Well, the cat’s finally out the bag!
Wayward Pines officially reached its apex of WTF-ness in its latest episode, aptly titled “The Truth.” It not only answered most of the questions baffled viewers — and the Burke clan — have had about the titular, artificial town, but it also reminded viewers why executive producer M. Night Shyamalan got attached to the project in the first place.
Yes, Wayward Pines is a controlled village, virtually barricading itself from the outside world, much like the one in Shyamalan’s The Village (which, by the way, is not a bad movie if you’re watching it in a bar with the sound turned off). Unfortunately, unlike Village’s stuck-in-the-19th-century hamlet, there isn’t a contemporary world beyond Pines’ electrified fences. In fact, as we find out, there’s not much of anything.
Collectively, the Burke fam discovers the dirty little secrets Pines is hiding from its townsfolk. A shotgun-wielding Ethan scales that mountain wall and goes on a journey through the woods, where he tries to find familiar territory while dodging the carnivorous creatures that took away Sheriff Pope. (He does see these creatures up close when he gets a dead, rotting deer and hides behind a fallen tree while these freaks show up and feast on it.) Back in Wayward Pines, Ben finds out more about these creatures thanks to Mrs. Fisher. It turns out Ben’s orientation to Wayward Pines Academy involves him and two other new students being briefed on what lies outside of Wayward Pines, which is a vast wasteland covered with “abbies,” the aforementioned mutants. And, by the way, it’s not 2014 — it’s the year 4028.
That’s right — Wayward Pines is set way, way, way in the future, and it’s bleak as hell. Ethan finds out the hard way when he comes across a barren Boise. Soon after, Dr. Jenkins (who turns out to be the mysterious David Pilcher) shows up via helicopter, along with an out-of-uniform Pam, to calmly break the news. When abbies are quickly approaching, Ethan gets on the chopper with Jenkins/Pilcher, his mind obviously racing with more questions for when they all get back to Wayward Pines.
Ben already knows all the answers and, much like all the kids at the Academy, is now saddled with the burden of being the “first generation” of Pines kids who must continue to keep the human race going. Apparently, as Fisher explained, one kid told his parents, and the whole family committed suicide. So telling the adults is a no-no. Judging by the constant freaked-out expression Ben had on his face for most of the episode (especially during that candle ceremony), he’s obviously dazed and confused by these bombshells. But as his possible new squeeze Amy tells him, which also explains why his fellow students treat him as a comrade rather than an outcast, “We’re all in this together.”
Theresa doesn’t find out as much as Ethan or Ben, but she does get a bit of info while on her first day as a Wayward Pines realtor. With her job entailing that she give away homes rather than sell them, Teresa hands house keys over to Wayne Johnson (Scott Michael Campbell), another guy who woke up in the hospital feeling all weird. At the house, under the loud sound of a dryer, Johnson tells her about briefly waking up in a chamber, one of many chambers that he saw were also filled with people. As Fisher explains to the kids, those are the hibernation chambers that kept Wayward Pines residents alive all those 2,000 years.
If the past couple of episodes consisted of the Burke family slowly trying to figure out just what the deal is with this place, “Truth” drops all these bombs on them one after the other. With Blake Crouch, the author who created all this, writing the script with Matt and Ross Duffer and veteran James Foley (who directed Glengarry Glen Ross and has been recently helming episodes for Hannibal and House of Cards) handling the direction, “Truth” was well composed in its escalating, revelation-filled chaos. Ethan’s, Ben’s, and Theresa’s stories all overlapped, constantly cutting back and forth to the point where it seemed like they all found out about everything at the exact same time. I also think “Truth” was an episode for all those impatient viewers who needed some answers, like, yesterday.
Now that we’re near the halfway point of this event show’s run, I’m curious to see how they’re gonna top all of this in the coming, final weeks.
SOME STRAY THOUGHTS
- No Carla Gugino this week. Dammit on a stick!
- For fans of the original, British Whose Line Is It Anyway?, yes, the lecherous boss at the real-estate office was played by an older, slimmed-down Mike McShane. It also makes me wonder, why the hell hasn’t he been on either version of the American Whose Line Is It Anyway?
- There was a lot more Hope Davis in this episode, which definitely isn’t a bad thing. (Those knee-high boots looked good on ya, girl!) For a minute there, with the way she was giving the teenagers the cold, hard facts about where they are, I thought her character was another insurgent like Justin Kirk’s realtor (and, maybe, her mayor husband). But, with the way she praised Pilcher for building a community of chosen people, her “orientation” is most likely Pilcher-sanctioned.
- Ethan Burke has gotta be the most fearless main character I’ve seen on a show in a while. The past few episodes have shown the guy has an extremely high threshold for pain. (Remember when he fished out that microchip in his leg?) But I don’t know how anyone could sleep in the woods, at night, with all those wild-ass, bald-headed monsters (especially one that slashed his arm with their talons) lurking about — even with a shotgun!
- “Maybe that’s weird for you, but I am!” —Ben’s angsty bon mot of the week.
- Ben: “Sorry, I suck at this.” Amy: “I couldn’t tell.” Man, Amy wants this awkward-ass boy bad!