Tweetable Takeaway: Roles reverse on #WaywardPines as Ethan’s drive shifts. Tweet
Airtime: Thursdays on FOX 9/8 central.
By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor
The newest episode of WAYWARD PINES revels in the reversal of all of the character expectations and inclinations we’ve counted on so far. As we’ve come to find things are not what they seem in Wayward Pines, we also find that neither are the characters.
One of the more interesting aspects of this episode is the bookending with a view of what happened when Pilcher operated in a different manner. Ethan’s entire drive so far in the series has been to either escape or illuminate the truth of what’s going on for all to see. Now that both we and Ethan know he’s stuck in Wayward Pines his drives and viewpoints change.
The opening sequence of the episode shows a Wayward Pines in complete disarray. There are fires, dead in the street, and the breakdown of organized society. It’s a world gone amok, and in the middle of it all is a sad little Pilcher taking in all he has wrought. His character is fascinating, he does the wrong thing for all the right reasons, but there’s still something off about him and how humanity ended up where it has. I have a sneaking suspicion that not only has he saved humanity, but is also somehow responsible for the genetic mutations that stalk and kill all who venture outside of the fences. There’s a mad scientist/mad savior struggle going on within him, and it may be that only his sister Pam knows the real truth.
That’s right, we find out that Pam is Pilcher’s sister. She’s been his right hand in his plans to rejuvenate humanity from the beginning. Once a junky, she’s now one of the guides of Pilcher Technologies and its elaborate plans. Together she and David give Ethan a tour of the facilities, which includes the cryogenic chambers and everything else that goes into keeping the residents of Wayward Pines safe and alive in a world gone mad. We are witnessing an elaborate sales pitch meant to convince Ethan to join them, take over the sheriff’s office, and help save humanity.
They do a convincing job, and we see him completely reverse himself in the hopes of protecting his family and the town. He only wants to do things differently. No more public executions, and he wants to tell the residents the truth. This is where the opening scene comes back into focus. Pilcher did try it this way the first time, but chaos eventually broke out and the first attempt was a complete failure. Ethan is a member of Wayward Pines version 2.0, and one of the ways they’re trying to not recreate the failure of before, is to shield people from the truth.
Keeping the truth from the residents of Wayward Pines creates its own problems though. The feeling of imprisonment encourages residents to try and escape back to lives which they’re unaware no longer exists. It’s what drove Ethan for half of the season, and it is what secretly drives Kate, Hank, and others who we thought were securely kool-aid drinking members of the Wayward Pines way of life. The other reversal is witnessing Kate and her husband secretly building a bomb to blow up the fence and escape. She even reaches out to Theresa and tells her about a tract of land called plot 33, which has been thought to be one of the only places that residents can escape through. In fact it is one of the reasons Peter McCall was fired from his job and eventually executed.
Theresa is interested by what she hears, but her creepy and sexually inappropriate boss puts the skids on her questions with a veiled threat. When she does finally go check the lot out for herself, it’s fenced in and intriguingly empty in a town built to look quaint and well kept. You can see the fires of escapism lit behind her eyes as she contemplates getting back to her life in the outside world.
Pilcher lets Ethan know that Ben is aware of the truth, and that the plan to repopulate the Earth rests heavily on the children who are both aware of the truth and burdened with the responsibility of keeping the secret from the adults in Wayward Pines. They need Ethan to help keep the balance of knowledge and naiveté, while also working to stop the faction who’s existence Pilcher is aware of from blowing up the fence and bringing destruction down on them all. So in short, this episode reverses the course of all of the characters we’ve come to understand so far, and pits them against one another all over again but from a different angle.
- Pilcher wrote a book describing the destruction of the world but was not paid any attention to. Those who he did sway become his apostles, and helped him pull off the feat of cryogenically saving humanity in a stasis for 2,000 years. It was after this amount of time that Pilcher thought Earth would restart itself and humanity would have a chance again.
- We get to see Pilcher recruit Sheriff Pope who was a security guard at Pilcher Technologies. He becomes Pilcher’s strong arm and eventually kidnaps scientists and others who Pilcher deems he needs for his future society.
- Kate’s shift in allegiance is the hardest to fathom. I feel like she’d let Ethan know about it if she were serious about escaping. She’d need an ally with Ethan’s skill set to help the escape come off.
- We didn’t get much about Ben, but I have a feeling he may be become suicidal after the burden of his knowledge really sinks in.
- Fischer and her recruitment just reinforce for me the banality of evil that suffuses her presence in every scene. I think she’s one to really watch out for. She’s thoroughly manipulative and very creepy.
For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates. Twitter: @OfSoundnVision