Kick-Ass Women of SciFi & Fantasy: Dr. Cassandra Railly


Aaron: “Is this just some kind of twisted Stockholm syndrome?”
Cassie (sardonic): “Oh, that’s what it is.”
          I chose this quote for Dr. Railly’s kick-ass post because these five little words say so much about her. It’s not even the words themselves, but how she says them. The moment I heard these words come out of her mouth in the pilot episode of 12 Monkeys, I knew she and I would be life-long friends. Cassie doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. This is easier said than done. It’s so hard turning off caring how others, especially those in your profession, or those closest to you, perceive you. But with this quote, Cassie brushes off what her ex thinks of her. Aaron thinks his ex has gone weak in the knees for Cole, who kidnapped her in episode one to explain her important role in the future plague. Railly doesn’t believe him at first, but once she has proof, she never looks back. Railly  is a strong woman of conviction. She knows what she saw and isn’t afraid to stand by that belief even if it costs her a prestigious career in neuroscience, respect, friends, and her relationship. In fact, she has no trouble telling off her ex when he tries to discredit her with some bull shit about Stockholm syndrome.
          Because, a woman can’t possibly be acting in a way you don’t approve of without her being on her period, or it being some kind of psychological condition, right? Granted, Cassie has openly professed her faith in something difficult for people to believe: time travel. But even when the rest of the world turns its back on you, and you lose respect in your profession, the one person you’re supposed to be able to count on to stand by your side, no matter how crazy you sound, is your significant other. Instead, Aaron calls her crazy too, and they break up. Instead of listening to Cassie, and believing in her, or at the very least, standing proudly by her side anyway, he basically just accuses her of being a nut bar, and rather than acknowledge his disrespect with a tirade or counter argument, Cassie realizes that sometimes you just can’t fix stupid, and responds in beautiful sarcasm: “Oh, that’s what it is.” You nailed it, buddy, I’m just a crazy chick in love with my kidnapper. It couldn’t possibly  be that I, as a scientist and a medical doctor, could have decided that there is some legitimacy to this supposed plague in the future? Nope, Stockholm syndrome. Douche.
          I mean she’s a brilliant doctor, respected in her field. She’s a neurologist specializing in diseases. I know the time-travel part sounds insane, but the woman knows what she’s talking about. She’s smart, spending much of her time in a science lab…
Or in the field helping those in medical need around the world…
12 Monkeys - Season 1
Or with a gun, even though she is against killing.
12-Monkeys-Amanda-Schull-163x246 Ep_103
          This is something she disagrees with main character, Cole, about. And it makes me like her even more. Cassie isn’t afraid to disagree with Cole openly and adamantly. When Railly shows disapproval for Cole’s dirty work, he reminds her of the larger mission saying, “we can’t save everyone.” Cassie retorts, “I thought that was the point.” She also isn’t afraid that not knowing how to use a gun will make her appear “weak.” She lets Cole teach her to shoot a gun, but her real strength lies in refusing to use one.
          Cassie’s faith in Cole and his truth has often left her isolated, and constantly gets her into trouble. Yet she pursues this path anyway because she believes it is the right thing to do. Though there is strong indication in the show that Railly is in love with Cole, she won’t let personal feelings jeopardize or interfere with their more important mission. Aaron, the ex, often speaks of saving one person you love being worth the rest of the plague, to which Cassie gives him an incredulous look and simply says “no.” Because if Star Trek has taught us anything, it’s that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. If a consequence of saving the world is losing Cole, even though that would be difficult, Railly has proven that she will do what must be done. True strength lies in the conviction of her character. If anyone can stop the plague, Railly can. I’m rooting for you, girl! Go!
          12 Monkeys airs Fridays at 9pm on SyFy. If you aren’t watching it, you should be.

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