The town retreats inside the Mountain -- but not everyone chooses to live
How do you save humanity when humanity is in the way? How much can humans do when Abbies rule the world? How much does fighting to survive matter?
It matters enough — to Theo, at least. He devises a self-sacrificing plan, but after an episode of tying up loose ends and literally tucking them away — into cryostasis pods, but still — the one who carries his plan out turns out to be Kerry instead. After all, Kerry was always the one with a special destiny, not “just another patient” Jason. The episode begins with the once-hailed leader being taken to the hospital, where he flatlines and Theo fails to save his life. Kerry watches as he dies — and Theo rushes to tell the rest of town, without even taking his blood-soaked scrubs off beforehand. He gives them a speech, saying they need to honor Jason’s legacy, by following through with the evacuation plan.
Oscar notices Theo may have made a deliberate mistake, but Theo brushes him away just as Arlene comes to tell him all about how her past jobs (toll booth operator, hockey mascot, adult bookstore manager) fail to compare to working for him. He shrugs her off, too — but when he finally makes his way to Jason’s body, Oscar finds him again, this time to tell him that Jason had one of the rarest blood types in town, and the only other person to share it who’s awake is, well, Kerry. “That’s weird, right?” Oh, Oscar, you don’t know the half of it.
Meanwhile, CJ reports that the pods are almost ready, and so is he, to carry out the plan Jason had set forth: They’ll take “intact” families first (those with both parents around), and then move on to children and essential adults. Theo wonders if they should tell everyone first. “They will know,” CJ responds, “but only after the rest of us are safe.” Plus, it’s too late to choose at random; they might as well go through with this awful plan.
And so, extraction teams begin rolling through town and the First Generation promises they’ll send shuttles back around for the next group. As boarding continues, a father is told to stay where he is, while Lucy and Frank, who was told to stay in the Academy, wind up separated. People begin to freak out — Rebecca protests when she’s told she has to go alone without Xander, who’s a part of group 2.
Beginning the plan isn’t the only way Theo “honors” Jason’s legacy. Finding Kerry alone, he explains that she’ll have a spot in the Mountain before casually mentioning that her file had been changed by Pilcher and that, wow, isn’t it interesting that Jason was placed in a pod days after being born, and that days after that birth, she arrived in a pod as well? And isn’t it curious that Jason had a rare blood type, and so did she? Yeah… and as Kerry realizes what he’s implying, she vomits into a trash can.
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In other words, Theo’s not very good at his bedside manner. He’s just not very good, period, with controlling his emotions. Back at his office, he smashes Pilcher’s photo and arms himself with a gun before heading to the research lab, where he and CJ get another chance to talk what’s right and wrong. Theo wonders if Wayward Pines ever really worked as an idea and as a town. “Everyone here was going to live their lives, die horribly or peacefully, but naturally,” he says. The town took away that life, and we see the result of that as Main Street gets shattered to pieces. Xander wanders in with his gun, but there’s nothing he can do to stop the violence: The ones left behind are breaking windows, looting stores, and even toppling the statue of Pilcher in the square. And as Abbies continue to gather by the fence (Margaret sent scouts to bring more back), Theo makes a final call.
Picking up a voice recorder, he leaves a message for whoever eventually picks it up. “I hope whoever hears this understands all this more than I do, but you need to know that David Pilcher was wrong about everything,” he says, before adding that he will inject himself with typhoid, Marburg virus, and the bubonic plague (strains of which Pilcher had brought into the future because… why not?) so he can walk outside the fence after the incubation period and be consumed by unwitting Abbies who will infect as much of the rest of their population as possible. “So. That’s all,” Theo concludes. “This idea of the greater good? There is no greater good. It’s only good, no matter how small the act.” Or, in this case, how big.
NEXT: Ain’t no Mountain empty enough…
Chaos erupts when those in group 2 rush to the Mountain, hoping to shove and stab their way inside the gates. One even kills a soldier, and Rebecca watches as CJ and Theo rush outside to scatter the desperate survivors. Luckily, Rebecca makes it inside in time to comfort Lucy, who’s still worried about Frank.
She shouldn’t be, though, as Frank’s made it to Main Street, where he finds Xander drinking alone in his smashed-up ice cream store. They chat until Theo arrives to pick them both up — he has a heart even if his wife left him for her other husband — and encounters two men blocking their way with Molotov cocktails. Xander, proving his worth as an essential adult, shoots one of them down just before he can finish his toss, and thus, sets him on fire. When they finally make it to the mountain, Arlene stop Theo to say goodbye. Feeling guilty about leaving his no. 1 fan behind, Theo says she can have a pod; after all, that dead First Generation soldier’s pod just opened up.
And with that, all the main characters have made their way safely into the mountain. Kerry, dressed and prepped for her pod, makes eye contact with Oscar and looks terrified of everything around her. CJ notices and pulls her aside to give her a pep talk. He explains that she’s a survivor — she survived Pilcher and Jason, and she deserves a fresh start.
Even so, Kerry disagrees. After Theo says goodbye to Rebecca, he heads to the research lab to inject himself, only to find that Kerry got there first. She injected herself with the deadly strains and tells Theo that it should be her — as a doctor, he’s necessary in the future. As the former right-hand woman to her dead partner-slash-son (ackarhthpthhh), she has no other contribution to make to humanity. “Don’t worry, the future’s not going to miss me,” she says. “I’m just a girl from Idaho, doctor.” Awww, Kerry. As one last gift to her, Theo provides morphine so she won’t feel too much pain. She accepts.
Later, Theo makes it back to the pod chamber, where he delivers one final speech after the pods are activated and ready to go. He tells everyone to carry forward and hopes to see everyone soon — and after they all take one last look at each other, Theo, Rebecca, Xander, Arlene, Frank, and Lucy step inside their pods and go to sleep.
The only one left in the room is CJ, who looks down at his monitors one last time. Just as he’s about to turn around, his wife once again appears to him, wondering whether all of this — yet another attempt to carry forward humanity — is a mistake. She eggs him on, reminding him that he has the power to do whatever he wants to the world now, and CJ considers it for a moment, hovering his finger over the button that would terminate all the pods, killing everyone. But at the last moment, he steps away and sets the countdown for his own, ultimately choosing to join his fellow survivors in one more risky attempt at making it into the future.
Outside the Mountain, Main Street has become a shell of itself, with the signs turned off and the stores obliterated. In CJ’s greenhouse, a plant curiously grows in the soil they thought too contaminated to support life. And just beyond the fence, Kerry wanders into the woods as the door closes behind her. The sound of Abbies descending on her body can be heard. Is this how they finally die?
Maybe not, because in the last scene of the season, a group of Abbies are alive and well, with one cradling a newborn baby who looks human and wails healthily across the clearing. Which means… what, exactly? The final minutes open doors for stories in a potential season 3. One could follow the Abbies’ evolution — is this baby a new step in their development? — and another could pick up where the humans left off: hundreds or thousands of years into the future, when they wake up again. Either way, the season ends not with the gut-punch that the first season finale provided (in which the town reverted back to its militaristic ways despite Pilcher’s death), but with a philosophical question: Did saving humanity work, and was it worth it in the end? One thing’s for sure: I’m glad we in 2016 don’t have to face a question like that. (Yet.) As always, let me know your thoughts below, or tweet me at @shirklesxp.