Wayward Pines is a time capsule. Wayward Pines is a brainwash facility. Wayward Pines is Hogwarts. Wayward Pines is a municipal DeLorean wherein Melissa Leo is Doc Brown and Matt Dillon is Marty McFly and Terrence Howard was one of the Libyan terrorists.
Time travel is real in Wayward Pines, but that clears up a whole lot of absolutely nothing when it comes to actually understanding what this town is all about. How many Pinesians are here against their will, and how many are servants of the greater good, ready to do the bidding without any hesitation? This week, we met a few from both sides of the creepy coin.
MR. BURKE GOES TO WASHINGTON, SORT OF
After killing Pope, Ethan suddenly inherits his position as the new sheriff, an abrupt rise in status that has the town split over how it happened. Someone like receptionist Arlene thinks Pope simply took off, while other, less idiotic residents like Nurse Pam are acutely clued in to the bloody turn of events. And then how about Brad Fisher, the town’s mayor, who perhaps falls somewhere in that middle space of chosen ignorance?
Either way, Ethan’s the law now, as evidenced by his welcoming committee: mayor Fisher (a government official who is likely less useful than one of Harold Ballinger’s hand-crafted iPads) and a sexy photographer from the town’s heretofore nonexistent newspaper. They arrive to deliver the news of Ethan’s promotion, yet neither man will actually give Ethan any clue as to who exactly made him sheriff.
With his newfound ring of keys, Ethan wastes no time in stashing a gun or two and prodding around the secret compartments of Pope’s office. He quickly locates a fancy sealed box under the floorboards containing files on the past lives of Arlene (a former bus driver), Mayor Fisher (a telecom VP), and presumably every other Pinesian.
Ethan decides to toy with fate and give Arlene her file, perhaps just to see what happens. Arlene’s already begun to show a few signs of cracking—she was one of the few emotional townspeople to show disgust during Beverly’s reckoning—and she’s not appalled when Ethan reminds her of her New Jersey life. Rather, she appears to have adapted to Wayward with the sort of “guess so” reluctance like when you go Chipotle and they barely give you any meat but what are you even going to really do about it. You have to wonder who else besides Arlene—Mayor Fisher, perhaps—also falls into that sphere of resignation about circumstance.
But just as Arlene is getting to talking about her past life in New Jersey, the office door swings open and it’s Nurse Pam and her beefy henchmen demanding a reckoning for Peter McCall, the cane-bound realtor who showed Ethan to
Beverly’s his new home last week. Pam has used what I’m sure is her 50th citizens’ arrest to apprehend Peter for spray-painting graffiti on Main Street: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Deep, man.
Unsurprisingly, Sheriff Ethan refuses to call the reckoning—even going so far as to flat-out ignore his first Omniscient Phone Call directive to do so—and instead takes the time to get to know Peter. Turns out, the guy began his life in Wayward about 10 years prior and has never lowered his skeptical eyebrow about the town. As for his leg, he busted it trying to escape via a wall of rocks on the outskirts of town.
But Peter’s origin story is the real juice here. He wound up in Wayward Pines because, back in 2001, he brought a brunette named Denise up to his hotel room in Los Angeles and did some lines (of the coke, not conga variety) and ended up blacking out. When he awoke, he was in a hotel room in Wayward Pines, and the clincher: “The brunette from the bar was still there. But she was older. And her name wasn’t Denise. It was Pam.”
WHAAAAAAT. That one glimpse of a quasi-young Nurse Pam is enough to prove that the Wayward Pines time shift is not simply a fleeting facet of the town’s mystery, but perhaps its largest part. Everyone seems to have experienced some different shift, but your past theories about time in WP are thrown if Pam, whether at will or on assignment, can tap into her younger self. Also, this further proves my college thesis that Melissa Leo can transcend space and time.
THIS WEEK IN UNNECESSARY MURDER
Ethan does not throw the reckoning—he likely wouldn’t, despite finding that Peter is a kindred spirit—but Peter, recognizing the need for Ethan to acquiesce and earn the trust of the Powers That Be, hugs Ethan and then throws himself into the electric fence. It’s pretty shocking. Ethan’s expectedly bothered by it, and he decides to pack up and leave once again. He cleans out the sheriff’s office and all but leaves his position to Nurse Pam, who relishes her chance to sit in the big leather chair in his absence.
Ethan bids a temporary farewell to Theresa and makes for the bluffs, climbing up the same rock wall that Peter once fell from. As he makes it to the top, one of our favorite blurry monsters breathes heavily from behind a tree. The view is just a bit clearer, and we can see that whatever this THING is, it’s definitely humanoid but still woefully mysterious. Like a mountain-dwelling Tilda Swinton.
NEXT: Theresa and Ben make friends!