Wayward Pines: Betrayal (recap and review)

Still from Wayward Pines with Pam and Ethan
Last week’s episode of Wayward Pines, Choices, ended with a bomb being put into a music box and Harold saying “it’s ready.” This week in Betrayal before the opening credits we learn that other bombs have been manufactured and one was put in the new sheriff’s official vehicle. It is also immediately made clear that despite Ethan’s telling Pilcher last week that he would tell no one, he did not mean that to include his wife (or just about everyone else he talks to this week).

“There is no Seattle,” he tells Theresa. She assumes that he has been taken back to the hospital and had something done to him. It is after their terse little conversation that he discovers the bomb in the car. Heading to his office he looks up the file of Franklin Dobbs and finds the man is an explosive demolition expert.

Pilcher’s sister Pam offers to help and Ethan is still not comfortable with the woman. He reluctantly agrees to accept her assistance to see what Franklin has been up to via the surveillance system. Later he questions Dobbs and comes up with a priceless reference to Caddyshack and Bill Murray’s mad groundskeeper. As Ethan found a stick of C4 attached to his ignition, he asks Franklin to help him with the gophers in his lawn. Franklin pales and says he cannot help the sheriff out, the man then hurriedly leaves.

At Wayward Pines Academy, Ben and his fellow classmates are looking at the biology books that Megan Fisher referenced earlier. They are told that for “obvious” reasons the books must stay at the school as parents are nervous about the images in this particular section. The nervous giggling and laughter immediately signposts this is a sex education lesson.

Fisher, proving that she is a zealot in all things and not just David Pilcher’s teachings, explains that all of the children in the room will be parenting the first 100 percent “original” generation. That one day in the very near future they will begin to procreate, which is their most important function in Wayward Pines. Ben and Amy are singled out and made to stand at the front of the class as Fisher talks about bees and flowers, hands and gloves, and that their co-parent is probably in the same room. The teacher also states that it is her job to help them “find each other.”

It is pretty obvious that there is no room for homosexuality in this new system. Unless it can be overlooked if they still manage to procreate, despite their sexual nature. One can easily imagine the subject of gay sex wiping that zealous look off of Meg Fisher’s face. Until that crisis rears its head, Fisher will continue to be sexual councillor and match maker of the first generation.

Procreation is on someone else’s mind as well, Pam rushes in to tell her brother that two new pregnancies have been reported. Pilcher/Jenkins is not overwhelmed by the information, he is consumed with worry about the subversive group and their plan to blow up the fence. Sheriff Burke discovers that the perimeter wall is not the only thing the group want to destroy.

Ethan follows Franklin to Harold where he sees the two talking at the coffee shop. As Franklin is leaving the sheriff comes in to take Kate’s husband to the station. Harold claims he knows nothing of the bomb in Ethan’s truck and he tries to run once they get outside the shop. Burke tackles him and warns that if he tries to escape again, he will not be so gentle.

At the station, Harold confesses and Ethan gives him a note for Kate. The two talk and Ethan tells Kate that there is nothing outside the fence. He asks her to get the group to give up their weapons and explosives and thing will stay between the two of them. Later Kate speaks to Theresa and tells her that “they’ve gotten to Ethan.”

She also tells Ethan’s wife that before she wound up in Wayward Pines that Adam Hassler from the bureau told her to prepare for some government test where another agent would be testing her severely. Kate believes that Wayward Pines is that test and that Ethan is the other agent. Theresa believes that Ethan was brainwashed on the mountain as she reveals what she and Kate talked about.

Burke goes to pick up Ben after school and Kate’s group go to their backup plan. It is revealed that Ted planted the bomb in Ethan’s truck. Harold gives Ted a paper bag which he puts in his delivery truck. Ethan is tracking down Kate’s group and stops them just as they arm the bomb. The sheriff forces Franklin to disarm the explosive and arrests them all. He angrily says to Kate, “I trusted you.”

She tells him that he’s been brainwashed and that the bombings have just begun. When searching for Harold, Ethan discovers that Ted has another bomb and he goes to intercept the man and his vehicle. Meanwhile, Amy and Ben sneak out to meet in the woods, she is interested in getting a head start on all that procreating, and they hitch a ride in Ted’s truck.

As the two sit in the back of the vehicle Amy opens the paper bag and discovers the music box bomb. Opening the lid, the dancer swirls, the music plays and the device is activated. Sheriff Burke rushes to catch Ted and his truck. As the truck pulls up to a crosswalk, Ethan drives up and the back of Ted’s vehicle explodes.

While the music box bomb does not appear to have been powerful enough to blow up part of the fence, it is capable of blowing Amy and Ben through the side of the truck. She stands bloody and dazed while Ben lies in the road. He is not moving and does not respond to Ethan.

Wayward Pines, Betrayal, is all about breaking trust, and in at least one case, the rules. Amy and Ben break the rules so that she can start romancing her assignment. Theresa goes to plot 33 and discovers a metal substance under the ground and she still believes that Ethan has been brainwashed. Kate betrays her former lover’s trust and the FBI agent is convinced that all of Wayward Pines is a test of some kind.

Ethan is proving that as an agent, he can be pretty pedantic. Now that he believes the world has been destroyed, he is on board with Pilcher and his ark. The only sticking point is that Burke keeps telling people part of the truth and as the saying goes, this will surely end in tears.

Despite being shown the state of the world immediately outside the fence, there is still a feeling that this is not 4028 but 2014. The state of the players in charge, Pilcher and Pam, makes it seem that they are either delusional or just not telling all the truth. Toby Jones is perfectly off-kilter as the “mad scientist” saving the world and Melissa Leo as Nurse Pam, is just downright creepy.

This is solid entertainment and the mystery thriller element keeps the viewer guessing from one frame to the next. Wayward Pines airs Thursdays on Fox and can be seen on Hulu. This is cracking television, well done Fox.

Apartment 143 (2011): Legend of Hell House in Shorthand

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The White family live in a haunted apartment, but that’s nothing new to them, the last house they lived in was haunted as well. Convinced that the vengeful ghost of his dead wife has followed him and their two children to their new home, papa White asks a paranormal team of investigators to find out what’s happening.

This is a Spanish film, written by Rodrigo Cortés (Red Lights 2012) and directed by Carles Torrens as his first feature-length film. The cast is a real amalgamation of actors.

Michael O”Keefe plays Dr Helzer and I spent the entire film wondering why he looked so damned familiar. It was not until setting down and researching this film that I found out t he was the young caddy in the 1980 film Caddyshack. He’s put on a bit of weight since then and aged, of course, but once you see his publicity photo, you realise who he is.

One of Dr Helzer’s assistants is Ellen Keegan. She is played by  Fiona Glascott, a more than capable actress who’s been treading the boards for some time now. She made me think of a young Catherine Deneuve and I found it hard to take my eyes off of her in any scene she appeared. I think it’s safe to say that I was “crushing” on her a bit. But Deneuve reference aside, she’s a good actress.

Fiona Glasscott, lovely to look at, delightful to watch act.
Fiona Glasscott, lovely to look at, delightful to watch act.

Rick Gonzalez does a more than capable job as Helzer’s other assistant  Paul Ortega, the techie of the group and he comes across as quite likeable.

The White family consists of dad Alan (Kai Lennox), daughter Caitlin (Gia Mantegna) and son Benny (Damian Roman). The only problem I had with the Whites was that I did not like any of them except for Benny. Damian Roman is brilliant as the four year-old youngest member of the family. I enjoyed it when he was in scenes. Dad and sis Caitlin, turned me cold and it was made very obvious that the daughter was the “trigger” that set these hauntings off.

I was impressed with the way Torrens set the technical side of this film up. It could have been an episode from the Sy Fy channels TAPS Ghost Hunters. The matter-of-fact way that the equipment was handled and the explanations could have come from Jason Hawes or Grant Wilson.

Unfortunately, for me, I felt that the plot and the mechanisation of the film very closely resembled the atmosphere of the 1973 film The Legend of Hell House (Roddy McDowell and Gayle Hunnicutt) especially after the inclusion of the “machine” that supposedly “cleaned” the house of spirits.

Of course it doesn’t have the convoluted back story that Hell House had, but it’s damned close; if not in nature at least in the area of being convoluted. Over all the film impressed but, at the same time, it underwhelmed in some areas. A lot of the stunts were brilliantly pulled off and some of the “filmed” ghostly effects, again, looked like they could have originated from the Ghost Hunters televised footage.

Michael O'Keefe as the humourless Dr Barrett.
Michael O’Keefe as the humourless Dr Barrett.

In keeping with the focus on “real” ghost hunters and a sort of tenuous LOHH connection,  even Dr Helzer seemed like he could be a close relative of the humourless scientist Dr Barrett (Clive Revill) in the Hell House movie. Which reminds me of another “nod” in the film, doesn’t the name Helzer evoke images of Hans Holzer, paranormal investigator extraordinaire?

All in all the film was good, but not overly scary. It has few “jump” moments and a “surprising” twist in the plot and then falls on a “cheap” scare at the very end of the film. I don’t count that as a spoiler as you are (as the viewer) expecting it.

So I’d have to give Apartment 143 a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It gets the .5 because of Michael O’Keefe, Catherine Deneuve look-a-like Fiona Glasscott and little Damien Roman.

Hans Holzer, a real life paranormal investigator. (1920 - 2009)
Hans Holzer, a real life paranormal investigator. (1920 – 2009)