CJ wakes in the year 2034. He sets a 24-hour timer, he opens some windows, he works out. He dusts, he records the year, he checks the survivors’ statuses. He plays chess. He places a token into a glass bowl. He listens to the radio and watches the news. The feeds report on North Korean refugees, on the outbreak of the “H1R3” virus, and on war.
He goes back to sleep.
CJ wakes in the year 2514. He sets a 24-hour timer, he opens some windows, he works out. He dusts, he records the year, he checks the survivors’ statuses. He plays chess. He places a token into a glass bowl. He listens to the radio and watches the news. There are fewer feeds still online; one screen shows nuclear war. He imagines conversations with survivors, including Beverly and Harold. He heads outside, he encounters a mutated man named Griffin, he lies. He catches a fish, he builds a fire, he leaves Griffin behind. He kills Griffin when Griffin tries to join him. He apologizes. He cries.
He goes back to sleep.
CJ wakes in the year 3234. He sets a 24-hour timer, he opens some windows, he works out. He dusts, he records the year, he checks the survivors’ statuses. He plays chess. He looks tired, a woman’s voice tells him. He imagines a conversation with her, the woman he left behind. He misses her, he misses the smell of summer. He admits he doesn’t want to be alone, but has to be, because this is his job, to keep Pilcher‘s dream clean, to observe the end of the world. He places a token into a glass bowl. He listens to the radio and watches the news, but there is only static and no feeds left to view.
He goes back to sleep.
CJ wakes in the year 4014. He doesn’t set a timer. He places a final token into a glass bowl. He sits at the control panel, wakes the men and women he was told to wake. He reports to Pilcher the soil and air levels have returned to normal. Pilcher says their town’s ready for Group A to awaken.
He doesn’t go back to sleep.
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Wayward Pines hasn’t done a series of flashbacks like this before — flashbacks that follow a single character across the history of Wayward Pines, the town itself, before the survivors woke up. While Pilcher, Pam, Megan, and the others kept sleeping, CJ woke every 20 years just to check on the health of the planet, and those 2,000 years or so of occasional waking helped him deal with the burden of being one of the survivors, a burden he saw eventually destroy the members of Group A. The transition also helped him deal with the Abbies: He and Pilcher first saw one lurking just outside their sanctuary. Whereas CJ thinks Abbies won’t attack as long as they stay out of their way, Pilcher chooses violence — and winds up carrying out the massacre that would allow the humans to build their “safe” haven on the Abbies’ former settlement.
Still, why is so much of the episode dedicated to CJ? Because Djimon Hounsou can sell the hell out of the sequence, because CJ’s the leader of the “We Have to Plant More Crops” movement, and most importantly, because he’s the only one who had enough time to process what happened to the planet. Of the characters still alive, only CJ thinks about what’s really occurred outside the town’s fence. Sure, Jason‘s been following the Pilcher agenda of thinking about expanding their settlement, but CJ has always felt differently about the Abbies — and he could hold the key to ending the war once and for all.
NEXT: Follow the leader
Well, the key will be either CJ or Margaret. Theo, convinced she’s important, uses food and flashcards to try and connect with the female Abbie. Megan begrudgingly helps, but grumbles her way through every step. To her defense, the flashcards do seem somewhat silly: Theo uses a green dot to mean “yes,” a red dot to mean “no,” a hand to mean “friend,” and a crown to mean “leader.” Four words that don’t really make up a language, but at least help the humans understand the Abbies’ social structure.
Too bad Margaret doesn’t oblige for hours — but continues to show how much she understands. When Theo offers her food, she mutely makes him offer it to the other Abbies. When Adam arrives, screaming about how she’s important because of the mark on her palm, she listens intently and watches as they argue. When Jason and Kerry arrive and the other Abbies growl, Margaret doesn’t make a peep. Instead, Theo finally notices that their bickering over what’s more important — negotiating with the Abbies and finding a way to end the war, or fighting over how much Kerry has contributed to repopulating — is something Margaret has been observing the entire time.
Jason, though, doesn’t even bother to consider the possibility that Abbies are more human than they think. Furious that Margaret points to Theo as the “leader” instead of him — after Theo tries to teach her everyone’s roles — Jason storms away, and Theo’s forced to experiment his theory on himself to prove Margaret holds power over the Abbies. He enters the passcode into the neighboring Abbie’s cage, and just as the Abbie begins chomping on Theo, Margaret screams and quells him. Hypothesis confirmed, doc!
Too bad Jason’s unhappy to see himself proved wrong. He grabs his gun and shoots each of the male Abbies, one by one — the same way he once shot the rebels lined up next to Kate in season 1. The boy groomed to become Wayward Pines’ leader hasn’t changed much — a fact Kerry finally realized when Jason tries to grab her gun after Theo wrestles his away. Kerry, finally swayed, tells him not to kill Margaret; after all, she’s a “crucial piece” to the war.
Resigned, Jason and Kerry leave to find CJ and ask whether he thinks Wayward Pines has been a mistake. CJ once asked himself this, the first time he woke up, but he admits it’s too late to reconsider. Back at the lab, Adam also vanishes, having accomplished, well, nothing to help out Margaret. Left on their own again, Theo and Megan argue about what they’ve learned from the day’s bloody events. “The only animal in this room was Jason,” Theo says, pointing out they have to accept how Abbies — the females, at least — might just be more advanced than humans. Megan disagrees. “We are not the lesser species here,” she says. “They are not our replacement. I won’t surrender to those kinds of thoughts. I can’t.”
She’s going to have to. Later, after Theo leaves to take a shower and clear his head, Megan works alone at her desk, looking exhausted. She notices blood pooling around her feet, and then finds a deep gash in the back of her leg. Turning around, she sees that Margaret has escaped her cage — and realizes the female Abbie had watched Theo’s reflection as he entered the cage code, and therefore was able to free herself once Megan turned her back on the Abbies. As Megan tries to wheel herself out, Margaret stands in the way, and finally, Megan bleeds out. She says Margaret’s name before appearing to lose consciousness — and Margaret, freed, ventures out of the lab.
… But to where? The fence? Though Theo brought it up, we still don’t know how Margaret got inside Wayward Pines in the first place, and whether her bigger goal is to destroy the remainder of humanity or to observe it so they can figure out a way to live in peace. Whatever the case, it’s clear to CJ when he and Pilcher first walk out into the woods: The world has changed, and they reentered it in the wrong time and place.