Wayward Pines has got to be the freakiest show I've ever seen and actually enjoyed. My tolerance for the ridiculous when it comes to dramatic entertainment is very low, but Wayward Pines has consistently surprised me. We're in the final stretch with episode 8, "The Friendliest Place On Earth," and the stunners keep coming. I've had the pleasure of screening the next episode, "A Reckoning," and I can tell you only this: the most shocking events have yet to unfold.
Last time in "Betrayal
," a lot of ground was covered. The same is true about "The Friendliest Place on Earth." But first, let's quickly review the details of "Betrayal:" Theresa and Kate shared their concern that Ethan has succumbed to the madness being peddled by those who created Wayward Pines, Ethan identified Kate as the master behind the subversive movement, Theresa investigated Plot 33, and then Amy and Ben were blown up by a bomb intended to take out the perimeter wall of Wayward Pines. What could possibly happen next? Read on.
Theresa Suspects Ben of Subversion
Of course they couldn't kill off Ben, right? But since he was harmed when his romantic tryst with Amy literally blew up in their faces, Theresa momentarily suspects he may have been part of that dissenting faction that Ethan is investigating. Amy is fine after the explosion, but Ben has yet to regain consciousness at first.
Nurse Pam Calms a Freaked-Out Pilcher/Jenkins
More and more, David Pilcher is proving himself to be the weaker of the two Pilcher sibs. Pam has to talk David off the ledge when he freaks over Ben and Amy being blown up. He's losing faith in the success of his benevolent (?) plan and in the resiliency of the townsfolk. He's looking pretty weak at this point, folks. David Pilcher could use some advice from Meghan Trainor. ("If you're gonna do something, do it like a boss, man.")
One of my favorite lines from the movie The Incredibles is when Mr. Incredible, Helen freaks out when she discovers that her husband has secretly returned to life as a hero. Hero costume fashion designer Edna Mode slaps Helen across the face and says, "Pull. Yourself. Together. You're Elastigirl!" I would have added a 'goddammit' to the end of that. This is exactly what Pilcher needs at this point. A good slap across the face. Does Pam have the cojones to do it? I hope we get to see that before the final curtain of Wayward Pines falls.
Pilcher and Pam decide the town needs some morale boosting after the bombing. Pam suggests providing a festival celebrating how wonderful life is in Wayward Pines. This makes everyone very nervous. Will there be another public execution?
(Sidenote: For those of you who, like myself, are wracking your brain about why Toby Jones, who plays David Pilcher, looks so familiar, let me clear that up right now. Jones played an instrumental character in Drew Barrymore's 1998 children's film, Ever After: A Cinderella Story. If you;ve seen it, you'll know who I mean. You may also recognize him as Claudius Templesmith in the Hunger Games films. There. Now you know why he looks vaguely familiar.)
Kate Revisits Her Early Days in the Potemkin Village
Through Kate's subconscious flashbacks we see what happened to the former Secret Service agent when she first arrived in the Potemkin dystopia of Wayward Pines. The poor woman was straightjacketed, sedated and denied any contact or information. No wonder she finally succumbed to their mandate that she lay low and play it safe, just like the voice mail from Hassler
suggested. She believed it was all an experiment, but eventually it went way too far and she lost hope.
Ethan Is a Rule-Follower
Ethan confronts Kate about her partners in crime, who are now off the grid and are still attempting to blow-up the wall to escape Wayward Pines. He tells her about Ben and Amy's injuries and near death. Interestingly, Kate offers up the reason why he was chosen for Wayward Pines: He's a rule-follower. He's unwilling to take full responsibility for his actions, turfing them up the chain of command. Not a coward, but one who believes that those in the know have better intel and have the best interest of the vulnerable at heart. Kate reminds Ethan that it was his compliance that resulted in the deaths from the Easter bombing. Queue the dramatic music of past sin admission.
Pilcher Gets Some Balls
While Pilcher's aren't really big testicles yet, but he has figured out that Ruby is one of the dissidents and demands that Pam conduct an audit of all security personnel to ferret out who has been helping the insurgents.
Pam conducts her interviews with Wayward Pines security personnel and finds everyone to be either be genuinely passionate about their jobs or faking it with great finesse. It's hard to tell the difference and it's a little creepy. Okay ... a lot creepy. It does turn out that all those behind the curtain were volunteers, so maybe they were being honest.
Things go well in the interviews until Pam talks to Reggie. Reggie has the humanity to admit that he sometimes omits recordings of innocent people mourning the losses of their previous lives. Reggie is quite genuine in his discomfort and willingness to trust Pam with this information, causing Pam to empathize with him. Her reaction, which I expected to be accusatory and vindictive, is one that comes across as compassionate. This adds a whole new dimension to this character.
Panning back, we see that Pilcher is observing Pam's security interviews. Has he been faking the insecure sop? Is he really a cunning, conniving bastard underneath it all? See, this is why I love this show: the multi-layered characterization of humanity at its worst and best.
(Another aside: As Nurse Pam's character has continued to unfold in the hands of a this gifted actor, my interest in Melissa Leo's credits has been piqued. I'd like to see other work of this Oscar Award-winner (2010 Best Supporting Actress, The Fighter). What about you?)
Clear and Severe Megan Continues to Seduce Benjamin Burke
Shortly after awakening in the hospital, Ben receives a visit from Megan who tells him his father allowed the bombing to occur because he was too lenient with Kate's husband Harold. She tells Ben that he, Ben, is now a hero for surviving this horrendous terrorist attack. This, of course, excites Ben's libido. Ben just wants to be someone important. Oh, crap.
Ben Confronts Ethan and Pam Lies to David Pilcher
A disgruntled Ben confronts Ethan with what he learned from Megan. Did Ethan give special treatment to Harold because he was married to Kate? Ethan says no, but Ben's not buying it.
Pilcher quizzes Pam about her research into the security team. She denies that anyone has broken protocol despite her conversation with Reggie. It looks like the Pilcher-Pam foundation is cracking, folks.
Reggie is Re-Frozen
Ethan tells Theresa about his subordination to his superiors which resulted in the Easter bombings back in the real world. He swears to no longer be willing to blindly follow the rules (though he seems to be relishing his position of authority in Wayward Pines a little more than he should).
Pilcher confronts Pam about Reggie's infractions and insists he must be punished. Pam makes an embittered plea for Reggie, tearfully entreating her brother kill her instead of killing Reggie for the simple crime of compassion.
To make a point, Pilcher gathers the inside folks to watch as Reggie is refrozen. Pilcher plies his people with a dramatic plea for vigilance against the terrorism infiltrating their little fake world.
Abbies Eat the Remaining Escapees
One of the escapees with Harold dies, leaving Harold and one other guy to steal a semi and head for the wall. They decide they don't want to bury the dead guy inside the Pines so they drag his corpse into the truck and head for the perimeter. Honestly, that was silly. Totally irrational, but they do it anyway. Get a move on and save your own skins, red shirts!
Before breaching the perimeter, Flynn chickens out. He can't leave Kate behind. He pops out of the semi cab and bids adieu to his compadre and the corpse of their friend. The remaining guys drive forward, crashing through the electrified wall. Jumping out of the cab, Harold's pal drags the dead guy's corpse into the grass and whoops about their success at breaching the perimeter.
And then the Abbies descend and eat the two escapees.
Who Is the Least Likely to Make it to the End?
Ethan has promised there will be no more reckonings, but guess what the title of the ninth episode is ... it's "A Reckoning." What the hell, right? Here's what I'm thinking though, lots of people's futures are in question at this point.
Pam has shown she actually has a soul and Pilcher may have been faking his pansy-ishness. Both are great reasons to get killed off. Harold is still alive, but he's not really a major character so he will most likely turn out to be Abbie fodder. Ethan is a little gung-ho in his power position, so maybe he's had too much of the Wayward Pines Kool-Aid and he's on his way out as well. After all, that would be the biggest shocker, wouldn't it? As for Megan, we'd all like to see her taken out. What about Ben and Theresa? Ben and Amy are supposedly the future of Wayward Pines. Wouldn't it be ironic if they get killed, ruining all hopes and dreams of a new generation? As for Theresa, well, she's a little too nosy for her own good and that makes her not very popular with the Pilchers. Someone has to go, folks. Who's it going to be?
Wayward Pines airs Thursdays at 9pm on FOX.