12 Monkeys continues its final season with Episodes 4-6. Join us as we dive into an in-depth recap and review. Note: There will be spoilers in the story below. Want to watch 12 Monkeys Season 4 on Amazon? You can get it right here.
EPISODE 4: Legacy
The fourth episode begins with Jones chain smoking and ruminating on both the spiritual the scientific definitions of life, death and life after death. We then cut to a flashback of Katarina observing her husband Elliott Jones lecturing his students on related deep concepts. “What if every moment, past, present, future, all existed at the same time?” he asks his class before performing a test of the splinter machine. “A single seed. All potential. All possibility. There’s a whole life here, and it’s just waiting.” The machine test initially performs flawlessly, then goes bad quickly turning a healthy plant into an overgrown carcass – a microcosm of the Red Forest.
Back in 2043, Katrina, who is dying slowly from the effects of splinter radiation, hasn’t told anyone and is trying to go on like nothing is wrong. She’s leading a discussion about how to best use the clue they received from the codex “Blackleaf 1851” to advance the mission. Everyone has a different perspective. Cassie wants to avoid getting stuck in another cycle. Hannah is the first to see the ouroboros as the “serpent” in Cole’s mother’s rune. And Jennifer is oddly reluctant to even go on the mission, which is not like her. When has she not been on board for an adventure with Cole?
But the mission is a go, and the team arrives in a gorgeous green expanse of prairie ringed by mountains. Though the location is remote it’s not long before they tangle with shady local hombres – the “security detail” – who they dispatch handily, taking their gear and horses and heading to the nearest town, the Blackleaf referenced in their clue.
Like every proper western, our team checks into the saloon to get the lay of the land. Cassie immediately senses something “off” and Jennifer agrees with supportive detail. Their bottle of whiskey is from 1972, several customers are wearing modern boots or digital watches and they are sporting Glocks not six shooters in their holsters. Also, the piano player is banging out themes from classic tv shows like “The Munsters” and “Knightrider”. When Hannah looks closer at the piano player she’s stunned to recognize her father – Katarina’s husband and co inventor of splinter technology, Elliot Jones.
After a quick consult they develop a plan to learn more about what Jones is doing in the past. So Cole goes full Yosemite Sam in a loopy shoot out to distract patrons and drive Jones into Hannah’s hands, who hits him with an injection and sends him “back into the future”.
Domestic drama ensues as Katarina briefs Elliott on the nasty things his invention Titan has been doing since they last meet and then divulges Hanna’s identity. Elliott is horrified when he realizes what his “research vessel” that travels thru time has become but is oddly warmed to know he has a daughter..
Meanwhile, back on the prairie, Cole, Cassie and Jennifer are noticing other anachronisms, like a massive building project composed of a series of towers in the distance, and covered supply wagons filled with power cores resembling those of their splinter machine. They’ve discovered the nursery where The Army is building Baby Titan by fabricating materials in the future to assemble in the past.
In a nearby forest, the team has a tete-a-tete where Jennifer finally summons up the courage to admit she no longer has her powers. They also encounter a Native American – Tikusu – who says has been waiting for Jennifer and whose house is decorated with drawings similar to hers. He also can brew a mean cup of Red Forest tea, which Jennifer impulsively gulps down hoping to “see” again. Bad idea. Though she briefly encounters ancient Primaries in her vision, she also encounters Olivia, who by the time the vision is over will know all about the weapon.
Elliot says his goodbyes to Katarina and splinters back to 1851 accompanied by Hannah. He slips back into camp and starts up a conversation with Pallid Man to distract him while Cole and Cassie sabotage Titan. Taking a page from Wiley Coyote this time, they’re sneaking around, setting dynamite charges in the wagons holding power cores. They stumble upon Deacon with a posse, who snuffs out the fuze then starts up a picturesque gun battle. By the time shooting stops, Elliott Jones has been shot and killed, Deacon shot by arrow and Titan – now compromised in this timeline – gone to another time and place.
Before Elliott dies however, he is able to pass on his flash drive to Team Splinter. His parting words to Hannah are “You were the best thing I ever made,” and they make Hannah cry.
Back at the Raritan facility, Katarina discovers that the flash drive contains all the information Elliott Jones had about Titan. She also announces to her team the fact that she is dying and that her only wish is for everyone to act as a family – something she used to dismiss but now cannot live with.
Notes from Legacy:
Jennifer is not following her usual pattern. She is reluctant to go on a missions, seems more easily intimidated, and this time SHE’s the one left without anything appropriate to wear.
Elliott on the other hand continues the pattern of accidentally divulging information which gives their enemies exactly what they need when he reveals how Titan can be configured for a “nuclear option.”
After Pallid Man tells him Titan can’t be completed without “The Engineer” (Elliott Jones), Deacon makes it a point to shoot him. Though this might be to prevent him escaping, it still raises questions.
Elliott giving Project Splinter all his information on Titan may be just the significant game change our heroes need to even the odds.
Jennifer : Pioneer town? Death by dysentery? That’s a wagon train full of nopes.
Hannah: It is the privilege of the child to walk the parent the rest of the way together.
Elliott: We have exhausted the origins of the universe but not the origins of time.
Katarina: You’re no savior. You’re Oppenheimer in a blindfold.
EPISODE 5: After
One of the strengths of 12 Monkeys is that however ruthless “bad guys” start out, their motivations eventually become comprehensible, even sympathetic. “After” begins with just such a scene, as we see “The Missionary” — Zalman Shaw revisiting cherished images of his first wife, from childhood games to her flower bedecked beauty to her too early death. Then the scene shifts and an ordinary flashback is shown to be a moment in the House of the Witness, with Shaw standing next to Olivia, who orders him to find the Weapon before “they” do. In return Shaw will have his “perfect moments” forever.
Back at the Emerson, while Adler is repairing the splinter suit and Jennifer searches databases for the phrase “Climb the Steps, Ring the Bell”, Cassie and Cole are having their own perfect moment.
Snuggling together later, Cole confides to Cassie he’s still figuring out how where he fits into things. Cole’s birth certificate, recently discovered by Jones, was filed months after his birth and the only information it has about his mother is her name: “Marion Woods”. Cassie suggests he go back to find her, but Cole is reluctant because per Katarina his “causality is paramount” — nothing should risk his destiny to acquire the weapon in the end. This prompts Cassie to bring up her own insecurities about the future. “The end, all this talk about The End and you and I never talk about After.”
Just then Jennifer whoops in triumph when her computer finds a match. A photo from July 21, 1966 shows “Climb The Steps, Ring The Bell” lettered on a hotel wall. The photo also shows two dead men — later identified as Soviet spies killed while trying to purchase an ancient weapon of unimaginable power.
So the mission is on, without Jennifer this time, but with groovy 1960’s threads. Cole and Cassie start by casing the hotel that is the rendezvous point, hoping to intercept the weapon before it’s sold and disappears again. They are early to the meeting, but somehow still arrive after someone (presumably the Army) has killed the spies. Cole however takes a phone call from the seller and reroutes the rendezvous to the Emerson. Cole’s plan is to wait in Suite 607 to acquire the weapon while Cassie stays back in the lobby, ensuring no one but Cole leaves the hotel with the weapon.
But things don’t go as planned. Lurking in the lobby Cassie is first surprised by a bad headache and then by Zalman Shaw and his henchmen, who are sent up to meet the Seller in Suite 607. But the Seller doesn’t have the weapon on him – a partner is guarding it at the hotel bar.
Cassie moves in on Shaw, but he surprises her with a gun and she is captured. He recognizes her immediately, greeting her as “The Widow” and sends her away with his people. But not long after Cassie manages to free herself, dispatches the hired muscle and runs to Suite 607 to regroup with Cole.
Back in the suite the Seller is bothered Cole may have killed the original buyers and is not a Soviet. But he’s appeased once he sees the money and agrees to exchange it for the contents of the case. Before that happens however, someone breaks into the room, shoots the Seller and sends Cole after his gun.
By the time Cassie comes rushing into the room things have gone horribly wrong. A dead man with a bloody chest wound is lying on the couch. And Cole is lying motionless on the floor. Despite appearances he is neither shot nor dead but, as Cassie determines in her frantic examination, poisoned and dying. Whatever she tries, he continues gasping for air, slipping away before her eyes. So Cassie does the one thing she can to save him – inject herself with a tracker and splinter back to try again.
Arriving back in the splinter facility Cassie learns her options are limited. Because of the causality surrounding Cole, once he dies, the timeline changes, a risk they can’t take. But that means Adler hasn’t got time to program coordinates to send Cassie back with a comfortable margin – the best he can do is a few minutes. Cassie will now be racing the clock not only to get the weapon and save Cole, but avoid capture and paradoxical encounters with her previous self.
In her do over, Cassie loses precious time debating Cole, who’s convinced being forewarned of the danger will protect him, but if not is willing to risk his life to get the weapon. Too soon the Seller is at the door, forcing Cassie to first hide, then sneak out of the suite. Unfortunately she runs into Young Pallid Man and Shaw in the hallway, who capture her again (Shaw calling her “Traveler” this time.)
Shaw reminisces about his first wife Isabella, about mortality and the Red Forest, trying to explain his perspective to Cassie, saying “Before the day is done I imagine you’ll understand”.
Shaw and co enter the suite, dispatch the seller and interrogate Cole about the location of the weapon. We learn young Pallid Man is apparently schooled in the lore of botanical poisons. He forces Cole to ingest a toxic plant then does the same to Cassie. The toxin paralyzes in seconds and kills soon after so in exchange for the antidote Cole tells them where the weapon is located. Shaw then shows him a single dose of the antidote, asking Cole to “choose”. Cole immediately says “Cassie”. So Cassie gets the antidote and slowly revives as Shaw and Co exit the room.
Back in 2043 Jennifer, frantic with worry, proposes a back up plan to save Cole should Cassie fail. She stumbles upon a report by Agent Robert Gale (presumed dead in 1961 Berlin) showing him still alive in 1966. So after Cassie’s splinters, Adler programs coordinates to send Jennifer thirteen hours back. She meets up with Gale at the Emerson bar, Jennifer dressed like flamboyant Dick Tracy in drag. Their initial exchanges are typical Jennifer, but when they get down to business their Plan B is surprisingly cogent.
This is good because things almost immediately begin to go wrong for Team Primary. Arriving early at the motel and waiting in a room adjoining the rendezvous site Jennifer, who is twitchy with impatience, decides to question the Soviet spies about the meaning of “Climb The Steps, Ring The Bell”. So she abruptly breaks into the room next door. Unfortunately, not only is that message NOT written on the wall, once the agent catch sight of Jennifer they try to shoot her and Gail is forced to kill them
Thus Gale and Jennifer learn that the Army was never there and they themselves shot the spies and left the message. The two scramble to recreate everything as seen before, just as Cole and Cassie are bearing in on their position. So it is Jennifer’s poor impulse control which creates an “oops loop”.
In the event Cole gets poisoned despite their best efforts Gale has prepped treatments his FBI contact says “might” save Cole’s life: activated charcoal to soak up the poison and a dose of pralidoxamine chloride to inject into Cole to get him breathing again.
Back at the Emerson, Cole is fighting for his life and Shaw tries making his escape, but runs into Agent Gale in the hallway. A tense stand off ensues, which ends when Shaw gets killed by Gale when he looks like he’s going for his gun. Pallid Man however manages to grab his father’s hat and run away.
Inside the suite, a dying Cole begs Cassie 2 to get the weapon but instead of leaving him Cassie 2 sends Jennifer (who’s just arrived on scene with poison treatments) to do it. She manages to administer the charcoal but must hide to observe Cassie 1 arrive in the room, attempt to revive Cole and splinter back. Cassie 2 then hits Cole with the injection and when he doesn’t react, begins performing CPR on him.
Cole, who has slipped into unconsciousness, experiences a peaceful vision, of rolling surf, sea gulls, a beautiful shore. Yet over all of it he continues to hear Cassie’s frantic, grief stricken voice begging him to breathe… breathe… and eventually he does.
Deacon catches up with the guardian of the weapon in the bar and after a chat walks out with the case without firing a shot. He then comes face to face with Jennifer who, despite his apparent betrayal, looks happy to see him. But she can’t help asking “Why are you doing this. This isn’t you”. Deacon deadpans “Oh yes it is”, but gives a wink before he exits, singing “Don’t You Forget About Me…”
Cole is sitting up and looking much better but is despairing at losing the chance to acquire the weapon. Gale suggests they try going back and acquiring it at an earlier point in time. He also shares everything he knows about the Ahnenerbe, and passes Cole a government report about them.
Back in the facility, Cole apologizes for the pain he put Cassie through in the recent mission. Cassie questions what future even their most optimistic scenarios would leave for them. Cole shares the vision he had when he was near death, saying it felt perfect, and it wouldn’t unless Cassie were also there. Cassie dismisses this as a hallucination of an oxygen starved brain. Or it could be, Cole insists, “After”.
The story ends on an ominous note. A flashback to Shaw describing the Red Forest where one never has to choose anything over those you love. He asks Cassie if it sounds right to her. She nods and says “yes”.
Jennifer: A mystery McGuffin… we’re going on a hunt.
Zalman Shaw: I did not want heaven. I wanted her.
Agent Gale: Fate my ass!
Cassie: All this talk about the End and you and I never talk about After.
Zalman Shaw: Forever after is rarely happy.
Notes from “After”
Shaw calls Cassie by a different “title” each time he sees her. The first time he refers to her as “The Widow”. The second time she is the “Traveler”. The significance of these nicknames is uncertain, but is consistent with the series assigning symbolic titles to important characters.
Cole and Cassie being poisoned and ending up lying prone on a pattered carpet was a future happening previously seen by Jennifer. It was a second vision accompanying her sighting of “the dying man”.
Cole’s vision as he lay dying was likewise foreshadowed way back – in this case from Season 1. In “The Keys”, Cassie asks him what he thinks will happen to him if the timeline changes and he answer that he imagines it would be like the Florida “Keys” Whether this is a premonition of life after death, his future life on earth, or his body reacting to a lack of oxygen is still an open question.
What We (Think We) Know Now
Shaw plays the super villain trope to great effect, engaging in lengthy explanations while the heroes are at his mercy. There’s much information to unpack from his monologues, perhaps the most interesting being about transformation or what he calls the business of religion: turning a person into a better person and body into spirit. Transformation will likely become an important theme in the end game of this series.
A related theme that’s been long present but kept mostly in the shadows has begun to surface: life after death. This idea was broached as far back as Season 1 (“The Keys”) but has been expanded upon since, from Katerina’s musings about “the undiscovered country” in “Lullabye” to her voice over opening “Legacy”. But Cole’s vision of “The Keys” is to date the most obvious – and most picturesque – incarnation.
Episode 6: Die Glocke
Know that old chestnut of a question? The one about the first thing you ‘d do if you had a time machine, is go back and kill Hitler? But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The episode opens in 1940 occupied France with a Nazi officer addressing house staff in front of a manor home. A big Nazi gala is taking place that night and he has just stumbled across some Resistance propaganda. A young maid steps ahead of her friend to admit responsibility. Though promised no harm would come to them, the girl is shot on sight, along with another man trying to escape. This is our introduction to Sturmfuhrer Frederick Vaesch and shows just how awful his tribe really is.
Back at Raritan Katarina is convinced they’re losing their war and have just one hope left: to acquire a weapon forged by those who understand time best – the Primaries. And she believes she’s found the answer to the riddle “Climb the Steps, Ring the Bell” is something called Die Glocke (or “The Bell”) an artifact once linked with the Ahnenerbe, the Nazi pseudo-science division (basically the bad guys Indiana Jones was tangling with in “Raiders of the Lost Arc”), reputed to be a super weapon.
Katarina directs that their next mission will be to infiltrate a gala which is the last time Die Glocke surfaces in history till the mid sixties. The security at this event will be tighter than any they’d encountered before. They swiftly hammer out a plan for Cole, Cassie and Katarina, the time travelers who are going. Before they splinter away, Cole impresses on everyone the unique role each was to play and stick to. The mission comes first, each other last and no matter what, they need to get The Bell.
As for Hannah, though she volunteered to go, Katarina is sending her on a separate mission which is not specified. Mounting the stairs to the time machine, Katarina stumbles, the most obvious sign yet of her radiation sickness. But she refuses to be sidelined, vowing she will see this through.
The gala’s elegent rooms are currently filled German ex pats, Nazi sympathizers, French collaborators and a large exhibit of ancient Aryan artifacts and cultural symbols. There is also a heavy military presence there to protect both the exhibit items and the attendees.
As the Splinter team’s resident German, it’s Katarina’s job to get Cassie and herself in the door, and her way of doing that is a doozy. Elegant and formidable, Katarina introduces herself and her “niece” to the doorkeeper. As expected they’re not on the guest list. But then Katarina informs him she’s former OWNER of the house and a major bankroller of the Reich and with the papers to prove it – a real estate title photo shopped by Adler. She accuses Vaesch of illegally seizing this mansion – one of her investment properties – and threatens to complain to Himmler – an old friend of her husband’s. Waesch sees the proverbial writing on the wall, and lets them in.
Once inside, Cassie and Katarina find A Bell, however it’s not THE bell, a decorative piece, not a weapon. Vaesch asks Katarina what she thinks of the collection and, when she’s less than impressed, invites her to a special showing of an artifact he says will change her mind. What else could this be but Die Glocke?
Cassie’s job is to be eyes and ears at the ball and to support Katarina. After getting word the Glocke is not yet on site, she seeks out Jennifer, who’s posing as maid, telling her to find Cole to see if he can intercept The Glocke before it arrives.
On her way to doing so Jennifer hears a record of herself singing as J H Bond and encounters a French diva called Madame Magnifieque. (Sadly, when Madame throws a hissy fit about her accommodations she smashes the record – and the expression on Jennifer’s face is priceless.)
Cole’s role – being language handicapped – is to hang out outside the mansion and say “oui” to whatever people ask him. While Cole loiters purposefully Jennifer gives him the status of Die Glocke. Shortly after a truck full of soldiers arrive. And – surprise – suddenly Deacon is standing there pointing a gun at him. Unfortunately the soldiers, seeing an armed stranger, grab the pair and hustle them inside.
Meanwhile back in the mansion Jennifer literally stumbles upon a plot by a maid and her boyfriend (who is disguised as a German soldier) to blow up the manor when she glimpses a bomb hidden in a serving cart. Unfortunately now she’s made herself a target for elimination by the French Resitance.
Cole and Deacon are now tied up back to back and being slapped around by a Nazi interrogator but barely react to this unpleasant situation because they’re having their own tense chat about Deacon’s treachery. But then their interrogator gets orders to shoot the prisoners. Cole is ordered taken out of the room but Deacon is kept back for something special. But as Cole leaves for his execution and facing his own imminent death, Deacon blurts out “ For the record, I never switched sides you gullible sh#t!
Jennifer clues Cassie that the building is about to be blown up seconds before Miss Resistance discovers them. Cassie and the maid both draw their pistols. Cassie’ asks what her mission is. Almost smugly she answers “I’m here to cut the head off of a snake”. Just then, Vaesch makes an announcement: the surprise guest has arrived; it is no one else than The Fuhrer. Yes – Adolph Hitler is in the building!
Apparently the whole gala is cover for Vaesch to unveil Die Glocke to Hitler. That’s scheduled to happen after the evening’s entertainment, which is also when the Resistance plans to set off the bomb
Meanwhile while Cole is being walked off to his execution, Deacon’s screams can be heard as his interrogator cuts the shape of a swastika into his chest. Cole ruthlessly dispatches his two guards and hesitating for just a moment, doubles back to save Deacon. Cole quickly shoots his torturer, then forces Deacon to explain his earlier statement. Apparently Deacon has been a double agent the whole time he’s been with Olivia. “James,” he says “Hate me if you want but you’ve got one chance…and it’s me.”
This is good enough for Cole so (after pausing for Deacon to change the swastika carved into his chest into a West VII symbol) they scout out the tunnel where the weapon is being kept. But there are too many guards and they’re too low on ammo so they go back to regroup with the others.
Back in the ballroom Jones is in trouble: she’s sitting, staring into space, unresponsive. She imagines herself back in the splinter room looking for Hannah until she encounters a telepathic vision of Jennifer who gently guides her back to reality. Just then Cole enters the room dressed in German uniform and calls a family meeting. Cassie informs everyone they now have only fifteen minutes to get the Bell. Cole assigns jobs: he and Cassie will acquire the Bell, Deacon is to get the bomb and Jennifer is to make sure Hitler isn’t brought in downstairs sooner than expected.
But then Jennifer discovers that evening’s entertainment – Madame Magnifique – has been killed. This moves up the timeline as no entertainment equals no time left to stop the explosion or get Die Glocke. Vaesch begins to suspect something is up and takes Katarina away. Our Resistence couple synchronize their timeline to the explosion, share a farewell kiss and begin counting down.
Desperate to give her team as much time as possible, Jennifer substitutes herself as the entertainment. After briefly consulting with the house band and instructing “try to keep up” (another “Back to the Future” reference) she launches into Pink’s “You and Your Hand”. Once the initial shock passes we see Hitler and other guests nodding to the beat of the music.
Cassie and Cole are back in the tunnel, wrestling with the bad odds that make it likely at least one of them won’t make it out alive. Then Cassie suggests a distraction and says she saw “ a kinky boudoir” upstairs that might have stuff they could use. When she returns she’s a black bustier-wearing, stiletto heeled Nazi pinup. Paralyzed by shock (and possibly lust) the guards fail to react as Cole and Cassie gun everyone down and cut a clear path to the Glocke.
Miss Resistance has finished her countdown and activates the detonator. Nothing happens and she’s soon discovered and shot. When Jennifer runs to her side, she passes her the detonator, saying “finish”.
Cole and Cassie retrieve Die Glock. Turns out it is a monkey faced bell that has an odd resonance and an unknown source of radiation. They leave the case, stuff the item into a bag and high tail it out of there.
Katarina shares some tense parting words with Waesch, including admitting her part in a conspiracy. As he points his gun on her, Deacon – disguised as a soldier and conveniently nearby – shoots him and hustles her to safety. The team hastily exit the mansion and commandeer a stolen vehicle. As they drive away, despite Katarina’s reservations, Jennifer presses the detonator and “finishes”. The mansion, and presumably Hitler, blow up, and damn the potential effects on the time line.
The episode wraps up by revisiting events from 1966. We see Deacon presenting the bell box to Olivia/Witness. But the real Glocke isn’t inside – in flashback we see a young German officer grab the decorative bell to replace it. Olivia is pissed, and manhandles Deacon until he offers to go back earlier to get the right Bell.
Later, Deacon shares a drink with Jones at the Emerson, a newspaper proclaiming “Himmler Seizes Power” on the bar between them. Deacon explains that Olivia’s extreme reaction was what convinced him Jones people had a chance to get real Glocke. But now – like Jones – he’s on borrowed time. The Monkeys have a tether in him and once he comes back empty handed he’s done. Jones is hatching yet another plan that might just work –so long as they both accept the inevitability of their own deaths.
Elsewhere in the Emerson the team is gathered around, examining Die Glocke. They find an inscription saying 1491 Hertforshire England – an invitation from the Primaries. Their next mission is clear, but their machine doesn’t have the power to extend a tether that far. But Katerina says “Leave that to me”. She asks to make a toast, and to read a passage from John Donne’s “No Man is an Island”. The words are still echoing in a voice over as Deacon is seen returning to Titan. Olivia greets him with “You came back empty handed”. But Deacon answers “Not exactly” and the camera shifts to reveal Katarina behind him.
Katarina: To underestimate this evil is what allowed it to take root in the first place.
Jennifer: Take Castle Wolfenstein on your own!
Deacon: I may be sixteen kinds of asshole, but I ain’t any freakin Nazi!
Katarina: We may not have all the answers we seek, but we have each other, and that, in this moment, is enough.
Notes from Die Glocke
At this point, avoiding making changes to the timeline is clearly NOT a priority. If it were, Jennifer would never have been allowed to press that button and blow up Hitler.
The Gala represents what is likely to be the last time Team Splinter must infiltrate a fancy special event. Each season has had at least one of such: Season actually had two, the Christmas fundraiser and a museum opening, Season 2 had the military ball at Columbia and Season 3 the Red Death Masquerade.
Has Jennifer discovered a new Primary Power? Her appearing in Jones’s befuddled mind suggests she might be developing telepathic abilities. We’ll have to wait and see.
What We (Think) We Know So Far
Episodes 4, 5 and 6 treat us to Cowboys, Russian spies and Nazis respectively. The slightly cheesy fun of that is going to be hard to beat going forward.
An Olivia who has acquired Primary powers potentially confronting a Jennifer who has lost hers does not bode well for Team Splinter.
A big question left to be answered: is Die Glocke the weapon or just a key to the weapon? It’s possible the weapon may not be a tangible object at all, but a person or something more metaphysical. As the splinter team has finally come together as a family just as dark times loom on the horizon, this turns each of their missions into a poignant search for a hopeful tomorrow.