Spoilers for both the TV series and the book trilogy. Begone, if you don’t want to know how the series possibly ends.
Believe it or not, the highest-rated scripted show of this summer is Fox’s Wayward Pines, produced by M. Night Shyamalan. In fact, it’s narrowly beating even True Detective in the 18-49 demo.
However, while the series initially managed to maintain some intrigue after the huge twist was revealed midway through the 10-episode season, it’s fallen into a muck of stilted acting, trite writing, and predictable outcomes (the acting and writing were always a problem, but the unpredictability of the first half of the season carried us through). The mystery is gone, and Wayward Pines now seems to be careening toward a predictable, almost formulaic outcome.
Or is it?
You see, there’s a twist in the final book of author Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy, and — in my opinion, anyway — it’s not a good one. However, that “twist” does leave open the possibility for more story to tell, and though it’s the end point for Crouch’s trilogy, because of the ratings, Fox has been ruminating on a second season of what was initially considered a one-off limited series.
So, what’s the twist?
Before I address it, let me just say that I don’t think that the TV series will choose the same ending as the novels. Shyamalan is already reviled by so many people that trailers for his films are routinely booed in movie theaters, and even his most recent one was LAUGHED at over the weekend at Comic-Con.
Uproarious laughter in Hall H for latest M. Night Shyamalan trailer. Not. Uh. In a nice way.
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) July 9, 2015
Even though Shyamalan is not the writer of Wayward Pines, I don’t think he risks inflicting more damage on his already tarnished reputation with this twist. But I could be wrong.
So, what is it?
If you’ve been watching the series, you saw last night that things finally came to a head between Dr. Pilcher (Toby Jones) and Ethan (Matt Dillon) in Wayward Pines. Ethan feigned to Pilcher that he was going to reckon (murder) Kate (Carla Gugino) and convinced Pilcher to assemble the entire town for the reckoning. However, instead of killing Kate, Ethan used that opportunity to blow the whistle on Pilcher and reveal the town’s secret to EVERYONE (it was actually better in the book, because Ethan subdued an abbie and brought it to the reckoning to provide proof).
In turn, Dr. Pilcher turned off all the lights, shut down the town’s grid, and let the abbies into the fence. Next week’s episode encompasses all of the final book, where Ethan and the townspeople fight off the Abbies.
Here’s roughly how that goes down: In the book, the abbies kill many of the townspeople in the showdown, but Ethan and about 250 others manage force them back outside and get the fence working again. The survivors, in turn, exile Pilcher outside of the gate, which is as good as killing him. Game over, townspeople win. Sort of.
But here’s the twist: In the year 4028, they realize that the winters are longer, and as a result, the food supply is running short. They only have enough food to get through a few more years. So, what do they do? Do they leave Wayward Pines and take their chances foraging for food outside the fence?
No. They do not.
They go back into a cryogenic sleep.
Here’s the final line in the book:
“Seventy thousand years later, Ethan Burke’s eyes slammed open.”
Is that where season two picks up? In the year 74028? There are suggestions that season two could return with an all new cast, so maybe not? Maybe season two will simply see another version of Wayward Pines somewhere else in the world. Or maybe it will never come to fruition.
I have a feeling that — despite high ratings — Fox is waiting to see how fans react to the finale before pulling the trigger on a second season.