Wayward Pines serves us up some “Betrayal,” as some of the townsfolk are at the breaking point. The town rules, the inability to leave, and the public killings make Wayward Pines a less than ideal living environment. This is particularly true for those who don’t like to play pretend all the time: those referred to as the “subversives.” It looks like Ethan Burke has been indoctrinated into the official party line of Wayward Pines just in time to try to stop their shenanigans.
Sometimes hard to keep up with Wayward Pines when all the action is jam-packed into ten episodes. The reveals have kept us on the edge of our seats, even when characters make decisions and act in ways that don’t seem believable. This aspect is an unfortunate side effect of the ten-episode format in which characters must quickly evolve. Though the writers stuff in a huge amount of exposition about how Wayward Pines and its wacky traditions came to be in the episode “Choices,” the limited dialogue and underdeveloped characters cannot be explained away. The rushed storylines require us to suspend our disbelief at times, which is much easier to do with concepts such as the extinction of humanity than it is when watching characters act against their own best interest. The characters and their motivation have not been fleshed out enough for us to fully embrace the story, but it’s still a pretty fun story to watch.
The Burkes Take Care of Business
Despite Dr. Jenkins’ warning to not tell anyone the truth of Wayward Pines, Ethan tells his wife immediately. At least someone in the family is trying to be honest. Theresa doesn’t believe Ethan when he tries to tell her it’s the year 4028 and that humanity has died out. It does sound kind of crazy, but everything about Wayward Pines is crazy. Theresa believes a stranger when he tells her he remembers being in a chamber of some kind, but she doesn’t believe her own husband. It certainly explains the age differences, everyone waking up after accidents, and the sleep chamber memory, but Theresa doesn’t even seem curious about Ethan’s explanation.
Ethan is about to drive Ben and Theresa into town, but notices the clock is off in his truck. He checks under the hood and discovers a bomb. Someone is not a fan of the Burkes. We’re not sure we are fans of them either, as they seem to make a lot of poor decisions.
Ethan brings the bomb into the Sheriff’s office and takes it apart. His Secret Service training did seem to provide him with some knowledge about explosives, as it doesn’t blow up in his face. He takes out a file on Franklin Dobbs. Nurse Pam arrives and is her usual creepy self. She tells Ethan, “I can be a very good friend.” We are dubious, but Ethan asks her for access to the town’s surveillance so he can investigate Dobbs.
Ben thinks his mom is being overprotective by still walking him to school. It doesn’t occur to Theresa to tell her son the truth, or at least give him some kind of warning. When she asks him if he misses Seattle, he reminds his mom that they’re not supposed to think about the past. Brainwashing school is quite effective. Ben is just focused on making friends and being the best FirstGen he can. Of course he could tell his parents the truth, but we wouldn’t expect this from whiny Ben, who doesn’t even seem to be distraught when he realizes the family pet Stanley is long dead. Sure teens like to keep secrets, but once they found out everyone they cared about was dead wouldn’t they want to be comforted by their parents? Once Theresa and Ben arrive at school it becomes clear Mrs. Fisher doesn’t like overprotective parents either.
After leaving the school, Theresa checks out plot 33. The gate isn’t even locked, so it’s pretty easy. Despite the warnings she’s been given, her awareness of the town’s surveillance, and the fact she knows that people in the town are reckoned for any subversive activities, she goes there in broad daylight. Perhaps she thinks she is immune because she’s the Sheriff’s wife. She proceeds to knock a metal rod against a buried metal box of some kind in the middle of the lot. If you’re already where everyone can see you, might as well make a bunch of noise too.
Mrs. Fisher teaches a very untraditional version of Sex Ed. She calls Amy and Ben to the front of the class, telling everyone, “Behold, the male and the female. Two bodies, beautifully designed to fit together effortlessly, seamlessly. Two perfect puzzle pieces, like hand in glove.” This is Biology class with an agenda. Mrs. Fisher is all about pushing the value of procreation in order to create “the first generation of 100% Originals.” Ben says it all when he comments, “That was weird.”
Is it Too Late for Wayward Pines?
Nurse Pam reports to David that they already have two new pregnancies. It seems that education works in Wayward Pines. David is not as enthusiastic as his sister Pam would like him to be. He’s feeling down and worried that Wayward Pines may be destined to always devolve into violence and destruction. If he continues on this path of killing people and keeping secrets, it seems likely.
Ethan sees Harold talking to Franklin in the coffee shop. You’d think these “subversives” would be more secretive when they met, particularly since they know surveillance is everywhere. Ethan confronts Harold about the bomb. Harold plays dumb, but then tries to run away. It’s not clear where he would run to, but then again, he’s expecting to be reckoned. Ethan takes him to the Sheriff’s station for an interrogation. He asks about the other bombs and tells Harold he knows he wants to bomb the fence.
Harold: “Don’t you want to get out? Just go somewhere—anywhere?”
Ethan: “There is no somewhere, no anywhere.”
Realtor Bill is in a great mood, but Theresa is determined to change that. Theresa foolishly tells her boss Bill that she went to Plot 33 earlier and found a metal substructure buried in the empty lot. He tells her, “The secret to a safe and happy town is everyone minding their own business.” It’s not clear why she would tell Bill anything since he continues to make it clear he doesn’t want to hear it.
Kate arrives at Ethan’s house, where he confronts her about being the leader of this group. Kate admits she is the leader, but denies knowing anything about the bomb in Ethan’s truck. Kate’s group evolved over time, initially meeting secretly just to be able to talk honestly about who they were and about their pasts. He wonders why she didn’t tell him any of this before, but let’s face it, Ethan was being incredibly reckless and stubborn when he first got to Wayward Pines. He tries to explain that it’s no longer the 21st century and there is nothing beyond the wall. It doesn’t seem like Kate believes him, which is, again, surprising. You’d think this explanation would help fit together all the odd pieces of information and experiences for someone who had been in Wayward Pines for 12 years. We believe that Kate would be leader of a rebellion, but we don’t believe she would wait 12 years to act.
It appears that Amy was assigned to Ben by Mrs. Fisher in more ways that one. Yet it seems Amy has a passion for this project and is eager to take it to the next level. Amy is excited to share the news with her teacher Mrs. Fisher, who congratulates her. So creepy.
Ethan tells Kate to surrender by tomorrow and she agrees. We don’t believe her and hope Ethan doesn’t either, but he’s kinda dense sometimes. Kate goes back to her toy store home and tells Harold they need to move up the bombing timetable.
Kate and Theresa run into each other at the hospital. After awkwardly ignoring each other for a bit, Theresa breaks the silence by telling Kate she’s worried about Ethan. They take a walk and share notes about Ethan’s story of living in a dystopian future. Kate believes that they have ways to brainwash people up on the mountain. So she knows something about the mountain, at least that a base of some kind exists. The week she arrived in Wayward Pines, Kate got a message through the Secret Service secure line from Adam Hassler telling her she was entering a government experiment and that she should lay low, but that she could be severely tested, possibly by another agent. Now, 12 long years later, she thinks that may be Ethan. Wayward Pines seems designed to make people crazy. She tells Kate goodbye: “You’re a good person, Theresa. And I wish we had met under different circumstances. I’m so sorry.” It doesn’t seem plausible that neither Theresa nor Kate would believe Ethan.
Theresa still doesn’t believe her husband. She tells Ethan about her conversation with Kate, telling him that it was like she was saying a final goodbye. Ethan realizes something is up, and goes to pick up Ben at school. Finally, someone is worried about Ben. Ben, though, is more concerned about meeting Amy in the woods to follow up on their biology homework.
Deliveryman Ted was the one who put the bomb in Ethan’s truck. Harold tells him they aren’t murderers, and Ted responds, “Why not? They murder. You’ve been to your share of reckonings.” He’s got a point.
Ethan tracks down Kate, Franklin, and their group in the woods by the fence. He threatens to shoot Kate if Franklin doesn’t disarm the bomb, and Franklin complies. Good thing it wasn’t Ted faced with this choice, or Kate might be dead right now. With his single gun, Ethan manages to bring the group of five back to the prison. Kate tells Ethan, “It’s not gonna stop. It’s just begun.” Ethan realizes that Harold has another bomb. We see that Ted has the other bomb and has put it in the back of his delivery truck.
The Beginning of the End
Meanwhile, Ben has snuck out of the house. Despite Ethan’s fears about a bombing resulting in an incursion of Abbies, the Burke parents don’t seem to be keeping a very close eye on their son. Rather than walk to the pines, Amy suggests they hitch a ride in the back of Ted’s delivery truck. Well that is an unfortunate coincidence.
Ethan and Nurse Pam check the surveillance cameras to try to find the second bomb. Seeing Ethan work with Nurse Pam, doesn’t leave us with a good feeling, but he does figure out where the bomb is. Ethan realizes the bomb is on Ted’s truck and races off to catch him.
Amy looks in the bomb bag and pulls out a wooden box. She opens it to find what appears to be a music box. She decides this music box will provide some excellent mood music to her seduction of Ben and leaves it open. Unbeknownst to these young romantics, they may be listening to their death knell.
While chasing after the delivery truck Ethan is ambushed by members of Kate’s group, but he continues on foot. He catches up just in time to see the truck explode. Somehow Amy survives the bomb explosion. Ethan finds his son Ben lying on the ground, looking dead.
We are left with mixed feelings, mostly because we feel slightly guilty that we kinda hoped this would happen to Ben. The FirstGen kids, smug with their secrets, really bug us. If Ben really is dead, Ethan is going to lose it and there may be reckonings left and right.
Wayward Pines has been giving us exciting twists and turns almost every episode. As we impatiently wait for the town’s secret to be revealed to all, the writers give us new avenues to explore. If you weren’t already hooked on Wayward Pines, “Betrayal” might have done it for you.