As always, SPOILER ALERT
After Wayward Pines’ last episode, aptly dubbed “The Truth,” it was difficult to know what to expect coming into last night’s “Choices.” Where does the show head now, after learning what we did? We’ve seen the Abbies, we’ve got a good sense of why Wayward Pines came to be, and we certainly understand that the show’s present is actually more than 2,000 years into the future—Wayward Pines being developed as a sort of The Village-esque isolationist plan to save humanity.
So what’s next?
“Choices” begins with Wayward Pines in ruins after a catastrophe, fires peppering the derelict streets, with Dr. Pilcher surveying the wreckage. We aren’t given any sort of context yet, but it’s frightening nonetheless. Seeing Toby Jones’ Dr. Pilcher, a usually unflappable man, so frightened is frightening in and of itself.
When we come back into the present time of the show, Ethan, Pilcher, and Nurse Pam take a helicopter trip into the mountains surrounding Wayward Pines. They arrive at a high-tech headquarters, hidden inside the rocks. If you felt “The Truth” didn’t give you enough answers, that sweet tooth will be satisfied.
Wayward Pines’ entire inventory—“All of our building materials, clothing, archives, historical documentation, security” as Pilcher says—is kept in the mountain headquarters, except food that is. Now that Ethan knows where the security center is located, will he still try to escape with his family in tow? Or has he learned too much, and escape now seems futile? (My money is on the latter.)
When Pilcher and Nurse Pam (who’s clearly not just a nurse; it’s revealed later she’s Dr. Pilcher’s sister) lead Ethan through the complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to define Pilcher as savior or cult leader. He could very easily be either or. Sure, the whole post-apocalyptic mankind repopulation seems to be a reality…but what if it isn’t?
While the realty office subplot with Theresa is a relatively slow-developing and sort of boring one, there seems to be movement this week. It seems Theresa wants to dig deeper into Plot 33, the “way out” that got Peter (Justin Kirk) killed. Theresa doesn’t know nearly as much as Ben or Ethan, but when she finds plot plans later on this episode, it seems her role might get much more interesting soon enough.
Nurse Pam’s tells Ethan that Wayward Pines is bigger than disagreements and family and that Pilcher needs Ethan. This sort of storyline—the unassuming everyman thrown into dire circumstances, with the weight of the world on his shoulders—is common, but the everyman is eventually revealed to be more than a commoner. He (or she) is eventually revealed to have great purpose; Ethan doesn’t, thus far, seem to, so what makes him special? If it’s revealed later that he’s more than an everyman, great, but right now, Ethan’s lack of distinguishing characteristics make his inclusion in Wayward Pines feel disjointed.
Ethan finally runs into an Abbie and Pilcher explains their existence much better than the video Ben watched. The Abbies are a result of human carelessness, the world’s evolution fighting back against the humanity that had destroyed it.
Kate and Theresa sit down for coffee in a ruse to get Theresa away from her office; a package that was meant for Kate’s husband was accidentally delivered to Theresa. It seems to be a bomb, and noting the episode beginning with Wayward Pines in ruins, it seems that destruction might lie ahead.
Pilcher shows Ethan a room where seemingly hundreds of bodies are in cryogenic sleep. But what exactly is being done to them? The details are foggy here, other than Pilcher admitting that the cryogenically sleeping folks were all abducted and brought to Wayward Pines. Pilcher causes it “a burden” in lieu of a “right” to make the decision. At first he seems more cult leader than savior.
But in the flashback sequences between Toby Jones, Melissa Leo, Hope Davis, and Terrence Howard cast Pilcher in a different light: he’s Noah while building the Ark, if Noah didn’t mind kidnapping animals to get them aboard. These four actors are tremendously talented and “Choices” fills in the blanks from the earlier episodes quite well.
Pilcher admits to Ethan that the original natives of Wayward Pines went into cryogenic sleep for the 2,000 years, hoping that—after mankind had gone—the environment would reset in that time. This seems to have worked, but how does that explain Ethan, Theresa, and Ben? They didn’t go into cryogenic sleep, nor did a deal of the other residents. How did they skip out on 2,000 years, if that’s what really happened?
Pilcher tells Ethan that the wreckage we saw at the episode’s beginning was from the last time he tried to tell people the truth; Ethan, Theresa, Ben, Kate…everyone in the town is part of the second group of Wayward Pines citizen. The news of their circumstances drove everyone of the first group insane. It would’ve been nice to see how Pilcher worded the news; it seems it could’ve been done more gently.
Pilcher tells Ethan that a faction of citizens is planning on blowing up the wall in order to get out; we know that Kate is behind this. Ethan shows us why he’s not just an everyman — he’s willing to keep innocents safe, partnering with Pilcher while also keeping the doctor’s reckless madness at arm’s length. It’s a fantastic scene and it seems that we will have much action in the coming weeks.
There are still plenty of questions to ask of Wayward Pines, but we’re at least learning more each episode. There are no steps backward due to the show’s ten-episode format, but only time will tell if we get all of our necessary answers. “Choices” is another outstanding episode in a string of great ones.