Wayward Pines provided a season finale with Cycle that ended the show on a somewhat sour note. While the final reveal was a twist, including the David Pilcher statue in the town park, it left a bitter taste. Matt Dillon’s character Ethan Burke blows himself and a group of Abbies up to save the town’s remaining citizens and son Ben, who is draped over the blazing elevator shaft calling for his dad, is knocked out cold by falling debris. Before looking at the rest of the season finale perhaps the whole episode, with its moments of revealing clarity, should be looked at overall.
In last week’s episode, A Reckoning Pilcher proved once and for all that under all that visionary rubbish, along with his massive case of megalomania and control freak issues, that he was essentially that snotty kid who takes the basketball home if he does not get his way. In Cycle he also revealed that his noble words about “his people” were empty.
Turning off the fence and leaving the denizens of Wayward Pines to the hands of the Abbies was equal to a child’s stomping their ant farm flat because its occupants dare to escape. Pilcher may have suffered from a Deity complex and had more than his fair share of hubris but in the end, the only ones that walked away fairly unscathed from David’s destruction of the town were his 1st class of the Wayward Pines Academy.
Megan Fisher proved that her devotion and zealous brainwashing hid an innate lack of common sense. Either that or she chose to be eaten alive by Abbies who broke into the compound entrance at plot 33. Viewers can be forgiven for giving a little clap when this annoying woman got her “just deserts.”
Theresa showed that when a “mother bear” is protecting her cub and his girlfriend, no Abbie on earth is too much to handle. Sure, Ethan finished the creature off, but his wife was handling things just fine thank you very much. Kate and Theresa have a moment where she binds Theresa’s wound, from the hospital encounter with the Abbie, and for the time being things are okay between the two women.
Without going into specifics, this is after all more of a review than the usual recap/review format, it is time to look at what was pretty annoying about the episode.
The Death of Ethan:
After an entire season of acting his little cotton socks off, Matt Dillon’s character, former Secret Service Agent Burke, blows himself up and what looks to be about 100 Abbies. Dillon was an integral part of the show and his death is particularly galling and the manner of it even more so; sitting on the floor of the elevator with the detonator in his hand, smiling gently at his memories of wife and child…
It could be said that this is a satisfactory character arc for Ethan Burke, a man eaten up with guilt at the deaths caused by his release of the Easter bomber (before Wayward Pines) and his “affair” with Kate that threatened to destroy his marriage. The main problem with this character’s exit is that the whole show revolved around Ethan, taking him out of the equation is not only a bad idea but it removes Dillon who “rocked it” in this role.
The Death of Pilcher:
Granted, there cannot be many fans of the show that, while applauding Toby Jones for his performance, could not wait for Pilcher/Jenkins to be taken out. Despite the fact that his sister Pam, whom he had a very odd relationship with, was the one to shoot David, one really wanted to see Theresa shoot him and have the power mad dictator be put in stasis. Pilcher’s exit was too fast and felt rushed.
Jason Not Dying:
There cannot be many who did not want to see this major douchebag character get eaten by an Abbie. Unfortunately the “I’m special” kid lives through being shot by Ethan and the Abbie attack and manages to get to the Ark in the Ark.
Ben as the New Burke in Town:
Nothing against Charlie Tahan, the Frankenweenie actor did a bang up job as Ethan Burke’s “Wilbur Milquetoast” son who, under the tutelage of Megan Fisher, becomes a more confident character. His romance with Amy, while a little disturbing, was cute and the fact that Ben has survived a bomb blast and being conked in the bean with falling debris, means that he is pretty resilient if nothing else.
The kid is not Matt Dillon…just saying.
Pam as Hero:
From the very first time Pilcher’s sister appeared, she was destined to be an off the wall character who would blindly follow her brother’s lead. Melissa Leo did such a good job as psycho nurse Pam in the beginning that it is very hard to believe her turn around. It should be mentioned, however, that her shooting of David fits. It must have been obvious to her that he did not think much of his drug addict sis.
There are other things that were annoying about the finale but these are smaller in nature and not quite as irritating at the above mentioned items. Although the Abbie’s ability to cut off electricity and shut down the elevator did stretch things just a bit. As did the head security guy who forces Pam into stasis/suspension only to do a complete about face and take her out moments later. (Of course he had to, otherwise she could not have so ironically shot down her maniac brother…or as one wit once said, “it’s in the script.”)
The final twist of Ben waking up to find his one time potential “baby mother” calling him sir and being very distant was interesting and for a brief moment all kinds of possibilities were opened. Once he demanded, and got, his clothes and left the hospital though, things got interesting. Only for a short while however.
The fact that Jason and the rest of his special group made it to the ark, and that three years has passed since the massive Abbie attack, made the Nazi-ish spin to the finale almost fait accompli. The conversation in the hospital, “They’re listening,” harked back to the beginning of the series and the additional shock value of seeing a man hanging in the town square by the carousel and a nuclear family having their picnic practically at the corpse’s feet, worked very well. The end result of that final set piece is that the viewer nods and thinks, “yup, Jason lived…”
Some entertainment sites are touting that a second season seems to be on the cards. That may well be. The viewing figures for Wayward Pines were impressive and the right demographic was appealed to. Deadline spoke to M Night Shyamalan who hinted, “very diplomatically” that there may just be a second season.
Sadly, unless they can bring back Ethan Burke from the dead, sorry Ben, the show will have limited appeal. Dillon made the whole thing work, along with his continuing interaction with Jones’ David Pilcher, he brought a certain gravitas to the role. Granted Jason may make a great season two villain but it is doubtful whether Charlie Tahan, great actor that the kid is, can pull off a “Dillon.”
So, the recap of the finale is: Kate lives, Pilcher turns off the fence and Ethan arms the citizens to fight the Abbies. Theresa saves Ben and Amy, Pam gets put to sleep and then woken up and Meg Fisher learns that staying behind can lead to being eaten. Ethan blows up a slew of Abbies and dies, Pam shoots David, Ben survives a bash to the head and Amy is now a nurse. Wayward Pines survives and is now worse than before, Jason may just be in charge and all the “adults” are in suspension. There could very well be a second season with Ben Burke as the lead protagonist.