My, my, my! Things are getting awful bloody in Wayward Pines.
After last week's episode ended with the abbies setting fire to the crops, "City Upon a Hill" shows them ready to wage war on the townspeople, who are shocked and stunned that these animals know how to huddle up and launch an attack. Higgins and the rest of the Pilcher Youth rush out to save their crops, but the whole thing turns into a blood circus, with abbies getting pumped full of lead and the soldiers getting savagely messed up themselves. (There's even a dude on fire!) The massacre eventually turns Wayward Pines Hospital into ground zero for screaming, blood-spurting, soon-to-be corpses. In the end, 35 people lose their lives, and the remaining food supply is only good for another six weeks.
In the minds of the abbies, these people had it coming. The episode begins with a flashback of the abbies actually living a peaceful existence out in the woods: foraging for food, cradling their newborns, taking care of their own. Until Pilcher flies in on a helicopter, shooting and killing them all down from above. Yeah, they've been planning this for more than a minute.
With the abbies burning down their food supply, the Pines people appear to be on borrowed time. It's certainly not a swell time, anyway. Hassler is still haunted by breaking up the happy home of the Burkes, especially after Theresa gets attacked during the massacre and later becomes the final Burke to die in Wayward Pines.
Meanwhile, Rebecca is officially torn between two lovers, Xander and Yedlin. (The Ethan-Theresa-Eve love triangle I hoped wouldn't happen last season has reared its ugly head.) It looks like Xander isn't ready to give up Rebecca without a fight. After a brief, dick-swinging exchange at the hospital, Xander warns Yedlin about putting hands on him again: "The first one's free, but the second one's gonna cost you." But later, he also has an intimate one-on-one with Rebecca. She thought the former drug dealer was doing some back-alley dealing, but he was really just giving a hungry man some apples. He doesn't just try to convince her that he's on the straight and narrow, but that they were, in fact, a good team. After watching this scene, which comes on the heels of Yedlin's dickishness throughout the season, it's hard not to be on Team Xander. (Christ, I can't believe I wrote that I'm on a "team.")
In the end, however, this episode exists to stretch out the abbie mystery for another week. We still don't know who Margaret is, where this lone abbie woman came from, or how she's whipping up the male abbies in a vengeance-fueled frenzy. Through an MRI, Yedlin and Fisher find out her brain is large enough to make her the smartest monster in the room. And when Yedlin tells Hassler they have a female abbie caged up, Hassler knew exactly whom he was referring to. (It makes you wonder if Hassler got his Dances With Wolves on and lived amongst the abbies while on the outside. Perhaps he made some sort of bond with Margaret?)
Despite all the carnage that goes down, "City Upon a Hill" feels pretty light. Some bodies are tossed aside, while more abbies start stalking around the premises, howling to remind the humans that their day of reckoning is just around the corner. But even with all that happening, the townspeople, after basically concluding that they're shit outta luck since their darling Pilcher didn't see any of this coming, still have time to talk about their feelings. After watching this episode, it's hard not to be on Team Abbie. (Jesus, now I'm on another team!)
Some Stray Thoughts:
- Just what exactly is Kerry's deal? We already knew she's a take-charge kind of lady. (Didn't you wish she told Yedlin to get his ass in the car when she needed him at the hospital and he kept asking questions?) For some reason, she doesn't respond well to vulnerability. She seems a bit standoffish in that post-coital convo with Higgins. (Guess she doesn't dig all those candles!) Plus, she turns into Lady Macbeth when Higgins justifiably begins having doubts about how to continue leading the town, basically telling him to grow a pair and not show weakness.
- We get another brief moment of hilarious, Arlene-fueled awkwardness when, after seeing a foldout bed in Yedlin's office, she invites him to stay at her place. We also get nice, quiet deadpan work from Patric, who slinks away and takes Pilcher's photo off the wall for the umpteenth time.
- After weeks of wondering where the hell Wayward Pines gets its liquor, the show finally delivers an answer at the top of the episode. When we see Yedlin drowning his sorrows at the beer garden — bruised hand soaking in water and everything — he asks for something stronger. (He finds the beer revolting and he isn't touching that "celery soda.") The bartender hands him some bourbon, but despite the label saying it came from the waters of Kentucky, it was really made a few weeks ago in the woods. So, Wayward Pines has some good ol' backwoods bootleggers in their community. God bless 'em!
- I've been calling them Pilcher Youth for a while, but in case the message wasn't clear: When Mario and a couple officers show up to Xander's sugar shack to confiscate his gun, he points out that their uniforms are Sturmabteilung-style brown.
- Everybody say it with me: "Wayward Vines?"