What is going on in Wayward Pines?


Poor Ethan spends an awful lot of time lying on the ground. Image: FX Productions

I have two confessions to make.

1. I used to watch Lost. A long time ago, before the polar bears but after the weird smoke. Maybe it was the other way around? But I’m a quitter, and I quit Lost because I could no longer deal with the fact that this story might not have an end point and I never had a single one of my questions answered. It’s not that Lost wasn’t a good show. It was. It just was not made for me and my brain. During it’s final season I used to receive a weekly episode synopsis from a coworker who was still on the Lost train. We worked Thursday night shifts at a particularly small and deserted shopping centre, so you know, we passed the time how we could.

2. I have never seen Twin Peaks. I’m 27 years old, which makes me about five years too young to have been swept up in it when it originally aired. I like David Lynch too, but it’s just one of those things that I haven’t gotten around to watching. By the way, that list is virtually endless.

Why am I talking to you about Lost and Twin Peaks when the title clearly says Wayward Pines? These are the two shows that it seems to be getting the most comparison too, although that seems to be dropping off a little the further into the story we go.

My friendly neighbourhood cable TV provider, Foxtel, advertised the shit out of Wayward Pines for about three weeks before it premiered. I was intrigued, but I thought to myself “you cannot get involved in another never ending vortex of questions that you can’t answer. You don’t have a boring retail job that someone can spend their shift explaining it to you anymore”. I was pretty on the fence about the whole thing. Fortunately I did my research and was pleasantly surprised to find out that Wayward Pines would be a clean, tidy and finite ten episode mini-series. I was thrilled! A mystery with an END POINT. What I realise now is that this doesn’t actually guarantee answers, just a date where I’ll either be really impressed or really annoyed. I was almost turned away by the fact the series executive producer is M Night Shyamalan, well, because, M Night Shyamalan.

Obviously, based on the fact that I’m writing about it, I got past that and decided to watch.

And I am so glad I did, but I am so far down the rabbit hole it isn’t funny. I am ALL IN on this one. And it’s taken a grand total of two episodes to achieve this. It probably would have only taken one if Foxtel hadn’t essentially played the entire first episode as a ‘trailer’ to the point that there was virtually nothing left to reveal.

There are some things that Wayward Pines have done really well. One of them is cast Matt Dillion. Excuse me, by the way Matt Dillion is 51 years old. FIFTY-ONE and he still looks like that. Ten points Matt Dillion for remaining a hottie into your fifth decade. The rest of the cast is also pretty great, I’m not the worlds biggest Juliette Lewis fan, but I think Melissa Leo is brilliantly creepy as ‘Nurse Pam’.

There is also an incredible shot towards the end of episode one, that, had it not been previously ruined by the endless advertising on Foxtel, would have been a really great ‘reveal’ moment. When Ethan arrives at the boundary fence, we get this incredible wide shot that just continues to pan out until we see the town of Wayward Pines completely surrounded by this fence, and also gives us some clues as to it’s location, possibly within some kind of canyon.

There are some things about Wayward Pines that I think might have been improved if the series had been made by HBO, Showtime, or the like. It’s a little safe when it comes to the level of gore/violence/etc but it is to be expected from American Network TV. Some of the dialogue has been a little hammy but I think the story is good enough to overlook that.

So what the hell is going on in Wayward Pines? I have some theories (surprise, surprise). The creators have made it pretty well known that it is not Purgatory (dammit, that was my first guess!), and it’s not Aliens (that was my second guess). So, here are my remaining guesses:

– Wayward Pines government experiment
This makes sense with Ethan being in the Secret Service, and it being pretty clear that they sent him there. ‘The Rules’ also lend themselves to this theory. I think whatever it is, the government are involved.

– Wayward Pines is another dimension
There is something about the way that time operates here that hasn’t been explained yet. Why do some people think they’ve been there a long time, and seem to have aged a lot, when others think they’ve just arrived but have been there more than a decade?

– Wayward Pines is just another hallucination Ethan Burke is having
We know that Ethan is carrying some pretty heavy guilt over a bombing that took place, that he feels responsible for not stopping. And we know he’s had some issues with hallucinations in the past.

I’ll continue to update my theories as the series goes on, and as my mind is further boggled.

There is also a horrifyingly commercialised ‘web series’ to accompany the show called ‘Gone’ *presented by Microsoft Surface* and boy, is it presented by Microsoft Surface. They’re only 2-3 minutes long, which is just long enough to convince me I don’t have any desire to buy a Microsoft Surface because people leave creepy messages on them saying they’re leaving forever.

I highly recommend jumping on the Wayward Pines bandwagon, episode three airs tonight so there’s not a whole lot of catch up to be done, and I’m hoping there will be a really great pay off at the end of the ten episodes!


2 thoughts on “What is going on in Wayward Pines?

  1. you are amazing
    I am sur I told you but if not, my wonderful son Kian wants to be a film critic. Well that’s wrong. He is a film critic. Can I give him your address. You guys would connect.


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