Wayward Pines (2015) s02e09 – Walcott Prep

Wayward Pines, the town, is in dire straits. The creatures outside the wall have destroyed their food supply, and they’re out of MREs. They’ll only survive another thirty days (or, more precisely, two episodes). So teen dictator Tom Stevens decides everyone’s going back in cryo-sleep for fifty-seven years or whatever. Only Djimon Hounsou then discovers no one kept the cryo-pods charged since season one ended and the teenage Nazis took over. As a result, they can only take half the populace.

Jason Patric’s still hoping he can come up with some kind of medical solution and won’t help Stevens evaluate the breeding stock. Patric says they should do a lottery; Stevens says it’s got to be based on white bloodline or whatever. Like most scenes for Stevens, there’s potentially a good character thread, but then they immediately drop it. In this case, it’s in favor of a personal quandary—Stevens doesn’t want defects, love of his life Kacey Rohl can’t have babies and is, therefore, defective. Joss Whedon ghostwrote “Wayward Pines?”

Patric is also actively plotting against Stevens this episode, though we don’t get to see any of his plans other than when he checks in with Josh Helman to ensure Helman won’t support Stevens in a coup. It’s a pointless scene, only there for Helman to taunt Patric about how Nimrat Kaur’s preggers with Helman’s baby. Kaur’s around for useless scene with Stevens—encouraging more, different character development–because it turns out this episode’s all about a huge secret.

Toby Jones stars in a flashback story about how he got baby Tom Stevens for the town. First, he tried buying a pregnant blue blood’s unwanted baby, but then he had to resort to more traditional means (bribing a public hospital).

The secret is the identity of Stevens’s mother. Sadly, not an Emperor Palpatine clone. Instead, it’s someone whose identity is going to knock every character arc for Stevens out from under him. There’s also some retconning involved with Hope Davis and Melissa Leo’s characters in particular, though they’re long gone and out of the guest star budget, so who cares. As PG-13 exploitative as “Wayward Pines” got with this season, I really did not expect them to embrace it to this episode’s degree. Worse, it doesn’t do anything to inform characters’ behaviors in previous episodes. Mom’s secret identity doesn’t explain why Stevens is king little shit.

It all comes to a fateful conclusion, including the not ineffective shot of blood running through the streets of the Wayward Pines model in Jones’s office. They probably should’ve used that visual last season with Jones’s death and not here when they’re trying to make a contrived plotline have more of an oomph.

On the other hand, faced with an inevitably disappointing conclusion—season two switched over to building to the finish just as there was character development—a large-scale cop-out and shrug do kind of make sense. Why bother doing anything else?

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