There are a lot of stories you can only tell in sci-fi. For instance, only with time travel can you have young mom Kacey Rohl wake up after two thousand years of cryo-sleep and be paired off with her unknowing son, Tom Stevens, now grown up.
It’s unclear why you’d want to tell this story (something “Wayward Pines” only decided to do last episode as a final shocker since no one cares if Nimrat Kaur leaves Jason Patric for Josh Helman), but it’s also unclear why you’d do it just to be cruel to Rohl. Patric will ditch the Hippocratic oath this episode because it’s the finale, and things need resolving. However, he also ditches it to include taunting Rohl with the information he knows about her unintentional Oedipus subplot. Later on, Amitai Marmorstein will give Rohl a similarly knowing look.e
It craps out Rohl having a character arc, even with such a bunk storyline. It’s too bad because she was one of the season’s stronger performances overall. Unfortunately, the show didn’t know what to do with Stevens, and Patric went way too quickly from season protagonist to sturdy town doctor supporting cast, so Rohl was its last hope. Well, I guess maybe Kaur, but they took her arc away to give her to charisma and acting vacuum Helman.
Towards the end of the episode, Djimon Hounsou gets a moment where it’s obvious he should’ve been the protagonist, but of course, they wouldn’t. “Wayward Pines,” outside the casting this season, never made actual good decisions. And when it’s vaguely exploitative, it’s okay. But, when they embrace the exploitative, they can’t figure it out.
The episode’s stakes are simple—there aren’t enough pods, some of our favorite cast members might not be going because Stevens made a list, and he’s closing out the grudges. Plus the gay and Asian kids. They don’t get saved either.
Anyone not in a pod is going to get murdered by the creatures. Or, if Patric can come up with a way to fend them off, they’re going to starve to death. Or be killed by the left-behind shitty white guys. Stevens at least didn’t take the shitty white men (at least not the ones out of their teens).
It’s familiar, sympathetic cast members in danger, and mildly effective. Certainly more effective than the creatures’ preparing their assault, which is just queen Rochelle Okoye yelling at them while they amass in the same locations again and again. “Wayward Pines” clearly didn’t have the budget for a big action sequence, so someone decided to tread water for the entire final episode.
Not a great choice.
Script credit to Mark Friedman. It’s not good. Outside Siobhan Fallon Hogan’s part. She again is the butt of the joke, but her performance is, as usual, superb enough the writing doesn’t matter.
“Wayward Pines: Season One” started more embarrassing than it ended; season two started less embarrassing than it ends. Director Ti West has some lousy composition, which may be a nod to executive producer M. Night Shyamalan, but it’s also just indicative of the exhaustion. The show never explored its better plot threads, never actually developed its characters; it just sustained on usually minimal competency and a few good performances.
Jason Patric ought to be a TV lead. Djimon Hounsou is a great TV series sturdy wingman. It’d be interesting to see if Tom Stevens can do anything but Mirror Universe Wesley Crusher. Kacey Rohl’s got some range and skills. Hope Davis is a good creep (it’s too bad she didn’t find out Rohl was Stevens’s mom; that scene would’ve been something). It’s too bad they weren’t working together in a better project.
Instead, they were trapped in “Wayward Pines.”