Synopsis of 2×01: Welcome back to Wayward Pines. Ethan Burke’s efforts have given rise a community oppressed by the tyrannical First Generation. And now Dr. Theo Yedlin is waking to to find himself in this strange, dangerous town…
When we left Wayward Pines at the end of the first season we were left reeling from a Twilight Zone-esque twist that left the future of the not-so-idyllic town in question. Ethan Burke’s efforts to keep Dr. Pilcher from destroying the town succeeded just long enough for the First Generation to turn around and take over. That’s the world that his son Ben wakes up in two years later and it’s the world we find ourselves in as the second season begins.
An opening narration informs us that Ben Burke at least didn’t take things laying down.
A resistance has mounted against the First Generation. And when we first return to Wayward Pines it’s clear that something terribly wrong is going on.
But this isn’t Ben’s story.
The main character of Season Two seems to be Jason Patric’s character Dr. Theo Yedlin who finds himself thrown straight into the fray. One minute he’s on vacation with his wife in Hawaii and the next he’s being liquored up and ‘recruited’ by Terrence Howard’s character for the Wayward Pines ark. Of course, by ‘recruited’ we mean abducted. When he wakes up he’s in Pilcher’s bunker in Wayward Pines with Kacey Rohl’s character Kerry Campbell. To his credit, Theo realizes something is off immediately. Kerry keeps talking about taking him to ‘the hospital’ to work on a patient but he’s not buying it and at the first chance he gets he bails, jumping out of a moving car. His escape is short lived, however.
The First Generation tries to convince Theo that everything is normal and they feed him a lie is that they are part of a very detailed experimental town testing the effect of battle fatigue on the civilian population. He’s told that his wife is on her way and that this was all approved by his boss. (And this somehow makes all the explosions he’s hearing and the hella awkward townspeople totally okay, right?)
They end up bringing Theo to see a dying Kate and convince him to focus on the patient instead of the crazy surrounding him. The problem is that even medicine can’t distract him for long. Jason Higgins – a leader among the First Generation – is overly insistent. And the medical students watching from the wings? They are mere children – far too young to be medical students. It’s one of these kids who almost blows the illusion that the First Generation is trying to keep.
One of the boys asks Theo to teach him a medical procedure and he refuses on the basis that he doesn’t work at the hospital. He means that hospital but the boy – Wayward Pines born and raised – responds: “What, they’ve got you painting houses or something?” When Theo first escapes, he sees and adult male painting a house while a much younger couple is well dressed in a home of their own.
While Theo is in surgery, we check in with the various factions at war in Wayward Pines. Jason tries to find a way to balance the belief that all life is precious while facing an armed rebellion. Ms. Fisher isn’t helping much – she’d kill them all. Elsewhere, Ben is in hiding meeting with his people. One of the rebels – Xander – is with him but unknown to them both he’s under suspicion from Jason. Xander seems to be a voice of reason for Ben who is too lost in trying to change the world that he’s losing sight of what is realistic.
The next morning Kate at least is awake and talking. She tries to tell Theo the truth but she’s interrupted by Kerry who sends him on his way. Jason interrogates Kate and we learn that the rebels destroyed the security systems in Wayward Pines which is apparently how the rebels have stayed hidden. It’s clear that Jason is so wrapped up in the Pilcher ideology that he doesn’t know how to stop all this fighting. He’s thinks he’s doing what’s best but in the end he’s just trying to control people.
Theo meanwhile heads to the same hotel that Ethan Burke once stayed at and walks down the same streets that Ethan once did. But the town has changed. The store fronts are damaged. The roads are in disarray. The First Generation soldiers are everywhere and Theo watches as a group take a woman away from her child with no explanation. He’s just told to forget about it. Once he’s started settling in Xander shows up shortly after to break Theo out.
Unfortunately, it’s a short lived escape. They walk out to see people gather in the street and Jason up on an all too familiar pedestal. Jason talks about the problems with Wayward Pines – there are curfews and rationing. He speaks about an ‘Invasion Day’ and making peace with the rebels. He says he’ll give amnesty to anyone who comes forward as a member of Ben’s rebel group. But when no one comes forward he brings three people up to the stage for an old school reckoning that it’s obvious Ms. Fisher had a lot of influence in convining him to do. One of the people is the woman Theo had seen earlier taken away from his son and she’s executed in the street in front of everyone.
Theo tries to rush forward and he sees Rebecca in the crowd. It’s unclear if she’s been there a while or if she’s recently arrived the same as Theo. That question doesn’t get answered as Ben comes forward and surrenders. Many others do as well.
Theo is taken with the group of detainees including Ben and the others but Theo and Xander are called away from the rest of the group. Kerry tries to convince Jason to keep Theo because she believes the town needs a trained doctor but Jason is afraid of him becoming another Ethan Burke. Ben, Theo, and Xander are driven out past the gate and abandoned. Soon after, Abbies surround the vehicle.
That isn’t the most shocking part of the last few minutes of the episode, though.
After the reckoning, Ms. Fisher goes to talk to Kate in the hospital. She pretends like they are going to make amends but she then goes to inject something into kate’s IV line. Kate isn’t having it. She jumps Fisher and nearly stabs her with a scalpel. But instead of killing Fisher she slits her own throat there in the hospital instead of facing a world orchestrated by the First Generation.
The phones in Wayward Pines start ringing.
For a first episode in a second season that most people thought would never exist it’s a pretty good start. And while things began in a somewhat similar way and we saw some similar faces it’s pretty clear that this is not going to play out the same way Season One did. In the span of an episode we’re already outside the gates – and we may stay outside the gates for the foreseeable future.
It’s a good first showing for what will hopefully be a strong season.
Though as much as I enjoyed this episode I still kinda wish we could have just left things as they were at the end of the first season. That would have been such an awesome and shocking way to end the series…