Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wayward Pines, Season Two, Episode Ten: Bedtime Story

Bedtime Story is the season finale and at this point, we don't know for certain whether or not Wayward Pines will be renewed for a third and final season.  It's interesting that the writers chose to end this season in the same fashion that Crouch, the authors of the Wayward Pines trilogy chose to end his story.

With the abbies amassing outside the walls and food in short supply, it's time to return to the pods. Unfortunately, there aren't enough pods for everyone and so tough choices need to be made.  Jason is rushed to the hospital by Kerry, who is still covered in his blood. Oscar, of course is very anxious but Theo says that Jason should be treated like any other patient.  It all seems neutral and nice as we watch as Theo tries in vain to save Jason's life. Theo is calm as he heads outside still covered in Jason's blood to explain that the little maggot is dead and that the best thing they can do to honour Jason is to continue with their plans for evacuation.

It's only when Theo is confronted by Oscar about a mistake he made while trying to treat Jason that it becomes clear that Theo did indeed follow through with his plan to make sure that Jason did not survive to rule. Theo is quick to brush Oscar off and his observations.

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 Theo may have wanted Jason dead and orchestrated what happened between Kerry and Jason but it seems he doesn't want to take responsibility for his role in Jason's death. The next inconvenience Theo has to deal with is Arlene, who wants Theo to know that she's done many jobs but has been happiest working for him. Arlene clearly is aware something is going on and wants to make sure that she's seen as valuable. Unfortunately, Theo has even less time for her than he had for Oscar.

Theo isn't free of Oscar yet because Oscar  catches up to Theo to inform him that Jason had a rare blood type and other than a family, the only person with the same blood type is Kerry.  Hmmm, maybe Oscar isn't the idiot I always thought him to be.

Theo's next order of business is to meet with C.J. to learn exactly where they are on the evacuation plans. Jason planned to have intact families placed into stasis first, then children, followed by essential adults. C.J. points out that there are still three hundred people who have yet to be awoken, who could be replaced by the residents of Wayward Pines but either way, there's going to be a cost regarding who lives and who dies.  Theo then wonders whether or not they should inform the residents about what is going on, given that it's far too late to do a lottery to figure out who is going to live and who is going to die. CJ assures Theo that those left behind will know after everyone else is safe.

The soldiers take to the streets to start gathering up those who have been chosen to live. For one family it means that the wife and children are safe while the husband is left behind.  At the school, Lucy is ushered onto the bus while her brother Frank is told to wait there for the second pick up. This makes me wonder if Jason suspected that Frank is gay and that's why he was chosen to stay behind? Next, we watch as Rebecca is picked up and Xander is told to stay behind. Rebecca is adamant that she won't go without her husband but Xander encourages her to go saying that he will be with her when she goes to sleep and when she awakens.  Yeah, I think Theo did have a hand in that.  Finally, at the hospital, we watch as Arlene is left behind with a group of clearly disabled people.

After wrapping things up at his office, Theo smashes a picture of Pilcher.  This is actually kind of cathartic to watch.  Theo then heads to the lab where it's time to have yet another chat with C.J.  Theo is filled with bitterness and is clearly not happy that Pilcher chose to kidnap him from the life he was meant to lead, to this empty existence in Wayward Pines. Theo makes it clear that everyone who is here now was going to live their lives naturally and die and he wonders what right Pilcher had to do what he did.

Theo runs into Kerry who he assures will have a place in the next stage for humanity. Of course this so-called gift comes with a price - knowledge.  Theo let's Kerry know that Jason was placed in a pod just days after he was born and shortly afterwards, Kerry was also placed in a pod. To make sure Kerry gets the entire picture, Theo lets her know that both she and Jason share the same rare blood type. But yeah, Theo believes that Kerry deserves a second chance. Kerry puts two and two together and promptly vomits in a trash can.  What purpose did Theo have in telling Kerry that she was fucking her own kid? Other than denying that Jason was a fascist asshole, what did Kerry ever do to have to live with the knowledge that the man she was in love with was actually her son? It shows exactly how cold Theo is.  Also, did we really need to be told again about the incest on this show?

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The town that Pilcher so carefully planned is going to shit, perhaps as it was always meant to do. The residents who have been left behind are busy rioting by breaking windows and taking guns. They've even pulled down Pilcher's statue.  Xander wanders the streets hopelessly with a gun, incapable of stopping what is going on. When Frank finds Xander, he is sitting in his shop drinking.  The first time that Frank asks for a drink, Xander tells him that he is too young.  Xander looks around at the destruction and finally decides that it's pointless to deny Frank a drink and passes him the bottle. Rebecca is brought to the mountain and barely makes it in because the entrance is crowded by people desperate not to be left behind. One of the resisters manages to kill a soldier. Theo and C.J. rush outside to escort Rebecca's group in and C.J. is forced to fire in the air to scare people away.

Theo heads to the lab and picks up a recorder. Theo makes it clear to anyone who may listen to it in the future that he believes David Pilcher was absolutely wrong. Theo's big plan for the end of this incarnation of Warward Pines is to inject himself with, Typhoid, the Marbug virus and Bubonic Plague which for some reason, Pilcher just happened to think would be necessary in his utopian future. Who the hell did Pilcher plan on having germ warfare with?  After an incubation period, Theo plans to head outside the walls of Wayward Pines and allow the abbies to munch down on him. What I want to know is how he thinks this decision makes him any better than Pilcher. The man plans to purposefully infect abbies because they have the nerve to exist after human civilisation has died off. Theo justifies his decision in end by claiming, "there is no greater good. It's only good, no matter how small the act."

Theo has a change of heart when it comes to Xander and he drives into town and picks up both Xander and Frank.  They are stopped by a man holding a Molatov Cocktail and Xander proves that he is useful by shooting the bottle, thus causing the man to burst into flames and clearing their way. When they arrive at the mountain, Theo is confronted by Arlene, who has clearly been crying. Arlene tells Theo that he could have told them what is going on. The tears are enough to guilt Theo into giving Arlene the pod of the dead guard. An excited Arlene kisses Theo repeatedly.

Now that everyone who is going to be saved is inside the mountain, the father who was left behind earlier hangs himself from his front porch.  Xander and Rebecca are reunited and so are Frank and his sister Lucy.  Kerry looks around and she's clearly uncomfortable by what is going on but Theo assures her that she deserves a second shot, pointing out that Kerry survived both Jason and Pilcher. Rebecca then thanks Theo for saving Xander, despite the fact that they couldn't save their marriage.

With the goodbyes done, Theo heads to the lab to inject himself, only to find Kerry there. Kerry listened to recording he made for prosperity and has already injected herself with the three viruses. Kerry argues that because Theo is a doctor, he will be needed in the future far more than her. Theo gives Kerry a vial of morphine, who with a bittersweet smile says, "I'm just a girl from Idaho."

Theo heads back to the pod chamber to take his place.  Theo tells everyone that he will see them soon before they all step into their pods.  C.J. is the last one left.  He hallucinates his wife, who questions whether helping to continue the existence of humanity is a mistake. She tells C.J. that he has the power to decide how he wants the world to be. C.J. is clearly tempted but sets the timer and enters the pod.

The streets of Wayward Pines are deserted at this point. All the lights have been turned off. The camera pans to C.J's greenhouse where a plant is actually growing.  I suppose this is meant to symbolize hope. Kerry leaves the safety of the fence and a sign clearly shows that death is eminent beyond this point.  As the camera fixates on the sign, the sound of Kerry being eaten can be heard.

The final shot of the night is of the abbies gathered in a field in what I presume used to be Wayward Pines.  A female abbie is holding a baby which looks suspiciously human.  Is this child the beginning of the Abbies experiencing de-evolution? Could the child possible have been sired by Ben or Hassler?  Hmmmm.

There were many problems with this season but chief among them for me was how Wayward Pines handled gender. Women were completely disposable (Pam, Megan, Kate and Theresa), when they weren't be slotted into the position of love interest (Rebecca), objects of revulsion (Kerry) or comic relief (Arlene). For this entire season, Arlene is used for comic relief and it's sad when we consider just how abused this poor woman is. She didn't ask for any of this and has been subjected repeatedly to electric shock treatment, yet the audience is repeatedly encouraged to laugh at her. The only time we are encouraged to empathise with Arlene, is when she confronts Theo about being left behind outside of the entrance to the mountain. Yes, Arelene will live on but not because we've been encouraged to see her humanity but because a pod is empty, Theo feels momentarily guilty and the writers need someone to provide comic relief.

When it comes to race, Wayward Pines doesn't have a great history.  This season we were introduced to Rebecca, C.J., and Mario.  None of the three characters of colour are actually very developed. Yes, Rebecca built the town; however, other than being a hairdresser, her biggest contribution is to be the wedge between Theo and Xander. The last thing Wayward Pines needed this season is a love triangle and using Rebecca this way made it all too clear that the writers simply didn't know what to do with her character.  C.J., is played by Academy Award nominated Djimon Hounsou.  Hounsou is clearly a talented actor but outside of the seventh episode (Time will Tell), Hounsou barely got any screen time and the majority of that is in the role of adviser to the White characters. Mario is essentially Jason's bitch for the entire season. As a soldier, Mario ran around town ensuring that Jason's order are followed to the letter and of course having the occasional spat with Xander who refuses to fall in line.

I have to address Frank and Lucy separately. Frank is played by Michael Garza and is so clearly of colour. Lucy is played by Emma Tremblay, who is white. Yes, think about that for a moment. Certainly interracial families exist but Wayward Pines never bothersto explain how it is that they became family. Frank is the only LGBT character in the series to date. Because of the way that Pilcher set up Wayward Pines, Frank has no real language to discuss why he isn't attracted to women and sees his sexuality as a threat to his existence, given the pressure in Wayward Pines to reproduce. Theo does try to reassure Frank that how he feels is perfectly natural but it's worth noting that Theo didn't go out of his way to save Frank. In fact, the only reason Frank ends up in a pod is because he happened to be with Xander when Theo went to pick him up.

Even if Wayward Pines is renewed for a third season, M. Night Shyamalan  has made it clear that the third season will be the last season.

After the success of the first season, Blake [Crouch, author ofThe Wayward Pines Trilogy] came to Philly and we hung out and I said, “Let’s just talk about what the end of this story is, and let’s work backwards from there. If we came out and didn’t feel strongly about the end point, then we’ll just leave it.” But, we thought it would be kind of cool to see if we had an ending, so we basically came up with an ending that we loved and then we said, “Well, how many episodes would it take to get to that end?” In our mind, we broke it up to an additional two seasons. It’s still an event series, but instead of 10 episodes, it’s 30… We felt like there was still a lot to be said about what it’s like to be on the last town on the planet.

As aforementioned, season two finished pretty much the same as the trilogy of books and so even if Wayward Pines is not renewed, the show has executed the original authors vision and to some degree has given closure to its fans.  What's next for the citizens of Wayward Pines? Who knows really but somehow I doubt that it's all going to end with a big happily ever after.