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.”
Nurse Pam is on a mission like never before. In the house on the outskirts of town, where she stayed after killing her brother, she lays out a sheer red dress on her bed, inserts the needle into the vial, and prepares to inject herself. Right before she does, she notices Theo walking up her driveway — what is with everyone stopping by at the most inopportune times in Wayward Pines? — to interrogate her about her past. He asks her about shooting David, about how she and David chose people to save, and what that remark about Hawaii meant. (It really bothered him — he even stopped by Rebecca’s beauty shop to wonder about it.) Pam just sighs and dismisses him as quickly as she can. “Everyone was chosen for a reason,” she says. “Thank you so much for stopping by.”
Upstairs, she injects herself with the concoction — and considering the biohazard labels that covered the cabinet from where she took the vial, whatever’s inside is going to do more harm than good. Megan realizes this after having the cabinet inspected — when one is found missing, she immediately goes into action and calls on Theo.
They’re too late: By the time Theo and Megan arrive in Jason’s lair, Pam has already arrived and begun attempting to spread what she took — smallpox — by kissing Jason on the lips. In her red dress, she admits she wanted to infect everyone because Wayward Pines is no longer the town David dreamed about or promised humanity. “It’s over,” she says. “This is how the story ends.” Cornered by Megan and her glare, Pam pleads to Jason, trying to make him understand. “Sweetie, I am trying to give you a gift,” she says. “I raised you to be a leader, and I’m begging you to lead your people to a peaceful end.”
Too bad Jason isn’t interested in making everyone drink the Kool-aid. Instead, he has Pam taken away and quarantined, where they talk face to face. Pam tells him he’s her son, and that she isn’t insane just because she wants to kill everyone in town — after all, he and the First Generation have already done too much killing. At the end, she offers him an ultimatum: “You can let me die of smallpox or you can kill me.” Jason, who hasn’t been infected because of the incubation period, cries and nods.
Out in the woods, the pair say their goodbyes. She finishes telling her fairy tale, describing to Jason how he wound up feeling all alone because he wanted more, and that eventually, he remembered how special he was and wished for grace. Jason places his hands around her neck and chokes his mother’s life out of her. Well. There goes another season 1 cast member…
But don’t cry for Nurse Pam! She wouldn’t want that. Besides, David’s plan could still work — Jason tells Kerry they’ll have to get experts in the field, to start sending out groups beyond the fence to explore — and some Wayward Pinesians have other worries in mind. At the Yedlin house, Theo remembers how he always met his father on Thursdays at 5:30 for a drink. He wonders what happened to the people they left behind (hmm, has Theo watched The Leftovers?) and what they thought after they disappeared. Rebecca cries for him — come on, work those tears, Jason Patric! — and the two hold hands.
The hour ends with Pam’s body getting tossed onto a bonfire, while CJ walks in to watch. Huh. CJ sure likes to walk in and stare at things and sometimes offer some strange wisdom… which reminds me, it’s QUESTIONS TIME: What’s up with CJ? What does CJ know? What does CJ think? What does “CJ” stand for? Carl Jack? Claudia Jean? Cool Juice? Also, does Jason actually believe, 100 percent, that the Abbies are gone? Why can’t Kerry talk him into caring a bit more? Where did Kerry come from if she’s not an Original? Is she therefore Crispy? Was that a bad joke? What does Theo have to do with any of this now that he’s settled in? Is his ego wounded about not being the target in Hawaii, or is he just sad he lost his watch? Was Terrence Howard — I mean Sheriff Pope — in Hawaii to get Rebecca instead of him, but he just screwed up badly and figured two heads are better than one when it comes to survivors? Where did Ben’s mom go? Where did Xander go? Where did the Abbies go? Must we call them Abbies?!
Please leave your suggestions for alternate names below, or tweet me at @shirklesxp. (But wait, one more thing: When Abbies are born, are they called “Babbies”? Heh. Sorry.)