Wayward Pines’ penultimate episode slaps us with a mother of a twist (pun intended) while simultaneously promising forward a denouement that is more psychological than slasher. Earlier on this season this didn’t appear to be the case. However, with the Abbies swarming, the food diminishing, and disease looming, not a single monster Abbie attack takes place in “Walcott Prep.” What Walcott Prep does give us are flashbacks explaining Jason’s birth, details about Kerry’s backstory, and a showdown much more intimate than suggested in the promotional materials FOX provided about the installment.
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Cleverly woven into the narrative once again — and more overtly alluded to in a discussion of Orwell’s Animal Farm — is the monster indeterminacy where the bad guys appear blameless and the white hats’ behavior is increasingly damning. In short, the mental gymnastics played out are delightfully surprising as is the promise for more than the cliched bloodbath climax so many writers and directors sell out for. And this is what we have come to expect from Shyamalan and his Wayward Pines crew.
It’s No Longer a Question of If But When
“Walcott Prep” opens where we left off with Margaret dying among her people, the Abbies swarming by the thousands at the gates of Wayward Pines, and the residents freaking out. Jason admits to his crew of lackeys that there’s only one real solution: follow what Pilcher planned over 2000 years ago, but do it right. In other words, let’s all get back into the freezers and set the alarm for Dead-Abbies-O’Clock. C.J. is a little freaked by the idea since he will probably be the one to babysit again, but everyone else is ready for the deep refreeze.
With that decided, the phones ring all over Wayward Pines as Jason announces the plan. The difference this time is that everyone has to choose to die, er, be frozen. It’s doubtful the kidnapped residents would have chosen cryopreservation the first time around, but it certainly was easier without having the choice. This time it’s starve, get eaten, or get frozen. Easy, but not fun. Jason tells everyone to go home and wait for instructions for an orderly process up on the mountain.
Jason Wants Theo to Be the Hand of God
C.J. discovers that there isn’t enough power to fully charge all of the cryo pods. He tells Jason that all 1000+ residents can be put under frozen sedation, but only 571 people will still be alive at defrosting time. So there has to be a culling down. Theo suggests a lottery, but Jason refuses. He leans back on Pilcher’s philosophy once again — the strongest, most viable people will go, but we won’t tell anyone what we are doing. He asks Theo to review everyone’s medical files and to identify the 571 chosen frozen.
Theo, of course, refuses, pointing out that if the rebels, the weak, and the disabled are excluded … Kerry will be left behind. Her sterility renders her incapable of fulfilling her reproductive obligation to the project. So long, Toots. Jason simpers like a teething toddler, and runs off to make the cuts himself just as Kerry walks through the door.
Theo Tells Kerry to “Take Jason Out”
… And he doesn’t mean on a date. When Jason leaves, Theo tells Kerry about the messed-up cryo pod situation and that Jason will be choosing who gets the pods. He lets Kerry believe that Jason says he won’t be taking her because she’s defective. He incites her to take Jason out. She tears up, insisting, “He loves me.” To which Theo replies, “He loves Pilcher more.” Reality sucks, Sweetheart. She walks off.
Thank You For Being Such a Productive Member of Wayward Pines
While carrying the weight of his decision on his shoulders, Jason meets with Rebecca to discuss post apocalyptic (Meaning post-Group B) WWP from an architectural standpoint. He mentions Rebecca’s pregnancy … and thanks her for “doing her part.” She corrects him, saying having babies is only one way to contribute, and not the most important way. He mentions the rules, to which she replies, “Enough with the rules. Sometimes you have to do what your heart tells you.” For a moment it looks like Jason might be considering taking Rebecca as his own mate after the thaw. Kerry is sterile, Xander is a rebel, and Theo, though valuable, is a thorn in Jason’s side. And since Jason gets to choose who lives …
Jason’s Orwellian Birth Story Emerges
Through flashbacks we see Pilcher 2000 years earlier attempting to adopt a baby from a privileged family whose daughter has gotten knocked-up by the son of another ivy league family of means. When he and the girl, Abigale, meet they discuss Animal Farm: A Fairy Story by George Orwell. Thinking, most certainly, of Wayward Pines, Pilcher quotes, Sugar Candy Mountain, “A happy place where we poor animals shall rest forever from our labors.”
In response, the precocious teen quotes back from Orwell’s final paragraph about how indistinguishable from animal (in a derogatory sense) is man: “The creatures looked from pig to man but it was already impossible to say which was which to see which was which.” Indeed.
Jason’s Real Mother Is Revealed
Pilcher receives news that Jason was born but that Abigale is keeping him. For a moment it looks like he might kidnap the baby, but it’s worse than that. He donates a sizable sum to a hospital in Boise and gets another newborn to fill Jason’s cryocrib. And the mother is …. KERRY!
In a whiplash Oedipal twist, Jason, while looking through everyone’s medical files, learns that Kerry had a baby before she was cryogenically preserved. She had been a streetwise kid with dreams of travel, money, and escaping her past. Pilcher told her he was adopting her baby for a Texan couple, then later kidnapped her for Wayward Pines. Kerry quotes Proust, who wrote about hopelessness and the inescapability of the past. She was a perfect candidate for Pilcher’s utopian dystopia.
Kerry and Jason Try to Kill Each Other
After “Pass Judgement” we took an opinion poll about who would be the next to die on Wayward Pines. Forty per cent of voters said it would be Jason. You were right, folks. Jason is furious when he finds out Kerry is his mother. She had believed Pilcher and had no idea that Jason was her son. As a matter of fact, Jason’s flashbacks show him years earlier flipping through profiles of yet unfrozen woman from which to choose his mate. He chose Kerry, and was there when she awoke from cryopreservation. He took her hand and the rest was history. Where was Pilcher when that was going on? Again, the inbreeding question rears its ugly head.
The couple tussles with Jason’s gun, which goes off right before commercial break. When we return both Jason and Kerry are lying on the model of Wayward Pines as Blood runs through the little streets. Kerry looks alive, but Jason appears to die after saying, “Walcott Prep, I taught you well.” Who knows what that means — except that he did train her about all things Wayward Pines once she was defrosted.
It’s Just a Flesh Wound; Margaret Is Not Dead
Several brief scenes portray Margaret back among her people and possibly near death. At least, that is Kerry’s interpretation of what she sees on the surveillance video. However, the opposite is true. The Abbies cauterize Margaret’s wrist wound and provide her with a natural remedy that has her up walking and roaring at her care-takers by the end of the episode. One cannot help but cheer for the Aberration population when this happens.
The final episode is entitled “Bedtime Story.” That better not mean that this whole thing was a dream or a fairy story some cuckoo told his kid. What a disappointing tropey ending that would make. I vote for an ending that has people and Abbies (unintentionally) being cryopreserved. That would make a great segue into season 3, which I will pre-schedule my TiVo to record as soon as the season 2 curtain falls.
Wayward Pines’ season 2 finale airs Wednesday, July 27, at 9pm on FOX.
(Images Courtesy of FOX)