This Wayward Pines post is written from the point of view of someone who has not read the books the series is based on. As such, spoilers are strictly forbidden. Any spoilers in comments will be deleted on sight. Remember: Discussions of things that were different in the books or confirmations of things that won’t happen count as spoilers, too. Have you read the books and want to discuss what’s coming? That’s what our Spoiler Space is for.
It must be incredibly difficult, trying to be an honest man in a world where the truth doesn’t set people free, but instead potentially dooms them. We’re so ingrained to believe that revealing the truth is ultimately a good thing, but in the world of Wayward Pines, it destroys everything. Group A was told the truth, and it drove them into despair and death, collapsing David Pilcher’s precarious future world around him. Now Ethan Burke is burdened by the knowledge of what lies outside the wall, and he doesn’t know how to deal with that information. He refuses to lie to people—or at least to Theresa and Kate, the ones he cares about—but he also feels the weight of Pilcher’s warning. With “Tell no one what you saw and heard” still ringing in his ears as he returns home, Ethan does his best to work around it, telling both women the truth about when and where they are. But it’s all for naught: They’re convinced Ethan has been brainwashed, or worse, and the drive to escape is greater than ever.
And then Ben Burke is caught in a bomb blast, and it all goes to hell.
This week’s episode overcame some clumsy dialogue and weird character choices by delivering an astounding final act, a literal race against time that ends in failure when Amy finds the music box bomb and opens it, triggering the explosion. The resistance has more people than Kate let on; a group of them shove a garbage bin in front of Ethan’s vehicle as he attempts to catch Ted. The people of Wayward Pines are even more desperate than we thought, resorting to open rebellion against the town’s authority figure when he tries to stop Kate’s backup plan from succeeding. Ethan only had one desire: keep people safe and alive. We’re not sure if Ben is alive or dead, but the safety of the entire community is on life support.
Still, the seeming death of Ben was only the second-most uncomfortable scene this week, as Mrs. F has her class open their textbooks to page 17, and proceeds to remind Wayward Pines’ teens that their most important mission is procreation. In a situation that literally resulted in my episode notes containing the phrase “Oh GOD this is so awkward,” Mrs. F had Ben and Amy stand in front of the class as she reminded everyone of their purpose: creating new life. It’s easy to see why she embraced letting the kids laugh; it’s a deeply uncomfortable thing to tell young people to their faces, no matter how many bee/flower analogies you use. Amy, however, is all for it, and seizes the lesson as an impetus for getting Ben alone, leading to that fateful truck tryst. That final kiss the two of them shared just before the bomb went off made it all the more tragic. Mrs. F warned her kids the parents in town don’t understand. No wonder she doesn’t want Theresa coming anywhere near her classroom.
At least Amy and Ben’s choices were unintentionally bad. Theresa can’t seem to get a handle on the fact that Big Bill doesn’t want her going anywhere near Lot 33, regardless of any hollow spaces she may suspect lie underneath. Similarly, Harold makes an ill-advised run for it when Ethan confronts him about the bomb in Ethan’s truck. Where does he think he’s going to run? Sure, it’s probably a panicky fight-or-flight response, but it’s no worse than trusting Ted, a man with no compunctions about killing people who get in the way of his escape plan. (Speaking of which, it felt nonsensical to have Ted plant the bomb before Ethan had even done anything to try and stop the resistance. As far as he knew, Ethan’s last talk with Kate indicated he was an ally.)
But those quibbles are offset by the pent-up frustrations and frantic stress of the resistance this week, as we’re given scenes of their formation—their fears, hopes, and the interminable sense of helplessness that led to these choices. Kate and Harold’s trip to Pam’s fertility consult is a good reminder of just how menacing Wayward Pines comes across to its residents. They’ve lived this way for years, and the anxiety of the situation is pushing them into action. Kate’s refusal to believe Ethan makes sense—it’s the year 4028? Give me a break—and the implacable desire to be free lends everything the weight of Greek tragedy. It’s far more believable that the people who run this panopticon have brainwashed Ethan, and so Kate presses ahead, certain that whatever is outside can’t be worse than the town that keeps them prisoner. The Reckonings certainly haven’t given them any reason to reconsider. As Ted reminds Harold when he argues that they aren’t murders, “Why not? They murder.” It’s not wrong when it’s in self-defense.
It’s frustrating, seeing Ethan tap-dance between the truth and the desire to simply keep everyone safe. Kate and Theresa’s conversation suggests that Ethan said more—much more—than we were shown, but every sentence he uttered just confirmed their suspicions that someone has gotten to Ethan Burke. The true crime, in their eyes, isn’t Kate’s betrayal of Ethan. It’s Ethan’s betrayal of them. But Ethan didn’t plant that bomb, and when it went off, it blew up more than just a truck and the Burkes’ son. It blew up the fragile community surrounding it. Wayward Pines is embroiled in a full-on civil war, and its most visible authority figure may have just lost his only child. That doesn’t augur well.
- “There are rules and then there are rules.” Given that Amy specifically sought out her approval, something tells me Mrs. F is going to have words for the resistance.
- Petty criticism corner: Hassler left Kate a message telling her this was all a government experiment, and warned her she might be tested by another agent—and she seriously thinks Ethan is that agent? 12 years later, when all hope is lost, to the point that she’s setting off bombs? Get it together, Kate.
- However, that suggests to me Hassler may yet turn up in Wayward Pines. Someone who records messages supporting Pilcher’s plan almost certainly wants in himself.
- Franklin couldn’t run away from his meeting with Ethan fast enough. Way to play it cool, Franklin. (Then again, he also disarmed his bomb, so he did at least one thing right this week.)
- Theory Corner: There’s even more to Pam than we know. Seeing her interactions with her brother convinced me she’s playing a different game. She almost treated him like a child, nurturing and patronizing, as though he were another patient in her hospital. What is she hiding? (Plus, I’m starting to think I may have to cut the cord on my clone theory, but let’s stick it out a little longer.)
- “It’s not gonna stop. It’s just begun.”