Wayward Pines: Season Finale Cycle Ends on Sour Note (SPOILERS)

Ethan and Theresa in Wayward Pines Cycle
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.

But…

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.

Conclusion:

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.

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.

Wayward Pines: The Friendliest Place on Earth (recap and review)

Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) in Wayward Pines
Last week on Wayward Pines in Betrayal, Ethan’s race to find all the bombs ended with Ted’s truck blowing up and injuring Ben and Amy. The Friendliest Place on Earth begins with the two children in hospital and Ben has a concussion. Pilcher is furious and Pam tells her brother that they should do something good for the townspeople. Eric is dying from being penned between the dumpster and the truck. Kate is reliving her first days in Wayward Pines and her dealings with Dr. Jenkins. In her flashback she is convinced that the town is a “Potemkin village;” not real at all.

In Kate’s flashback Nurse Pam gives her an injection to calm her down. She wakes, the memories of her and Jenkins came while she was sleeping in the jail cell, to the sound of sweeping. The town is clearing away any signs of Ted’s destroyed truck. Ruby, one of the insurgents who left the woods early so she would not be late for work, comes into the coffee shop to the sounds of speculation. The people are not buying the gas leak explanation.

Pilcher notices that Ruby is late and goes back to the control center to see where she was. Her chip says she is home at bed, which David knows is not true. They check her home and the camera reveals that there is no one at home. David tasks the team to see who else is “home in bed.”

Ethan tells Kate that Ben almost died from one of Harold’s bombs and he blames his former partner. She tells Sheriff Burke that there is a reason that he was chosen to be the town’s law enforcer; he follows orders. She reminds Ethan that he made the same mistake before and he replies that he is just trying to keep anyone else from dying. He asks her what happened and why she does not trust him. Later more flashbacks show that Kate fought a vigorous form of brain washing and lied to Dr. Jenkins to be left alone.

Pilcher tells Pam that Ruby is one of the insurgents and he tells his sister that they need to do an in-depth security review of all the surveillance camera operators. She learns that one, Reggie, is troubled when he observes citizen’s questioning policy and the wall and their fear. He admits that he blurs or wipes video footage when this happens. “It’s human nature to ask questions isn’t it,” Reggie asks and Pam agrees.

This interaction is observed by her brother David and Pam, not knowing that he saw the interviews, lies and says no one is being slack in their duties. Ben wakes up and Megan Fisher stops by to use her skills as a hypnotherapist again, to turn Ben against his parents. She emphasizes Harold was let go by Ethan because of his friendship with Kate, Harold’s wife and that Ben would never have been hurt if Harold had stayed in jail.

Fisher also convinces Ben that as he has survived a “terrorist attack” he is a hero and people will want to know what he thinks. She also presses home the importance of “clear and severe” rules and punishments. It is clear that Fisher is a real danger to Ethan Burke and anyone else who questions the status quo. Later when Theresa warns the teacher to stay away from her family, Megan checks to see if the moment was caught on camera.

Ethan shuts down the Wayward Pines festival and tell everyone the truth about the explosion and that several of the insurgents are missing. He urges them all to go home and keep safe. Pilcher is not happy with the sheriff for shutting down the festival or for telling them the truth. Burke stops by to see his son and Ben confronts him about letting Harold go and about his friendship with Kate.

Theresa comes in and tries to make Ben stop and Ethan explains that he can ask whatever he wants. The sheriff tells his son that he would have done the same thing regardless of who it was. Ben’s mother figures out that it is Fisher behind her son’s actions. Amy comes in to visit and the parents leave.

Amy is still focussed on Ben and the two visit in his hospital room. Ethan tells Theresa about the bombings and how his “following orders” led to over 641 innocents being killed. He could never tell her before because it was classified and he explained about having to use Kate as a sounding board as she was his partner and privy to the information. At the end of their talk, it looks like Ethan and Theresa are closer together.

Harold and one of the other insurgents plan to take Eric’s body, he died from his injuries, outside of the fence to bury him. The two men steal a 30 foot dump truck to smash through a gate and Ethan is on their trail after getting a call about the theft of the vehicle. Jenkins stops by to see Kate and they talk.

He accuses her of being a fanatic and Kate reveals that she knows he is really David Pilcher. The self imposed savior tells her everything in Wayward Pines is a question of safety versus freedom. Later, as Pam serves her brother a cup of tea and a piece of pie, David has Reggie picked up by security. He tells his sister that the man is a traitor and will be dealt with.

Pam volunteers herself for punishment, “Kill me,” she says and David replies that they will not do that any longer. Reggie’s penalty for treason is to be put back into the cryogenic stasis pod. Harold backs out of crashing through the gate and Ethan catches up with him. All that Burke learns from Kate’s husband is that he is too late.

Harold’s friend crashes the truck through the fence and drags Eric’s dead body out of the vehicle. Holding Eric, the man begins to laugh and says, “We made it buddy.” Suddenly several naked Nosferatu looking creatures converge on the man and Eric’s body. They attack and one of the monstrous creatures looks at the gate and roars.

Anyone watching Wayward Pines who has not read the books that the series is based on will be eagerly following each new episode and perhaps asking just what the truth really is about the little town. Other questions that need answering are: What is the significance of Plot 33 and that metal thing under the ground? Is Boise the only town so perfectly destroyed by Pilcher’s “evolution” and is the rest of the world just like the city outside the fence?

Other questions deal with the choices that Pilcher made in terms of his residents. Each one was pre-chosen, for instance he apparently hand-picked not just Ethan Burke, but Kate Hewson as well, why? Considering the “late” arrival of Theresa Burke and Ben, why did Pilcher abduct the two way back in 2014 when he could not know that Ethan would be so adamant about his family that it could be a deal breaker?

On the face of things, it appears that Toby Jones’ character is one half megalomaniac and one half mad scientist. Ethan may believe his eyes, and therefore believe David’s assertion that Wayward Pines is an ark and the only safe place in the world, but Kate’s conversation with Pilcher seems to suggest otherwise. Is this a government test of some sort; she was warned of just that possibility before waking up in the town, or is the world really in some sort of futuristic post-apocalyptic wilderness where mankind has evolved into some sort of animal.

Wayward Pines airs Thursdays on Fox. Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Shannyn Sossamon, Toby Jones, Hope Davis and Melissa Leo are working perfectly with the show’s creators to provide some quality mystery/thriller television. This is one of the network’s best shows on offer, miss it you will be missing some quality entertainment.

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.

Wayward Pines: Choices and Plot 33

Still showing Theresa and Bill Wayward Pines
In last week’s episode of Wayward Pines, The Truth, Ethan climbed “over the mountain” and discovered savage creatures and a city in ruins covered with vegetation. He also learned that Wayward Pines was an “ark” started by David Pilcher/Dr. Jenkins who rescued the escapee from abbies who were about to attack. In Choices Ethan learns about what the town really is and why he was chosen to become a resident and viewers learn about plot 33 and a faction who want to escape.

At the beginning of the episode, there is a flashback to a long-haired Pilcher wandering a destroyed city street and he passes burning cars and freshly dead people lying in the road. After the opening, Ethan is flown back to the control center that runs and maintains Wayward Pines and the 200 volunteers who live and work in the “complex.”

While Ethan goes to have his “abbie” wound treated, Theresa finds Ben sitting deep in thought. His newly gained knowledge as a member of the first generation is weighing heavily and speaking to his mother Ben reveals how much this has affected him. She tells him that “everything will be all right, I guess,” and heads off to work.

Ted, the home delivery man, drops off a package at the toy store run by Kate and Harold and asks about one that they want sent out. The two go into the back of the shop to Harold’s workshop. It seems that Pete had a package the three need and Kate angrily tells Ted that he should not be meeting them there. She tells the delivery man to look for the late McCall’s package at his workplace and Ted replies that it won’t be easy as Bill is always there and that new “cute” brunette is working there.

At the real estate office Henrietta is quitting because Bill “hired” Theresa as a agent instead of her. When Mrs. Burke follows her departing colleague out of the office to apologize, the woman warns her to be careful and mentions McCall and his belief that plot 33 is “a way out.” When Burke asks what plot 33 is, Henrietta hurriedly ends the conversation.

As Ethan gets his arm treated, he learns more about the doctor, including that she is Pilcher’s sister. Afterward, he comes across a captured abbie in the facility and learns more about how David set up the ark. It is revealed that Wayward Pines’ doctor is a recovering drug addict as well as Pilcher’s sister and that David is not as close to her as she is to him.

Flashbacks show his struggle to set up Wayward Pines and a couple of characters are met that play, or played, an important part in the town, the head teacher who was learning to be a hypnotherapist and now runs the school for the “first generation” and the former sheriff was a security guard for Pilcher’s company. Pilcher takes them both as volunteers and the sheriff’s first job is to kidnap a disgraced doctor for the new ark.

As Ethan learns more about Wayward Pines and its beginnings, Theresa looks up details about plot 33 and finds out that Bill is not a very nice boss at all. Kate stops by to talk to her former lover’s wife and the two go for coffee. A new inductee is being processed for the town, a Sara Barlow from Missouri, “she’s a teacher,” the doctor says proudly and Ethan wants to know “how many?”

Ted uses Kate’s diversion to grab McCall’s package and fends off Bill’s questions about Kate. Theresa is told by Kate that she wants them to all be friends and to be “closer.” David explains to Ethan why he was chosen to be a part of the new world. Pilcher also explains that he and the volunteers were put to cryogenic sleep for 2,000 years in order for the earth to regenerate.

It took Pilcher and his group two years to rebuild Wayward Pines after they woke up and that the perimeters were built to keep “things” out. Ethan reveals that he does not like how the leader of the ark runs things. Kate, it turns out, does not like life in the town either and she, along with Harold and a few others, are planning an escape.

Burke tells David that he needs to tell the people what is going on and that the public executions must stop. Pilcher agrees that the executions should cease but that he cannot tell the denizens of the ark the truth. Turns out he did once before, with Group A. Ethan, Theresa, Ben, Kate and many others are part of Group B. The first group broke under the strain of the knowledge and it resulted in an almost complete meltdown. As David says, “They emerged from Plato’s Cave and it blinded them.”

The ruins seen at the beginning of the episode were the remains of Wayward Pines after Group A self destructed and Pilcher reveals that the “new generation” are the real hope for humanity. Ethan recognizes that his son Ben is one of those meant to “enlighten” the town. David tells Burke that a new group means to take down the fence and Ethan vows to stop them without killing anyone.

Choices is all about the various choices made by those who opted to follow Pilcher and those who have decided not to. The disappearances that brought Ethan, Evans and Kate to Wayward Pines to investigate and then become a part of the town, were choices made by David to fill his new world with the right people. Somewhat disturbingly, it looks like Ben may be crumbling under the same information overload as did the members of Group A.

Matt Dillion brings a certain world weary gravitas to role of Ethan Burke now that he is not trying to escape and in Choices his character learns about what the town really is and why he was chosen to become a resident and viewers learn about plot 33 and a faction who want to escape. Toby Jones as the cold and distant savior of humanity is brilliant. The show continues to peel back further layers to each of the characters in Wayward Pines. Pilcher’s sister comes across as a bright eyed “Pollyanna” in the flashbacks, the teacher as an almost fierce zealot and the late Sheriff Pope was an ex-con and former drug addict as well.

There appears to be common denominator shared by the powers running the ark. Several were drug addicts, or mentally unstable, like the overly zealous teacher, or like Burke who suffered some sort of breakdown. Pilcher himself lacks the ability to really empathize with his fellow man and for all his posturing, it appears that David targeted people who were flawed to populate his oasis of mankind.

Wayward Pines airs Thursdays on Fox.