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.