by Billie Doux
Tense, engrossing and well-constructed episode. Considering that it was also a great big exposition dump, that's impressive.
Room One, orientation. Scary white room, like other frightening white rooms in other movies and shows: I thought of 2001, Angel, Lost and La Femme Nikita and I wasn't even trying. But no drugs, no Clockwork Orange brainwashing. Megan Fisher simply and effectively told the three kids the truth about Wayward Pines.
Fisher also told them not to tell their parents, because adults kill themselves when confronted with the truth. Really? All of them? Has it happened more than once? I thought the ceremony with the candles at the end of Orientation was particularly creepy. Good work there. Very Children of the Damned.
Ben Burke is the classic high school geek, unpopular and unhappy, but now he's wound up in a school where he might fit in with the other Hitler Youth, where he is valued as one of the "first generation of Wayward Pines". He even has a possible new girlfriend. Did they win Ben over? Will he even try to tell his parents?
As Ben was learning the truth about the end of the world, the human Aberrations and the year 4028 from Megan Fisher, Ethan was dodging Aberrations and discovering it all for himself as a physical reality. Nice writing there. We knew someone was in charge, and watching everything going on in town. Now we know who. It was Dr. Jenkins, a.k.a. David Pilcher, the one who created the Ark that is Wayward Pines.
Of course, the big question is why are there "Rules"? What's with the executions? If these are the only "real" humans left on earth, there just doesn't seem to be a good enough reason for oppressing and executing them. And let's leave aside how illogical it would be for humans to devolve into super quick taloned land sharks in a couple of thousand years, because that's really the toughest thing about the story to swallow. If this is human destiny, what will keep the humans in Wayward Pines from eventually devolving again?
Meanwhile back in town, Theresa has already been thrown into the other side of the free real estate scenario, but it didn't stop her from continuing to search for the truth. (I imagine Ethan will find some way to tell her, though, if Ben doesn't.) While she was perusing files much like Ethan did, visiting Wayne Johnson in the hospital and showing him through his new house, I kept thinking that Wayne had to be a plant, there to find out if Theresa was ready to play the game. Probably not, though, since Wayne appeared to be confused as he experienced an orientation of his own.
During the washing machine scene, Wayne told Theresa that he was awake momentarily and saw many people standing in capsules with glass openings, like the washer. Theresa also learned from Big Bill, her new boss and a walking sexual harassment video, that the realtors get a couple of new clients a month. There must still be people in suspended animation, woken periodically and dropped into Wayward Pines. How many?
This TV Line interview reveals that the "first generation" thing wasn't in the books at all, plus that the ten episodes span all three books in the series. I think that's pretty cool. The three books were just not that strong and using them as a possible jumping point for a second season works for me.
Speaking of the books, if you haven't read them, comments on this review are free of book spoilers. If you've read the books and want to include book spoilers in your comment, please post it here on the Wayward Pines book series spoiler thread.
Bits and pieces:
-- I particularly loved Megan wheeling out the squeaky cart with the projector. And the ancient quarter from 2095 was a nice touch.
-- They went a little nuts with the heavy, dramatic music, but it only distracted me for a moment. It did fit the episode.
-- Big Bill: "You thank your husband for killing Petey." Bloodthirsty much? Does whatever they used for suspended animation make some people psychos? Like Nurse Pam?
-- The next episode airs on June 25, in two weeks.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from a miniseries based on three books that I had found only mildly diverting. It has turned out to be better than I expected. Four out of four really old quarters,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.