Ships. In entertainment, and especially, in fandom, we live and die by them. Which is why every Friday, we’ll be focusing on a couple, analyzing why we ship them, and overall, just proclaiming our eternal love for those couples that make us say:
This week I’m diving into my latest – and maybe favorite – new obsession, 12 Monkeys, and basically taking the time to just talk about Cassie and Cole (or Casserole), something I have rarely done, because 12 Monkeys rarely gives you the time to just focus on your love for one thing.
But this couple is absolutely worth the love we bestow on other ships. In fact, I will postulate they deserve even more love, because they managed to be all they are without even needing to carry a show on their shoulders. They worked because the show worked, they didn’t work in spite of it.
LOVE AT FIRST …KIDNAPPING?
It was rough, at first. Not as much as it could have been, or maybe should have been, because Cassie always saw something in Cole, something that made her give him a chance, even when he probably didn’t deserve it. That’s why she showed up at the Emerson, and that’s why this whole adventure started. Because, from the beginning, Cassie found in Cole someone she could trust.
And Cole …well, Cole found something he’d never really had, a partner. Not just one to walk alongside him, like Ramse had, but someone to truly share everything with. Because even before they were romantic, Cassie and Cole were very clearly two halves of a whole. In the good, and the bad, they always balanced each other out.
PARTNERS (IN CRIME)
They had a common goal, so perhaps it wasn’t as surprising that they became partners (in crime). Had it been any other show, this common goal would have been enough to bring them together. But 12 Monkeys never operated like any other show, because the common goal never overshadowed the fact that, deep down, Cassie and Cole were two very different people, born of two very different worlds.
Sounds like an insurmountable obstacle, but it isn’t. TV has just taught you that two very different people can’t change, can’t grow, can’t become better. But that’s not life. No one remains static. We all change – for better or worse. And Cassie and Cole were instrumental in helping shape the kind of person the other would become.
Not because of love, no. You don’t change for other people – and 12 Monkeys never tried to suggest that was the reasoning behind any growth. You change because you want to, and, sometimes, because other people inspire you, show you the way forward …
SEE YOU SOON
This, of course, wasn’t to be a straightforward love story. The good ones never are. This was a story of two people who wanted to save the world, yes, but who had two very different ideas of what the world they were saving would look like in the after.
For Cassie, saving the world always meant …saving it so she could be happy. For Cole it was more about saving it so others could be happy. And they each made decisions based on their understanding of the world, decisions that weren’t always the best ones for their relationship.
Isn’t that life, though? Relationships aren’t about finding the perfect person, they’re about putting in the work, about adapting, about changing, and …of course, in their case, about always, always finding each other again, no matter what.
ONE DUMB DECISION AFTER ANOTHER
Typically shows lose their way around when we come to this part of the story. Because couples on TV always have obstacles thrown their way, that’s to be expected. Except for Cassie and Cole those obstacles were just …life. There was no contrived drama keeping them apart, no secret relationship or kid no one knew about, no love triangle …there was just, the circumstances and the feelings those circumstances awakened.
Cassie didn’t want to risk a relationship, for fear that if she lost Cole, it would break her. Cole didn’t think he had a future, so he was just looking to steal the moments in between. It’s easy to see how this is incompatible, and most importantly, understandable. As viewers, we don’t care that characters need to go on journeys, we don’t want immediate satisfaction …we just want the reasons to make sense, and in 12 Monkeys, they always, always did.
YOU AND ME TOGETHER
After so many choices made for each other, finally, stuck in the past, Cassie and Cole made the choice to be together. It was an easy choice in that moment, because it was the choice they’ve always wanted to make, but also because …they had no other responsibilities. The mission looked to be over, and they were stuck together.
Sure, Cole tried to tell Cassie she was better off – a response to the circumstances, his own fears and the fact that she constantly pushed him away to protect herself, but in the end, without the pressures of the mission, that wasn’t an insurmountable thing, and the two of them had their very first chance at happiness. Safety. Domesticity. The kind of life they dreamed of living together, the kind of life they would continue to dream about for the rest of the show.
FIGHTING FOR THEIR FAMILY
But of course, the world was falling apart, someone had to save it, and oh yes, then they had to save the family they had unknowingly created. And few things bring you closer together than a possibly homicidal son trying to destroy the fabric of time. Or at least, I presume, because this is really not a common occurrence.
Sure, they disagreed on how to deal with Athan at times, as was to be expected. And the reality of what Athan would become was painful, and brought about a lot of soul searching, but unlike in lesser shows, it wasn’t used as a way to drive a permanent wedge between these two, but as a way for them to share the parts of each other they kept hidden.
Pain can drive you apart, yes, but shared pain, more often than not, brings you together, and this show truly allowed Cassie and Cole to become an unit when the show – and the circumstances, needed it the most.
AND FOR EACH OTHER
It wasn’t just about Athan, though. It never could be. If Athan even existed it was because these two shared the kind of connection that could not be denied – even though, of course, they tried. And at some point, for that to be what it could be …what it was, perhaps, meant to be, they had to make the choice to not just accept it, but put in the work.
And work sounds like such an ugly word. Should you have to work at love? Maybe not – love comes naturally, but you do have to work at relationships, and that’s without being living in a dystopia. You have to work at making sure you are on the same page, at making sure you are giving the other person both space and the attention needed. You have to work at all the little things that allow you to not just live, but thrive together.
THE MOMENTS IN BETWEEN
That, and take advantage of the moments. Because Cassie and Cole were never meant to have forever, or even a lifetime. That was never promised. In fact, you could say it was written in the fabric of the show that this story was not going to end with them happily ever after.
All they had was the moments in between, and they had to take advantage of them.
It wasn’t always easy. It never felt fair. There’s so much of love that’s about the desire for more, and just enjoying the time you have without expectations feels wrong, in a way. Like settling. But, perhaps, that’s the greatest lesson we can learn from this show, or from Cassie and Cole’s relationship. Tomorrow is not promised, so the best thing we can do …the only thing we can do, is enjoy today.
HAPPILY EVER NOW
Except this tale ends happily. It felt impossible, or at least improbable, as I said before, but Cassie and Cole got that happily ever after that isn’t about forever, but about the knowledge that you have more nows than the one you’re living on.
It isn’t a promise. Nothing is. It’s a possibility, a chance at the life that you deserve, the life Cassie and Cole got to live, together. And that was all they ever wanted. A chance at their very own …happily ever now.
That is the story of Cassie and Cole, two people whose love is literally stronger than time and space. This is what makes them the stuff OTP dreams are made of. And these are just some of the many reasons that make us say: We will go down with this ship.