Wayward Pines Season 1 Episode 10: “Cycles”
Directed by Tim Hunter
Written by Chad Hodge & The Duffer Brothers
Created by Chad Hodge
Starring Matt Dillion, Carla Gugino, Toby Jones, Shannyn Sossamon, Melissa Leo, Hope Davis, Reed Diamond, Charlie Tahan FOX
Air Date: Thursday, July 23rd, 2015, 9:00pm
The whole season has hinged on one simple question; what is Wayward Pines? The all-too-perfect small Idaho town is full of surveillance, and the occasional “reckoning” of its dissidents. It’s protected by an electrified fence which keeps its citizens trapped or secure, depending on your point of view. The truth revealed is Wayward Pines is the last vestige of humanity, and it’s actually the year 4028. Humans were mutated into Abbies (monstrous vampire looking creatures) and David Pilcher (Toby Jones) recruited followers to join his “ark,” and were kept alive through cryogenics. When Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) refuses to follow orders and execute Kate (Carla Gugino), he instead tells the whole town the truth about Pilcher, the surveillance, and the Abbies. Pilcher sees the writing on the wall for his town, and shuts down to power to everything, including the fences.
With the fences down, the Abbies come. The first half of the finale almost feel like a Resident Evil video game/movie. It’s the few townsfolk with guns vs. bloodthirsty mutants, with the rest of the town served up as a schmorsgasboard. Ethan and Kate lead the town to the mines below plot 33, which has an elevator that leads to Pilcher’s mountain base. In another area, the “1st Generation” children brainwashed by Mrs. Fisher (Hope Davis) are rallying forces and get to a different part of the “ark.”
Meanwhile Pam (Melissa Leo) tries to convince Pilcher not to go through with this plan. He is ready to move ahead with the C-group, and leave the current WP populace to die. When she voices her disapproval, he has her and the rest of his staff detained. Leo’s acting is great. She was the creepiest, and in the early episodes, the most evil force of Wayward Pines. The way her face conveys the surprise in how determined and borderline possessed her brother is, is tremendous. Her character pulled a very unexpected 180.
The final confrontation commences in Pilcher’s offices. In a Bruce-Willis-in-Armageddon moment, Ethan martyrs himself, blowing up an elevator, and taking out Abbies along the way. Kate has Pilcher at gunpoint but it’s Pam that delivers the fatal blow. It appears everything will turn out okay. Pam and Kate have an uneasy truce and everything seems to end there… but of course… it doesn’t.
Ben (Charlie Tahan), knocked unconscious during the climactic scene is awoken by Amy who now the new nurse. In a scene that mirrors the very first episode where Ethan is stirred in the hospital, Amy (Sarah Jeffery) tells him it’s been 3 years, and the adults were put back in suspension. When he stumbles outside, the town is continuing on, with statues to the deceased “savior” David Pilcher, and as the camera pans back, bodies hang from the light posts with signs reading, “DO NOT TRY TO LEAVE.”
I was ready to really like the ending. My biggest problem with TV shows of this genre, is the reliance on “the big question.” STAY TUNED next week as we answer it! The two shows I’ve most commonly compared Wayward Pines to are X-Files and LOST. Both of those shows started great, and in my opinion, got hung up on “big questions” that NEVER got answered. Wayward Pines revealed all midway through the season, and to their credit, never went back on it. Sure, I wasn’t high (I’m still not) on the whole 4028-future twist, but I admired the show for having the tenacity to stay with it. I was waiting with dread for the twist we’ve come to expect from anything with M. Night Shyamalan’s name attached. Whoops, it’s a government program… just kidding! HAHA, it was a dream… or “Got Ya! turns out Ethan’s in a mental institution the whole time!” None of that… and I was pleasantly surprised by the almost positive spin things were taking. Pilcher was dead, and Kate and Pam were going to help rebuild. And then the last two minutes threw a wrench in it. So did the 1st Generation overpower everyone there? Did they force all the adults back into suspended animation? I guess so. And that just might be a good ending… but it just felt so last minute and tacked on. Because that’s what we expect from TV shows like this; a tacked on ending that negates what we watched. It annoyed me.
I don’t know yet if a season 2 is guaranteed (M. Night Shyamalan is being coy), but I will remember this first season as a well acted, well structured sci-fi themed show that had me constantly guessing and second-guessing. I really liked the philosophical parts. The show asked good questions that resonate in modern America. What is more important: our freedoms or security? Even the characters in the show struggle with the answers to these questions. For that, I’d recommend Wayward Pines as a good binge watch on a rainy/snowy day. It is currently streaming on Hulu (free with monthly subscription) and also available for $1.99 an episode on Amazon Prime.
WAYWARD PINES | They’re Inside from “Cycle” | FOX
Ethan gets the town into elevators while the Abbies close in on them.
WAYWARD PINES | Inside WAYWARD PINES: “Cycle” | FOX
Actors Charlie Tahan, Shannyn Sossamon, and Siobhan Fallon Hogan give an inside look into the next episode of WAYWARD PINES, “Cycle.”