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Wayward Pines recap: Once Upon a Time in Wayward Pines

Nurse Pam doesn’t get her happily ever after

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Sergei Bachlakov/Fox

Wayward Pines

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard
M. Night Shyamalan
Miniseries, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Nope, this isn’t a crossover with ABC’s Once Upon a Time — it’s a Nurse Pam episode! In a series of flashbacks, we learn all about how Nurse Pam of House Pilcher, Mother of Wayward Pines, Queen of Saccharine Monologues, First of Her Name, raised and groomed lil’ Jason from being a normal child into the world’s broodiest fascist leader. GREAT JOB, NURSE PAM! I’d give you a lollipop, but alas, I’m just a recapper… sitting in front of a screen… asking it to make sense of episode 3.

So, uh, where were we? Ah, right: Pam Pilcher tells us in a series of dream-filtered flashbacks that she once thought of the story of Wayward Pines as a fairy tale about a baby boy named Jason Higgins. He’s special — he’s The One — because he’s an Original. “The little boy was the firstborn son of Wayward Pines, raised by a kind and clever man and his strong sister,” Pam editorializes in her voiceover. Growing up, Jason inquires after the people Pam and David have captured to bring to town, and CJ (!) wanders in to help Jason understand. CJ mentions that “it’s not natural, what we do,” sowing the seeds of doubt in young Jason, who aches to know more.

Over time, he does. As a boy, he starts feeling the burden of being The One and feels like an outcast, unable to become friends with the other children the Pilchers have brought to town to play with him. While Pam tries to make him happy no matter what, Megan offers him an enticing alternative: She tells him that he can be moody all he wants, even on his birthday, and that he can always talk to her about anything. She gets her first test on this promise quickly enough: When he asks if Pam and David are his real parents, she bristles and gives him a vague, uncomfortable answer. 

Eventually, we catch up with the Jason of season 1. He reports to Pam, ecstatic about killing Harold Ballinger and the rebels, but Pam just cries, telling him his murder isn’t something historic, something to be celebrated. Instead, it’s tragic to lose anyone, considering how few humans are left. 

Aaaaand fast-forward to today, when Jason thinks he finally has everything under control. The Abbies are “gone,” suspicious doc Theo‘s stuck in the hospital with Arlene hitting on him (“What happens in Wayward Pines stays in Wayward Pines,” she says, unwittingly offering a perfect new motto for that welcome sign), and even Kerry‘s warnings can’t quell his confidence.

That is, until Pam and her new haircut show up to cockblock him talk in his house, having wormed her way past Mario. She cheerfully speechifies about why she killed her brother and calmly berates Jason about wandering off the path Pilcher had planned (the goal is to settle beyond the fence), reminding him that she can guide him with every step. He worries about the PR, but eventually accepts her, and the next day, he presents her to everyone on Main Street. Jason spins a tale of how Pam was tested after killing Pilcher — Megan just shakes her head and rolls away — and asks the crowd to forgive her. They do, and the First Generation pounds their fists in solidarity. 

Of course, that doesn’t last long. Pam returns to the hospital seemingly ready to return to her job, but then sneaks off into a room by herself. Before she finds what she’s after, Theo approaches. Pam immediately recognizes the new Ethan: She asks about Rebecca before ecstatically realizing that the Yedlins haven’t re-consummated their marriage despite being separated for thousands of years. Affronted, Theo asks what Pam’s up to, but Pam brushes him off, asking, “Do you really think Hawaii was all about you?” It’s a tease she’s not willing to explain, so Theo leaves her alone to rummage the supplies and grab a needle. 

She’s not done with her scavenger hunt yet, however. Pam’s next stop? The research facility Megan now runs. Pam plays the Jason card to get inside, cries in Pilcher’s old office, and then moves on to grab a vial of… something, while Megan wheels in and spots her at the cabinet. The pair trade jabs — Pam points out that Megan’s made it quite far considering her career as a hypnotherapist, Megan says she’ll never welcome Pam back or forgive her — but Megan manages to push Pam out. 

I’m on Pam’s side here — Megan should appreciate having another medical professional around. After all, she’s been teaching the tweens of Wayward Pines they need to “put the ‘pro’ back in procreation” (those groans are appropriate, kids) and even cheers on those who have already gotten pregnant. The lecture’s disturbing, but perhaps even more disturbing is the way the four girls who “haven’t experienced blooming” (read: haven’t gotten their periods) are told to leave so the rest can “fully participate.” Also, those “Love is in the air” posters in the halls? I get that you need to save humanity, but raising the teen pregnancy rate only does part of the job. Do you want more immature town leaders, Megan?

NEXT: “That’s that, then.”