Wayward Pines Finale Review

Wayward Pines ends on a twist. Here's our review of the finale...

So, it’s here. We’ve arrived at the season finale of Wayward Pines. Only hours after the finale, M. Night Shyamalan was quoted as kicking around ideas for the second season—but first, let’s talk about that finale, huh?

When the Abbies realize that the electric fence is down after Pilcher shut off the power and—predictably so—all hell breaks loose. Ethan works on evacuating the town, while simultaneously militarizing. Concurrently, Pam finally takes a defiant stand against her brother; Pilcher’s view of the Abbies taking over Wayward Pines is that it’s simply the end of an experiment. He thinks they can just start the process over again, and not that his experiment has failed as a whole. Pam has become quite a sympathetic character in recent weeks, to the point of where I was rooting for her as she told her brother off. Not bad for someone who I originally thought as “Nurse Ratchet 2.0.” 

Unfortunately, Pilcher has such a grasp on the police in town that, even in the overthrow of the society, the police are faithful to his motives. At another time and place, people might’ve followed Pam to freedom, but instead she’s tased and stunned. Fortunately, in the meantime, Ethan successfully got a large deal of Wayward Pines people safely into the bunker despite the mass casualties. Did anyone else fear for Ethan’s life at this point? With Ethan trapped beneath ground, I felt a great sense of dread and negative foreshadowing, almost as if they were symbolically retreating into their own graves. 

For Megan Fisher being of such strong personal convictions all season, it was interesting to see her in the group in the bunker below ground. It was even more interesting to see Hope Davis’ acting when she realizes Pilcher willingly shut the power off—as if she were a child finding out Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Thus Fisher leading Ethan and Co. to the mountains/Pilcher takes on a meaty revenge tone, but since when has splitting up the group been a good idea?

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Pilcher left everything the First Generation of Wayward Pines would need in a secret back room in the school, huh? Seems like cutting the power wasn’t necessarily waving the white flag entirely, but maybe a way to ensure that Wayward Pines’ First Generation, and them only, survives. 

A note to anyone when watching a season finale: If a main character says, “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” the good money is on that character not being fine come episode’s end. 

There is a certain gravity to Pilcher watching his sister Pam being put into cryogenic sleep. It’s a moment that feels heavy onscreen, even being nearly devoid of dialogue. Even though she’s awoken moments later by a rogue police officer—thank God for him, really—we know that Pilcher’s time is limited. His attempt at playing God has fallen quite short, in spectacular megalomaniacal fashion. 

Did anyone else slow clap when Pam shot her brother amid his self-aggrandizing rant? I certainly did. A fitting end to Pilcher, the very thing that motivated him to “save” mankind in his own twisted way—his misguided heart—pierced by a bullet his sister fired. His intentions may have been noble, but if we learned anything from Bruce Almighty, it’s that you can’t mess with free will. Wayward Pines’ citizens had none, thus Pilcher had to go. 

As Ethan files his family and the others out of the compromised elevator shaft, it’s obvious that the entire season has been building towards Ethan’s character arc finishing with him as a martyr. It’s been apparent for a few episodes now, in fact. But as he wires the homemade explosives together to use the elevator shaft as a hammer’s head to squash the Abbies, already breaking through the elevator’s bottom, the flashback montage Ethan thinks of—and his subsequent sacrifice—is, for me, the show’s best moment of the entire series. (Even with Ben stupidly being knocked unconscious by falling debris.)

Noting their character developments, Pam and Kate were a fitting team to lead Wayward Pines. They truly seem to have humanity’s best interest at heart, whereas Pilcher was clinging to an ideal and not the tangible evidence.

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Unfortunately, as we soon see, the “best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men” went astray. 

Ben wakes up three years and change after his head wound in a completely different Wayward Pines. The First Generation has taken over, with a Bill The Butcher-esque regime in plan, apparently. Now, all of the adults are in cryogenic sleep, the Big Brother-watching-you atmosphere (literally and figuratively) has returned, and citizens that try to leave town are restrained and hung by their necks until dead on lampposts in the town square. A mammoth statue of Pilcher has been erected in the square, with the titled “David Pilcher; Wayward Pines Visionary,” emblazoned on the statue’s name plate. While the fact that Ben was knocked unconscious by falling debris, calling out for his father who clearly wasn’t going to answer, the end of the season was done to great effect by bringing back the scene in the pilot where Ethan wakes up in town.

So there you have it, folks. Wayward Pines’ first season in the books—and while the show was billed as a ten-episode event, I can’t see the show not being brought back for a second season. If it isn’t? The show ended on a high note, with an intriguing, if morose, message. If it’s renewed? What a killer first season to build on moving forward. 

I’m not sure if Charlie Tahan has the stuff to anchor a show, so I’m hesitant about a second season, but it would be nice to get more from Wayward Pines. I’d like to see what happens next, and on that note, M. Night Shyamalan and Co. put something fantastic together this year. I still can’t wait to see what’s next.


5 out of 5