Wayward Pines promised us a big reveal in the middle of the series and we got it in “The Truth.” The members of the Burke family are each on their own, discovering truths about the community of Wayward Pines. They were some fairly shocking truths, though maybe not on the scale of “it’s worse than you can possibly imagine.” But perhaps we just have very vivid imaginations—at least that’s what our mom told us. Wayward Pines may be calling this episode “The Truth,” but we think it’s more like “The Half-Truth.”
Perhaps if the Burkes ever reconvene as a family again and learn to talk openly with each other, they could piece together more about “The Truth” of Wayward Pines. Now that Ben has decided to ditch his mom so he can walk to Brainwashing School with his First-Generation galpal Amy, there’s no time for family bonding. Dad Ethan can’t call a family meeting since abandoning his wife and son to climb the highest mountain in Wayward Pines and make creepy new friends. Mom Theresa is so focused on being a career woman she doesn’t even seem to care that Ben is hanging out in the woods with Amy until all hours of the night, listening to loudspeaker concerts and hugging. Since Ben’s parents are more focused on solving the mystery of Wayward Pines than ensuring their son’s safety, it’s good he can turn to his fanatical teacher Mrs. Fisher. You know what they say—it’s important for kids to have a relationship with at least one caring adult.
The Burkes Make New Friends
Ethan Burke is moving cautiously as he makes he way through the woods at the top of the mountain he climbed the night before. Something rushes past him and Ethan starts shooting wildly. We were wondering if he was still wearing his tracker, but who needs a tracking device when you can just follow the sound of gunshots. Ethan ends up with a big scratch on his arm as creatures he can barely see continue to zoom past him. All in all, a scratch doesn’t seem that bad of a wound in such a situation.
Ben and Amy awkwardly make plans to walk to school the next day after their evening in the woods. When Ben returns home his mom tells him that his dad is out trying to close his case so they can return to Seattle. Ben says, “Great,” as though he wants to leave Wayward Pines, but we know the indoctrination has already begun. This particular brainwashing begins with hugs in the woods, but ends somebody getting their throat cut in the town square. Theresa is surprisingly unconcerned that her son is hanging out late at night in Wayward Pines with a girl he just met. Sure, two people were murdered in the last couple days, but then again, one of them was murdered by her husband. At least she is insisting she walk him back and forth to school.
Theresa: “I’m just telling you that we don’t really know what this town is about yet and that maybe we should be extra careful ’cause we also don’t know who our real friends are yet, okay?”
Ben: “Yeah, you’re right. Who would ever want to be friends with a loser like me, right?”
Theresa: “Ben. Ben, I did not mean that.”
Ben: “You and Dad told me that I should fit in. Maybe that’s weird for you, but I am. What are you doing? You’re just sitting around the house, hoping that things will magically get better, but they never do.”
Ben’s whiny teenage tirade motivates Theresa to go in to her new job. We can’t blame her. Who wants their identity centered on being that kid’s mom?
Ben doesn’t know why everyone’s being so nice to him. Us either. Was that mean? We normally love awkward, unpopular teens, but Ben seems more whiner than wallflower. Ben is called for something called “orientation.” Amy wishes him good luck. We think he may need it.
Theresa has started her real estate job, giving her an opportunity ask questions that her boss doesn’t want to answer. Theresa’s boss, Bill, refers to her as his “number two,” putting her slightly below Commander Riker status. He sends her out to give new Wayward Pines resident Wayne a house so she can earn her gold star. This is no Glengarry Glen Ross. Free houses, passionate teachers, friendly kids, and a low crime rate—we might move to Wayward Pines!
Mrs. Fisher is being very dramatic in orientation, telling Ben and the other two students at orientation that they have the honor of being chosen to become part of the “First Generation” of Wayward Pines. She tells them only the truly exceptional are chosen, and that during orientation they will learn the truth. Hey, we want to learn the truth too, though we’re more TNG than TFG.
Theresa goes to the hospital to meet her new client, Wayne. Wayne has recently been in an accident, as seems to be the norm in Wayward Pines. He tells her that he wants to be alone. When Theresa asks if he needs a nurse, Wayne responds, “No, not … not her.” Poor Nurse Pam—so misunderstood. It turns out Wayne has seen something awful—that something was done to him after the accident, and Nurse Pam was there. Theresa warns Wayne that it’s not safe to talk there just as Nurse Pam sneaks up behind them. She tells Theresa, “Oh, of course. You got Peter’s job. Congratulations. I certainly hope you do better than poor Peter. Of course, I knew he’d never make it. Far too much of a freethinker.” Maybe Nurse Pam isn’t misunderstood after all.
The Burkes Learn the Truth, or Something Like it
At orientation Ben learns that the creatures he saw from outside of the wall were what Mrs. Fisher calls “Abbies,” which is short for abberations:
“They are the result of a series of genetic mutations, or aberrations. They evolved in a harsh environment and are now the singlemost efficient carnivores on the planet. In the food chain, nothing else comes close, not even us. On its own, an Abby can kill and devour an armed soldier in a matter of minutes. Isolated, it is possible, albeit unlikely, to overcome an Abby, but they always travel in herds. And if you come across a herd, survival is, quite simply, impossible. Note the bird-like talons, capable of killing prey in a single stroke. Their ears have an extended range of hearing, allowing them to pick up on the subtlest of sounds. Their sense of smell is also heightened, 100 times stronger than our own.”
Abbies evolved from humans, and their DNA is only a half a percent different from the people of Wayward Pines.
As Ben listens to Mrs. Fisher’s melodramatic lecture on Abbies, his dad Ethan is getting a first-hand lesson about these creatures up on the mountain. Hidden beneath a log, Ethan watches a group of Abbies eat a dead deer. They seem to have no idea he’s there watching them—so much for their great sense of smell and hearing.
Ben and his orientation classmates are given old-looking coins that turn out to be from a civilization that died out 2,000 years earlier. Mrs. Fisher tells them that it’s not 2014, but, 4028! Whoa! No way, dude!
Theresa has taken her client Wayne to his new house so she can get some quiet time to talk as the washing machine runs. These people seem delusional about what noises will prevent their conversations from being heard—a kettle whistle, music box, and now the washing machine–those must be the worst microphones ever. Wayne tells Theresa that he remembers looking out a small glass window, where he could see Nurse Pam and others walking around amongst chambers filled with people.
While Theresa learns this bit of information from Wayne, Ben is being told, “After your accidents, you were all placed into Hibernation Chambers, and there you slept. And as soon as you awoke, you became part of—,” and the three students chime in, “The First Generation.” That was the fastest brainwashing we have ever seen. Mrs. Fisher didn’t even ask them how many lights they saw (“There are four lights!”).
One of Us!
Ben and the other students learn that Wayward Pines was created as an ark to save the human race by a scientist named David Pilcher. She tells them, “Unfortunately, you will never meet David Pilcher, but you can take comfort in the fact that he is always watching over you. He will never allow anything to happen to you, because you are the future. You are the First Generation, and he is your protector.”
This news that David Pilcher is always watching doesn’t seem comforting at all. Even more disturbing, Mrs. Fisher tells the three students that they can’t tell their parents the truth: “You do not tell any adults for one simple reason. The future of this great town lies not with the adults … but with you.” Mrs. Fisher uses a story about a family committing suicide after their son told them the truth to explain why the kids can’t tell their parents. It’s all pretty unbelievable that this would be all it would take for kids to keep this secret from their parents. She explains that “this ark will only survive if we all follow the rules.” Ben and the other two students join in an initiation ceremony wherein they officially become part of the First Generation (“one of us, one of us”). We wonder if they have a secret handshake too.
Theresa has her own welcome party when she receives a gold star from real estate tycoon Bill. Theresa learns that a couple new arrivals come to Wayward Pines every month. When she asks if they always arrive after being in a car accident, Bill recommends she stop thinking so hard, lest something happen to her pretty little face. It appears that a gold star doesn’t open every door in Wayward Pines.
While his son’s indoctrination occurs, Ethan has found he way out of the woods. He looks upon what appears to be the deserted and destroyed landscape of what was once Boise. A helicopter lands in front of Ethan, and Dr. Jenkins gets out, telling Ethan that no one has ever made it this far on their own. He introduces himself as David Pilcher.
Ethan: “What is this? Some kind of an experiment? That’s not Boise, okay? I know Boise.”
Dr. Jenkins/David Pilcher: “Your mind is lashing out, Ethan. It doesn’t want to accept the truth, but trust your own eyes, everything you’ve seen today. There’s nothing for you out here. The world you know is gone. And our species has evolved into something less than human. All that is left of civilization, all that remains is … Wayward Pines.”
Ethan: “What do you want from me?”
Dr. Jenkins/David Pilcher: “I want you to come with me. And I’ll show you how together, we can change things for the better. [Abbies screech in the distance] Or if you prefer, you can discover for yourself what is out here. It’s your choice, Ethan.”
Whether it’s motivated by the terrifying screams of the Abbies or a desire to learn what Wayward Pines really is, Ethan eventually gets in the helicopter. He finds kooky Nurse Pam inside, who says, “Looks like you could use a nurse.”
We can always use a little Nurse Pam, as she remains the best thing about Wayward Pines. We now know more about Wayward Pines, having been given some version of ‘The Truth,” yet we have lots more questions. Luckily we have five more episodes to get the whole truth.