blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Wayward Pines (2015) s02e05 – Sound the Alarm

Toby Jones is back this episode, which has a flashback subplot about how architect Nimrat Kaur actually designed Wayward Pines, the town, and lied to husband Jason Patric about it when he asked a few episodes ago. Jones looks much older in the flashback than he did last season on the show when he was a regular. He also plays the part like full Bond villain, instead of how he built up to that reveal. Apparently, in the past, when putting the project together, Jones was whole-ass evil and toned it down for the future. He also got some plastic surgery to take a few years off.

Wait, that second part’s not a bad idea.

Hope Davis also appears in the flashbacks, establishing an animosity between her character and Kaur’s, which we first saw the last episode. None of the other people who ought to be in the flashbacks are in the flashbacks, meaning Melissa Leo and Terrence Howard. Though maybe they were off on a kidnapping mission together.

The idea the town was designed by an architect is the silliest detail in the “Pines” lore, as the town is not architecturally interesting, innovative, or even distinctive. Patric sees her working on the design—and apparently forgot in the future—and makes a Mayberry crack, but it’s on-point. The town made sense when the show was an M. Night Shyamalan joint. As the intentionally, willfully created future cauldron of white fascists… it’s a lousy job. Like, hopefully, Kaur’s better as a hairdresser than an architect.

There are still some other unanswered questions about Kaur’s involvement with the project, but her big reveal to Patric—in the present—isn’t even about designing the town; it’s about how she knows Josh Helman. Helman’s not in the episode very much, which is great. Outside a scene where he gets drunk–he works around kids, incidentally—and gazes what I think’s supposed to be longingly across at Kaur’s salon, he doesn’t have many shots where he needs to try to act. Though his scene opposite Patric is embarrassing for Patric. Patric’s got a lot to do in the episode, even though he’s basically supporting everyone else, and he’s really good throughout. Even when the script’s thin. Patric works. Helman takes up space. Their scene’s very existence plays like a diss on Patric.

Especially with the reveal.

Helman takes the cake on a show with some profoundly bad casting and performance decisions.


Besides Kaur’s flashbacks and present-day reveals, the episode’s got three subplots going. First, Djimon Hounsou, Shannyn Sossamon, and Tim Griffin are doing an agriculture survey outside the wall. The drama comes from Griffin revealing he machinated the whole pilot set up just so he could get into Sossamon’s pants. Reacting to that confession gives her something to do besides be sad about Charlie Tahan’s death; Tahan didn’t come back to play the corpse. I wonder if they lowballed or just didn’t offer.

In town, Kacey Rohl has decided Hope Davis doesn’t know anything about science and wants Patric to run the “study the monsters” project. Davis gets really mad about it because she likes torturing them to get back at them not eating her last season. Rohl’s good—she’s got a funny scene opposite Siobhan Fallon Hogan—and the personality tensions are strong this episode. At least in the present. In the flashbacks, they’re all exaggerated because Jones hasn’t got any subtlety and is a bad influence on Davis, who’s best when she’s the only broad caricature in a scene.

Then Michael Garza has a subplot—also involving Patric—about not being able to get his procreation on, no matter what girls they try him with. His conversation with Patric addresses some things the show entirely avoided in the first season when it seemed like it wasn’t aware it was creating a fascist, white supremacist future. This season they acknowledge it.

Garza’s really sympathetic.

The show’s now halfway through the season and isn’t really forecasting what they might try to get done before it’s over.

The cliffhanger’s good too.

In addition to Patric playing support, Tom Stevens has been reduced quite a bit lately. Outside yelling about one of the monsters getting into town, his big scene is threatening Kaur while dressed very much in SS summer wear. It’s weird no one’s acknowledged Jones’s reclusive billionaire very much wanted to have a little Nazi army because all of the clothes in the town were made in the past and brought into the future with them. Stevens’s outfit this episode is almost too obvious.

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