“Wayward Pines” Season 1 – A Classic Dystopian Exploration of Humanity With Great Characters

Wayward-Pines-Season-1

    “Wayward Pines” is a fantastic show, and I’m grateful it got renewed. This is a show that is hard to get into without spoiling sine the premise is a mystery so I’ll give you a selling point by a comparison. This show is like “X-Files” meets an episode of “Black Mirror” or “The Twilight Zone.” It really is brilliant. If the show had lesser writers or actors this concept could have fallen apart, but it stayed strong and in that it sold the premise, so in that I highly recommend it.

    The show was produced by M. Night Shyamalan (At this point this maybe the only thing he should be doing, rather than writing and directing), developed for Fox by Chad Hodge and is based on the novels of the same name by Blake Crouch.

SPOILERS ahead

     The story involves Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) seeking out his ex lover and partner Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) who has gone missing in Idaho. After investigating he crashes and wakes up in the mysterious of Wayward Pines, ID where everyone is trapped inside and must seek out of the truth of the town.

The Pros: The Premise – The premise works really great as a town that feels off and is full of secrets is such a fun concept to explore. You can do so many things with this sci. fi. concept that you can do so much with as any action taken in the town will affect everyone.

The World – The world is really cool! The world of Wayward Pines takes place far into the future after humanity has been destroyed leading to David Pilcher to wake everyone up to make his ideallic paradise of his chosen in the town of Wayward Pines…the only city that has humanity in a world overrun by Abby (Aberrations, evolved human mutants who only kill and hunt). It is a fascinating world and you can see how it shapes the people in it.

Wayward Pines – The town is Pilcher’s paradise that he is willing to destroy if it won’t let him control it. We see this in the executions for lawbreakers, the fact that there was another Group before who Pilcher may have destroyed (or who might have destroyed themselves). It is really cool as you have a small group that is living Pilcher’s experiment.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part and what really drive the story. I cared about what happened to them and that is what kept me in the story outside of the unique concept.

Arlene Moran – Moran is the receptionist at the police station and shows how courageous she is on multiple occasions. She is also the nosy member of the town and very loyal, giving her an interesting dynamic to everyone else. I really liked her character.

Harold Ballinger – Ballinger is Burke’s husband and is a stand up guy. We see he’s been fighting David as part of the resistance but is willing to see the truth to what is outside the town, though in the end he doesn’t live as the Pilcher mentality is instilled in the First Generation and a few of them kill him when Ethan Burke is holding them in the prison.

Arnold Pope – Terrance Howard plays a character who manages to be both threatening and empathic as we see he was someone who was a straight A student but was stuck as security guard until David Pilcher offered him an out. He became powerful as the sheriff of Wayward Pines and his loss of control with the arrival of Ethan Burke turns him into an even bigger tyrant as we see him full of regret as he kidnaps people that David Pilcher wanted to live at the end of the world in Wayward Pines. He is killed by Abbys when he tries to stop the Burkes.

Megan Fisher – Fisher is a hypnotherapist who is a true believer in David Pilcher, and in the end she wins. The First Generation survives and she manages to nearly wipe out all those in the generation who rebelled when she lets the Abbys in. She is someone whose perspective you can get (means justify the end) and her way of acting with manipulative empathy makes her compelling. Hope Davis did a great job.

Theresa Burke – Theresa like Ethan is on the path to find the truth and in the end sees that there can only be peace if they hold together. It is when Pam Pilcher reaches out to her that she discovers the truth and she takes it pretty well finding it on her own versus her thinking the town got to Ethan when he first tells her what happened. I liked her character.

Kate Hewson – Kate is Ethan’s ex-partner and former lover and is a great character who we see leading the rebelling against David Pilcher. This gives her power at the end as when she sees the truth she stands with the town together against annihilation. She stays empathetic throughout it and that seeing that her lack of information had made her so driven and willing to kill to free the town or escape. Garla Gugino is good in this role.

Ethan Burke – Matt Dillon is the agent who drives the story as he manages to stop the Sheriff from killing him and his family (and becomes Sheriff in the process), survives for a long time outside the town and discovers that the world is dead, and stops the rebellion and brokers a peace leading to David Pilcher’s attempt to destroy Group B. In the end he dies for the town, completing his arc as the man who didn’t want to be there in the first place.

Pam Pilcher – Pam is shown to be the villain at the beginning as she is the one calling for the killings for those who disobey and is always threatening Ethan. It isn’t until she sees how over the top her brother is getting that she allies with the Burkes and gets the town the truth. In the end she pays the price too as she has to kill David to stop him.

David Pilcher – Toby Jones is amazing! In this he plays the creator of Wayward Pines and we see how in the end was right about humanity and the fact that humanity would kill itself off. This makes him compelling as you see a man who generally cares about his group if only for his ego and it is only when his paranoia wins out with loss of control that he goes full villain. What a fantastic character.

The Nature of Humanity – The nature of humanity is a core part of the show. In it shows how too much information can cause people to destroy themselves (Group A) but also the danger of fascism and group think in the executions and David Pilcher willingness to execute Group B.

The Ending – The ending is really cool! There is the final fight against the Abbys while getting the survivors of Wayward Pines to safety while dealing with the threat of David Pilcher. At this point his sister Pam has turned against David, so it is great seeing her finally make the choice to shoot him as well as Ethan’s final sacrifice for his family.

Okay: The First Generation – The First Generation is the group of kids Megan Fisher their teacher is indoctrinating to follow the ideals of David Pilcher…they are his brown coat fascists…which makes them interesting but none of them have any depth, not even the Burke’s son. He’s okay but he is just there to show openness to accepting the ideas of David Pilcher and to later carry on his Parents’ ideas next season.

  The only real cons are the child actors, but they aren’t bad…I just didn’t care about them all that much. The adult actors added so much more empathy to their roles and their history to Earth’s past made their present situation in the future all the more powerful. The Ending is powerful too as David Pilcher is a hero even though he tried to kill everyone, and David Burke is hung in effigy even though he saved the town. It was powerful in that it showed no matter how much work human’s need for authority still stayed and the hero worship David Pilcher had instilled lived on. I can’t wait to see Season 2 to see the forms of resistance in the new Wayward Pines.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

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