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.

Sex Ed (2014): Haley Joel Osment Indie Comedy

promotional still from Sex Ed
Haley Joel Osment has followed up his previous 2014 Independent film outing, Kevin Smith’s superb Tusk, with another Indie movie, this one a comedy titled Sex Ed. Written by Bill Kennedy and directed by Isaac Feder (helming his first feature-length film) the movie is an almost wry look at a virginal teacher’s attempt to teach middle school kids about sex.

Osment may have gotten the world’s cinematic attention after playing the kid, (“I see dead people.”) in M. Night Shyamalan’s brilliant 1999 film The Sixth Sense but to a huge portion of the population he is the English voice of Sora from the epic video game Kingdom Hearts. Anyone watching Haley in Tusk will have noticed that even with very little to do, in that film, those acting chops are alive and well.

Sex Ed proves that the adroit performer can do comedy as easily as other types of roles. It is always a shock to see a grown up Osment, he is now 27 years-old and until Tusk, the last film I saw the actor in was Second Hand Lions. As the young semi-abandoned lad, “I’ve been to the orphan home before, I don’t want to go back,” Walter, he projected the perfect mix of loss, hopefulness and pathos, how he did not get an award for that film is a mystery.

In the start of this film, he plays Ed Cole, unemployed teacher, virgin and all around nerd. His character is uncomfortable around women and is convinced he is not cool enough. Ed is working in a bagel shop and getting rejection letters from every educational institute he applies to. After a motivational chat with his housemate JT (Glen Powell) he goes and demands that he be hired for a teaching job

On his first day, a young teen girl in his class comes back from the restroom crying and between sobs tells Cole that she has cancer and is dying. She has started her menstrual period and does not know that this is normal. The teacher immediately decides to teach the kids during their detention period about sex education.

He also falls in love with a student’s older sister and incurs the wrath of the local minister. During his daily adventures with the kids in his class, Cole desperately wants a girlfriend and to have sex, although not necessarily in that order. Sex Ed may not be blazingly original but the film is entertaining, funny in the right spots and although not “laugh out loud” funny, the film is pretty chuckle worthy.

Love interest Lorenza Izzo (Aftershock, Knock Knock) does a great job at being awkwardly interested in the nerdy Cole. Abby Elliot and Powell make a great couple and play really well off one another.

Kudos to Retta (Parks and Recreation, Fracture) as Sydney, Ed’s landlady and “life coach” as well as the owner of the bar below his apartment. This lady plays her part with a genuine feeling of warmth and caring that is funny and amidst the humor, sincere.

Streaming on US Netflix, Sex Ed is a 3 star film. Enjoyable enough but not so original that your breath will be taken away.

6 June 2015

Michael Knox-Smith