Wayward Pines gives us an exciting season finale with “Cycle,” including an ending that leaves the series open for the possibility of being renewed. Once the secret of Wayward Pines became known in Season 5, the series opened up and became increasingly engaging. Some of the characters still act in unbelievable and impulsive ways, but over the course of the series we’ve become more invested in them.
In the Town
The Abbies are coming! The Abbies are coming! That David Pilcher is a real bastard. He’s turned off the electric fence, allowing the Abbies to overrun Wayward Pines in an effort to kill all the residents and start again. Lucky group C! Pam calls Ethan to warn him that David turned off the power and the fence is powered down. Sheriff Ethan Burke starts to organize the townsfolk to get them to the recently discovered underground bunker in lot 33.
Kate Hewson and the other subversives free some guns from the Sheriff’s office, but leave the First Gen’ers who killed Harold Ballinger imprisoned. Lead First Gen’er and cold-blooded killer Jason tells Kate:
“Pilcher always said this day would come. He warned us that one day there would be a day of reckoning. And on that day, he would save the First Generation. But everyone else … the weak … would drown. Just like you. Just like your husband.“
Kate responds “We’re done here,” and she and her crew leave. Since the boys were some of the few in the town who actually know what the Abbies are, they’re not happy to be left behind. We can’t wait to see the Abbies kill these snarky, self-righteous bastards. Sadly it’s not to be, because other First Gen’ers arrive and free by their brethren. Boo! Hiss!
Theresa Burke goes to the hospital to get Ben as well as Amy, who just had brain surgery. The Abbies have found their way into the hospital. Theresa finally protects her family, trying to get them out of the hospital. Just when it seems they are doomed, Ethan arrives and gets them to the bunker. He even stays with them rather than trying to go out and rescue people, or Kate. It takes the terror of the Abbies for the Burkes to focus on each other.
All hell has broken loose on the streets of Wayward Pines with Abbies everywhere, killing and eating people. Gross! Kate gets trapped in her store, but manages to fight off the Abbie stalking her. Kate’s kind of awesome. Out on main street Kate finds dead bodies everywhere and sees an Abbie eating her still-conscious friend Tim. Tim points to the bag of weapons he’s left on the streets. You’d think he would point at his head to beg her to give him a quick death. She grabs the bag, but leaves poor Tim to his horrible fate.
In the Mountain
Pam is in her compassionate character mode, which we never quite believe, and is very concerned about the Abbies approaching Wayward Pines. She begs her brother to turn the fence back on, but he is focused on eliminating the current residents so he can create a new and improved Wayward Pines. It’s not clear why everyone in the mountain complex is not objecting, but Pam’s intervention doesn’t have the outcome she hopes for. Instead David has the guards take her away.
The guards have rounded up the others who monitor the town and led them to the suspension area. Pam tries to talk reason to the guards:
“We all gave up our lives in the old world to join David Pilcher on this journey of his. And it’s working. In town this year, there were more pregnancies than ever before in Wayward Pines. The future, our First Generation, that is the future for all of us, our duty to mankind. Not to David Pilcher. … David is not a Savior. He’s not a God. He’s just a man. And he’s made a mistake. But we can reverse this mistake. There’s still time. We can turn it around if we work togeth …”
Before she can finish her rousing speech, a guard knocks her out. It seems David has put his most aggressive and fanatical followers on guard duty, while assigning the most sheepish to monitoring duty. David watches as his sister is placed back in suspended animation. Worst. Brother. Ever. He returns to his office, leaving the guards to watch over the mountain monitoring staff who are in their suspension suits, waiting to be forced back into their pods along with Pam.
In the Bunker
The Burkes, Amy, Kate Hewson, Megan Fisher and her husband the Mayor, along with a score of town residents. have made their way to the lot 33 bunker. Fanatic Mrs. Fisher still thinks David Pilcher is the savior, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Ben finally stands up to his teacher, which shakes her out of her state of cognitive dissonance. She admits that the bunker leads to the mountain complex and that she has the elevator code. Ben then glares at her for a while. Don’t blame her, Ben—Mrs. Fisher’s brainwashing techniques weren’t even that great; you were just easy prey.
Theresa and Kate have a moment in which it becomes clear that Theresa has forgiven her. It seemed appropriate when she forgave Ethan, but being best buds with Kate is taking it a bit far. Ben also has a moment with his father, apologizing for the things he said in the hospital. Is he also going to apologize for being an annoying whiner? All this sharing of feelings is taking way too long.
Meanwhile, the First Gen’ers, who seem to care little about their own families’ survival, have escaped to their own secret bunker. This one is intended for the FirstGen’ers and is filled with supplies. Jason notes, “Pilcher planned for a flood like this. He left us everything we could ever need.” Boo! Hiss! We’ve only seen Jason and his minions in the last two episodes, but we really hate them.
Back under lot 33, Mrs. Fisher has her redemption story when she insists she must wait by the bunker entrance to let in townsfolk who might make it there before the Abbies. She is particularly worried about her First Gen’ers. Little does she know they have found safety without her. The Abbies eventually break through and Mrs. Fisher becomes their victim.
Takeover at the Mountain
At the elevator, Ethan and Kate go up first and take out the mountain complex security forces they find at the top. David leaves to monitor events through the mountain spy camera system. Most of the security forces leave the suspension animation room when they hear the gunfire, but one guard stays behind and demands that Pam be freed. It appears her speech roused at least one person. Ethan and Kate easily apprehend the other security guards by hiding behind a table and start bringing their group up from the bunker.
The second group, which includes Ben, Theresa, the Mayor and some others, is still outside the elevator when they hear the Abbies coming. Despite her supposed training as a Secret Service agent, it’s Ben who fires upon the wave of Abbies while his mother stands at his elbow and cringes every time he shoots the gun. Ethan arrives and holds the Abbies off as the remaining group gets into the elevator. Luckily the Abbies aren’t technologically savvy enough to put an arm between the elevator doors.
The elevator starts to rise, but eventually comes to abrupt halt due to the presence of the Abbies climbing up the elevator shaft. Why the elevator would stop is unclear, but it does force the group out onto the elevator roof in order to climb up to the next level where the elevator entrance is. Before she exits Ethan has a moment with Theresa, saying, “Promise me you two are gonna stay close, okay?” Knowing that Ethan has committed to protecting them, Theresa climbs out of the elevator and heads up. Ethan tells Ben to go up ahead. Ethan prepares the bombs the Wayward Pines subversives had given him earlier.
Watching from his office, David taunts Ethan over the loudspeaker: “They’re going to get up the shaft, Ethan. And they’re gonna kill everyone. I warned you that revealing the truth would be the death of Wayward Pines. But you wouldn’t listen.” That David is one crazy bastard. David is interrupted when Kate arrives with a gun, but he has time to give one of his villain monologues:
“I’ve dedicated my entire life to those people. Who are you to come in here and tell me what’s right or wrong? You’re only here because I chose you … both of you. What neither of you ever understood is that this town is not about any one individual. It’s not about freedom. It’s about something much greater than that. It’s about the preservation of mankind. I have sacrificed everything to sow the seeds for its future, to protect it. Enlightenment is coming. My ideas will live on long after I’m gone.”
Ethan sits in the elevator as the Abbies begin to break through the floor. He remembers his family and blows up the bombs in the elevator, blowing up all the Abbies trying to get up the elevator shaft. Ben hears the blast and yells for his dad, sticking his head into the elevator shaft, and he is knocked out by debris from the explosion.
Later, Kate and Pam have a heart-to-heart in the suspended animation room:
Kate: “What is all this?”
Pam: “The rest of the population—the ones who haven’t woken yet.”
Kate: “Careful. I might take you seriously.”
Pam: “I mean it, Kate. I’m telling you the truth.”
Kate: “You and I have never said one true thing to each other.”
Pam: Well, let’s start now, then, huh? If we are going to survive, we’re gonna have to make it better. No more lies. No more surveillance. No more reckonings. If we work together, I believe it is possible. I believe we can succeed. We have to. This is it. This is all that’s left. This is the last of humanity.”
We’re still struggling to see Pam in a kinder, gentler role. What was the benefit of acting like a menacing psychotic in Wayward Pines? Don’t get us wrong—we loved the creepy version of Nurse Pam. We just don’t understand why acting malevolent was a useful approach in the town. Of course we never got the point of the reckonings and the rules either.
It’s a Brand New World
Ben wakes up in the hospital at Wayward Pines, under the care of Nurse Amy. He asks how long he was unconscious, but Amy acts nervous and evasive. It turns out Ben’s been in suspended animation for over three years, along with most of the adults. Sounds like Jason and his FirstGen young pioneers are in charge. Being a Burke, Ben begins to act impulsive, demanding his clothes despite Amy’s warnings they are being watched. Ben is being blamed for his father’s role in the death of David Pilcher, but Amy was able to convince the FirstGens he wasn’t involved and should be awakened. Ben ignores Amy’s pleas, making his way outside. Ben finds corpses hanging in the main square with signs around their necks signifying they’ve been punished for violating the Wayward Pines rules.
“Cycle” gave the intensity we’ve come to expect with Wayward Pines. Though this first season was mostly fun, we’re not sure that we’re on board with a Season 2 that centers on Ben and Amy. We can only assume Matt Dillon felt the same way, since his character blew himself up. Regardless of what’s to come, Wayward Pines has taken a refreshing approach to the drama genre and given us some fun television.