Friday, June 12, 2015

Wayward Pines, Season One, Episode Four: One of Our Senior Realtors Has Chosen to Retire

Ethan drives his family away from the site where he killed Burke.  When Ethan gets out of the car, he takes Ben to wash the blood off of his hands.  Ben asks what the creature on the other side of the wall and Ethan calls them wolves, adding that they're in wolf territory.  When Ethan gets back into the car, Theresa suggests calling the police, believing that there's no covering up what happened.  Ethan informs her that "they already know".  Okay, who the hell is "they"?  Ethan explains that there are cameras and mics everywhere because the town is under surveillance.  So far, Ethan has not been able to figure out who is doing this.  Ethan tells Theresa that he was sent to Warward Pines to investigate the disappearance of Bill and Kate. Ethan recounts what happened after he woke up in Wayward Pines, adding that he has been trying to get out of Wayward Pines since the moment he woke up in the hospital.  For a strategy they agree to pretend to be a happy family and simply play along.  Theresa notices that Ben is missing and so she and Ethan race out of the car to find him.

They find Ben accepting an invitation welcoming him to attend Wayward Pines academy at 10am sharp. In his hands, Ethan hold a uniform jacket for the local highschool which came with the package.

Using Pope's keys, Ethan enters the Wayward Pines Police station and gets a gun.  He doesn't get to do much more because Arlene Moran arrives carrying a cake to congratulate Ethan on becoming the new Sheriff.  Fast on Arleen's heels, is Brad Fisher, the mayor of Wayward Pines, to congratulate Ethan on his new job. Ethan poses for a picture with Arleen and Brad for the local paper. It's Toby from the paper who takes the picture.  Brad brings up Ethan's fast transition and  Ethan asks who appointed him as sheriff.  Brad reveals that this isn't under his purview, so Ethan asks again and this time adds that he would like to talk to them to find out what is expected of him in his new role. It seems that Bill is going to play the diplomat moving forward.  Brian and Arlene explain that they don't like people who ask questions and that Ethan simply has to follow the rules. Ethan asks about cake and Arlene leaves to get a knife. Brad takes the opportunity to ask Toby to give him a minute alone with Ethan.  Brad explains that he is happy to have someone with Ethan's experience working as the town's sheriff.  Brad explains that being sheriff affords some power and Ethan simply says that he looks forward to working with Brad. The two men shake hands.

Theresa takes Ben to school, warning him not to draw too much attention to himself and adds that this should be for a couple of days.  Theresa and Ben are greeted by Megan Fisher, the principal.  Megan explains that the focus at the school is on arts, team building and athletics.  Megan reveals that everyone there plays a sport. Megan then asks if Ben plays the guitar and informs him that they have a fantastic music program there.  Megan calls the start of the school day and Theresa and Ben hug. It's clear that Theresa does not want to let go of Ben.

Ethan is busy searching the sheriff's office.  He comes across a trapdoor in the floor and uses the keys to open it up.  Ethan finds a box containing files on the residents. containing information on who they were before coming to the town.

Arlene sits at her desk crying when she is joined by Ethan.  Ethan places her file in front of her, commenting that Arlene is from New Jersey.  Ethan asks if she wants to go back and Arlene simply says that she loves it here.  The conversation is brought to an end when Nurse Pam and two henchmen drag in Peter McCall.  Pam calls Peter a subversive and says that he created subversive graffiti.  Pam calls for a reckoning and when Ethan says no, Pam says that this is Peter's third strike and has therefore given them no choice.  Ethan tells Pam to go and she offers to take care of Peter herself.  Ethan assures Pam that it's taken care of.

Ben is alone in a room with Megan and she is preparing to ask him some questions.  Megan asks Ben where he is from, where he lives and where home is.  To all three questions, Ben answers Seattle.  Megan questions if Ben misses Seattle and Ben answers that he does.  Megan asks why his parents won't take him home and Ben replies that they can't because Ethan has been assigned there by the secret service. Megan questions if Ethan has made this all up and questions if Ethan has ever lied to Ben.  When Ben says yes, Megan asks Ben how he can trust his father. 

Theresa is making her way down the street with a map.  Theresa comes across Peter's act of rebellion.  It seems that Peter painted on a storefront, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Theresa then notices Kate arriving for work at her store.  Theresa crosses the street and Kate asks if she can help Theresa find something.  The women make small talk for a moment.  Kate opens up a music box and tells Theresa that has 30 seconds to speak her peace.  Theresa says she stopped being an agent because she wanted her family to come first but Ethan didn't make that choice.Kate apologises saying a lot has changed for her since then.  Once the music stops, Kate asks Theresa if she wants the music box gift wrapped and Theresa leaves.

Ben is all done with school.  Outside, Amy introduces herself to him.  Ben leaves with Amy to head home even though he promised to wait for his mother.  When Theresa arrives, Ben is already gone. Ben tells Amy about the questions Megan asked.  Amy explains that Megan probably wanted to make sure Ben isn't getting homesick.  Ben says that he is sort of getting homesick and had a girlfriend in Seattle. When Amy asks if he was popular while Ben doesn't outright say yes, he doesn't so no either.  Ben asks about the fence and the animals on the otherside and is informed by Amy that she wouldn't want to go the wall.  Amy asks how Ben knows about the animals but before he can answer, Theresa catches up with them and takes Ben with her.

In the sheriff's office, Ethan shows Peter pictures from his file.  Peter denies that the man in the picture is him.  Ethan shows Peter another picture and this time he cannot help but to stare at it and say that it's from another life.   Peter says that he thinks he has been in Wayward Pines for maybe 8 years.  Ethan then shows Peter a set of numbers but Peter doesn't know what they mean.  Ethan brings up Peter's use of a cane and Peter explains that he hurt it trying to get out.  Ethan asks why no one can leave this town and Peter reveals that there's one way and pantomimes putting a gun to his head. The phone rings and when Ethan answers, a voice tells him that he is to call a reckoning for Peter.  Ethan slams the phone down and tells Peter that it was a telemarketer.

That evening, Ethan and Theresa gather in the bathroom to talk.  Ethan reveals that he has been made sheriff and that he is expected to execute a man for spray painting graffiti.  Ethan adds that everyone is a prisoner here. Ethan talks about meeting Brad and Theresa realises that Megan is Brad's wife.  From the files, Ethan learned that Megan used to be a hypnotherapist.  Ethan believes that Brad was trying to tell him something and that they can get more information about him.

In the morning, Theresa again delivers Ben to school.  When she sees Megan, Theresa invites her over for dinner.  Megan is delighted and suggests meeting at the beer garden since Theresa and Ethan are new in town. 

At the station, Ethan brings Peter breakfast, promising that nothing is going to happen to him.  Peter has spent the night going through his file.  In 2001, Peter was at a convention and met a woman who he asked back to his room, though he was married. Peter then blacked out and then woke up in a hotel room in Wayward Pines with the same woman from the bar, except she was older and her name wasn't Dennis; it was Pam.

Megan starts her series of questions with Ben again. This time Ben says that he doesn't know where he lives and is congratulated by Megan, who informs him that tomorrow he can take class with the other students. Megan then gifts Ben with a guitar.

That night, the Burkes meet Megan and Brad as planned.  At another table, Kate is having dinner with her husband and is shocked to see the Burks walk in.  In the bar area, Megan comments about how much everyone will miss Pope because he retired so abruptly. Megan compares being a sheriff to be a school teacher and brings up the fact that both need to set boundaries and punishment for bad behaviour. Theresa excuses herself to head to the bathroom and is joined by Megan.  Brad asks how Ethan is enjoying the town and Ethan talks about the fresh air, trees and look of fear in everyone's eyes.

Ben is home alone and when he looks outside, Amy is there signaling him to come and join her. Brad warns that things focus on the children and at the school, it's all about shaping the mind of the child.  Brad confirms that his wife is a teacher at the school and warns Ethan to be careful.  When Theresa and Megan return to the table, Ethan asks how everyone feels about the public executions. Megan says that they don't make the laws, they just follow them. 

Pam meets with Arlene and Tim.  Arlene is extremely upset that Pope just left without saying goodbye.  It seems that Pope was a great boss and Arlene found him to be very attractive. Pam calls for cheers for the new sheriff.  Pam tells Arlene that she will soon love Ethan, the same way she loved Pope and reminds Arlene that Ethan is a married man.  Pam raises a glass and calls for a toast for Ethan, saying that great power requires great responsibility. Pam makes it clear that Ethan will have to make sure that anyone who breaks the law is swiftly punished to the fullest extent.  Pam is completely wound up, so Ethan stands and cuts her off. Ethan tells everyone that he wants them to know that as long as he is sheriff, he will do everything to ensure that the evils of the town are brought to light and the true criminals are brought to justice.

On their way back from the restaurant, Ethan and Theresa run into Dr.Jenkins who is checking on the growth of the pine trees he has planted. Ethan asks about executing Peter for spray painting graffiti but Jenkins only offers his condolences.  Jenkins suggests that the best things require the biggest sacrifice, pointing out the beauty that surrounds them. A frustrated Ethan grabs Theresa and they walk away.  They agree to split up with Theresa going home and Ethan going his own way.

Amy has taken Ben to her favourite place in Wayward Pines. 

Ethan returns to the jail and tells Peter that the plan is to hide him in the woods.  Peter asks to be taken to the fence.

When Theresa arrives home, she finds a note in the mailbox offering her a job as a Realtor because one of their senior Realtors has chosen to retire.  Theresa is ordered to be in the office tomorrow morning at 9 am.

Peter and Ethan have made it to the wall. Peter wonders if they are being kept in or if the wall is keeping something else out.  Peter reveals that when he first arrived, he didn't want to leave because it allowed him to be someone new.  The problem is that the past always catches up to you.  Peter tells Ethan that there is only one way out and points to the mountain next to the electrified fence.  Peter says that this is the end for him.  Ethan tries to tell Peter that he doesn't have to do this and Peter concurs becuase it's Ethan's job to kill him.  Peter believes that it is important for Ethan to earn "their trust." Peter warns that if Ethan wants to survive in Wayward Pines, he needs to give him a little push.  Ethan again refuses, so Peter wraps his arms around Ethan and then jumps into the electrified fence to make it look as if Ethan pushed him.

Ethan returns home and reports that Peter is dead to Theresa.  Ethan asks Theresa to stay there while he tries to get some help.  Ethan assures Theresa that she is stronger than she knows.

Ethan has returned to the police station and is greeted by Pam, who snarks about Ethan not being suited to be sheriff.  Ethan tells Pam she is better suited to be sheriff than he is, to which Pam is more than happy to agree, calling Wayward Pines her town.  Pam says that she is not fooled by Peter's suicide, even if Ethan managed to fool  everyone else. When Ethan leaves, Pam sits at the desk and makes herself at home.

In the woods, Amy tells Ben that the radio only plays static unless Hector is playing the piano. Ben asks if Amy grew up there as well and she says no.  Ben asks about the other side of the fences and Amy kisses him instead of answering.

Ethan has his climbing equipment and has started to climb the rocky wall that Peter indicated to him before he died. When Peter gets to the top we see a shadowy figure.

I want to know who the hell "they" is.  There are clearly individuals inside Wayward Pines who are powerful, and extremely influential but at the end of the day, the citizens are just pawn.  Who is pulling the strings and why? Who or what are these shadowy creatures?  I am getting frustrated with the hinting and think that Wayward Pines needs to just get on with it already.

I am really starting to want a more nuanced portrayal and script for Pam the zealot.  In every desperate situation like that there's always going to be people who identify with the oppressor, who hate who the oppressor hates - even if it means hating themselves, who join with the oppressor or even do the oppressor's dirty work.  It's all in the hopes of a little preferential treatment, perhaps a bit more food or medicine and sometimes, compliance means the difference between life and death.  As you can see, even in just the last few short sentences, I have a pretty good argument regarding the kind of character Pam has been created to be thus far. The biggest problem isn't that Pam seems to have identified with the evil in the town but that we've been given no reason as to why and absolutely zero nuance when it comes to her character. 

Okay, I'm about done with the Kate/Ethan/Theresa love triangle.  Every time it's brought up I feel that it's a distraction from the main story.  With everything going on, I have no idea why the writers even thought it necessary to include a love triangle of all things.  Even after being attacked and nearly killed by Pope, and seeing something dragging Pope's body away, Theresa still takes the time to point out that she isn't happy by telling Ethan that she will agree to pretend they are a happy family.  It made me want to yell at Theresa, "umm hello, little practicalities dear." Then came the underwhelming show down between Theresa and Kate.  Kate has been in Wayward Pines for 12 years and could clearly give a heads up about what's going on.  What does Theresa do? Why naturally the whole stay away from my man.  Look, I'm not saying that it's easy to be cheated on but if someone tried to kill me, beat up my son and now I am stuck in town I cannot leave, I think that would be my first priority.  At least Ben gave it a break from bringing it up every two minutes every time someone says Ethan's name.

Speaking of Sam, it's clear that the brain washing is beginning with Amy.  She seems rather accomplished and not the least bit nervous or unsure the way that Ben is.  I think Amy bears watching. Yes, yes I do.

I am surprised how much I came to care for Peter, given that his character arc was so strong.  What people of Wayward Pines have is subsistence only; it's not a life by any stretch of the imagination. Peter portrayed that beautifully.  I think at the end of the day, people just want answers.  Would they have so many trying to escape or break the rules if they understood what the real threat is, rather than the Orwellian society that is Wayward Pines.  It seems for Peter at least, the truth, no matter how horrible would be better than a lie.  When Pope died he said that Ethan doesn't even want to know how bad it really is.  I think that such thoughts belie the strength of the human spirit - the will to carry on in the face of even the worst adversity.