Are you prepared for the coming crisis....
Spoilers for the first 6 episodes of Wayward Pines are included below.
Episode 5 of Wayward Pines was almost entirely taken up by one long huge information dump. Hope Davis’ Mrs. Fisher essentially delivered a 20 minute monologue revealing exactly what was going on. It was bombshell after bombshell, and it all made sense.... sort of. This telling rather than showing approach could've been an absolute disaster, but intercutting it with silent scenes of Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) discovering the truth for himself worked perfectly. It was kinda a headfuck, but also one of the most memorable episodes of network television that I've seen in many a year.
Two weeks later and episode 6 of Wayward Pines was almost entirely taken up by one long huge information dump. This time it's the turn of Toby Jones' David Pilcher to fill in the gaps. Reaffirming that it really is 4028, and the residents of Wayward Pines are the only humans left after the devolution of man.
At the turn of the 21st Century Doctor Pilcher had predicted a crisis, but he'd been laughed at and no-one felt the urgency he did. So he channeled his fortune into a huge cryogenic facility to ensure the survival of the human race. When it was clear that enough volunteers were not coming forward he chose to give people a push towards salvation: selecting specimens, arranging accidents and abducting them. Keeping them in cold storage for 2000 years until Earth had healed itself.
We get to see the volunteers, working tirelessly behind the scenes, a-la The Truman Show, to keep the facade of the town alive. We also discover that the current population of Wayward Pines are actually Group B, and the reason they are in the dark is that Group A couldn't handle the truth, they went mad and either took their own lives or made unsuccessful bids for freedom.
As an info dump episode it's not quite as successful as before, possibly because it was always going to be hard to top the previous installment, but more likely because the majority of it just didn't need to be told, at least not yet. It really is all just reaffirmation, as if to confirm to any doubting audience members that it really is 2048, and the aberrations really are what we have become. But we know that, they told us last time.
Toby Jones is, of course, excellent. Never missing a beat as he tells his story and warped perspective of why it was OK for him to choose to take a young girl away from everyone she loved: because maybe she didn't need saving, maybe her children and grandchildren wouldn't need saving, but someone in her lineage would eventually need the help of this self made Messiah. So he froze her and gave her a chance in an unknown future.
All of this information is given so that by the end of the episode Matt Dillon's Ethan Burke realises that there really is no going back, and for the sake of the human race keeping the residents of Wayward Pines within the walls, and without the truth, is the best option. He's clearly not down with the Reapings, but it looks like he's going to step into the role of Sheriff without any more encouragement needed. It's a complete 180 degree turn for Burke, but again, surely after the things he saw in episode 5 he'd have already
come to the conclusion that his family would be safer where they were,
rather than making any additional bids for freedom.
The secondary storyline this episode offers some potential future conflict, both from Kate Hewon's (Carla Gugino) reignited desire for freedom, and Theresa Burke's (Shannyn Sossamon) investigation into the empty Plot 33. It was also good to see Terrence Howard again, and his flashback scenes went a long way towards readdressing my dislike of Sheriff Pope. Unfortunately the same can't be said for Melissa Leo's Nurse Pam, now she's turned all friendly the show has lost one of the most enjoyable characters to watch.
Although much of the information revealed in this episode needed to be told, the timing of it feels like something of a misstep. I'm still really intrigued by where Wayward Pines goes in the remaining four installments. Something tells me there are more twists to come, and possibly I'll readjust my feelings towards this chapter when the story is complete.