The contrast of Ramse and Jones’s humanity gets even more interesting as the series goes on, and the way that both characters are presented in the narrative versus the relative morality of their choices and actions is actually fascinating.
One of my favorite aspects of Ramse as a character is that he is initially presented as probably the most moral, or at least the most human, character in the show. From the time we meet him every single thing he does and choice he makes is something that he actually takes consideration for, and every life of every person is something he seems to have value for. He’s clearly the most compassionate future character we’ve seen so far, which makes his actions even more complex to deal with. For Ramse, every single person matters. But, as we see once he becomes entwined with the time travel story line, people seem to hardly matter at all. When he cares for someone, he cares deeply, but it’s so deeply that he would literally facilitate the apocalypse in order to save them. And I think that when you look at Ramse’s development over the entire first season and series he really becomes one of the most interesting and layered characters in the show, because we’re clearly meant to see him as one of the most caring and loving characters in the show, and yet he’s basically the architect of the end of the human race.
But Jones is really the complete opposite. Every decision she makes is driven by a very utilitarian outlook on life and existence, and essentially that any sacrifice for the greater good is a worthy sacrifice. Katarina is one of the coldest and most calculating characters on the surface and almost never lets her decisions be driven primarily by emotion, but her primary concern has always been the survival of the human race and of humanity itself. It’s actually incredibly ironic how judgmental Ramse is of her choices, because logically she is so morally superior to him it basically defies description. And ultimately she’s willing to do whatever it takes to achieve what she wants, which is basically exactly what Ramse ends up doing as well.
However, what I actually think is really fun to think about when it comes to the 12 Monkeys-verse is this. That every character’s morality is not just rooted in their own moral code, but is somehow intrinsically tied to a specific point in time that they believe justifies their choices or behaviors. Ramse is a character who justifies all of his actions by the belief that his present is the “real” time. In his mind what he’s doing isn’t immoral because he’s not actually doing anything, he’s simply allowing what already happened to happen. Jones’s perspective on this is a really interesting one though. “Her” time is the same time as Ramse’s, but the point in time that is really her moral tether is long before that. And what makes her perspective even more interesting is her ardent belief/knowledge that if she achieves her goals then the timeline will change, thereby basically “voiding” all of the choices she makes. So in that sense absolutely nothing she has ever done is immoral, because ultimately it will have never even happened anyway.
But ultimately I think Ramse and Jones’s sense of humanity can be boiled down to Ramse valuing the actual human versus Jones valuing all of humanity. Ramse would always choose to save the life of one person even if it meant the loss of something else, while Katarina would probably not even hesitate to give up her own life if it meant saving something that she sees as a cornerstone of human existence, not just the life of one person, but things like science, art, music, and anything that in her mind makes human existence matter. And the thing of it is, it’s kind of hard to say if one of them is right or the other is wrong.