show (I’m sure there’s one or two out there).
Also interesting is how the other bits of imagery are placed within the shadows of The Witness’s hood/cloak. As if to say they are a part of the Witness, they exist within him. The World inside a God is an image associated with the Hindu god Krishna, who was said to have the whole of the universe inside his mouth. The assembly at the end of the season two finale were enrobed like some kind of priests in a room that appears to be a sanctuary of sorts. So the Army would seem to be a religion that actually creates (or perhaps recreates) its own God. A God who helps them create their ideal world, who perhaps is necessary for that world to be created.
Okay this one is also pretty easy. It’s Titan and we are most certainly going to spend a fair bit of time there, as well as hopefully find out a bit more about how it was built and what secrets it holds in its walls.
This is the biggest mystery, the only detail that has never appeared before. Four men, anonymous, moving in a kind of formation while carrying a box. They are adorned with some kind of lights of unknown purpose. And they carry between them a large box adorned with the Titan symbol. As soon as folks saw this part of the image, the ideas began to flow. Almost everyone seems to view the four men as some kind of soldiers of Titan and this makes sense. They aren’t in robes but rather general clothing which although not detailed appears to be from the past. So these men are likely Travelers.
But what about that box? What is its purpose? There are a few ideas floating around. Many believe it might be a portable time machine. Others think that it might contain the virus. But I have a strange and perhaps radical idea about what they’re carrying. What if it’s The Witness. Perhaps it’s not a time machine so much as protection against the effects of time travel. Protection that might be needed because they are a royal guard carrying an infant to a new sanctuary. One that Cole and Cassie wouldn’t be able to find because the child and guards lack any kind of tracer to follow them. Perhaps there are smaller actual machines within the city that would send this crew back. Removing the child from his mother would mean he wouldn’t develop an emotional attachment to her, correcting perhaps the mistake they made in trying to brainwash Jennifer. She had attached to Cole before the Army’s first attempts and that gave Cole an ‘in’ to stop her just as it did with Cassie when she was under the Witness’s control.
Or maybe the men and the box are something all together unexpected and we will have to wait and see what the answer is when the story continues.