“A Reckoning” is the penultimate episode of Wayward Pines, and it may have been the best episode we have seen in the series. Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) finally becomes an interesting character capable of making good decisions. He pretty much kicks ass, finally. The FirstGeners also show us what they’re capable of, and it’s disturbing. Their shocking takeover of the Sheriff’s office shows that secretary Arlene Moran (Siobhan Fallon) is no pushover, and creates an emotional scene between Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) and Harold Balinger (Reed Diamond). Even though Theresa Burke (Shannyn Sossamon) continues to neglect son Ben (Charlie Tahan), she does manage to find out some very useful information. Most interestingly, Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo) saves everyone, well sort of, at least until her crazy brother David Pilcher (Toby Jones) realizes something’s up in Wayward Pines. “A Reckoning” brings together the storylines of the Wayward Pines uprising, the First Generation indoctrination, the mysterious lot 33, and David Pilcher’s increasing paranoia.
“A Reckoning” opens with just that, a reckoning at Kate by Ethan. He pulls her up to he main street stage surrounded by torches that seem to appear out of nowhere when needed, knife to her throat, asking the crowd “Is this really what you want.” Their cheers indicate the answer is yes.
We go back in time to the end of the previous episode, “The Friendliest Place on Earth,” which had left us expecting a full-on Abbie invasion of Wayward Pines. Or at least one getting in and knocking over a few trash cans. But Sheriff Ethan Burke is having none of that. Meet the new boss of Wayward Pines. No Abbies are coming into his town and eating his garbage. After shooting the first interloper, Ethan crushes the other invaders with the dump truck. Nice. Wait a sec, is it xenophobic for us to hate the Abbies?
At the jail, the revolutionaries, who are, in fact, being televised, are getting restless in their captivity. Franklin is anticipating an upcoming reckoning. Kate tries to reassure them that Ethan won’t do that, but what the hell does she know, anyways? The earlier flash forward doesn’t seem to support her faith in Ethan, but we’ll keep an open mind. Franklin, on the other hand, has made up his mind, telling Kate, “We’re dead. We’re dead.”
Meanwhile, three of the FirstGen (“Class One of the Academy”) harass Arlene, but she won’t let them past the reception area. She takes none of their sass as they try to intimidate her. The FirstGen leader, Jason, tells her that it’s the Sheriff’s duty to reckon the imprisoned traitors. When Jason directs Arlene to convey his threats to Ethan she responds, “I will tell him no such thing. Now you skedaddle, or I’m having the three of you locked up.” Arlene has suddenly become our favorite character on Wayward Pines.
As Ethan oversees repair to the fence. David Pilcher arrives to tell him that if he doesn’t act decisively other deaths will follow. Ethan points out that this happened because David is keeping the truth from the townsfolk. True dat. David wants to see Kate reckoned, but Ethan tells him “I told you I need to do things my own way.” David tries to sway Ethan by reminding him what happened when he let the Easter bomber go: “Just consider…one life to save Wayward Pines.” David Pilcher seems to view public executions as a panacea for Wayward Pines.
In his new kick-ass Sheriff persona, Ethan drags Harold Balinger into the Sheriff’s station for questioning. Ethan shows him pictures of the knawed remains of his co-conspirators from beyond the fence and demands the names of all the Wayward Pines insurgents.
At the hospital, Nurse Pam has suddenly become Theresa Burke’s bestie. Pam slips her a fancy security card and suggests she mosey on home, via plot 33. Theresa seems completely willing to follow Nurse Pam’s instruction, without questioning her intent or worrying about what will happen when she leaves Ben alone in the hospital. We can’t help but wonder if Mrs. Fisher is lurking around somewhere.
Ethan shows up at the mountain, where David Pilcher is spying on the townsfolk. We’re still not clear how David, Pam, and Ethan get there unobserved. Ethan has the list of insurgents, but it turns out that they have all removed their microchips. That’s one for the revolutionaries! Oh, wait. Are we supposed to be worried they are out somewhere trying to blow up the fence? Wayward Pines is so confusing–we don’t know how to feel.
While Ethan tries to track down the insurgents, Theresa delves deeper into the mysteries of lot 33. Naturally, Mrs. Fisher has taken advantage of her absence to activate Ben. Ben’s FirstGen comrades are outside the hospital acting like zealots. Ben gives a stirring speech, telling FirstGen leader Jason that his dad won’t be reckoning the insurgents, causing Jason to take off with his marauding crew. Ben is the worst.
The FirstGeners show up at the Sheriff’s office and Arlene’s tough gal approach, doesn’t work as Jason throws her around, then handcuffs her in order to get the jail cell keys. Arlene yells, “Don’t you dare touch them.” Kate attempt to take Jason down, but it has little effect. Jason forces the prisoners out of the cells, making them recite the Wayward Pine rules. Kate watches as Harold is shot before her very eyes, then he kills the other prisoners. Before Jason can kill Kate Ethan arrives (how’d he get there so fast from the mountain?) and shoots Jason. We love that Ethan didn’t hesitate, but we are super sad he didn’t get there in time to save Harold. We kinda loved Harold.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Ethan asks Kate to tell him where the rest of her revolutionaries are so that no one else will die. He thinks locking them up will protect them, despite what just happened. Kate tells Ethan he needs to reckon her to stop the violence. He doesn’t want to, but she point out that if he doesn’t someone else will.
Theresa comes to the station to bring Ethan and Kate down to the secret room she has found in a bunker under lot 33. It has a computer with videos from groups who left Wayward Pines to find any sign of human survivors. Ethan and Kate’s boss, Adam Hassler, is part of a group that traveled to San Francisco only to find more and more Abbies. On the bright side, the Golden Gate Bridge, though partially collapsed, will last for 2000 years. That’s some quality rust-proof metal in that bridge. Ethan tells Theresa to get as many people as she can down to see the videos before Kate’s midnight reckoning.
Ethan comes to see David at his mountain executive office, telling him that he wants to reckon Kate. He wants everyone there, so that this will be the last one. David seems thrilled, saying, “That’s all I want. An end to the violence.”
We return to the scene at the reckoning stage, with Kate holding the knife to Kate’s throat. He tells the crowd he isn’t going to kill Kate, instead telling them that they’ve all been manipulated by David Pilcher/Dr. Jenkins.
“He created this prison you live in. He watches everything you do. He tells you what job you can hold, who you can marry, and when someone has to die. He uses fear and violence to control you because he’s afraid that if you know the truth that you’ll self-destruct, you’ll turn on each other. But can’t you see? That’s what’s already happening. The world we knew is gone. It no longer exists. You don’t have to like it, but you have to accept it. This town is all that’s left.”
Megan Fisher, Chief Fanatic, goes on the offense, telling the crowd that David Pilcher chose them to come to Wayward Pines and they shouldn’t listen to terrorist Kate’s claims about the truth. Seems like a mixed message. As she continues her rant, Theresa steps up and slaps her across the face. It’s not as satisfying as you’d think it would be. It would have been much better if Ben had walked up and shot his teacher. But useless Ben is just listening to the big to-do over the loudspeakers as he sits alongside Amy.
A shocked David Pilcher watches from the mountain. He then proceeds to shut off the town’s electricity, plunging Wayward Pines into darkness and turning off the fence. Once the fence is no longer electrified, we see an Abbie immediately begin to climb it. Watch out Wayward Pines–crazy has unleashed hungry. Even sister Pam seems shocked.
“A Reckoning” was an action-packed episode that helped to atone for how implausible many of the Burkes’ actions have been throughout the Wayward Pines series. We wish we’d been watching this version of Ethan Burke throughout the series.
We always love kooky Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo), but the real standout in the episode was Arlene Moran (Siobhan Fallon) in both standing up to the FirstGeners and her sadness in the aftermath of the shooting. Most of the characters we wouldn’t have been too sad to see die (especially Ben), so they chose well in Harold Balinger. It was horrific to see Harold Balinger (Reed Diamond) killed right in front of Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino). Reed Diamond has been one of the strongest actors throughout the series– going from a suspicious character to a loving husband we could sympathize with. “The Reckoning” has left us eager to see the outcome of the Wayward Pines finale. Let’s hope the Abbies eat Ben, or at least Megan Fisher.