Aug 6, 2017
Wayward Pines: A Very Special Reckoning
This week’s Wayward Pines begins with a flashforward teaser. Looks like Ethan is about to reckon Kate, but we all know he’d never do that, right?
Picking up where we left off, the good news is the truck crashing into the gate didn’t cause a power outage. The bad news is those clever, constantly evolving aberrations have figured out they can shimmy under the truck. But Ethan’s on top of things and shoots out the tires, crushing a couple of the critters underneath.
Franklin and Kate are in jail. In case we forgot who Franklin is, Kate keeps saying his name when she tells him not to worry because Ethan is totally different from Pope—even though she doesn’t believe him, she thinks he’s been brainwashed, and we’ve seen the flashforward where it looks like he’s about to cut her throat. Also Franklin, being a minor character, will probably be dead long before she is.
A group of students from Wayward Pines Academy, who look like they must have been left back a few years (as is often the case with “teenagers” on television shows), stop by the sheriff’s office for some vigilante justice. Arlene tells them to “skedaddle” and stares them down. They back away slowly. Maybe it did make sense to put an ex-school bus driver from New Jersey in that position. But wasn’t she crazy about Pope? Doesn’t she love a reckoning as much as anyone? When did she change sides?
Pilcher and Ethan are hanging out by the crash site as the fence is being repaired. Pilcher blames Ethan for the breach. He knows about the Easter bombing and brings it up, comparing Kate to the terrorist Ethan let get away.
Ethan’s still thinks he can reason with the conspirators and no one will have to die. He rounds up Harold and shows him photos of what’s left of Red Shirt and Corpse-Buddy after Red Shirt drove through the fence. Harold reacts the same way as Teresa and Kate do—thinking it’s a trick and Ethan is either lying or brainwashed. But Ethan finally gets through to him, and he gives up the names of his group.
Pam in uniform at the hospital happens upon an old family photo of little David Pilcher sticking his head out of a tent. She suddenly realizes something and makes a decision. We know this because ACTING. But as there’s no dialogue, we don’t know what her epiphany was. It could have been “My brother is a total loon,” or maybe it was “Geez, my brother’s always so darn sarcastic to me, and I’ve sacrificed everything for him. I think it’s time for me to switch sides and start working with that nice Ethan Burke I totally used to hate.” Or maybe she’s thinking, “Cheeze Doodles. I know we still have more Cheeze Doodles in suspended animation.”
She spots Teresa and goes over to chat because they are on such good terms. Ben still isn’t ready to be released, but he’s doing better. Amy “should be going home soon,” which is about the tenth hint we’ve had that Amy is a goner. Pam, channeling Frau Blucher, tries to tell Teresa something IMPORTANT but in a secret way. She mentions the truck going through the fence and asks if Teresa believed what Ethan told her about what’s outside.
Instead of being all, “How the hell do you know what he told me?” or straight out denying Ethan told her anything because this is Nurse Pam, i.e., the creepy witch who was threatening her two episodes ago, Teresa levels, as though Pam were an ordinary nurse, in an ordinary hospital, in an ordinary town. She admits, “I don’t know what to believe.” Pam tells her it’s good to question things, which is opposite-day to everything she’s ever said before. She sneaks something into Teresa’s palm and advises her to take Boxwood home instead of Main because it’ll be safer.
Ethan goes back to the lair with the names Harold gave him. The surveillance guy says they’re all at the Bier Garten based on their implanted microchips, but when the camera pans the room, they aren’t. They call the barkeep, who finds all the chips at the bottom of a beer glass.
Pilcher is very, very angry that anyone would take out the chips he installed in them for their own good. Some people just don’t appreciate his efforts to force them to be happy.
Back at the hospital we hear calls on the public address system for a neurologist. Does that mean they have to get one out of deep freeze? Ben rushes out of his room and sees Amy’s mom collapsing in tears. How can this be? Amy was doing great last week except for the HEADACHE following the explosion, which if the doctors weren’t mostly gas station attendants in their previous lives two thousand years ago, someone besides millions of viewers might have noted as a symptom of bleeding on the brain.
As they wheel the doomed girl into surgery, Pam explains to Ben what’s happening. Those of us familiar with soap operas have seen variations on this scene 100 times before. The young actor playing Ben looks down, possibly to keep from cracking up. This is being played for comedy, isn’t it?
What Pam gave Teresa was some kind of key card thingy, and it says Plot 33 on it so that’s where Teresa goes. But what about those pesky cameras? They’re watching everything. No problem. By purest chance the surveillor watching Plot 33 just happens to spill her coffee and misses seeing Teresa smash the lens. She goes into the shed where she previously felt a structure underneath her feet. It’s a tunnel. It leads to a door, which she gets in by scanning the card, and then she finds a computer, which turns right on. What game-changing top secret information just happens to be laying around there and NOT in the more secure bowels of the secret lair?
Megan drops by the hospital. Just because Ben can’t go to school doesn’t mean he has to miss out on his brainwashing. But she’s not alone. A bunch of Ben’s friends from school are outside his window, clapping their hands in creepy unison like at the ceremony. Megan insists that everyone wants to hear from him. She tells him about the “attack” on the fence and how there’s still no reckoning, rubbing it in that Ethan is giving Kate special treatment and shirking his responsibilities. Ben goes to talk to his not-very-ethnically-diverse peers. Not only are there no crickets in Wayward Pines, there are very few black people, or Asians, or Latinos. In fact, given his ethnically ambiguous mother, it’s amazing he even got in.
Ben tells the kids he’s sorry his dad is so lame and “failed” the town. One of the children of the damned asks when Ethan is going to reckon the terrorists. Ben tells him it won’t happen.
This prompts the same crew as before to break into the now locked sheriff’s office. Arlene goes for the phone, but they pull it out of the wall. They demand the keys to the cell. She looks at the camera. They tell her, “They’re on our side.” Then they start beating her up. She spits at them, and they get the keys. Seriously, when did Arlene—who was all gung-ho about reckoning Beverly and Peter—become a resister-lover?
Kate, using her special secret service training, starts addressing the leader of the youths by name, reminding him of the wooden toy soldier Harold made him and warning him that he won’t “recover” from what he’s about to do. Generally, that kind of thing is more effective when you have them surrounded and not the other way around. He makes everyone repeat the seven rules, and he starts shooting. First Harold, then Franklin.
Do they offer target practice as an elective at the Academy? Because he seemed pretty steady with a gun for a kid who’d mostly grown up in a place where people aren’t allowed to have weapons. He’s ready to fire at Kate when Ethan busts in and puts a bullet through him.
Ethan and Kate chat in the interrogation room. She doesn’t want the others to die because of her and would rather be killed by him than someone else. Arlene interrupts. She’s heard something, so maybe they’re back and Kate will get her wish to die. But it’s Teresa, who doesn’t seem particularly perturbed about the dead bodies laying around. She has something she thinks Ethan should see. Kate, too.
She takes them down into tunnel, and they go to a computer where they watch a selfie video. It’s their old Secret Service boss Adam Hassler in front of the Golden Gate Bridge—or what’s left of it, which isn’t much. He mentions that it’s September 15, 2040, and that he finally made it the city. But abbies are tracking his group, and there’s nothing left. Teresa and Kate didn’t believe Ethan, but now that Adam says it’s 2040 they’re completely onboard. Let that be a lesson to you, cheating men!
Teresa says they’ve got to get as many people as they can down there to see that video and the hundreds of others from teams who all found the same thing—that human life beyond the fence is non-existent.
Ethan meets Pilcher at the Biergarten. He acts like he’s been drinking and tells Pilcher he’s ready to reckon Kate. He’s convincingly appalled by the idea, but says he’s willing to do what’s needed to end the violence.
That’s how we wind up back over at the teaser we started with, but instead of cutting Kate’s throat, he starts telling the assembled parties the truth, including that the man they know as Doc Jenkins is David Pilcher, the mastermind who brought them there. Kate backs him up, and random people like Arlene and the real estate office secretary shout out that they saw the video too.
Megan, the true believer, yells, “How dare you say his name, Kate. How dare you!”
She goes on telling everyone how Pilcher is their savior and they owe him. Then she says Kate tried to murder two innocent children, at which point Teresa slaps her down because sisterhood is powerful even when your sister almost wrecked your marriage two thousand years ago. It might have been a nice touch if the crowd had set upon her like dogs, but that doesn’t happen.
So far, people are absorbing the information, which they must have sensed on some level. They aren’t turning on each other. In fact, Teresa’s slap seems to have united them. So we’re all good, right? A new beginning? For about a second.
Then the lights go out—including on the fence—and an abbie starts climbing up as though it were just hanging out waiting for the opportunity. Pilcher is up in his lair, rubbing his palms together and congratulating himself on his evilness for having just cut the power. They don’t call them mad scientists for nothing.
Clearly Ethan wasn’t expecting this, and we weren’t either probably. As far as twists go, it’s perfect. It’s exactly what we should have seen coming, given all we know about Pilcher—the greatest non-governmental kidnapper in human history and, as Ethan noted, “a control freak”—but we were too distracted by everything else. Good job, show! But if you slow things down a bit, might this have shown a lack of planning on Ethan’s part? Wouldn’t it have made some sense for Ethan to have reached out to someone on the inside to make sure Pilcher didn’t retaliate, not necessarily by doing something that insane, but possibly by sending in his armed volunteers in for a little retribution?
One more episode to go. That’s going to be a lot of wrapping up to do! Any thoughts or theories (without book spoilers, please) about what’s coming and who’s going to make it? Feel free to share in the comments below.