TV Analysis

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

If I possessed the ability to predict the outcome of the stock-market, instead of the plot of a TV series, my wife and I could be comfortably retired on our own private island near Hawaii. Although Las Vegas offers wagers in a variety of areas, I highly doubt they have a book that’s devoted to TV show season finale outcomes. However as I wrote at the time, I put myself out on a limb a couple of weeks ago and I’m pleased I didn’t end up falling on my behind.

For the third straight year, fans of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” got treated to an exciting and action packed season finale, that provided some answers but left us waiting until October for answers to new questions. Once again we’re going to break format in order to summarize what we’ve learned in this campaign and hopefully provide some insight along with my opinions.

Elizabeth Keen’s Alive And Living In Cuba

Other than the fact that Kate Kaplan got Lizzie out of the country, no  real surprise here. If Megan Boone truly was leaving the show she would have gotten a far grander sendoff. As predicted Mr. Kaplan drew up a play in the dirt and left Raymond out of the loop. After picking up Tom and Liz outside of Mercy Hospital to transport them to a nightclub where Lizzie would give birth, Kate realized she needed to extricate the Keen family from Raymond’s life. So she convinced Nick to fake Lizzie’s death and Tom and Liz agreed to the plan.

Mr. Kaplan hired a small plane to transport Tom and Agnes to their new life in Cuba, but unfortunately Alexander Kirk’s operatives trailed Tom and Agnes and found out Lizzie’s waiting for her husband and daughter to their new home. The episode concluded with the Keen’s being held captive by Kirk and Raymond holding a pistol against Mr. Kaplan’s temple and asks “What are we going to do about you Kate?”

If anyone else had done what Kate did, their corpse would already be in a landfill dump in New Jersey. The fact that Raymond didn’t pull the trigger in that scene, lends me to believe that Red understands why she took the actions she did. The longer Raymond contemplates his next move the greater the odds he’ll forgive Mr. Kaplan.

Alexander Kirk Is Lizzie’s Father

Although there’s many fans that refuse to believe it, “Daddy-Gate” got resolved in the third season finale and Raymond Reddington’s not the Poppa. Alexander Kirk’s an alias for Konstantin Rostov, husband of Katerina and father of Masha Rostova. (The suffix “ova” is added to the “root-name” in many Eastern-European tongues, signifying wife of or daughter of.)

The purpose of Rostov wanting contact with his daughter and granddaughter’s unclear as the episode and season concluded. Is he simply trying to develop a relationship with a daughter he believed died in a fire as a child, or is he hoping Lizzie and Agnes can help him with his medical condition. Konstantin seems to receive frequent blood transfusions, which could be a result of a serious illness.

Raymond, Katerina’s father Dom and perhaps others went to great lengths to ensure that Rostov believed his daughter died as a child. They put her in Sam’s care and cutoff all contact with her, however Raymond was so confident he could keep her safe he broke the pact he had with Dominic. During episode 21, Red blamed Laurel Hitchin and the Cabal for exposing the name Masha Rostova to the planet. However if Raymond’s honest with himself, he’ll soon realize that it’s his fault the name surfaced.

Just before Liz shot United States Attorney General Tom Connelly in season two, Reddington revealed to Liz that her mother was a Soviet Spy named Katerina Rostova and her birth name was Masha Rostova. At the beginning of season three, Keen sought asylum at the Russian Embassy claiming she was a Russian spy. That act revealed her birth name which in turn revealed to Kirk his daughter hadn’t died.

Raymond Was Leaving The Task-Force

Raymond and Harold Cooper had a goodbye meeting just before Reddington left to try to assassinate Kirk and told Harold without Elizabeth being there his work was done, then told Cooper he appreciated him and his team and expressed his unabashed respect for Harold. He looked Cooper in the eye and said Charlene, inferring just with the mention of Harold’s estranged wife’s name they should get back together. He also begged Cooper to fix Aram up with somebody, comparing the Tech Wizard to a boy on a school bus with his first erection. However once they get Lizzie away from Kirk, look for them to both be back in the fold.

Ressler Chooses Justice Over The Law

Raymond’s plan was to have his sniper takeout Kirk, but Ressler found them before Kirk’s limo arrived and threatened to kill Raymond’s soldier. Reddington sent his man away and he grabbed the rifle and getting the scope ready as Ressler points his pistol at the back Red’s head while Dembe has his weapon on Donald. Raymond tells Ressler that if he plans to stop Red from taking the shot, he best shoot Reddington right now. But Donald pockets his weapon, Unfortunately Kirk doesn’t emerge from the limousine, it’s one of his lieutenants. Kirk’s flying to Cuba to meet his daughter and Granddaughter.

Senator Robert Diaz’s Campaign Song, I’m Your Puppet

Although Raymond told Senator Robert Diaz last week for politicians,  Reddington actually wants a favor from Diaz if he’s the next occupant of the Oval Office. He told the Senator he wants a full pardon for Elizabeth to clear her record even though he thought Liz was dead at this point.

What’s Up For Season Four?

Konstantin Rostov will become the designated  “Big Bad” at the beginning of next season. How long his storyline lasts remains to be seen. Lizzie and Raymond will return to the Post Office and the Task-Force will once again go after the names on Raymond’s list. Have a great Summer!!

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Not all soldiers contain the qualities to become Generals. In fact the skill sets of an exemplary soldier and an effective General likely couldn’t be more at odds with each other. A good soldier never questions orders and does what ever it takes to fulfill the mission even if it means sacrificing their life in the process. An effective General or leader of any kind needs to be able to react to changing conditions and adapt their plans accordingly. There’s too much knowledge and experience within a leader to sacrifice easily. Soldiers are easily replaceable, however wise veteran leaders aren’t.

If you’re a fan of the NBC series “The Blacklist,” you’ve seen this dynamic in place throughout the show’s third season. FBI Agent Donald Ressler got pressed into running the FBI Task Force, formerly lead by Harold Cooper and Ressler’s first mission’s been attempting to capture his former partner, former agent Elizabeth Keen. Before the series took it’s winter hiatus in November, Ressler took Lizzie into custody and likely put her life in great jeopardy.

Ressler believes that his former partner’s innocent and has gotten set-up by the Cabal, a shadow government that secretly pulls all the strings that have caused the greatest catastrophes of our lifetimes. The group’s made up of leaders of governments and industries across the planet and lead by the CIA Director Peter Kotsiopolus whose usually referred to as The Director. The Cabal’s infested the halls of power in the United States Government, with the President’s NSA Director Laurel Hitchin’s among their ranks. She executed Deputy Attorney General Reven Wright, after Wright revealed she knew some potentially incriminating information.

Meanwhile Ressler naïvely sits back thinking he’s winning Hitchin’s confidence and she’ll soon start taking his side over that of The Director’s. Donald Ressler’s a good man who truly wants to the right thing, however he’s way over his head right now in shark-infested waters. Because he’s been trained his entire career to think within certain parameters, he lacks the skills he needs to think outside-the-box and being able to adjust strategy as the situation changes. Those skills are absolutely essential to being a good leader, we shall see if Ressler takes advice either from Raymond Reddington or Harold Cooper once the series returns on January 7.

That failure to adapt to the situation and to realize that sometimes you have to deal with the lesser of two evils to salvage a situation, has led Donald to feel betrayed by his former boss Harold Cooper. Both share a severe dislike of the man they know as Tom Keen, however only Cooper was smart enough not to turn an asset away in time of need. After Tom approached Ressler in his apartment building about helping clearing Lizzie’s name and Ressler told him to leave immediately, Cooper sought Keen out. Tom’s completed his mission capturing the Russian spy Karakurt and forcing him to admit that he’s responsible for all the crimes Lizzie’s being charged with.

Meanwhile Cooper’s got to be feeling pretty betrayed himself right about now, as his wife Charlene decided that in the midst of trying to get Karakurt to the proper authorities that it was the perfect time to reveal to her husband that she had an affair a couple of years before. Was this her way of getting back at her husband for involving her in the dangerous situation they’re attempting to complete? Or did Charlene simply have a nervous breakdown due to the stress of the situation and that just tumbled out of her mouth?

When the series does return to TV on January 7, reports have surfaced that the first two episode will revolve around The Director Peter Kotsiopolus. David Strathairn who portrays The Director’s a first-rate actor that came to my attention in the late seventies and he’s added several amazing performances to his resume since then. Having Strathairn just appearing along the sidelines for about the last year’s like having a Porsche up on blocks in the garage. I can’t wait to see what he does with all the time allotted to him.

The Director decided to take a gamble in season two that backfired badly. He decided to chance that Raymond Reddington was bluffing when he claimed to have access to The Fulcrum, a blackmail file that if released would put many members of the Cabal in certain danger. Red obtained the file last season and flew in the planet’s most renowned Investigative-Journalists and gave them each a copy.

Kotsiopolus and other Cabal members have attempted to discredit the information revealed in those documents ever since and the Cabal’s not happy that The Director’s gamble failed so badly. Enter one Matias Solomon, the hitman/enforcer/messenger for the Cabal, Solomon just enjoys killing it doesn’t really matter to him who the victim is. He’d just as soon slit The Director’s throat as he would Raymond Reddington, just depends on which way the wind’s blowing.

Elizabeth Keen will get imprisoned in that same glass cell that Ressler and Red got locked in during the first season, until Raymond agreed to surrender to save Lizzie’s life. Ressler’s promised his former partner he’d protect her while in his custody. How much help will he need from this bizarre lineup that now comprises Team-Reddington?

We’re well aware that Raymond would without hesitation trade his life for Lizzie’s, we’re also well aware that The Blacklist recently inked a contract for a fourth season. Without Lizzie and or Raymond there’s no longer a series, so we know going in that they’ll both survive. However this show’s already displayed they’ll sacrifice a regular cast member if they consider it necessary. They ended the first season with the death of series regular Meera Malik, killed by Reddington’s foe Berlin.

Could Ressler, Samar Navabi, Aram or Harold Cooper be sacrificed this season? Or what about Ryan Eggold who portrays good-looking bad-buy Tom Keen? The happy ending that Liz told Red about earlier this season, about her accompanied by her husband and child walking serenely through some small town square will never happen if she stays with Tom/Jacob. Which means more to her, those dreams or her former husband? We’ll start getting answers to those and other questions in just over two-weeks.

The Story Continues January 7, at 9:00 pm on NBC.

Courtesy of ABC Family, Hallmark Channel and Lifetime

Courtesy of ABC Family, Hallmark Channel and Lifetime

ABC Family, Hallmark, and Lifetime Need To Refocus And Get Back
To Quality Christmas Movies Without Agenda.

 
This is the time of the calendar year when new, live television is hard to come by. My generally jovial disposition and affection for the holidays naturally lends itself to cranking out Holiday and television related articles. However, not every holiday season is created equal. Now sure, you put up a tree (or other specific decor) every year. You make and consume a fair amount of the same foods every year. There are even can’t miss traditions that happen every year. But each year is not created equal.

One of my many traditions is that I watch nothing but holiday/Christmas programming from the week of Thanksgiving through the end of December. Now there are shows that I cover for this website and as long as they put out new episodes, of course I will watch those. Outside of that, Christmas all the time. I don’t watch late night talk shows, documentaries, mini series’, news magazine shows, if it’s not scripted new episodes or Christmas tv/movies, it can wait until January. On top of that, I have a stable of Christmas movies and music loaded on my mobile devices. I really don’t have any need for anything else, but as I said, not all holiday seasons are created equal.

Every year you can count on Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, Scrooged, A Christmas Carol, and of course 24 hours of A Christmas Story. Those a great, literally. Those are first ballot Christmas Movie Hall of Famers. Television networks pay good money for the rights to air those. The question is, “What do you do with the other 90% of the Christmas viewing time?” You find other, non-classics, holiday movies on television to enjoy. Some of them are cheesy, some are heartwarming, some are cute and some are just flat-out bad. Over the years though, by and large, the made for TV holiday movies are pretty good on the whole.

2013 is a great example. In 2013 Hallmark Channel really began to separate itself from the Holiday network pack. In one season, Hallmark released A Very Merry Mix Up, Catch A Christmas Star, Fir Crazy, Hats Off To Christmas, Let It Snow, Snow Bride, The Christmas Ornament, and a personal favorite Window Wonderland. Window Wonderland I would put on any Christmas Movies list, regardless of status, budget or type. That same year ABC Family put out a couple new-made for TV movies but none to the level of what Hallmark was doing. Holidaze was cute. It’s a little Vice Versa, a little daytime soap, with a healthy sprinkling of It’s A Wonderful Life. Probably not even in the top half of made for TV Christmas movies of the last 15 years though. ABC Family also tried to maximize viewers coming off of the success of Glee and Pitch Perfect, the released The Mistle-Tones. A movie that combines group performance singing with Christmas themes. I don’t personally like it, but I understand why they thought they needed to make it.

2015 has been a complete snooze fest. On the surface, nothing seems out-of-place. Candace Cameron-Bure, Lacey Chabert (always fighting it out for Queen of Christmas movies), and even Danika McKellar (Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years) makes a couple of appearances. There is a Debbie Macomber presence, always welcomed. And there are a stable of movies starring someone you thought was too good to do made for tv movies. Brandon Routh doing the Nine Lives of Christmas last year (which was GREAT), for example. All the mainstays and typical details one tends to look for are there. A bad example is Judd Nelson playing Santa in the forgettable Cancel Christmas. Judd Nelson is too harsh to pull off a jolly St. Nick.
This year has been completely forgettable. Take away the classics that Networks run and what you’re left with is a not very compelling holiday lineup. With movies like Ice Sculpture Christmas, Christmas Incorporated, A Christmas Detour and I’m Not Ready For Christmas…I’m not ready to devote any of my free time to watching these movies. Now I love my Queens of Christmas. I will give anything with Lacey Chabert, Candace Cameron-Bure, and especially Danica McKellar a chance. But I just can’t do some of these. Attention Hallmark, ABC Family and Lifetime…How many ‘real American girl discovers her boyfriend is really a prince’ movies are we gonna make. A Princess for Christmas was great. A Royal Christmas was still really good. I can’t get through Crown For Christmas. I’m sure it’s not as bad as I’m making it seem, but seriously, how many times are we going to do the same movie? This is especially disheartening because Danica McKellar is a part of one of the best made for TV Christmas movies of all time, Love at the Christmas Table.

The saving grace is that I, like a lot of families, have a young one who is focusing on the classics…as he should. Rudolph, Frosty, Twas the Night Before Christmas (all the Rankin and Bass classics), all of the Claymation specials (Misfit Toys, Christmas without Santa, etc), the Grinch, and his personal favorite, The Polar Express. What can I say, my son is crazy for anything with trains. So generally speaking, I don’t have the time to give each new made for tv Christmas movie a chance. All I know is that the ones I have given a chance to, have been overwhelmingly disappointing.
The bigger issue is not that they have missed the mark, the bigger issue is why? I think I have a theory.

I am a Christmas degenerate. I jokingly tell people that Halloween is the speed bump preventing me from starting the Christmas ‘Holiday Season’ earlier. I can find joy and comfort in just about anything from November through December. Even these teens and single digit temps we’ve been having out here lately. There is one detail that prevents me from being any other viewer during this time. There is no amount of money you can throw at marketing, no video promo you can air, no hint you can drop that will even for a moment come close to turning me into a year-long viewer of networks like Hallmark, Lifetime or ABC Family. Hell even changing their name to Freeform (Jan. 12) will not bring me to the formerly known as ABC Family. It just isn’t going to happen. Hate to break it to you, I do not care in the least about Pretty Little Liars. I don’t care about Cedar Cove. And you can’t make me care about Dance Moms or the next man hating Lifetime original movie. It just is not going to happen. I honestly could not possibly care any less than I already do about those networks unless they are airing Christmas content.

In the past I’ve made a minor fuss about stuffing their non-holiday programming down our throats. Now I wish that’s all it was. Whether by design or a friendly coincidence, these networks have gone from trying to maximize new viewers by running their non-holiday promos during holiday programming to actually altering the way they make their holiday movies to resemble how they make their non-holiday shows and movies. My biggest fear is that ten years from now, we’ll look back and say, “Those were the good ole days, 1999-2013”. There is a reason why people like me don’t watch those networks for 10 months out of the year, but go binge crazy during the remaining 2 months. When they were making heartwarming, cute, clever holiday movies for the sole purpose of maximizing viewers during the Christmas/Holiday months, they made magic (considering budget, cast and other factors), maybe it was lightning in a bottle. Or maybe that’s no longer good enough and someone in a board room decided to use this window to maximize opportunity.

My theory is that winning Christmas is no longer good enough for the Christmas Big 3. Would it be nice if some preteen watching Elf saw a promo for The Fosters and decided to watch it when it started its new season after the Holidays? Or maybe a retired government employee decided to give Project Runway a real chance. What these networks need to understand is that the bulk of their Christmas/Holiday viewers are never, will never consider watching their networks the rest of the year. And for good reason. If we liked what they put out, the countdown to Christmas stuff would just be icing on the cake. I believe they are slowly changing the way the make these movies, how the characters react, the temperament of the movies and even the subject matter of these movies to resemble what they make for the other 10 months of the year.

ABC Family (Freeform), Hallmark and Lifetime…understand what you are. Maximize that and try not to bite off more than you can chew. There is nothing wrong with being a heavyweight ratings wise during the holiday season and being a featherweight the rest of the time. I am a scripted network fiction, sports, new release movie type of viewer most of the time. I am not your demographic most of the year. Unless you’re going to start airing some new Tuesday Night Football or plan on bringing back Constantine, there’s nothing you can do that will interest me come February.

My advice to our readers is to do what makes you happy this time of year. That and focus on the classics this year. Hopefully I’m wrong and this is an uncharacteristically bad year for made for TV Christmas/Holiday movies. Watch them if you want. I don’t mean to stop you. But if you’re time is limiting or you’ve been wondering why none of these seem to interest you, stick to the classics this year. A Christmas Story, Vacation, Home Alone, Polar Express, The Grinch and of course all of the musical and animated specials we all love so much. Stick to what we know to be great and try again next year, hoping for improved results.

Photo Courtesy Of Nicole Rivelli/ FOX

Photo Courtesy Of Nicole Rivelli/FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Normally a recap would be filling this space as the FOX network aired their final episode of “Gotham,” for 2015, as the show will go on hiatus and return with new episodes in February. Regular readers of these pages are well aware that I have a soft-spot for “Comic-Book Series” in general and I’ve written before that I believed that Gotham had the potential to be the best of the lot. Since the series is a prequel to Batman, the show’s creators and writers have been able to put their twist on a tale that first appeared in Detective Comics in 1939.

When you decide to reboot an iconic story, there’s certainly room for some flexibility in the new version. We’ve seen Jimmy Olsen morph from a freckle-faced ginger-haired photographer into a Black Man in the CBS show “Supergirl,” and the change got accepted eagerly by the fans. Jeri Hogarth is a shark in stilettos in the new Netflix series “Jessica Jones,” even though the character’s a man within the pages of Marvel Comics. These are minor changes that leave the big picture unchanged and even the staunchest traditionalist won’t be bothered by moves like that.

However over the last decade or so, we’ve seen the creative community expand their visions of familiar tales by breaking continuity with what should be hard and fast rules. You can set Robin Hood in ancient China populated by Shaolin Monks or in Alaska with a cast of Eskimos, as long as you stick to the constant. Robin Hood takes from the rich and gives to the poor, want to change those parameters then give your story and characters other names.

Back in 2013 director Zack Snyder released “Man Of Steel,” the reboot of the Superman series and broke continuity with every other version of the tale ever told. One of the changes was relatively minor and likely scoffed at by the casual fan, the fact that the Son Of Krypton grew a beard on Earth. Kal-El/Superman’s beard not growing on Earth’s been a constant through comic-books, Radio and TV shows and in movies since the character’s creation.

The second deviation from the “Superman Bible,” however altered the character and made this version of Kal-El different from all his predecessors. Kal-El broke the neck of his Kryptonian opponent General Zod, killing him and violating one of foundation blocks of tale of Superman. Superman Never Kills. There’s no room for negotiation in that statement. Zack Snyder’s creation can never truly be Superman in my eyes.

Which brings us back full-circle to the subject at hand, the final episode of Gotham for 2015.  The creators of this series can play as hard and fast with the characters as they choose to, however when the series airs its final episode when ever that occurs certain paths have to remain unchanged. Selina Kyle will grow-up to become Catwoman, Alfred Pennyworth will live to see Bruce Wayne go deeply into his adult years. Of course Bruce will either be on his way or actually donning his cape and cowl in the series finale and Jim Gordon will become the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department.

Everything else is up for grabs, they can throw a fake Joker on the screen and the fans will accept it. They can give young Bruce a doomed romance that forever affects his heart. They can have Harvey Bullock turn on Gordon and fall back into the corrupt cesspool that Jim first found him floating in. However they can’t alter those four tent-pole storylines, otherwise it’s a different tale.

The majority of the episode entitled “Worse Than A Crime,” was fast paced, gripping and entertaining as it all came down to a battle between Theo Galavan and the Brothers from the Order Of The Dumas and Jim Gordon, Alfred, Harvey, Cat, Penguin and his crew to save Bruce Wayne from imminent execution. Galavan sneaks away as Team-Gordon takes out all their opponents, culminating in the death of Father Creel as Harvey finally reaches the battle after struggling with the stairs.

At this point the story turned sideways and though it seemed puzzling one could make sense out of it. The only ways out for Theo, his sister Tabitha and his niece Silver are by greeting the police or by parasailing out of their penthouse window. Problem’s they only have two chutes and three people who need to escape. Theo expresses his disappointment in his niece and goes to choke her but he’s stopped as Tabitha comes up from behind and knocks him out with a blow to the top of his skull. Suddenly a devoted sister turns on her benefactor brother, without any real indicators? Strange but acceptable.

However what came next was not as Gordon finds Galavan in his office and tells the Mayor that he’s under arrest and to cuff himself. Galavan smiles and says you scared me there for a minute I thought you were going to shoot me. Gordon says this time he’s not getting away and Theo asks the detective if he’d like to wager on that, as that’s what Jim thought the last time he arrested him. The detective glares at Theo and says maybe he’s right and perhaps he should guarantee that Galavan never sees freedom again and puts his service revolver against the billionaire’s head. Galavan goes into begging mode quickly saying he was just talking big.

Just then Gordon’s commander Captain Nathaniel Barnes arrives on the scene with a uniform and orders Gordon to step away from Galavan. Barnes earlier in the episode issued a warrant for Gordon’s arrest, not knowing where his detective was located and he’d been charged with assaulting Galavan, still the city’s mayor. Barnes tells Gordon to put his service revolver on the floor and to put his hands on his head until Barnes gets the stories straight. Seconds later Barnes hits the floor as Penguin’s snuck up from behind him and hit him in the head knocking him out.

Cobblepot tells Gordon they can’t just let Galavan go through the system again and once again get set free. He reminds Gordon that he’s got all the judges in his pocket and he’d soon be back in his penthouse and running the city. We then see Gordon opening the trunk of a car and helping Galavan to his feet. Theo says you’re a moral man Jim, you’ll regret this and Gordon says he has greater things to regret than him. Penguin raises a baseball bat over Galavan as he lies on the sand near the ocean and says this is for his mother and beats Theo until the mayor pleads for his death. Gordon lets Oswald hit him another couple of times and then screams enough. He then pulls out his service revolver and executes Theo Galavan.

Gordon meets Lee Thompkins in a park, he sent her out-of-town just before the gunfight. She told him she’s carrying his child and he was about to leave Gotham City with her when he found out Bruce Wayne got kidnapped by Galavan. She sits on a cement bench and he walks over to her  and says it’s all over then asks her to marry him.

Do the creators of Gotham expect the audience to accept this brutal execution as part of the baptism by fire that helped shape James Gordon into the man who’ll become Commissioner of the GCPD. Gordon killed a man earlier in the season when he did a favor for Penguin to get reinstated on the force, but that was in self-defense. This was a premeditated act of execution and I don’t know how the character or the series recovers from this move.

I’m certain that there will be plenty of discussion from the creators of the series as well as from other observers. I’m hoping that there’s a rational explanation behind this event that allows us to forgive and to root once again for Jim Gordon.

Photo: Courtesy Of FOX

Photo: Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

 The FOX Network concluded their ten-part miniseries “Wayward Pines,” with an episode that’s kept social-media-sites buzzing, over the last few days. The finale divided fans of the series into two camps, those who think the show ended on a brilliant note, while others simply hated it. During the last few minutes of the finale, the show-runners pulled a “bait and switch” maneuver, altering the optimistic ending that got set-up during the hour, to a much darker conclusion. While many viewers enjoyed the twist in the final minutes, many fans got confused or disgusted with the ending.

Although I’ve yet to read any of the Wayward Pines trilogy of novels, written by author Blake Crouch, I’m aware that the miniseries ended differently than the first novel did. I’m also aware that a plot-device used in the TV show “The First Generation Of Wayward Pines,” wasn’t utilized in Crouch’s books. The fact that the mini-series used the youngsters prominently and they figured into the conclusion, has many friends of mine that read the novels, besides themselves in consternation. We’ve seen Hollywood reconfigure some incredible novels, into films that were barely recognizable to the book’s fans for decades. So we’re going to leave that subject alone, in this article and just deal with the perspective of fans who didn’t read the books.

The series and its final episode are recapped elsewhere on this site, so we’re going to concentrate on just the final scenes of Thursday’s finale. The creator of Wayward Pines, David Pilcher got shot to death by his disillusioned sister Pam, earlier in the evening. The show’s protagonist, former Secret Service Agent turned Wayward Pines Sheriff Ethan Burke, sacrificed his life to save the rest of the residents. Burke connected four bombs to a detonator and when the Abbies began to attack the elevator car he rode in, he blew them and himself up. The elevator exploded into a ball of flame and then dropped like a stone to the bottom of the shaft.

Hearing the explosion, Ethan’s son Ben stuck his head inside the shaft, looking and calling for his father. However, his search didn’t last long as a piece of debris hit him in the head and knocked him out cold.

A while later, things have calmed down in Wayward Pines, as the power’s restored, the people are safe and they’ve had a chance to catch their collective breath. Pam and Kate Balinger, Ethan’s former partner in the Secret Service, knock down all the barriers that have come between them for the last 12-years and level with each other. We see a pact formed between the two women, to help run the town and end all the secrets and lies that David insisted on using. Things appear to be taking an optimistic turn as the women attempt to put humanity in the year 4028, back on the right path. Then the screen goes blank for a few seconds, something doesn’t feel right, it seems unfinished. We soon find out that’s indeed the case.

When the picture returns we hear a female voice asking how are you feeling Mr. Burke? Ben’s in a hospital bed and Amy’s wearing a nurse’s uniform, he asks what’s going on and Amy says his doctor will be there shortly and explain everything. Ben asks her why she’s dressed like that and she replies she’s a nurse and graduated two weeks ago.

Ben soon finds out he’s been in suspension for the last three-years and four-months, along with all the adults from Group B. The First Generation Of Wayward Pines, overpowered the adults and after putting them all back to sleep, took over operation of the town. The fear and ignorance are back in full force, emphasized by corpses hanging on light-poles on Main Street, one having a sign around his neck reading “Do Not Try To Leave.”

Judging by the posts I’ve encountered on Social-Media-Sites, a sizable portion of the viewers were confused by the ending. They failed to realize that Pam, Kate, Theresa Burke and the rest of the adults from Wayward Pines, were back in their cryogenic tubes in suspended animation. Many also failed to grasp that the dozens of students that rode out the storm in the supply room of Wayward Pines Academy, had taken control of the town and running it just as the man they refer to as their Savior, David Pilcher kept things in order.

Another segment of the audience, believes that the last-minute twist was the perfect conclusion for the miniseries. Many felt that an optimistic ending, with all holding hands and singing “Kumbaya,” would have felt false and forced. This was after all the story of a psychotic genius, who kidnapped hundreds of people over a 15-year period, ripping them away from their lives and loved ones, so that Pilcher could restore humanity in the distant future. The optimistic conversation between Pam and Kate, was in fact just a mirage. A momentary feeling that they could reshape their society.

The last segment of the audience, simply hated the conclusion. They didn’t like the fact that Ethan Burke died and got more upset when they realized his death was in vain. The open and free society, that Burke envisioned never came about and in fact many folks got punished just for learning the truth. They didn’t play an active role into finding out what their circumstances were, but just by getting informed they got put back in suspension.

There were some published reports last week emanating from Internet-Based TV Sites that FOX had decided against bringing back Wayward Pines for a second season. However as of this writing, the network’s been mum on the series fate and no mainstream publication such as Entertainment Weekly, or USA Today have gone with the story running on the Internet sites. So as far as this writer’s concerned, the decision whether to bring back Wayward Pines next summer’s a 50/50 proposition and the controversy over the finale, helps the chances of FOX renewing the show.

As far as this writer’s opinion on the finale, it was far from being a satisfying episode. Had we flashed ahead and witnessed a teary-eyed Theresa, Ben and Amy at the dedication of a statue to the town’s hero Ethan Burke, for sacrificing his life to save Wayward Pines and all the residents were happy, that would have been a true “warm-and-fuzzy” moment. But the “bait and switch” conclusion, may have been the best fit. It was a dark-ending for a dark-series and 48-hours after being broadcast on the East Coast it’s still causing a buzz.

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Fans of the FOX network miniseries “Wayward Pines,” witnessed back-to-back mind-blowing episodes in chapters five and six, of this ten-part production. The fifth episode entitled “The Truth,” revealed that the town of Wayward Pines, existed in year 4028 long after humanity had ceased to exist. Episode six explained in detail how Dr. David Pilcher and his sister Pamela, put together his plan to restore humanity in our planet’s distant future.

Pilcher along with a security guard he employed Arnold Pope, turned to kidnapping to populate humanity’s new home, starting with a brilliant physician that lost his medical license for prescribing too much Oxycontin. Pilcher tells Pope that he’s giving second chances to people who deserve them, including Pope himself.

The kidnappings seemed to have gone on for 15-years, as we know Beverly got kidnapped in 1999 and they were still occurring in 2014. That was also the year that Pamela, Pope, Megan Fisher and Pilcher put themselves into suspended animation through the cryonics process. They were the first revived and then decided who would become members of their first control-group to populate Wayward Pines.

After watching the fifth episode, I was convinced that there had to be a bridge that connected Wayward Pines to our era. How else could Pilcher have had two conversations with Ethan Burke’s boss Adam Hassler in 2014? How could Sheriff Arnold Pope have gotten Burke’s wife Theresa and his son Ben into Wayward Pines. When Pilcher tells Ethan that he underwent the cryonics process in 2014, my first thought was perhaps those events took place before Pilcher took his 2000-year nap.

However about 24-hours after watching the telecast Thursday night, I realized that the David Pilcher that had those two conversations with Adam Hassler, wasn’t the shaggy-haired younger version of Pilcher that went to sleep in 2014. In both those conversations, Pilcher appeared as he does in 4028 losing his hair and with far more lines on his face. Which leads me to the conclusion that a bridge from Wayward Pines to our era, does indeed exist and possibly hiding out in plain-sight.

A new element to the story got introduced in “Choices,” the existence of “Lot 33.” To the naked-eye “Lot-33” looks like a plot of undeveloped land with a chain-link fence around it. However the plot’s right in the middle of town and we find out the victim of the last reckoning Peter McCall thought there was more to the lot than met the eye. Could “Lot 33” be where that bridge to our era exists and if so, how does one utilize it?

To be certain, a bridge from 4028 is a far-fetched notion, but this is a series that’s based on far-fetched notions, that humanity will start it’s fall in just 80-years and that our species has been supplanted by the mutant Abbies. So accepting all that, would a bridge between eras be that much more of a stretch?

We’ve seen the older version of David Pilcher in 2014, the question remains how did he get there. I’ve not read any of the novels in the series and have steered clear of any spoiler-articles, so this is pure conjecture on my part. However until given a better explanation, I’m thinking this is indeed a credible theory.

The Story Continues Thursday Night at 9:00 pm on FOX.

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

There are times when a Television series suddenly takes that leap from being a good show and evolves into greatness. For this writer that leap took place, during episode five of the FOX Network’s ten-part miniseries “Wayward Pines,” as the true scope of the story got revealed. After picking my jaw up from the floor, I started trying to make sense of what got revealed and the numerous questions that were flooding my mind.

If you have yet to watch the first five episodes of this show, I strongly suggest you stop reading right now and head to FOX.com to catch up. If you’re still with me, lets discuss what’s rapidly evolving into a brilliant Science Fiction series. We found out from two different sources, that the Burke family and their fellow residents of Wayward Pines, are certainly a long way from Kansas and from life as we know it.

While fans of the show were aware from the series premiere, that time was an important factor in the story, I highly doubt that viewers who haven’t read the series of Wayward Pine novels, had any idea that the characters now lived in the 41st Century and that humanity had long been wiped off the earth. That the dominant species on the planet, were known as “Abies” short for aberrations and the species were in fact our descendants. A species that evolved due to a hostile environment, while lacking our knowledge they are our physical superiors, able to kill a fully armed soldier in seconds.

A scientist from our era Dr. David Pilcher, not only correctly predicted the future, he built a bridge to it and set-up the walled in community known as Wayward Pines. He also acquired residents for his town by kidnapping them and then putting them into a state of suspended animation, so they woke up over 2000 years later without physically aging a day. The new residents thought they’d been unconscious for hours, or perhaps as much as a day and most of them believe they still live in the 21st century.

The only residents that get to learn the truth, are the students of Wayward Pines Academy. Megan Fisher who seems to be in charge of the school, puts new students through an orientation program and reveals to them where and when they truly are, in stages. The first part of the program, introduces the students to the concept of the Abies, then they get sent to lunch.

When the students return, they’re informed of the other part of the equation by Megan in the form of an ancient coin. After scraping the residue off the coins, the students realize that they’re United States quarters, minted in the year 2095. Then they’re informed that those quarters are from the last year, before society fell apart and that they live in the year 4028.  Fisher then tells them they’re part of the first generation of Wayward Pines and they mustn’t tell their parents, as they’re too old and set in their ways, to deal with their new realities.

While Ben Burke and two other new students went through orientation, Ben’s father Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke got an up-close look at exactly what Megan described to her students. He reached the summit of the mountains, surrounding the town and quickly deduced he was in a strange new world. Ethan’s arm got sliced by one of the Abies and he later witnessed a group of them tear apart the carcass of a dead dear.

He then found an old mangled highway sign, for an exit in Boise, Idaho, but the landscape he saw were the ruins of an ancient civilization. As he attempted to make sense of what he was seeing, a helicopter arrived carrying an armed soldier and the man Burke knew as the Wayward Pines hospital psychiatrist Dr. Jenkins. After telling Burke how he never ceased to amaze him, he revealed his true identity as Dr. David Pilcher. He convinced Burke to return to the town with him and he would explain things fully to him.

As I wrote earlier, with all the revelations we received fans of the show now have just as many unanswered questions, starting with how did David Pilcher receive the information about humanity’s future and how did he build or acquire the technology to build a bridge from our era to the 41st Century? Also who has access to that bridge, we know that at least Pilcher, Nurse Pam and the late Sheriff Pope crossed back to our era. Now that Burke’s the town’s new sheriff, will he have access to that bridge and would he try to bring his wife Theresa and son Ben back to 2014?

Another question revolves around why Pilcher didn’t build his bridge to a time, when he could have stopped the aberrations from occurring? There wouldn’t be a need for the first generation of Wayward Pines, if humanity still existed in the future. Also what factors came into determining whom Pilcher and his crew chose to populate this ark, as Megan Fisher refers to their town?

Narrowing it down to the Burke’s, did Pilcher choose Ethan knowing his wife and son would come looking for him, or are they just making the best of the situation now that it’s occurred? Pilcher now has two Secret Service Agents in his town, does he believe that Kate Hewson and Ethan Burke, have qualities due to their training that make them assets for his community? Does Pilcher have any desire to take on the Abies and reclaim the earth for humanity? If he doesn’t then what motivated him to introduce this community 2000 years in the future?

Director M. Night Shyamalan, burst upon the American Cinema Scene in 1999, with the release of his first movie, “A Sixth Sense.” Although his first movie turned into an instant classic, his last few movies have failed to impress the critics or the public. He turned to the small screen in an attempt to win back fans and his presentation through the first five episodes, should have accomplished that feat. Or perhaps the director will decide that this new venue’s more to his liking and a better vehicle for his talents.

We are only halfway through this miniseries, however if it stays on its current trajectory, perhaps we will get to see further installments, of this so far fascinating tale. In an era of cookie-cutter TV shows, Wayward Pines has started to blaze its own trail, with perhaps the best Science Fiction series since the Rod Serling anthology “The Twilight Zone.”

The Story Continues Thursday Night at 9:00 pm on FOX.