12 Monkeys has been building up to this personification of time as an entity with a will of its own all season. I like this approach, and used it to very different effect in The Chronology Protection Case.
In Monday's episode, the fun begins when Katarina orders Cassandra to go back in time and kill Katarina. She doesn't want to leave her daughter Hannah without her mother, so the time of the killing is literally as Hannah is dying, presumably of the plague. James is furious about this, and goes back in time to stop it (especially fortunately for this episode, the arrival times of travelers to the past have been perfected to the instant).
Katarina understandably feels guilty about all the death her time-travel machine has engendered, especially recently. Fortunately for the series, not only James but time itself is against this. Every killing of Katarina results in a "re-set" of the day, with Katarina and her capacity to invent a time-travel machine still very much alive. (I like the re-set gambit in time travel a lot, too, and used it in Unburning Alexandria). In some ways even more heart-rending, every attempt to save Hannah's life - who, it turns out, is suffering not from the plague but something more curable - also results in a re-set. Time itself not only wants Katarina alive, but heart-broken over the loss of her daughter - this is what it takes to get Katarina in a proper state of mind to invent the time-travel machine.
Fortunately for James and the audience, we have Jennifer on hand to explain what's going on and what needs to be done, as befits her talents as a primary. James is able to decode her advice to change history by doing nothing, and I won't tell you the ending, in case you haven't seen it, but it's perfect. It's also gratifying to see James and Cassandra working together and getting closer.
A great ending to a great episode, and I'm looking forward to more next week.
See also 12 Monkeys 2.1: Whatever Will Be, Will Be ... 12 Monkeys 2.2: The Serum ... 12 Monkeys 2.3: Primaries and Paradoxes ... 12 Monkeys 2.4: Saving Time ... 12 Monkeys 2.5: Jennifer's Story ... 12 Monkeys 2.6: "'Tis Death Is Dead" ... 12 Monkeys 2.7: Ultimate Universes
And see also this Italian review, w/reference to Hawking and my story, "The Chronology Protection Case"
And see also 12 Monkeys series on SyFy: Paradox Prominent and Excellent ...12 Monkeys 1.2: Your Future, His Past ... 12 Monkeys 1.3: Paradoxes, Lies, and Near Intersections ... 12 Monkeys 1.4: "Uneasy Math" ... 12 Monkeys 1.5: The Heart of the Matter ... 12 Monkeys 1.6: Can I Get a Witness? ... 12 Monkeys 1.7: Snowden, the Virus, and the Irresistible ... 12 Monkeys 1.8: Intelligent Vaccine vs. Time Travel ... 12 Monkeys 1.9: Shelley, Keats, and Time Travel ... 12 Monkey 1.10: The Last Jump ... 12 Monkeys 1.11: What-Ifs ... 12 Monkeys 1.2: The Plunge ... 12 Monkeys Season 1 Finale: "Time Travel to Create Time Travel"