It’s like “Wayward Pines” heard my complaints there weren’t enough bad performances on the regular and felt the need to deliver. This episode features the return of Tim Griffin from season one, who was an entirely personality-free white man and goes on to one-up him with Josh Helman, who’s got even less personality and might be the worst actor on the show ever. It seems like someone’s feeding it to Helman from off-frame every single line delivery.
Helman was billed in the season premiere’s opening titles but soon disappeared outside the wall and from the titles. He’s back now, with the episode finding him unconscious in a monster pit. He meets up with Griffin, who’s been living in the wild for at least a decade, and is basically just doing a Grizzly Adams riff. That riff is much better than anything Helman’s doing.
After some world-building involving the monsters’ behaviors, the two end up back in town, where Helman reopens his ice cream shop and Griffin checks himself out of the hospital to become a town drunk. Both leader Tom Stevens and return guest star Shannyn Sossamon want something from Griffin. Stevens and Djimon Hounsou are gung ho to explore the outer world (ignoring Hope Davis and Kacey Rohl’s objections); Stevens wants Griffin’s help knowing what’s out there.
Meanwhile, Sossamon wants to tell Griffin to drop dead for getting her entire family kidnapped 2,000 years into the future and subsequently killed by shitty white people.
However, Sossamon wants to get outside the wall—they call it a fence, which seems a choice entirely based on Game of Thrones having a wall—to find Charlie Tahan’s corpse, which might require Griffin’s help.
The subplot has Emma Tremblay indeed becoming a supporting regular; she gets her first period and doesn’t want to tell Davis about it because “Wayward Pines” rules say she’s got to start trying to get pregnant, eleven years old or not. Since Tremblay works for Nimrat Kaur, Kaur decides she’s going to stand up for Tremblay against Davis. It’s a nice subplot because Kaur’s a very active performer. When she and Davis face-off, there’s palpable energy coming off both the actors.
Of course, when the show establishes Kaur knows Helman, there’s zero energy between them because Helman’s terrible. Terrible for “Wayward Pines.”
Though, of course, second season acting’s much better than the first season. Sossamon, freed of her confounded mom constraints, is far more effective here than she ever was before. Though it helps she’s opposite Griffin, who’s letting his fake beard do all the acting for him.
Tremblay’s subplot also involves brother Michael Garza, who’s got his own secrets. Unfortunately, those secrets make him susceptible to bad influences, and the fallout will put him into the sort of surprisingly but not if you listen to Ian Malcolm cliffhanger.
Despite Helman—and Griffin, really—it’s a decent episode. Kaur’s got a good arc for most of it, and Davis is a profoundly upsetting villain. Also, despite not really doing anything and having a thin character, Hounsou classes the joint up.