Wayward Pines: A Reckoning (recap and review)

Jason shooting Kate's group in Wayward Pines
By the end of last week’s episode of Wayward Pines, The Friendliest Place on Earth, two of Kate’s group got past the fence although Eric was dead and Alan was soon to be, this week in A Reckoning, everything comes to a head and it turns out that Ethan was right about Pilcher all along, he is a control freak. On top of that, it appears that the “savior of humanity” is a pretty vengeful one as well.

In a nutshell, this episode clears up an awful lot: The relevance of plot 33, just where Nurse Pam fits in the scheme of things, just how dangerous and certifiable Megan Fisher really is, that Wayward Pines really is the only safe place on earth and that Ben’s classmates have learned their lessons a little too well. In terms of OMG moments, this one takes the award for shocking moments, or more accurately shocking moment. Think Ethan’s office and guns, we will get there in a minute to talk about this one.

The start of the show has Ethan on the reckoning trailer with a knife at Kate’s throat. He asks the gathered crowd, “Is this what you want?” Shouts of “Do it” and other words of excited encouragement are shouted back, this teaser follows last week’s final shot of the Abbie roaring in the night. After the opening credits, two of the creatures are munching on Kate’s crew and one makes its way through the gate.

Ethan arrives in time to run the thing down and finishes it off with a shotgun blast. Several more are crawling under the truck and he shoots out tires until the monsters are crushed. Back at the jail, Franklin is shouting about food and arguing with Kate about what will happen to them. He is very concerned that Sheriff Burke is not only part of the Wayward Pines status quo but that they almost killed his “kid.”

Still at the police station several students from Class One, from the Academy, burst into the office demanding that Arlene tell them where the sheriff is. The ringleader of the little student body spouts the rhetoric that Megan Fisher has been cramming into their heads. Threats are made and the lad, Jason reluctantly leaves along with his few friends.

Ethan is supervising repairs on the gate and Pilcher is not happy, he explains that the sheriff must act quickly and decisively, he wants Kate reckoned. When Burke disagrees, Pilcher reminds him of the Easter bomber. Afterward, Ethan questions Harold to get the names of the rest of her group. During his interrogation, he shows Kate’s husband pictures of Eric’s and Alan’s partially eaten bodies. His tactics work and Harold rolls over giving up the names.

At the hospital, Theresa is approached by Nurse Pam. Pilcher’s sister tells Mrs. Burke about the escape, or attack as Pam puts it, and reveals that she knows that Ethan has shared what is happening at Wayward Pines. She hands Theresa a high-level keycard and tells her to go home but to take Boxwood street home. This will take her to plot 33 and Pam’s final words to Theresa are “See what you find.” In other words she has given Burke’s wife carte blanche to investigate what she finds in the “empty” plot.

Ethan gives David the 14 names that Harold gave up and when they try to find the people on the list, it turns out that they have all taken out their chips. They are off the grid. Theresa goes to plot 33 and finds the camera at the gate is off and she enters the plot. At the hospital, Amy is getting worse with swelling on her brain. Ben is beyond upset and Nurse Pam comforts him.

As Theresa crosses plot 33 she takes out the other camera with a long pole. Entering the wooden shack, she finds a metal trap door under the flooring. Megan goes to visit Ben and asks about Amy. As the two stand talking, he learns that his fellow students have all come to the hospital. Fisher begins building up Ben’s sense of self importance again, re-stressing that he is the one responsible for the safety of the town and not his father.

Ben emerges to have a word with his classmates and back at the security suite, Ethan and Pilcher watch his impromptu speech. After quoting Fisher’s rule philosophy, he apologizes for his father letting the town down. Jason asks about a reckoning and Ben says his dad will not do that. Jason storms off and Ethan leaves the suite.

Theresa goes through the trap door and finds another entrance where she can use the keycard. Jason and his friends reappear at the police station. Arlene locks the glass front door and the boys break through. Kate and her little group are concerned and the boys force their way into the holding area. Arlene tries to call for help and gets roughed up and handcuffed to a filing cabinet.

Jason takes out guns and hands them to the other boys. He then begins loading up his shotgun. Kate tries to slow the boy down, by reminding him about a toy he purchased from the toy shop. She also tells him that he will never recover from what he is “about to do.” Fully indoctrinated by Fisher he ignores pleas to stop.

He forces the group, except for Kate whom he smashed in the face with the shotgun butt, to their knees. He then makes the men recite the Wayward Pines “mantra” and shoots the men in the head, execution style. Jason makes his way to Kate and just as he is about the pull the trigger, Ethan arrives and shoots the boy in the back. Pilcher sees the whole thing from the security suite and the leader is not happy that Kate is still alive.

Ethan and Kate talk. She explains that there will be more “Jason’s;” the town, she says, breeds them. She also says that someone will kill her, she prefers it to be Burke. A shaken Arlene hears a noise and warns the sheriff that she thinks more academy kids have arrived. It is Theresa; she tells Ethan and Kate that there is something they need to see.

Taking them to Plot 33, they go underground and she shows them a video log from Adam Hassler; Kate and Ethan’s old FBI boss. It validates what Pilcher has been saying and what Burke has been telling Kate, the world is gone and only they are left. Theresa says that there are hundreds of the video journals from all over the world and they all say the same thing the world is gone.

Kate asks why Pilcher has not told anyone, Ethan tells her that the man is a control freak. Burke plans Kate’s reckoning for midnight and tells Theresa to show the logs to as many people as possible before midnight, the time of the reckoning. Ethan talks to David and tells him that he will reckon Kate and Pilcher says it is the right decision. Burke then tells Pilcher that this will be the last time he kills anyone.

At the reckoning Ethan asks the crowd if they want Kate dead and then tells them he is not there to kill anyone. Burke then reveals the truth of the place and that Dr. Jenkins is David Pilcher. The crowd hear how Pilcher “hides behind the cameras” as David watches and realizes that Burke set him up. As Ethan explains what is outside the gates, Kate, Theresa and others who saw the video logs, all support the sheriff.

Megan Fisher is the sole voice of dissent. She glorifies Pilcher and in mid-rant, Theresa slaps the woman silencing her for a moment. Fisher then asks why everyone is just “standing there.” Suddenly the lights go out and across the town things begin to shut down, including the electric safety fence. Pilcher’s fingers are busy punishing the entire population of Wayward Pines.

In the show this week it has finally been verified that what Pilcher has been saying it true. The world outside the fence is, or all intents and purposes, gone. Abbies run wild and the cities have all crumbled, even the Golden Gate Bridge is down. The first generation, Ben’s classmates, show just how well her brainwashing has taken and Pilcher has revealed himself to be not a savior but a control freak with delusions of being a God.

The shock of Jason cold-bloodedly killing a handful of people was like a dash of ice-cold water. Sobering and disturbing, it was the “highlight” of the episode. While Fisher is a definite zealot where David Pilcher is concerned and it is her brainwashing that really pulled the shotgun’s trigger multiple times, she is only supported David’s own extreme philosophy.

Wayward Pines was shocking and brutal in The Reckoning. This ensemble piece worked brilliantly the week and most of the puzzle pieces clicked together perfectly. Kudos to actor Toby Jones who manages to switch, in the blink of an eye, from concerned to annoyed just as easily as he goes from sincere to madly murderous. The sight of the “savior” busily clicking keys on his computer and leaving the entire town wide open to Abbie attack was chilling and an obvious clue as to what really happened to Group A.

Wayward Pines airs Thursdays on FOX, do not miss this rollercoaster run of twists and turns and surprises.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: The Future is Now

I haven’t read a book that scared me this badly since I first picked up Pet Sematary by Stephen King.

You might well ask what it was about this 2008 book that scared me. A book that tells about a world where ‘Big Brother’ has gone crazy. Well, buckle your seatbelts friends and neighbours because I’m going to tell you.

In little brother we meet Marcus Yallow he is a senior at Chavez High School in the San Francisco Mission district. He is seventeen and he has three friends. Daryl, who is his best friend; Van, the only girl in the group and Jolu.

Marcus and his friends are hackers. Not by choice but by necessity.

The world has turned into a police state. CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras are everywhere. Chavez High School has cameras in the hallways that recognise each student’s gait. The students books have tracking devices in them so the school can monitor their movements. The laptops they are required to use are monitored and censored by the school as well.

These are just three of the many government approved tracking systems used not only on students but the whole country’s population.

Marcus and his friends play an on-line Japanese ARG (Alternate Reality Game) called Harajuku Fun Madness. A combination of computer play and ‘real life’ exercises, these games are wildly popular. Marcus talks his friends into ditching school to get a head start on the real life portion of the game. They can ditch school because they have ‘hacked’ the school security system and can ‘fool’ it.

They all meet at ‘the tenderloin’ a rough section of San Francisco.  Using wifinders they have tracked down their clue and it’s in an Asian Massage Parlour. Marcus and his friends bump into another group of ARG players and are in the middle of an argument  about who was there first, when an explosion rocks the tenderloin area.

The city emergency sirens go off and the populace are told to take shelter in the BART stations. *BART  (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is a public transport system like the underground (UK) or subway (US)*

As Marcus and his friends get just inside the BART, they decide to take their chances up ‘top-side’ because of the sheer numbers of people in the shelter already. They fight their way back up to the street level only to find that Daryl has been stabbed.

Marcus waves down a passing government vehicle and he and his friends are arrested and taken into custody, not by the police, but by Homeland Security. They have bags put over their heads and are handcuffed. Taken to an undisclosed area, they are tortured and interrogated. Homeland Security wants them to confess to being the terrorists who planted the bombs.

Marcus and his friends are held and ‘interrogated’ for six days. All of them are released except for Daryl. Marcus is told that if he ever tells anyone about what was done to him and his friends  he will disappear forever.

Once Marcus gets over the initial terror of his captivity and interrogation he gets angry. He is certain that Daryl is dead or worse. He decides to start a war with Homeland Security and enlists the aid of other students. Soon they have formed a ‘revolutionary’ group  known as the XNETTERS by the underground and Cal Queda by the press.

In an instant, the government starts taking away people’s rights and freedoms in the name of protecting the country from terrorism. The agents of Homeland Security are now in charge of teaching the youth of the country and the first thing they teach is that the constitution is not really a Bill of Rights at all. They maintain that the rights are more  suggestive in nature and open to interpretation and removal at the government’s discretion.

This book grabbed hold of me before I had gotten through the first chapter. I stopped and put it down and thought about all the CCTV’s there were in the world. I then thought about the information that anyone can glean from your credit card usage.

I could go on, but, I’m sure you get the point. Everything we do now is computerised and easily monitored. In the book, when government security pump up their surveillance on everyone in the San Francisco area and use the BART passes to monitor everyone’s movements, the vast majority of the population are okay with it.

Exactly how it would be in real life and almost was earlier this year. In the book, the government immediately start a rigid cyber-security program that mimics China and Syria. Sound familiar?

Does the name SOPA mean anything to you? How about PIPA? Use the acronym of your choice, but they all mean the same thing…Cyber-security. The government has been, and still is, desperate to control the internet. Not just in the U S borders, but across the world.

The last presidential administration ruled by fear. It appears that our current administration has learned a thing or two from the last president elect. Get the people worried enough about terrorist threats within the country’s borders and you can write your own ticket.

Luckily, we, the people, won the SOPA fight, but the powers that be still want that cyber-control. The current administration is still waving the cyber-terrorism flag around like nobody’s business.

If you want to see what living in the United States would be like under a government that controls everyone and takes away rights and freedom. Read this book.

Or you could just read the newspaper or magazine of your choice. You could read a few internet blogs, magazines and newspapers, but you’d better hurry.  If the government have their way, that kind of internet won’t be around much longer.

And that is what scared me about the book. In Doctorow’s world the technology is a little more advanced, but not a lot. What is exactly the same though, in both his world and our real one, is the government’s answer to the terrorist problem. The taking away of rights and freedom in the name of national security.

It all sounds a little too real to me.