The return of the reckonings bookend this penultimate episode of Wayward Pines. And quite a few don’t make it.
Last week, I mentioned there haven’t been many clear, obvious villains in the series thus far. Characters exchange the role of “This Week’s Antagonistic Force” before swapping back with “Good Guy, I Think,” or “Generally Indifferent About All This.”
(I concede that David Pilcher/Dr. Jenkins is Wayward Pines’ big bad and was probably meant to be all along — the piece of shit brings up the Easter Bomber to make Ethan kill Kate like he wants — but until last week when he offed his own employee, I wouldn’t have bought it.)
This week, we’ve been awkwardly introduced to some First Class A-holes: three preppy frat boys who take pride that they are the “town’s most precious resource.” These blazer-wearing bros love Wayward Pines SO MUCH they’re willing to RECKON these TERRORISTS themselves if Ethan doesn’t do it. They’re this week’s nuisance, and being introduced so late in the game, investment in them is totally weak. What consequence could they actually bring?
Quite a bit, actually. Ethan tracks down Harold Ballinger and shows him irrefutable evidence that Wayward Pines is all kinds of messed up. He does a shitty job, because Harold just brushes it off.
Why didn’t Ethan just flat out tell him? “Hey Harold, sorry about roughhousing you, but listen, it’s the end of the world. Stuff doesn’t work anymore. Not even YouTube. I know! Terrible, right? Anyway, there are mutant cannibals outside the walls so don’t blow it up or they’ll kill us all, cool?” THAT WOULD HAVE WORKED. Instead, Ethan does weak-ass talk-arounds that just makes Harold anxious to see Kate in her cell.
A few weeks ago I speculated that Harold may have loved Kate more than Kate did, and/or their marriage, built on some legit feelings, was primarily a strategy to build their resistance movement. I was right and I was wrong: Harold did love Kate, but I’d wager Kate loved him too and their marriage only helped them organize. He told her “I love you” and she was hysterical as his brains were blown out.
Yeah. Those rotten kids. Barging into the Sheriff’s office while Ethan was away — foreshadowed by the rebels’ yapping in the opening of the episode — these First Class douchecanoes were written only to kill off Harold and the rest of the resistance because there are just too many extra characters to wrap up for next week’s finale. It’s a wonderfully shot and edited sequence, framed immaculately, but there’s no meat to Guys That Remind You Of The Rich Assholes In High School. They were just a weapon, a tool to sweep out the leftovers before the show goes into overdrive next week.
Meanwhile, Theresa finally investigates Plot 33. With some mysterious help from Nurse Pam, whose endgame continues to baffle me. Theresa finds Plot 33 to be… a bunker. (Lame.) With video journals that show the world is over. (Not lame?) They watch one with Adam Hassler — hey, remember him? — who appears to have followed Ethan and Kate to Wayward Pines without them knowing. In typical Blair Witch fashion, his journal was cut off as he was found. His fate right now is unknown.
But hey, what’s Pam’s endgame? At first she was a clear-cut antagonistic force, then she was some kind of ally to Ethan, now she is helping out Theresa figure out Plot 33, but it was intentional, but then it totally muddied up their goal to “reckon” Kate in the town.
The reckoning doesn’t return to Wayward Pines. With the knife on her neck, Ethan lets her go — because of course — and tells everyone (Really just the adults, since the kids know) the truth about Wayward Pines. And it’s awkward, because he’s just yelling at them in the middle of the night on Main Street. Like pictures or video or a PowerPoint would have helped.
But Ethan manages to turn the town against Pilcher, but Pilcher uses one last trick on his sleep to middle finger the town. He cuts off all the power, leaving the fence vulnerable for the abbies to get in.
Next week is our last night in Wayward Pines. I’ve had a fun stay and I hope you did too, but without a second season in the foreseeable future it’s about time we go home.