In 12 Monkeys (TV series) the "meet me in two years" serves as major part of initial plot set up. At first I thought Cole is stuck jumping in intervals or something. But later it's clear that it's relaxed (relatively :) go to the past, return to the future to hang around, go to the different time.

Did I miss something (it's time travel, it's confusing, ok) or there wasn't really a reason named for doing that two–part trip with two–year gap?

If that was two separate trips (with return to the future omitted), there would be no reason to send him to a second one with untreated gunshot wound, right?

  • This wasn't explicitly shown, but I get the impression that Cole wanted to jump to the place/time he told her, while still freshly injured, to convince her that he was really a time traveler. If he got the wound treated first, she would still have room for doubt, thinking that he may have purposely re-injured himself to trick her (this being the less insane option than "this guy is really from the future"). I don't have any canon sources to back this up, so I'll leave it as a comment instead of an answer, unless you find it a satisfactory explanation. – Liesmith Feb 10 '15 at 22:08

We see the answer to this in the second episode. In that episode, he is sent to 2015 America, but briefly ends up in 2006 North Korea. This isn't an abnormal event, the time travel technology they have is not entirely reliable.

To apply this to the events in the pilot, off screen Cole was sent to 2015. He shows up in 2013, and meets Dr. Railly. But he does not realize he's in the wrong time. Once he realizes he's in the wrong time, he knows when he'll end up shortly since that's what his mission is and that's where the people in the future will get him to, so he tells Dr. Railly to meet him then.

From Cole's end, he was meant to go from 2043 to 2015, but ended up in 2013 accidentally and temporarily. From the perspective of the people in the future, they sent Cole to 2015, but accidentally ended up sending him to 2013. They then worked to fix this, and as soon as they did, Cole pops from 2013 to 2015. Only later on do we the audience learn enough about the mechanics of time travel to understand this oddity.

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