Wayward Pines – high on trees, low on meds

It’s been a while since I last sat down and watched Wayward Pines from start to finish but boy am I glad I did, having forgotten how brilliant this series actually was. Although as usual after watching pretty much anything, I have some questions…


While I’m not going to tell you everything that happens along the way of Wayward Pines (and there’s certainly a lot jam packed into the two seasons) I will be covering a bit that could definitely be considered spoilers. So I more than highly suggest if you haven’t seen it (or haven’t seen it for a while) then bookmark this page and come back to it later, because then this post will be far more enjoyable and make a whole heap more sense (and not ruin things so much too!)

If you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy the promo!

Intriguing! How do I watch Wayward Pines?

A big shout out to Mal the boss at work who pointed out that the entire two seasons are on up Disney plus at the moment. And this truly is the best way to appreciate it the second time around as there was many a night where I’d finish an episode and immediately wanted to know what was going to happen next (even though I remembered some of what happened) and could do so by continuing to let it run.

So what did I find different this time around?

Similar to when I sat down to re-watch Predators a short while ago, giving Wayward Pines another run through revealed both things about it I’d completely forgotten and bits and pieces I didn’t realise in the first place – like the fact that M Night Shyamalan was involved here. Yes, the genius behind ‘I see dead people’ did have a hand in this series which goes a long way in the creepy moments and things that go slash in the night.
It also made me appreciate certain performances that I glossed over originally such as:

Wayward Pines

Megan Fisher (Played wonderfully by Hope Davis) – Drinking the Pilcher kool aid? Megan’s so deep in the stuff that is surprising that like the aberrations that surround the forests of Wayward Pines, she hasn’t mutated too and scored a set of gills to keep her there. A former hypnotherapist and now teacher (along with kid confidant and later a researcher and adviser) who believes in nothing but the word of David Pilcher and her own firm belief that she’s there to save the human race, she switches from relatable and cool school teacher to creepy crazed zealot in record speed. And since she’s been sucked in from the start she see’s absolutely nothing wrong with running a child breeding program or indoctrinating the kids of the future, leaving their concerned parents in the dark. Even wheelchair bound after the first season doesn’t slow her roll (no pun intended) as she still sees herself as up there in the medical fraternity of Wayward Pines even though Nurse Pam seems far more useful and Dr Yedlin doesn’t see the point of having a hypnotherapist around. Playing cool, kid friendly and crazy at the same time – there’s so much to appreciate about Megan especially when you realise how deep into the cause she actually is.

Wayward Pines

Sheriff Arnold Pope (Masterfully powered by Terrance Howard) – Ice cream fan and former security guard with a simple life, Arnold’s new life in Wayward Pines is as the towns sheriff where he can keep the peace, enjoy more ice cream and occasionally execute people doing the wrong thing for the ‘Greater good.’ Obviously David Pilcher’s charisma must be powerful stuff because I have it on good authority that executing people while you’re a security guard anywhere usually isn’t in the job description. And yet Pope is more than happy to cut throats and congratulate people in the town street because hey, it’s just part of the job. While he says he takes no pleasure in doing that, it certainly doesn’t faze him much. What does faze him is secret service agents that ask too many questions or make demands (like they’re known to do) and not having enough ice cream on hand. Take both those issues away and he’s a happy, relaxed sheriff just kicking back and waiting for the next phone call to break out the large reckoning knife. Again, the switch from cool and collected to straight out murdering bastard is an unexpected one and Terrance did this so well.

I must admit, originally I didn’t like the second season of Wayward Pines the first time I watched it and I’m struggling to remember why. Maybe it was because a couple of the stronger characters were gone (like Matt Dillion’s secret agent and Terrance at his murderous best) or perhaps it was something else. But watching it again makes me realise how good the character of Theo Yedlin really is. As a medical professional committed to save lives, he seems so cool and collected that at times he seems almost emotionless but as the series progresses, it dawn on me that he’s the most humanitarian of them all – ignoring the restrictions placed on him by this new world, he’s the perfect foil for Jason’s madness, the voice of reason, hard working, the quiet leader and by the end he’s the genius that potentially eradicates the problem outside even though we don’t get to see what happens ultimately. Plus he was even willing to sacrifice himself even though he’d probably number one on the list of ‘people that we need to keep to get through this.’

Arrogant? Sure. Terrible at relationships? Seems so. But heart of gold under that seemingly hard ass doctor exterior, you bet.

Wayward Pines season 2
Wayward Pines

And last but definitely not least…Oh god, it’s always the unassuming one’s isn’t it? And Toby Jones as David Pilcher plays this to an absolute tee as a terrifically flawed genius. Out to save the world (well more parts of it, out to outlive the failed part of the world is more like it), he’s the mastermind of Wayward Pines but that also means he’s the warden of it and the conjurer of problems that nobody saw coming for the last people on earth (like a lack of medical supplies for one or the fact that a certain section of the population seem to be insane.) But that aside, you have to realise that by the end of things David remains one of the most remarkable people on the planet – his company was a success, his book produced a fanatical cult, his special project division seemed to master cryogenics, he’s outlasted most of humanity, he lived till he was 90 which is super impressive (and had he not ended how he did, he’d probably make it past 100) and apart from picking a few psycho’s to share what was left and a couple of other ill fated decisions (like attempting to eradicate the wildlife which they didn’t take well..) he’s done exceptionally well for someone who seems so unassuming when you first meet him. No seriously, if you were to point at a guy like David and say ‘Watch out for this mad genius, he’s going to outlive just about everybody’ you’d struggle to find anyone to take that seriously (well apart from Megan and Arnold I guess..) No wonder it took a while for a lot of the population to cotton on to what was really happening.
(And if you loved Toby here, I can highly recommend his work in the hugely entertaining Detectorists. No mad genius, just a group with metal detectors having random adventures.)

On top of that, there was one other thing that changed for me the second time around and that was all about the kids, well more Frank and Lucy that is.

Wayward Pines

Frank and Lucy are first generation which means they were born into Wayward Pines (instead of waking up there thanks to a ‘car accident’ which seems how everyone else showed up) and after Abbie’s eat their parents, they’re pretty much on their own. Which is bad enough already did you not have a creepy teacher like Megan waiting in the wings for Lucy to come of age to have a baby. Not only that but the pressure is also on for Frank ‘to do his part’ even though he’s not interested in girls and in this town homosexuality seems a fast track to find yourself in the ground (sadly still a thing in parts of the world today!) As a dad now watching Wayward Pines the second time around, I did feel a lot more for both of these characters especially when they’re looking to choose who survives and who is left behind and Frank doesn’t make the cut because someone (well Jason) probably deemed him undesirable in the list of useful people to keep.
There’s a scene towards the end of the second season where a small batch of kids at the school watches a bus take most of the other kids away to the sleeping pods and they’re left standing there wondering why they weren’t on it. But Frank knows exactly why and when he tries to be with his sister, he gets knocked out for his efforts.
Having kids of roughly the same age difference myself, this part was a huge gut punch for me because a) I couldn’t imagine how tough it would be to be in an insane place like Wayward Pines on your own like that and b) Being separated like that in the end when all you have is each other and knowing you’re being forced to say goodbye to a sibling. I also had the same dread when the van arrives for Rebecca Yedlin but not Xavier and he too figures out that one of them will survive…but it won’t be him. He’ll never get to be with his wife again, he’ll never get to meet his unborn child. Again, this was far more harrowing for me thanks to my foray into fatherhood and it’s a story line that really stuck with me even more this time around. Thanks for the gut punch then I guess you mad bastards.
(Luckily Dr Yedlin turns out to be a pretty swell guy in the end. But up until then…wow, things got emotional!)

And after all that we get to:

Wayward Pines – the burning questions

Don’t get me wrong, I still love this series and think it’s one of the best written and must watches in the last decade or so. However like when I got through Snowpiercer I do have some questions (and if you have possible answers, let me know below!)

-Where are all the cows? No seriously, where are they? Apparently you can get a cheeseburger at the beer garden and I can only assume that the coffee shop goes through a lot of milk but unless there’s shipping containers of the stuff in the mountain, why hasn’t anyone picked up on the limited dairy supplies? Obviously you can’t keep them outside otherwise they’ll get eaten but are they tucked away underground somewhere? See also: Eggs and a supreme lack of chicken. Or any farm animal really.

-Yes I know that mentioning the past is frowned upon (and in some cases fatally so) but surely in the history of defence at the school, the lessons didn’t just end with the Great Wall of China did they? You have some of the sharpest minds (left) on the planet in there, surely one or two of them could remember how traps work or even better how to build catapults? Abbies getting in? Booby trap the forests and warn the kids to stay away. Punji pits, swing traps and abbie headaches all round.

-On the flip side of that, if Abbie’s are clever enough to test the fence’s electrical system (by hurling themselves at it) and work out fire (after getting roasted in it) then why haven’t they worked out general projectile warfare with rocks, slings and spears? Margaret figured out a cage security system, surely she could sharpen the end of a stick to throw at someone before recommending it to her clan.

-If Dr Jenkins is actually David Pilcher, why is Rebecca Yedlin still named Rebecca Yedlin? Not only is that her former name from the past (don’t mention that, it’s a big no no!) but she’s also married to Xavier now so wouldn’t it change (Kate Hewson ended up as a Ballinger)? Especially considering that the only other person who shares that name was happily sleeping until they woke him due to a shortage emergency and until then no one had any history of the name.

-And why did the person/team assigned to giving people new jobs when they woke up get things so wrong? Okay, there were a few gold star moments yes – Pope as sherrif, Fisher as teacher and Big Bill as a sleazy real estate agent for example. But Xavier runs a lolly shop instead of helping defend the place? (former marine). Rebecca the award winning architect and designer of where they now lives does your hair? And why is Harold Ballinger turning out toys when he could be at the school doing a shop class and teaching the kids how to build things to survive? (And possibly turning out a trap or five in his spare time?)

The future Bear Grylls

-At one stage Adam Hassler talks about the strange pattern on Margaret’s hand and mentions that it takes a month to put it there. Does this mean he’s been out there watching it happen the whole time? He can’t have made friends with the abbies then (because he keeps having PTSD about them hunting him) even though they tolerate him later, but how the hell did he remain unseen?

-Why did no one think of having more than one backup prominent surgeon on hand?

-How did all the cars survive in working order? Rubber perishes, petrol gets stale. Surely CJ didn’t turn over every engine for a bit whenever he woke up to check up on the world?

-Speaking of CJ, he’s tasked with checking out the planet every 20 years to see if humanity still stands (even though it seems to slowly chip away at his sanity) and if it’s safe to kick off Wayward Pines. Am I the only one thinking they should have looked into AI while they were poking around with cryogenics? Seriously, leave a ChatGPT running when everyone enters the pods and by the time you wake up, you’ll have a fully functional Skynet on your hands ready to defend against any and all threats!
Actually on second thoughts..

And finally:

-In the secret files it’s revealed that Jason and Kerry share the same super rare blood time (and wasn’t that reveal a bit of a doozy!) but did anyone other than Pilcher (who I assume wrote it) actually read it? Surely as his adopted son before his passing, David could’ve either given Jason some kind of heads up or maybe tell his staff to keep an eye on ‘Jnr and Kerry, just in case.’ Obviously they didn’t because we ended up where we did but what’s the point of writing a secret file if no one else can see it?*

This does not go well

*Until it’s too late of course!

Now that you’ve watched it, what did you enjoy about Wayward Pines and what questions did you leave with? Let me know below!

Leave a Comment