Wayward Pines (2015) s02e03 – Once Upon a Time in Wayward Pines

“Wayward Pines: Season Two” really is committed to the bit. There’s a scene where schoolmarm, monster researcher, and psychotherapist Hope Davis tells a group of girls there’s nothing wrong with them not having their periods yet. They just don’t get to participate in the Davis-supervised orgies with the other thirteen-year-olds yet. Not in those words, but it’s the scene. They’re just running headfirst into the Davis breeding humans with these earthen vessels. It’s incredibly creepy; Davis is great at it.

That subplot may or may not be making Emma Tremblay into a regular supporting player. It’s too soon to tell because Davis has bigger fish to fry this episode, specifically very special guest star Melissa Leo.

They apparently can only afford a single season one regulars in an episode at a time, minus—I guess—Terrence Howard and Carla Gugino in the season premiere. Though it turns out Leo was with Howard on that people-hunting expedition, they just didn’t show her because, you know, budget.

She’s back this episode to fill in what’s happened to her since last season, but not really. Instead, she’s back to retcon Tom Stevens into being Toby Jones’s town savior. From birth. Stevens showed up in the last two episodes of season one, presumably when they decided Charlie Tahan wasn’t going to be a regular in season two despite the show literally being set up for him to be the new protagonist. But he’s been around since the beginning, raised to think Leo and her brother, Jones, are his biological parents.

In the flashbacks, Leo wants to brainwash the young versions of Stevens, which runs afoul with Djimon Hounsou (who’s also retconned in like Jones’s character would ever listen to a Black guy), who thinks the awful truth is a better option. It also puts Leo and Davis on a collision course because Davis’s whole character is manipulating young boys into doing her bidding. The Leo and Davis thing, which the episode introduces since they never had a scene together in season one, plays out before the episode’s over.

In the present, Leo convinces Stevens she’s ready to be a team player again and help him with his conquest of the surrounding area. Both Stevens’s ladies, Davis and Kacey Rohl, are unhappy with Leo’s return, and more unhappy Stevens is welcoming her.

Jason Patric’s arc involves meeting Leo—who treats him cruelly, just like she did Matt Dillon, and makes her hard to like—and arguing with wife Nimrat Kaur. Patric suspects Kaur of something, which the show never confirms, and he works through it. It’s a really good performance from Patric, making up for Leo’s lackluster return. Neither the flashbacks—with bad wigs and bad writing—nor the present action material is any good. The show can’t successfully shoehorn a relationship between her and Stevens, though Stevens gives it his best.

There’s some funny cringe material for Siobhan Fallon Hogan (whose current problems apparently stem from generally living in the post-post-apocalypse, not reacting to Stevens and his teenage stormtroopers randomly murdering people).

Having Leo back, having her give a bad performance, having that lousy performance be in a tepid retcon does clarify “Wayward Pines: Season Two”’s newfound strengths. Patric’s good and is great in a lead TV part. Stevens is a good shitbird villain. The exploitative genre-y stuff is more amusing than “M. Night Shyamalan TV.” But the show’s still got a litany of problems.

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