In the Wayward Pines episode “Choices” we move forward after having learned the truth. The Burke family members each continue on with their own paths, seemingly disconnected from each other. Ben continues his brainwashing lessons, Ethan gets a personalized behind-the-scenes tour of Wayward Pines, and Theresa gets to know the town of Wayward Pines better.
According to the lessons provided to the Wayward Pines “First Generation,” the year is 4028 and most of humanity has been destroyed. The humans are dead, pretty much, but instead of being replaced by robots, they have evolved into aberrations. These killer creatures have been given the adorable nickname “Abbies” by those in the know. Ben Burke has become one of those in the know, sworn to secrecy by his new FirstGen fraternity brahs. Now as well as suffering normal teenage angst, Ben is experiencing the horror of knowing that life as they know it is over. He might even be conflicted about lying to his parents. Dudes, secrets are bad!
While his son got an academic lesson, Ethan Burke learned first-hand about the Abbies and humanity’s destruction. Ethan also learned that Dr. Jenkins’ true identity is David Pilcher, founder of Wayward Pines. Now we don’t know what to call him. Dr. Jenkins sounds so much more menacing than David Pilcher. Ethan gets the grand tour of the Kingdom Under the Mountain and Dr. David Pilcher Jenkins asks for his help to keep the townsfolk in check.
Career woman Theresa Burke is becoming a Wayward Pines mover and shaker—organizing, checking out potential properties, and having coffee with other Wayward Pines businesswomen. Though Theresa may still be in the dark about the end of humanity, she does know something is up after her first client told her he woke up in a pod. She continues her own investigation, asking questions about an undeveloped lot, much to the annoyance of her boss Bill.
“Choices” gives us a lot of exposition – a lot. Sure, we understand that they’re only making 10 episodes and it’s based on a trilogy, but the mountain tour was an awful lot of backstory. The biggest news for viewers is that there’s an insurgency going on within Wayward Pines. And this is a secret insurgency, not the kind where the Burkes blatantly ask questions out in the open in a way that make everyone feel anxious.
Welcome to the Real Wayward Pines
David Pilcher (Dr. Jenkins to the uninitiated) and his sidekick Nurse Pam bring Ethan Burke to their mountain hideout. It’s reminiscent of Cheyenne Mountain Complex and we wonder if they’re using a Stargate to get all their goods delivered. The Wayward Pines HQ has over 200 volunteers who live, work, eat, and sleep at the complex in order to manage the town. It’s takes a big crew to deceive a whole town.
Theresa realizes that something is up with Ben, and they have a conversation about the meaning of life—at least Ben does. Theresa tells him, “Everything’s going to be all right. It’s fine. You just need to eat something.” Worst mothering ever.
Ted the Wayward Pines deliveryman comes by the toy store to “pick up a package” from Kate Hewson and her husband Harold Ballinger. And by “pick up a package” we mean talk about their secret revolutionary activities. Ted can’t find an important package needed for their work, one that the recently deceased Peter McCall had been holding. They figure it must be at his office, which has recently come to be occupied by Theresa Burke.
Distressed realtor assistant Henrietta comes in to the office to tell Bill she’s quitting. She’s pretty annoyed at being passed over for promotion to agent after eight years as an assistant. Theresa follows her outside to make some kind of apology, telling her she never wanted her job but she didn’t have a choice. Theresa tells Henrietta she just wants to get home to Seattle and begins talk about the client who saw unusual things. If you have to turn on the washing machine to have a secret conversation, maybe don’t tell Henrietta, whom you just met, about it. Thankfully, Henrietta stops her before she can go further:
“Theresa … I get you. Okay? Hell, I should. I used to be you. But whatever you think you’re doing, I promise you, it’s going nowhere good. Look what they did to Peter. They killed him and not just ’cause of some graffiti. I don’t believe that horse manure for a second. Because he was looking where he wasn’t supposed to. Peter McCall thought Plot 33 was a way out.”
Making New Friends
As she cleans the wound he got from the Abbies, Nurse Pam tells Ethan there’s purpose to everything that’s happened: “Ever since you came here … you’ve been trying to … save yourself … save your wife … save your beautiful son … and that’s quite commendable. Wayward Pines is bigger than you. It’s bigger than them. It’s bigger than any one of us.” He still seems pretty suspicious of her, and so are we. Ethan learns that Nurse Pam is David Pilcher’s sister, making her seem that much more suspect.
Ethan stumbles upon one of the captured Abbies being held in a lab (that can’t be good). David Pilcher describes them as “distant cousins.” David explains that in the 1990s, a small but significant mutation in human DNA was identified. Humans were adapting genetically in response to the environmental changes being wrought upon the earth. David tried to warn people, but they wouldn’t listen and he didn’t have enough time.
“I couldn’t protect the entire world. But I could protect a select few. I wrote a book. I redirected profits from my companies into research and development of cryonics. If this was to be our future, then I had to find some way to avoid it. I had to save some of us.”
Theresa is organizing her desk. Despite her telling Henrietta she didn’t even want the realtor job, she seems to be settling in. She starts looking at some surveyor maps and Bill doesn’t like it. Theresa asks Bill about Plot 33. Theresa’s surprised that Plot 33 is not developed yet, since it’s a prime residential area. Why would she be surprised about anything in Wayward Pines? And more importantly, why would she expose herself to Bill, who clearly doesn’t want her snooping around, after being warned by Henrietta? Theresa’s Secret Service training seems to make her just as obtuse as Ethan, even if she never became an agent. The tension at the office is interrupted by the tension of Kate Hewson arriving to talk with Theresa.
David is doing the villain exposition thing (we’re supposed to think he’s a villain, right?). He explains that people began to notice what they were doing not because of the funding, but because of all the disappearances. They arrive in the mountain ICU, where a cryogenically frozen victim is in the process of being revived. Ethan asks how many there are, and David looks up at him. Perhaps David has piqued Ethan’s interest by playing to his protective nature.
Back in the town of Wayward Pines, Kate and Theresa have a tension-filled coffee together. Kate tells Theresa that she and Harold have been thinking of getting a new house, but Theresa doesn’t fall for it. The waitress comes over and says she didn’t realize they were friends, but when Kate says they’ve known each other for a long time, the waitress says that their being friends makes sense since she’s seen Kate talking to Ethan. Awkward.
Meanwhile, deliveryman Ted has brought a package for Theresa, who is still busy having coffee with her galpal Kate. Theresa’s boss Bill is his rude self, making comments about Ted spending a lot of time with Kate, either implying an affair or some other kind of subterfuge. Ted offers to put the package on Theresa’s desk, managing to snag the package lying on the side table. We didn’t expect that. We suddenly find this new Ted character very interesting.
Kate stares out the window at Ted as he walks down the street with the package that must have formerly belonged to failed revolutionary and realtor Peter McCall. When Theresa asks her what she wants, Kate tells her she has come to make amends, sort of:
“It’s taken me a long time, but I realized I’m here in this moment in this town because of choices that have been made. Some of those were made by others, but a lot of those choices, they were my own. And looking back there are so many better choices I could have made. But then I realized I’m here now, and all I can do now is make new choices. So I’ve decided I don’t want to keep pretending that everything is okay; I want to make things better. That’s why I’m here talking to you. I just I hope I’m not too late because now … now, more than ever, we all need to be friends.”
Despite her own agent training, Theresa is oblivious that Kate is up to something. Kate may genuinely want to reach out to Theresa, perhaps make her part of the insurgency crew, but her main purpose seems to be distracting Theresa while Ted gets the package.
Pilcher shows Ethan all the cryogenically frozen folks from the past, sleeping in their little modules. Ethan has issues with the fact that Pilcher abducted people without giving them a choice. “Everyone had to make sacrifices. I left people behind. people I loved dearly. I didn’t choose to do this. I did it because I had to.”
We flashback to the 1990s, where David meets hypnotherapist-in-training Megan, who we will come to know and loathe as teacher Mrs. Fisher. Megan is a fanatic and has come to one of David’s book signings. She tells David not to wait for people to volunteer, that he has to do whatever it takes. David begins taking more aggressive tactics, starting with the recruitment of the security guard at his company, Arnold. Arnold will eventually come to be Wayward Pines’ very own Sheriff Pope. David wants Arnold to help “convince people.” That’s when the abductions begin.
Viva La Revolution
Theresa is still interested in Lot 33. She walks out to check out the fenced property. It’s not clear what she thinks she’ll find, but from the outside it looks pretty innocuous. Can’t the cameras film her gazing at Lot 33 in broad daylight?
David: ”This isn’t a little town, Ethan. This is a new civilization. When America was born, there were spies on every corner. Traitors were hung on the street.”
Ethan: “And Stalin spied on his citizens and executed them, just like you.”
Is this an adaption of Godwin’s Law, whereby in this version if a TV conversation goes on long enough it will eventually result in a comparison with Stalin?
Having gotten all the necessary parts from deliveryman Ted, Harold has completed his revolutionary task using his toymaker skills. He has created a bomb. Harold seems uncertain if they should take action, but Kate is ready to find out what’s out there. Uh Oh. Does this mean they‘re going to bomb the fence and let all the Abbies in?
David needs Ethan’s help because things are becoming unstable in Wayward Pines. Ethan tells David, “Well, the secrecy, the public executions … That’s gotta stop,” but David claims that people can’t be told. When they tried that with the first group they woke, it eventually resulted in chaos. Some people didn’t believe and tried to run away only to be attacked by Abbies. Those that did believe caved in to despair and there were mass suicides. David says the news was too jarring, telling Ethan, “They’d emerged from Plato’s Cave into the light. It had blinded them.”
David claims he does want to enlighten people, but through his own method. David’s plan with Group B relies on the young, adaptable (i.e. easily brainwashed) minds of the FirstGen kids. David tells Ethan of his very non-specific plan: “When the new generation come of age, they will spread the seed. Young minds are fearless. They’re less ingrained in the old world. They can accept the truth.” Ethan realizes this means that Ben knows the truth.
Speaking of brainwashing, Ben is remembering his FirstGen induction, and it doesn’t seem to be a happy memory for him.
David is aware that a revolutionary faction is prepared to take down the fence, but he doesn’t know who they are. He wants Ethan’s help, who seems way too ready to give it. Ethan tells David, “I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure that nobody gets killed. Not by this reckless group, and not by whatever’s beyond that fence. That’s why you’re here. And not by you.”
“Choices” certainly lived up to its title. You really couldn’t miss the theme, being that they used the word “choice” 11 times during the episode. No one can accuse Wayward Pines of being too subtle. The amount of exposition was a little much, but we certainly had many of our questions answered, sort of. It’s a relief to know that someone is fighting back in Wayward Pines and it seems natural for it to be Agent Kate. We looking forward to learning more about what Ethan’s role will be in Wayward Pines and what choices he will be making.