Dear Fellow Wayward Pines Viewers —
You’re still watching Wayward Pines, huh? Yeah, me too. What are we even doing? What is it about this show that we can’t seem to let go? Why do we keep watching? Why do we let this show continue to string us along?
Remember those first four or five episodes in the first season? Those were good times, and we couldn’t believe it because Wayward Pines was produced by M. Night Shyamalan. We had no idea what was going on, and it was fun. This guy played by Matt Dillon woke up in a small town that he couldn’t escape. For some reason, his old partner (played by Carla Gugino) had been there for eight years, although Dillon’s character — who had been sleeping with Gugino’s character — had seen her only a few weeks before, and here she was, eight years older. None of it made sense! And we were dying to find out the twist.
Then they revealed the twist, and it was a satisfying one: The citizens of Wayward Pines had been cryogenically frozen, only to be brought back to life, one-by-one, 2,000 years into the future. The entire rest of the word had evolved into monsters (called Aberrations, or Abbies), and the people in this walled-off community of Wayward Pines were the last human survivors, meant to repopulate the Earth.
That twist came midway through the first season. The show hasn’t been good since. There were no more decent twists in the first season — it became a fairly conventional war between the good guys and the bad guys within Wayward Pines. Some of the good guys died, and some of the bad guys died. A new generation of kids took over, and the show reset. Blergh.
Nine episodes and a year since that twist, and we’re still here, waiting for another exciting reveal like the one in the first season. It’s a lot like how we continued to watch Shyamalan movies hoping that he’d deliver another Sixth Sense or Unbreakable. We’re basically watching The Happening now. My guess is that the rest of season two will play out more like The Last Airbender or After Earth than Shyamalan’s most recent film, the excellent little horror flick The Visit.
But you never know, right? There could be a The Visit waiting at the end!
Season two of Wayward Pines feels a little like watching a The Walking Dead spin-off set in Woodbury. It’s a peaceful community, but to maintain the peace, the leaders have to be fascists psychopaths, so no one really enjoys their tranquil lives working in candy stores and barber shops. There are walkers/Abbies outside the city, but the wall is so secure that they’re not much of a threat. We keep waiting for something else to happen, but the problem is, there are no other communities outside Wayward Pines with whom to start wars. All the warring is internal, and none of the characters within the walls are particularly interesting. There isn’t anyone to root for, and if there were, what would winning even mean? Assume that Jason Patric’s doctor character this season manages to overthrow the douchey kid that’s running the place? What then? The 11-year-olds won’t have to breed anymore, but otherwise, everyone continues working in candy stores and barber shops, because there’s nothing else to do in Wayward Pines.
Yet, here we are, continuing to watch. Why? Because each week, in the midst of 40 minutes of constipated dialogue delivered with all the enthusiasm of bored teenagers, the show manages to tease out an interesting possibility. Granted, these interesting possibilities never amount to anything, but they might, right? The latest came in this week’s episode when Adam Hassler — a character from the first season sent outside the walls of Wayward Pines to discover if there was any civilization remaining — returned and delivered the one interesting line in the entire episode: ““[The Abbies are] not our enemies. They’re replacements.”
What does that mean? How are these troglodytic monsters meant to be replacements for the humans of Wayward Pines? I have no idea, but I’m just barely curious enough to persevere for another episode in the hopes that there’s another brilliant twist waiting for us right around the corner. Disappointment is inevitable, but we will bravely march on knowing that the end of season two will probably bring yet another reset, and we’ll have to start the storyline all over again. It’s like a never-ending Groundhog Day, if Groundhog Dog was populated with dreary, humorless characters who continue to make the same mistakes in slightly different ways until Fox eventually cancels it.