Thursday, July 7, 2016

Wayward Pines, Season Two, Episode Seven: Time Will Tell

For the longest time I have wondered when they would get around to giving C.J. more to do and in Time Will Tell, Wayward Pines finally got around to showing us a bit of C.J.'s backstory.  Pilcher charged CJ with waking up every 20 years to make sure the equipment was still functioning and to witness the end of the world as we know it.  We watch as C.J. awakens, opens some windows, exercises, watches news feeds and then tosses a coin in a bowl to mark the passage of time. The first time he awakens, we learn that humanity is concerned about something called the H1R3 virus.  The feed shows that the U.S. has closed its borders to North Korean refugees and that a war has broken out.

When C.J awakens again, there are far less news feeds available.  What he sees are nuclear bombs going off, destroying all of civilization.  It's clear that humanity is in the midst of its death throes. Once again, he cleans off the containers holding what's left of humanity, exercises, plays some chess and opens the windows. It's clear that the vigil that C.J. is keeping leaves him feeling lonely and he actually pretends to have conversations with people in stasis.  C.J. then heads outside to take some soil and water samples and he meets a mutated man named Griffin.  Together they fish and C.J is astonished when Griffin just grabs a fish right out of the lake. Griffin isn't completely human anymore and hands look more like an abbie's than a man. Later, C.J builds a fire and watches as Griffin falls asleep.  When C.J is certain that Griffin is in a deep sleep, he tries to slip away but he doesn't get far because Griffin confronts him.  Griffin demands to go with C.J and asks why he doesn't have the right to be safe.  Left with no options, C.J breaks Griffin's neck and it's clear that he is broken up by it. As C.J holds Griffin's dead body he weeps and says that he saved him from what is coming next.

It's now 3234, and CJ begins the process of working out, checking on those in storage and dusting. CJ sits to play a game of chess and imagines he is talking to his now long dead wife. It's clear that CJ is overcome by everything that he has seen.  He tells his wife that he misses the time that they used to spend together in the garden and even the way the earth used to smell. C.J aches because of his loneliness but knows he has to keep going in order to keep Pilcher's dream alive.

Finally, it's 4014, and it's time to wake everyone up. When they head outside, they see an Abbie and a little settlement.  The Abbie watches them but doesn't approach. Pilcher determines that while he didn't intend for humans and abbies to exist at the same time, he's not waiting any longer since the soil, water and air are now survivable.  C.J tries to suggest that this is not a good idea and that perhaps they should even sleep for a while longer but Pilcher wants none of it. Pilcher has Wayward Pines built right over top the Abbie settlement and as we saw in the last episode, he killed all of the abbies in order to clear the land.

Wayward Pines is now built and is ready for its first inhabitants.  C.J stands away from the group who are getting ready to celebrate. Having watched the decline of humanity, C.J has a much different perspective from those who simply slept through it all.  Megan approaches him filled with excitement at the prospect of awakening group A and C.J suggests that these people will not be happy when they realise the full scope of exactly what they lost.  In fact, the loss is only settling in on him now and he's had time to deal with it and adjust, unlike the innocent people they are now awakening from sleep. As it turns out, C.J was right because group A destroys the town.

In the present, Theo arrives in the lab to work with Margaret.  Megan of course tries to distract him by talking about his marital problems with Rebecca, promising that Jason will find him a mate. Proving that he can play the game Theo gives Megan a pointed look and says that maybe he's already found his own mate and Megan gives him a shy look.  Theo grabs some cards intent on finding a way to communicate for Margaret.  He holds up a green card and tells Margaret that it means yes, the red card means no, a card with a crown means leader and the hands means friend.  Theo demonstrates what these symbols mean and then offers food to cement the lesson; however, Margaret points to the three male abbies in captivity thus suggesting that they be fed.  While this whole process is occurring Megan is of course grumbling and carrying on.

They decide to call in Jason, since Theo is trying to communicate with Margaret in the hopes of getting the abbies who are surrounding the fence to back off.  Before Jason can arrive with Kerry, Hassler bursts in demanding that Margaret be released immediately.  Theo explains that Margaret was found on the merry ground and clearly wanted to interact with them.  Jason bursts in with Kerry in tow and he is not impressed by the situation at all.  Jason sees himself as the glorious leader of the last of humanity.  The humans end up arguing with Megan pointing out that Kerry hasn't exactly pulled her weight because she hasn't gotten pregnant.  Theo cannot believe that this is what they are arguing about given the threat that is amassing outside of the gate. Theo points out that while they have been busy arguing, Margaret has been observing them. Margaret points to the card for leader and points to Theo, which of course puts snot nose Jason into a snit.

Jason starts to leave, so Theo is forced to take drastic measures.  Theo uses the keypad to open the door of the cage of a male abbie.  Kerry immediately puts her hand on her gun as the others beg him not to open the door.  Theo puts his arm inside the cage, only to be attacked but it stops quickly because Margaret indicates that the male abbie should stop.  Theo pulls out his arm and Jason says if the abbies can learn, then they can learn consequences.  Jason pulls out his gun and shoots the three male abbies in the head, as Margaret screams in horror.  Theo manages to wrestle the gun away from Jason and so he demands that Kerry hand over her gun so he can kill Margaret.  Thankfully, Kerry has the common sense that Jason does not and suggests that Theo is showing them something and that they should listen before quickly killing Margaret.  Jason storms out with Kerry fast on his heels.

The tension in the room is thick and can be cut with a knife.  Hassler comments that while Theo might be Jason's replacemen,t the abbies are the replacement for humanity.  He points out that even with so much on the line, they cannot seem to get their shit together before leaving the room.

Megan being Megan however chooses not to see what happened for what it really is, though she does acknowledge that Jason has short comings.  Megan refuses to accept that this is a battle they cannot win despite the evidence that no only are the abbies intelligent, they have the numbers to quickly overwhelm Wayward Pines.  A frustrated Theo says that he's going to leave for a little bit to have a shower and clear his head before returning to try again to communicate with Margaret.

Megan works alone at her computer and she's obviously getting tired.  When she looks down, she sees a pool of blood. Shocked, Megan reaches down and touches her leg to see that she has been wounded. When Megan turns around, Margaret is standing in front of her holding a scalpel.  Megan simply says Margaret before passing out. Please oh please, let Megan be dead.  It seems that when Theo opened the cage for the male Abby, Margaret was watching in the mirror and thus learned the combination and freed herself.  Cool as a cucumber, Margaret walks out of the room, leaving Megan in her chair surrounded by blood.

Time Will Tell, is absolutely one of the best episodes of Wayward Pines to date.  From season one we've been told and shown that humanity is no more but I don't think that it was really driven home until this episode with CJ.  We got to witness the downfall of humanity and in so doing really came to realise just how important the success of Wayward Pines is to the continuation of humanity.  Watching CJ's pain showed us that the death throes were painful and they were bloody.  Life in Wayward Pines isn't only about survival; it's about mourning for a long lost world - a world that can never be again.

In many ways, Time Will Tell was also about the nature of man.  Jason was quick to believe that violence would solve the problem, even if logistically it would mean annihilation for Wayward Pines. Arrogantly, the leadership of Wayward Pines have believed since the beginning that their humanity necessarily made them better than the abbies.  All Pilcher, Megan and even Jason see is difference and to them, difference means inferior and bad. It's telling that it was C.J. who pointed out that simply moving the abbies out of the way and building over top of their settlement was not a good idea. As a man of colour, he would have had a better understanding of the harm colonization causes than Pilcher, who was so busy trying to play the role of saviour.  Nothing submits to being ruled, to being tossed out of its home and if possible will fight back, as the abbies have proved time and time again. It's telling that Margaret is over thirty years old because that means she was there and old enough to see and understand when Pilcher so cavalierly ordered her home destroyed and her people killed. It was mankind and not the abbies who struck first blood. Is it the nature of man to simply take what is wanted by force or can we negotiate a peace that works for everyone?

One thing I cannot help but wonder about is if Margaret saw Theo as the leader because of the way he tried to keep the peace when they started arguing and the fact that he tried to communicate or because she has seen the violence in Jason and refuses to negotiate with him? Margaret is on the loose now and it's clear that she's going to try to get back to her people and this is a problem because they have no idea how she breached the wall in the first place.  I dearly want to see Margaret take a big bite out of Jason.  He needs to go in the worst way and for the life of me, I don't understand why so many are blindly following this ridiculous kid who doesn't know his head from his asshole. Oh please Margaret, just eat Jason.