Wayward Pines Recap: Follow the Leader

Ethan, sheriffing best he can. Photo: FOX
Wayward Pines
Episode Title
"A Reckoning"
Editor’s Rating

It looked like the gates of hell were about to be opened up on the townspeople of Wayward Pines at the end of last week’s episode. That insurgent busted through the fence with a stolen dump truck and thought he was free. Then a group of hungry abbies came out of the shadows and ensured that his liberation was short-lived. That gave rise to the threat of abbies entering Wayward Pines, but sheriff Ethan Burke wasn't about to let that happen. He got his hero on by running over the first abbie through the fence. (It has parallels to when Ben came outta nowhere and ran over Pope in order to save his dad – like father, like son.) Then, like a goddamn boss, he pulled out a shotgun and made sure the other abbies weren't gonna feast on anymore people that night.

While Pilcher dispatched a team to quickly fix up the fence, the hole was actually the least of their problems. The people — especially, the kids — were getting restless. They want a reckoning for these “terrorists." This episode was a riveting, white-knuckle hour of television, but it also laid out how our biggest enemies can often be us. Once again running with the post-9/11, war-on-terror undertones that bubbled up last week, Pines had the townspeople — pumped up on fear, paranoia, and entitlement — turning into bloodthirsty beasts. They demanded that the terrorists suffer, whoever they hell they were.

The episode also sadly offers a reminder that old people seemingly don’t matter anymore when Jason and his buddies and/or cronies start looking for vengeance. Since Dr. Fisher has basically made Wayward Pines Academy a breeding ground for kids who think they’re better than everybody else, it was only a matter of time before we met a kid who believed he’s the shit and whatever he says goes. I swear, the scene where Jason busts into the sheriff’s department, bosses around Arlene (we’ll later get into how Siobhan Fallon Hogan held her own like a G), and demands that the insurgents get their reckoning virtually seems like a metaphor for how arrogant and self-important younger generations have gotten. Then again, I’m feeling old because I have a birthday coming in a couple of weeks, so I might be reading too much into this.

Anyway, Jason does get the reckoning he wants when he smashes his way back into the sheriff’s office, wrestles the keys from Arlene, opens up the shotgun closet, and gets the detained insurgents (including Harold) on their knees for an impromptu execution. I gotta hand it to writers Matt and Ross Duffer and director Nimrod Antal for injecting this scene with such unflinching intensity. I know I’m not the only one who was hoping for Ethan to save the day, like he did with the abbies. Unfortunately, he showed up after Jason had blasted away Harold and the rest of the crew.

Ethan was able to intervene before Jason could kill Kate, but that provided her with little comfort. She knows someone is going to reckon her at some point, so she figures it might as well be her old pal Ethan. But before Ethan can talk her out of this, Theresa appears and tells Ethan and Kate to follow her to this underground area she discovered at that lot. Thanks to a security key card given to her by Pam (of all people), she finds a computer full of video dispatches from people who left the town. She even finds one from Agent Hassler, who was recording from the Bay Area. (We know this because he pans over to the Golden Gate Bridge, half of which has sunk in the water.)

Eventually, all three hatch a plan to finally drop the big bomb on the townspeople, alerting them of how there’s nothing out there and Pilcher has been pulling everybody’s strings. After Ethan gets the okay from Pilcher to arrange a reckoning (watching Matt Dillon, with bourbon in hand, feign defeat in Pilcher’s office was quite amusing), all the townsfolk show up ready to see Kate get hers. Instead, Ethan and Kate try to convince them about what’s really going on. Apart from Fisher still showing her lady boner for Pilcher by screeching at Ethan and Kate (and then getting a long-overdue slap from Theresa), the people surprisingly find all of this plausible. Unfortunately, before they can all unite in getting Pilcher to loosen his grip around their necks, he has an I-am-God moment and turns off the power in the town, including at the fence.

So, we’re basically back to where we started, with another abbie about to set foot in Wayward Pines, possibly setting off carnage and hysteria all up and down Main Street. But we can only assume that the final ep next week is gonna be an ass-blaster, right?


  • Siobhan Fallon Hogan was a boss in this episode. After weeks of being the smart-ass secretary, she admirably held her own when she had to stand up to Jason & Co. both times.
  • As much as I enjoy seeing Hope Davis on the show, her Dr. Fisher is one nutty broad. It's obvious that her brainwashing methods have gotten out-of-hand — they even disgusted Pilcher, who saw the way Ben and the kids were calling for blood outside the hospital. It’s almost like she’s organizing her own Hitler Youth.
  • Speaking of Jason, didn’t you wonder for a minute if he had something to do with Amy’s epidural hemorrhage? Even though I’m hard-pressed to figure out how a snotty kid could make a girl brain’s swell, Amy’s hemorrhage was conveniently timed. But I hope Amy doesn’t die before the show ends. I would love to see her push up on Ben one last time.
  • I’m glad Hungarian-American thriller-meister Antal (Predators) directed tonight’s episode. I’ve been a fan of his since his darkly comic 2003 debut Kontroll, an underrated film that deserves a cult audience.