This week in “Wayward Pines,” in an episode titled “Once Upon a Time in Wayward Pines,” we get a history lesson, of sorts, and we learn more about Pam and her connection with Jason. This season has managed to trot out various “survivors” from the first season only to kill them off or, like Theresa Burke (Shannyn Sossamon), allow them to bubble briefly onto the surface only to disappear. It also spends a bit of time establishing characters that we know damn well did not exist before this season. The “flashbacks” also allow the verse to rewrite its own history.
To be fair, the show was never intended to be more than a “one-off.” But FOX, after looking at their viewing numbers, brought the show back, sans Matt Dillion, sans Toby Jones and sans a logical plot line. Dillion and Jones were left behind as their characters died. Somewhat bizarrely Hope Davis returned as Megan Fisher although we would have bet she died in that tunnel (although showrunner Chad Hodge was pretty ambiguous about her death in a interview last year after the season one finale) but she is back this year.
The only concession is that Megan is in a wheelchair. The school leader, who managed to brainwash a generation of children into believing that they were more than just special and that they are meant to breed immediately, is still full of zeal and single minded purpose.
Season two of “Wayward Pines” has re-written the first season in many ways. The character of CJ, the horticultural specialist (played by Djimon Hounsou) is given his bona fides by including some scenes where he was an essential part of young Jason Higgins’ life growing up. Jason (Tom Stevens) also has his own history re-imagined as Ben Burke (Charlie Tahan) is eased, not too gracefully, out of his previous position of potential leader of Wayward Pines.
Pam, who is the centerpiece of this episode, also has her past reshuffled; leaving out the manic/depressive and schizophrenic traits altogether, not to mention her bullying tendencies. (Who can forget her taunting of Dillion’s character while he was weak, drugged and disoriented?) Pam the nurse was a control freak and not a nice person, full stop.
Jason Higgins, was not the first choice as leader of the Generationals. Ben Burke was, although this was obviously because of his police chief father, who Megan was trying to usurp. Higgins took it unto himself to punish all those who were rebelling due to a sense of entitlement. Something that this season attempts to explain.
In essence, season two is all about cleaning house, figuratively speaking, of all the hold-overs from season one. (This does not bode well for Megan Fisher but we shed no tears for her as the spiteful and overzealous woman should have died last season.) Although we have yet to see Amy, the “chosen” partner for Ben who almost died last season but survived for the finale’s epilogue. She has not yet been seen this season.
One can only assume that if Amy does return that her time in Wayward Pines will be short and end badly. Ben was eaten by Abbies, after Jason exiled him, and Pam was killed by Higgins himself. Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) killed herself rather than face life under Jason’s rule. Ben’s mother has faded back into the woodwork and has not been seen after her public challenge of Jason.
Pam, at least, made some sort of gesture before her removal.
Infecting herself with smallpox, she kissed Jason on the lips. Unfortunately, according to Yedlin (Jason Patric) she was not in the incubatory period yet. So all her trouble was for naught. Thus far “Wayward Pines” is all about the self-centered and entitled despot Jason and his “Hitler Youth” who run the town. This cleansing of older characters and rewriting of the history makes this the focus of season two.
It does appear that the town will be spreading its wings and expanding its boundaries. With the disappearance of the Abbies (And why has no one thought to check where they have gone or why?) Jason’s next step is to set up “colonies” and grow more food. This whole thing screams bad idea and no one is stepping up to say so. (That is the trouble with a dictatorship, no one wants to bring the big guy bad news.)
Back to the “cleaning house” issue. Surely Megan Fisher is not long for this world. It is surprising that she did not turn on Jason when he “forgave” Pam publicly. But then, after all the build up of why Higgins is so much more special this season than he was last season, the thought may never have entered Fisher’s head.
The one season one character who has been brought back, and fine-tuned with a little shock therapy, is Pope’s (and then Burkes’) old receptionist Arlene Morgan (Siobhan Fallon Hogan). Just why this woman was “one of the chosen” by Jones is never really clear. She is not a brain surgeon and her only real speciality seems to be that of receptionist with attitude.
On the subject of “why” we now know that Yedlin was not the target in Hawaii. Sure he is a surgeon but nothing special. It is clear that his wife Rebecca (Nimrat Kaur) – the architect – was the prize that Jones had his eye on. All the better to help Wayward Pines grow out of its “shell.”
The series airs Wednesdays on Hulu. So far season two lacks the things that made season one so compelling and addictive. Tune in and see what you think. Will this rewriting of history ultimately make this show work?