Wayward Pines: Cycle

"He pulled the plug."

A good series finale means a lot more than it did in the past. Come up with a great ending, and your series could grab even more of an audience in syndication or on Netflix. Screw up the ending, and word of mouth will pretty much guarantee that your magnum opus will languish and be quickly forgotten.

Folks, I'm sad to report that they screwed up the ending.

It's not like this show was a possible classic to begin with. I decided to review the premiere because I had finished the three book series, which I didn't really like all that much. I stuck with the books, as I've mentioned before in my reviews, because I love it when a story seemingly set in the real world turns into really interesting science fiction. And I've been enjoying the TV series (or miniseries, since we're not getting a second season) more than I did the books. They hired decent actors (Carla Gugino in particular, an actress who desperately needs an excellent series written around her), made some interesting and workable changes, and condensed all three books into ten episodes to make it move.

And then they blew it. What were they thinking? Were they leaving a huge dystopian mess because they wanted something for a second season to address, with the adults all in suspension so that they could bring back only the actors that were available? I honestly don't think they were going for a philosophical statement about humanity being hopelessly stupid, evil and destructive, although the fact that we were all destined to devolve into aberrations was kind of leaning that way. Or maybe they were, and that was a mistake. I'm not a fatalist. I'm a Star Trek fan. I need a little hope in my science fiction.

I haven't talked about the actual episode yet, so I suppose I should do that.

Loved the opening shot, with the pull back from Wayward Pines to all of the monsters in the trees. (How could there be that many in the middle of nowhere? What were they living on? Each other?) I liked the use of Plot 33 as a refuge for the surviving townspeople. I liked Theresa and Kate connecting, and Ethan and Kate working as the partners they used to be. I enjoyed Pam killing David as he was going on and on to Kate about his own brilliance. The creepy Megan Fisher's death was satisfying, too, even though you had to give her credit for trying to be there for "her" kids right to the end.

It was also nice that Ben returned to sanity in time to give his father some much deserved credit before Ethan sacrificed himself to save everyone, although I wish their farewell hadn't been such a cliché. "You're my son. I love you. We're going to get through this." Hug. Even worse, the shots of the Abbies climbing the elevator shaft like spiders was supposed to be scary, but it made me snicker. It was just too unbelievable. Ethan's death didn't affect me, and since he was our lead character, it certainly should have. I almost shrugged.

The possibility of Pam and Kate partnering up to fix the mess, finding a way to create a stable society in Wayward Pines without the lies or the megalomaniac dictator, that would have worked for me. Since the producers knew there wouldn't be a second season after all, couldn't they have edited out the Ben/Amy coda completely? I never warmed to either character, and that was just the putrid icing on what really wasn't that bad a cake.

Sigh. One out of four actors with automatic weapons,

Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.


Kayne said...

The plot holes thickened.

I actually liked that last one. As bad as the penultimate was, I thought this saved the series and gave it an Outer Limits vibe.

Also, how can they monitor the Abbies movement? They got 2050+ old satellites running? *sigh*

thanks for the reviews Billie!

Leila said...

I also liked everything but the very finale. I think it went to say Pilcher's ideas really continued. If it ended with Pam and Kate finally working around a better town, it would be ok. I guess it goes to show that if you manipulate a teen to think they have power, they'll act on it. Not sure.

TJ said...

Throughout this series there have been plot holes that would fit a cheese the size of whole Switzerland. And then we got that ending, which was more of a giant black hole. I felt cheated, and that all was for nothing.

Ah well, what I've learned from this show is that I really need to re-think my rule that I have to watch 10 episodes before I decide if a show is good or not. The rule is obviously flawed.

What I will take with me from this show is your reviews, Billie. I couldn't have done it without them.

TheShadowKnows said...

When Ben first woke up and saw Amy as a nurse, I thought they were going with the old "it was all a dream he had after a car wreck" ending, which is the kind of thing I expect from M. Night and which would have made me put my foot through the TV.

So I didn't like it, but it could have been worse.

Gavrielle said...

I was surprised that after all the syrup they went with such a bleak ending. That was my favourite part! The rest of the episode was one long cliché, mixed with stupidity (the abbies could claw through steel doors yet one couldn't get through the lock held on by teeny tiny screws in the toyshop?). Not that the ending seemed particularly likely (but then none of it did). They threw away the horror of the situation (last of humanity, horrifically hostile environment) in favour of the tacked-on drama of the Hitler Youth.

Laure Mack said...

Loved every one of your reviews, Billie. Even more than the actual episodes, which probably says plenty about how I felt about this miniseries.

mazephoenix said...

I loved your reviews...not the series so much. I'm still wondering why Howard told Kate he loved her before he died..wasn't he still in love with his fiance? And don't mention Pam's aboutface from psycho nurse to savoir of the town. Loved her killing Pilcher though, and Melissa Leo was killing it acting wise..also she looked stunning with her hair loose.
Our hero died, and I didn't care. That's very sad.