“Wayward Pines” returns with its season two premiere. “Enemy Lines” has a number of season one cameos (Sheriff Pope, played by Terrence Howard, who appears as Dr. Yedlin’s abductor is just one example of season one revenants.) and a change in theme is apparent. At one point, in the hospital, Yedlin (Jason Patric) purchases a fizzy drink from contrivance that looks suspiciously like a vending machine from BioShock.
There is a cartoon caricature of the late Pilcher (Toby Jones) on the front of the antiquated looking machine and it speaks in his voice when a bottle of drink is purchased. Old fashioned music is heard down the hallway as Yedlin opens his carbonated celery drink and it leads him to an open door. Arlene (from season one) is being given shock therapy. All very BioShock and all that was missing was the vending machine shouting out “Welcome to the circus of values.”
Season two is differently paced from the first season. With Ethan Burke (Matt Dillion) dead, he sacrificed himself to save Ben (Charlie Tahan), his wife Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon) and other survivors from Wayward Pines, including the woman that Yedlin operates on; Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino), there is no action man to take charge against the snotty regimen of “generational’s.”
This time around the feeling of the series has changed as well. The first generation are in charge and the Hitler youth from last season have grown up and gotten callous, cruel and deadly. It is all Sam Browne belts, khaki uniforms and riding boots. Public reckonings are back on the menu.
The ark survivors from last year are trying to weed out the rebels. Many are following Ben Burke and it appears that the kids in charge are actively working to change the older population’s thinking patterns as well. Reference Arlene (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) and her shock treatment.
Unlike the shadowy mechanizations of season one, where it seemed that there was much more going on than met the eye, this year the abbies are fait accompli and that false feeling of security and safety is gone. Now it is all about control and numbers and killing abbies.
It was surprising that the show was renewed for a second season. After all, with the death of Dillon’s character and Toby Jone’s visionary madman’s death, it seemed a “done deal” that the show would finish its one season greenlight and fade back into the woodwork.
Hope Davis as Megan Fisher is back. This time in a wheelchair but still with that smarmy and condescending attitude that made her the character one loved to hate in season one. She still believes in clear rules and harsh (as in deadly) punishment for those that transgress. Davis is splendid in this role and managed to make this reviewer dislike her so much that when she appeared in American Crime as Timothy Hutton’s character’s wife, it was difficult to like or even sympathize with her.
Yedlin is “rescued” by Xander prior to his wife arriving and he witnesses the public execution of those who refuse to conform. Jason Higgins (Tom Stevens) tells the assembled town’s people that if Ben Burke turns himself in to talk, the executions with stop.
It is a lie. The moment Burke surrenders his firearm he, Xander and Yedlin are taken and driven outside the electric fence; left as food for the abbies.
This season of “Wayward Pines” thus far lacks the mystery and subtlety of the first. The denizens of the “ark” all know about the abbies and despite this still rebel. The first generation are 10 times worse than Pilcher ever was; he was ruled by his drive for perfection and an inability to recognize his own flaws. He was not cruel but coldblooded.
Kate Hewson is so desperate to get away from this version of Wayward Pines that she slits her own throat. It will be interesting to see if poor Ben Burke makes it past the first episode. Despite his voice-over at the start where he vows to save the people from the first generation, his character really lacks the power of poppa Burke, aka Matt Dillion.
“Wayward Pines” airs Wednesdays on FOX. Tune in and see if this works as well as the first season. So far it lacks that nuanced delivery of season one. It also lacks Toby Jones and Matt Dillion as well as the character of Amy (Sarah Jeffery) who was injured at the end of last season but was still very much alive.
This will either be a pale shadow of the first season or have all the subtle feel of a brick to the head.