Early Impressions of Fox’s Wayward Pines

You think you wanna know the truth but it’s worse than anything you can imagine.

These are the words uttered by the seemingly corrupt Sheriff of Wayward Pines before his demise. And with each episode of Wayward Pines that passes, I can’t help but think that he might have been right after all. Truth is a rare commodity in Wayward Pines and those that possess it all seem to meet an untimely end.

Wayward Pines is only halfway through its ten episode run on Fox, but already it has provided me with much food for thought. The story centres around an FBI investigation concerning two missing agents; Ethan Burke (played by Matt Dillon) and his partner take on the case. However, on their way to investigate, they are involved in a car accident and this is where the show  gets very interesting. Ethan awakes in a creepy deserted hospital staffed by a single psychotic nurse and with no personal effects. He manages to escape but Wayward Pines proves to be a very strange place indeed filled with even stranger people and the laws even stranger still. There are many secrets being held within the walls of Wayward Pines and outside it each one that is revealed is stranger than the last.

[Tweet “”…a must watch for any The X-Files/David Lynch fans.””]

Our perception of what is really happening is constantly being twisted the more we learn. Wayward Pines has a very strange set of laws in place written clearly as a public notice:

1) You must never leave Wayward Pines. We find out early on that escape is impossible from this strange little model like town. Ethan drives past the ‘You Are Now Leaving Wayward Pines’ sign only to be greeted with a ‘Welcome to Wayward Pines’ sign a little further along the road.

2) Never talk about the past. Everyone in Wayward Pines either seems to be oblivious to their past life or putting on a very good act…discussing your past has very serious repercussions as we learn from the shocking end to episode two where Beverley, one of Ethan’s few allies is brutally killed in front of everyone by the Sheriff in a public execution. What sort of law is really in place here with a seemingly corrupt Sheriff at the helm? Or, as we find out later, he is merely an expendable pawn in a much larger game.

3) Always answer the phone if it rings. Who is on the other end of these phone calls? No calls from Wayward Pines can reach the outside. The ending of episodes 3, 4 and 5 focused on the presence of some sort of creatures living beyond the high security walls of Wayward Pines – apparently genetically mutated creatures deadly to humans. The plot thickens.

And this is just what we have learned so far at the mid-point in the season. Curiouser and curiouser.

Wayward Pines

The first five episodes have raised a lot of questions with few answers. Wayward Pines is clearly influenced by shows like Twin Peaks, Lost and The X-Files. Its main strength is the mystery and intrigue it creates. We the audience are swept along on this strange journey eagerly awaiting the next clue. The strength in shows like these lies in their ability to keep the audience hooked through each plot twist and turn to create an addictive viewing experience. However adversely, the Achilles heel in shows like these is getting the balance between questions and answers while still allowing for a satisfying ending. Lost, X-Files and Twin Peaks all got off to good starts and quickly achieved cult status but somewhere during the course of their run, all three shows became too wrapped up in their own mythos and got just a little too ridiculous. It’s a pitfall of the sci fi/supernatural/mystery series genre that I unfortunately think Wayward Pines will fall into, but I hope it won’t.

The show has taken many well-trodden concepts from the trope of a creepy totalitarian society, dystopian future, the truth hidden behind American white picket fence culture (a clear nod to Lynch’s Blue Velvet) and police corruption, yet has managed to put its own unique twist on it. Each episode deepens the mystery with little touches that can almost go unnoticed if you aren’t watching closely. The setting is atmospheric and with a host of creepy characters, Wayward Pines could very well be on its way to cult status. Unfortunately, due to the amount of competition from other TV shows and the queen of online streaming, Netflix, I fear Wayward Pines will be overlooked.

I can’t even begin to contemplate where the plot might be going, or how they are going to possibly come up with an answer for all the different times people in Wayward Pines claim to be from and the complete timeline bombshell that was revealed in episode 5, but that’s all part of the fun and uncertainty of starting to follow a show like this. I’m struggling to wrap my head around it all and it could all end in tears, but for now I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride, and I think you should too.

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.