See? We kept our promise. We told you the truth would be revealed in episode 5 and now you know the truth. Now you also know why I wanted to turn this story into a television series. When I got to the last 50 pages of Blake Crouch’s first book and read a version of what you just watched, my mind was blown.
It’s the future?
This is all that’s left of humanity?
The things on the other side of the fence are what humanity de-evolved (or evolved) into?
It. All. Adds. Up.
I’m not a big sci-fi guy by nature. I was pulled into Blake’s book by the characters, the town, the humor, the tension, the mystery. I knew he had to have some final explanation for all this, but I never expected it to be ALL THIS.
Everything I thought didn’t compute, every plot hole I thought I’d found, every mistake I thought Blake had made… it all made perfect sense. When does that happen? Beyond the fact that it was brilliant storytelling, it was a brilliant idea. And it isn’t even really sci-fi. I guess you could argue that it’s sci-fi. But there’s no magic. There are no powers. There are no other-worldly creatures. Okay, there are other-worldly creatures. But they’re us.
James Foley did a brilliant job directing this epic episode. The truth is unraveled across three interweaving story lines, and he masterfully wove the tension and kept the balance throughout. These interweaving story lines were written by three immensely talented guys. The Duffer Brothers and… Blake Crouch. Yep. Blake had never written an episode of television before. He blew us away with a first-rate adaptation of his mind-blowing reveal.
And I can’t think about a reveal that made everything before it make sense in such a perfect way since… well, since The Sixth Sense. M. Night Shyamalan’s film holds regardless of the “twist” ending. And when you find out Bruce Willis is dead, you watch back and realize that it makes every piece of the mystery make sense. There are no lies. It’s why Night was the perfect person to direct the first episode and set the tone for the series.
Just like in The Sixth Sense, there are no tricks, lies, or manipulations in Wayward Pines. We didn’t want to tell this kind of story by cheating you. When Ethan (Matt Dillon) leaves a voicemail for his wife Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon), he’s really leaving her a voicemail. When Theresa looks down at her phone and sees she has no voicemails, she really has no voicemails. When Beverly (Juliette Lewis) dies, she’s really dead. When Sheriff Pope (Terrence Howard) dies, he’s really dead. Everything is true, and everything adds up. I know you might still have a few questions… how exactly did everyone survive these 2,000 years? Time travel? You’ll get more answers in the next episode, some very cool nuts and bolts that show you how and why and when. But again, no tricks. No magic. Fiction? Maybe. Science? Yes.
Speaking of science, I think my favorite part of this episode is the classroom story line, in which Mrs. Fisher (Hope Davis) teaches Ben (Charlie Tahan) and his two classmates the truth. Hope infuses Mrs. Fisher and this lesson with a haunting mix of passion, warmth, and danger. I get the chills every time I watch her tell the cautionary tale of “Chris,” the kid who told his parents the truth (and then they killed themselves).
Why trust kids with the truth? I get this question a lot. A kid is the last person you would trust with information like this, right? Maybe not. Think back to when you were in third or fourth grade and you learned about the planets and the solar system. You saw posters or slides of Pluto and Neptune, the stars and comets, the Big Bang. You couldn’t see any of this with your naked eye, or touch it with your hands, but you accepted it without a second thought. You listened and wrote it down and then there was a test.
But what if you were 40 years old, had never heard of any of this, and some dude on the street suddenly tried to convince you that there were nine planets in the sky? You would think he was insaaaaannne.
Young minds are more open, more curious, and more willing than the minds of adults.
And young people want to feel special. They want to feel important. They want to be trusted, mostly because nobody ever trusts them. Here in Wayward Pines, the young people are called the First Generation because they are the first to be trusted with the truth. They are special. They are important.
I love the look on Ben’s face when he’s standing in front of all the kids who know the truth. He’s been an outsider all his life, but now he’s welcomed as one of the future leaders of the last people on the planet. This is big stuff.
And parents just don’t understand.
Find me on Twitter @chad_hodge.