May 25, 2018
Wayward Pines: Was That a Dinosaur?
We open where we left off last week, with Sheriff Pope’s sermon to the townsfolk in front of Beverly’s body, which is still chained up on the clothing rack after he’s slashed her throat. A little girl leaves a single flower on the stage. It’s not for Beverly, but the real victim here, Sheriff Pope, on whom the burdens of office do not rest lightly. He drops the knife and picks up the flower, as he talks about the “naysayers” who say no one appreciates him. He extols his people to “BE HAPPY” and “Accept each other for who we are now, not who we were.” Then there’s the call and response as he gets them to shout out the rules, the first of which is “Do not try to leave.”
Give it up for Terrance Howard, who infuses blackness into his performance. This is the most original scene so far—the racial optics of the lynching of a white woman (for trying to escape) by a black man in a leadership role who is warning the mostly white crowd, in the manner of a pastor leading his sometimes unruly flock, that this is what happens when you break the rules.
So of course he’s going to die before the episode ends. We can only hope that with the weirdness of time-shifting, he’ll be back.
Ethan shows up at Kate’s. She kisses him quickly and offers to make him a cup of tea. “It always helps,” she says. Like Beverly telling Ethan she’s “always” believed him, it’s another instance of a character implying that they’ve been in this exact same spot before. She whispers he got a second chance and returns his chip. Apparently the advanced devices monitoring everything can’t pick up whispers. He tells her it’s her last chance to leave with him. She tells him he’ll never make it out alive.
He goes to the house where he found Evan’s body, which apparently is where they leave the bodies after a “reckoning” as Beverly’s is now on the bed. Do they embalm them first? Because that could get really smelly, especially in the warmer months.
Meantime, Ben and Teresa are on the road “chasing after dad” as Ben puts it. They will now have another totally inappropriate conversation about what Ben’s dad might be doing with Kate. This time, Teresa tells Ben that some stuff is “between your father and I.” Seriously? Did she just use the subjective pronoun after a preposition? Ethan made the EXACT SAME GRAMMATICAL faux pas in Episode 1 when he told his colleague that what happened “between Kate and I” was over. Maybe the secret of Wayward Pines is that people get sent there for crimes against the English language.
Ethan is hiding out in Beverly’s house, but now that he has chip back, how much hiding is he doing? A man lets in another man delivering groceries. He mentions that there’s a new family moving in. What family do you think that might be? He spots Ethan but doesn’t rat him out. Ethan manages to sneak into the back of the food delivery truck. This explains how the families in Wayward Pines get grass fed beef and five varieties of kale delivered regularly, but not why the restaurant hasn’t had ketchup in two weeks.
In what may be the subtlest reference to the Dead Parrot sketch ever, Teresa and Ben arrive at the Secret Service office in Boise, which doesn’t just look like a Secret Service office, but EXACTLY like the Seattle office (down to the low-wall cubicles and glass doors). Teresa manages to get onto a computer and uses her husband’s log-in. Maybe because it’s the Secret Service, she couldn’t just log in from home. She finds the last place he got gas in Idaho and heads there with the boy.
Over at the identical (or is it?) Seattle office, Adam is on the phone with Dr. Jenkins, whom he refers to as Mr. Felcher. Wait, he’s not a real doctor?
At the gas station mini-mart, Teresa makes inquiries. The clerk totally macks on her so that we can continue the running joke of her little man, Ben, stepping up to defend her honor. Teresa shows the clerk a picture of her and Ethan—the black-and-white kind taken at a photo booth. The clerk remembers Ethan and another guy dressed like they were “going to a funeral,” which is a much better description than saying they were dressed like they were auditioning for a Men in Black sequel. Some child who looks like he is auditioning for a remake of The Shining happens to be at the convenience store to get a pack of cigarettes and says there was “an accident” near “Wayward Pines.” So without asking more questions, she decides that’s her new destination. Does she get directions from the clerk or find it on Google maps?
Teresa and Ben get pulled over outside of Wayward Pines by our friend Sheriff Pope (which means that, like Dr. Jenkins, he gets to leave). The Sheriff convinces her she has an oil leak and tells her he’ll just adjust the valve so she won’t have further trouble. Being a girl, this actually makes sense to her. He then cuts a line, which causes fluid to spout out—not unlike Beverly’s blood.
As Teresa and Ben drive on to their doom, they pass a sign, “Wayward Pines 9 Miles.”
The truck Ethan is on stops. After he hears the driver walking away, he gets out and discovers he’s in some sort of warehouse-like facility where no one has dusted for a very long time, as there’s a thick coat of white stuff on everything. There are many vehicles, and he spots his own. Inside he finds a sealed, neatly labeled bag that says, “Teresa Burke, Effects.” He opens it and takes out the photo booth picture we saw Teresa show the clerk. Then Sheriff Pope pops up with a big syringe.
Ethan wakes up in small bare room. The phone rings. A voice says, “We want you to know that your family was just released from the hospital.” He leaves the room, which is actually in the hospital, and he sees Nurse Pam holding a baby and talking to three candy-stripers.
She tells him she made his family “all better” and they are “at home”—which would be the house recently vacated by a prior resident who “had a sudden sore throat if you know what I mean.” This isn’t your recapper being snarky. That was the actual line of dialogue.
Ethan finds his family settling in at Beverly’s. The “Realtor,” who’s the guy that let Ethan go before, is there. He mentions that, like all the houses in Wayward Pines, this one comes equipped with a security system. Then, in case we still don’t get it—which is possible if we’ve been multi-tasking—there’s a shot of the red dot in the ceiling fan.
After the Realtor leaves, Ethan sends Ben out of the room, which makes no sense whatsoever because at this point, isn’t it essential that Ben and Teresa have the same information? The phone rings, and he pulls it out of the wall, telling her not to answer it, not to leave, and to trust him. Then he tells Ben to come back into the room to “take care” of his mother, giving Ben a much needed opportunity to tell his Dad that’s what he’s been doing while he was off boffing his hot ex-partner. Ethan then gives a pronounced sigh—which is taught in Television Acting 101—indicating that he doesn’t have time to discuss past mistakes or to explain what he’s doing.
What is he doing? He’s running over to the Sheriff’s office, where Pope is conferring with Nurse Pam. Ethan tells him to stay away from his family. The Sheriff is all you-are-not-the-boss-of-me and “This is my town.” Then he starts enunciating every word slowly as if he were the original-brand captain of the starship Enterprise.
Ethan repeats, “Stay away from my family,” adding, “or I will kill you.”
Pam says, “Boys, don’t escalate,” but before Sheriff Pope can knock her to the ground, pull his gun out, and ask, “Who you calling boy?” the phone rings. Pam answers it, says, “Absolutely,” to whomever’s on the other end, hangs up, and then tells Sheriff Pope, “That will be all.”
Ethan concludes they are not the ones in charge. He leaves, then immediately runs into Doc Jenkins. It’s raining because Doc Jenkins looks extra-creepy with an umbrella, which is also a visual reference to The Prisoner, and the street is deserted because “Do not get caught in the rain” is an extra rule the town council just added.
So does this crack Secret Service agent who should have by now realized that Doc Jenkins might be the one in charge or at least a man with some answers grab him by his puny shoulders and start roughing him up with tough questions? Not exactly. He just ask him, “What is wrong everybody in this town?”
Being a mental health professional or playing one in Wayward Pines, Doc Jenkins has been trained never to actually answer a question. Instead, he appeals to Ethan to stay in town because he is needed.
Next, he meets Kate, who tells him it’s safe to talk in the woods because why not? She also tells him he needs to tell Teresa she’s in town before it causes some ridiculous Three’s Company-esque misunderstanding that might get them all killed.
Because it is now personal between Pope and Ethan, Pope shows up in the kitchen of the Burke family’s new digs, where Teresa finds him eating ice cream. He complains she didn’t thank him for saving her life, and what’s up with the Burkes and all their white privilege special treatment? He leaves, but not before warning her that it’s his town, just in case she hadn’t heard.
Meantime, Ethan and Kate are still talking. She tells him she ran into Evans “two years ago” in the café. Ethan asks about the time-shift thing. She tells him, “Don’t try to figure it out.” So okay, we’ll all just let that one go. Then they mention “Felcher,” and it’s implied that he is some mystery man they were trying to track down twelve years ago or five weeks ago depending on who’s remembering. It doesn’t look like either one of them recognizes Jenkins as Felcher.
Ben, defying his father (surprise!), has wandered outside, where he spies Kate and Ethan together—and, mamma’s boy that he is, he runs to tell Teresa. Who could have seen that coming?
When Ethan returns “home,” he finds Teresa’s wedding ring but no Teresa or Ben. They’ve taken their suitcases—which apparently weren’t confiscated with their “effects”—and are trying to walk to the next town. Of course, they run into Sheriff Pope, who says again that it’s his town in case we didn’t hear him the first 100 times. He pulls a gun on Ben, then hits him with it. After threatening him some more, he tells him he’s on “punishment” and puts him in the police car.
Ethan comes along, and there are fisticuffs as they struggle for the gun. The sheriff wins round one, and it looks like that’s all the rounds there will be because he is about to shoot Ethan dead when the police car, driven by Ben, hits the sheriff, knocking him to the ground.
Officers of the law: always remember to restrain the suspect before placing him in the BACKSEAT of the vehicle, and do not leave your keys in the ignition!
Ethan grabs Pope’s gun, and the injured sherriff tells him that “the truth” is “worse than anything you could even imagine.” You’d think Ethan might ask him to just tell him anyway, or maybe he might ask him the best way to get to the interstate, but you know how men hate to ask for directions. Ethan shoots him in the head and grabs a set of keys that includes what looks like a garage door clicker.
Why wasn’t the clicker on the same set of keys as the police car? It’s another mystery!
It turns out they all just happen to be at the big steel wall that separates Wayward Pines from the rest of planet Earth. Never mind that back in Episode One, when Ethan stole the car, he wound up driving in circles and only found the wall when he went into the woods.
Ethan gets in the car with his family and clicks the clicker, which works like a charm opening up a space in the wall, but before they can move forward, there is a terrible shrieking noise. Something quickly crosses the screen and takes away the Sheriff’s body. What exactly is it? It could be the outline of a dinosaur or an evil giraffe or maybe the Lochness Monster gone landlocked. Or this being M. Night Shyamalan it could be Doc Jenkins in a funny costume. Teresa screams, “Go,” but the direction the car goes is in reverse, as the garage door to freedom closes.