Now that Wayward Pines has gone through not one, but two episodes — a great one and a not-so-great one — explaining the Abbies and the 2,000-year time jump and how Pilcher and everybody could survive so long in suspended animation and all that stuff, we can now finally get back to the action.
Once again going super on the nose with an episode title, “Betrayal” has several characters defying wishes and going behind backs, with many of them either trying to keep some peace or find answers. Ethan disobeys Pilcher’s instructions about not informing people of everything he knows, immediately telling Theresa, and later Kate, what lies beyond that fence. However, Theresa and Kate’s refusal to believe him proves Pilcher’s point about people not being able to handle the truth.
I wish Ethan could’ve been a bit more convincing with Kate — maybe a little, “WOMAN, THERE ARE MONSTERS OUT THERE! THEY’LL EAT YOU ALIVE!” or something like that. After all, Ethan finds out that Kate is the ringleader of the underground crew of people who want to blow up the fence and get the hell out of Wayward Pines. Just like Theresa (who has a brief moment of bonding with Kate when they take a walk and discuss the “malarkey” Ethan has fed them), Kate automatically assumes that Ethan was brainwashed or has been working for the powers that be all along.
Kate decides to speed up the bombing process after she unconvincingly told Ethan she wouldn’t go through with it. And even though Ethan stops Kate and his crew from blowing up the fence, there’s still that music-box bomb from last week’s episode that Ballinger passes over to Ted the deliveryman (who is also the one who slipped that car bomb in Ethan’s truck at the top of the episode, which Ethan spots when he sees his dashboard clock flashing midnight). He places it in the back of his truck, which at first seems utterly dumb. Forget that he’s carrying a bomb in a small brown-paper bag in a bumpy truck! But instead of at least having it right next to him in the cab, he puts it in the back, where it could get prematurely detonated either by being tossed around or smashed.
But we learn the bomb has to be in the back — that’s where Ben and Amy will be when they both sneak inside so they can go off (and get off) in the woods. Of course, Amy finds the music box and opens it up, ignorant to the fact that she triggered a bomb. Ethan speeds through neighborhoods hoping to catch the truck, even dramatically running on foot when insurgents come out of nowhere and throw a Dumpster in his path, hitting his vehicle. Unfortunately, he catches up to the delivery truck a bit too late, as it blows up right in his face, throwing the young lovers straight out on the street, bruised and bloody. Amy stands up looking dazed, but Ben is lying on the ground, all messed up.
Lazy plotting aside, Pines did keep things at a controlled, suspenseful pace. The episode, written by Rob Fresco (Heroes) and directed by Steve Shill (Deadwood), mostly had a jarring, sweaty-browed anxiousness to it. Nearly everyone seemed so paranoid and on-edge, almost as though they all knew a bomb would go off at any moment. Now a bomb has gone off. But since the Abbies are still behind the fence, we’ll see next week who will start seeking blood within the Wayward Pines perimeters.
SOME STRAY THOUGHTS
- I’m getting worried Matt Dillon might be on autopilot for the next several episodes. He seemed to be barely into getting all gruff and steely for this installment. Besides, this episode appeared to have Carla Gugino do most of the dramatic heavy-lifting. And while I have no idea where that purple hat came from when she had her latest one-on-one with Theresa (a terrific scene, by the way), it did make her look like a badass boss, like she just came out of an ‘80s Gladys Knight video or something.
- Speaking of Theresa, I worry that she might start doing stupid shit now that she feels like the odd woman out in her family. With Ethan giving her the truth she just can’t wrap her head around and Ben oddly cool with being in a new environment, she believes they’ve officially drunk the Kool-Aid. Fortunately, there’s that vacant, mysterious lot (just what is up with that lot anyway?) that’s keeping her occupied.
- I am quietly amused at Amy’s damn-near-desperate need to get it on with Ben. Have you ever seen a teenage girl so thirsty for a scrawny kid? (Is it no wonder Ben is okay with being stuck 2,000 years in the future, in a town surrounded by monsters?) She’s such an adolescent fantasy: the cute chick who is genuinely into you. I have a feeling the writers spent hours regaling each other with stories about high-school crushes they wished were half as sprung on them as Amy is for Ben. And what was up with that “I’ve done this plenty of other times” line to Ben before they got on the truck? Is Ben not the first boy Amy has taken for a ride?
- Hope Davis continues to delight me as Wayward Pines Academy’s principal/teacher/guidance counselor/sex-ed specialist. Davis is always such a bubbly presence, she pulls off not looking like a matchmaker when she goes around that classroom and uses her persuasive wiles to pair up the Academy’s boys and girls for future procreation.
- As always, Nurse Pam (a.k.a. Ethan’s new ally) continually bounces from being chipper to creepy in this episode. She gets giddy finding out there will be couples having babies soon, bringing more of the “first generation” into Wayward Pines. (This explains why she was beaming holding that baby a few weeks back.) But she also gets icy with Harold and Kate when she calls them in for a fertility consult and they’ve been coming up short on conceiving. She did score a smile out of me when she asked her brother Pilcher if he’d eaten today when he started worrying about the insurgents undermining him.
- While Ian Tracey, who played explosives guy Franklin Dobbs, is a veteran Canadian actor, with roles in everything from The Journey of Natty Gann to Man of Steel, is it weird that the only thing I remember seeing him in the most was in this show once?
- Shout-out to director Shill for that splendid shot of Ben sliding out of his parents’ house by climbing on top of the roof and shimmying down. I know it wasn’t all a seamless shot — Shill obviously filmed a stuntman doing that dangerous feat, digitally bookending the shots of Charlie Tahan climbing out the window and safely getting on the ground. But it was impressive nonetheless.
- No, I haven’t watched Gone yet. I just found out about it.