The Horror Honeys: Why, Wayward Pines, Why?

Why, Wayward Pines, Why?

A Horror TV Honey Series Overview by Lisa

Wayward Pines (2015)

It was at last years SDCC that the trailer for Wayward Pines was revealed and it promised a miniseries full of mystery and Matt Dillon. What else do you need in life, right? Well, an ending that doesnt make you feel homicidal, thats what. Because Im that jerk who likes to read the book before watching the movie or television show, I read all three of the Wayward Pines novels from Blake Crouch. As I stated in my review of the pilot episode, I quite enjoyed the first book in the series and it seemed an ideal story to make a miniseries out of. Ten episodes and then the story would be finished. Everything started out really great and then somewhere around the halfway point, the show became tedious and I can tell you exactly why. 


The television show chose to focus on the kids in Wayward Pines and the curriculum being taught in their school. In the book, the kids are just kind of there. They go to a school where they are not allowed to tell their parents what they learn, but thats the extent of their importance. Chad Hodge, the man who adapted the book for television, chose to focus on the kids in the latter part of the series and while I understand what he was trying to do, it just ended up dragging the series out about four episodes too long and made all of the events even more improbable. Yes, in a world that takes place in 4028 where humans are almost extinct, the kids being given too much power is what becomes completely absurd.

Ethan, just kill yourself now.
At the beginning of the season I had expressed concern over the author of the books, Crouch, only being marginally involved in the show. Although I wouldnt go so far as to recommend some of his other books, Wayward Pines was really enjoyable and it seemed curious that he would only have writing credit on three episodes and on none of these episodes was he the only writer. I had hoped that this meant Hodge was going to improve upon some of the more lackluster parts of the novel, but I was wrong. Hodge, whos most prestigious television credit is The Playboy Club, created a world where teenagers were the only people who knew about a secret warehouse full of guns and explosives. Yes, you read that correctly. The kids were being groomed to, ultimately, take over Wayward Pines, so Pilcher gave them their own super secret stash of weapons because teenagers have always been known to be really excellent decision makers who never let their emotions or hormones guide them. 

While Ethan, Kate, Teresa and Pam are running around trying to save the town, these fucking kids are reenacting Lord of the Flies. And what the what with the Abbeys all knowing that the fence had been compromised? First of all, that fence wasnt exactly the state of the art containment tool that it thought it was and secondly, the Abbeys were never hanging out near the fence, but the moment some fool drove a truck through it, they all knew? Oy vey! And then all of a sudden there are A LOT of residents of this town that I had never seen before?! They must be a wandering group of people who are kind enough to appear every time a show requires a high body count. Shit, these were probably the same people who lived in Woodbury over on The Walking Dead. Id also like to know how these people, who were being heavily monitored day in and day out, were able to just make a bunch of bombs without it being noticed. 

I would have killed myself too.
Anyway… lets talk about that ending, shall we? So, in the book, Ethan does not sacrifice himself, but I can understand why Matt Dillon did. At least he wont be lured into a possible second season. The book ends with everyone agreeing to go back into their little sleeping pods and wake up a few centuries later and hope that the world is in better condition. On television, all of the adults are put into their sleeping chambers while those damn kids fulfill Pilchers prophecies and create a Wayward Pines populated by people who will not question authority and wont try to leave. These geniuses have decided to keep all of the surveillance in place despite the fact that the only reason it existed was to make sure that people didnt learn the truth.  Well, they all know the truth and theyre totally fine with it, so why do they still need to be able to listen in on everyones conversations? Well, let me tell you why. If they hadnt returned everything back to the way it was, then it wouldnt be totes cray-craywhen Ben wakes up and has the exact same experience that his dad did. 

According to Hodge, the ending is a depressing one because it simply means that the cycle will continue. I found this ending depressing because it felt tacked on, uninspired and tired. Think about it; if the show had ended with Pam and Karen creating a Wayward Pines that more closely resembled a free society, that would have been fine. The story would have had a beginning, middle and end, you know, how stories are supposed to be told. Instead, after the screen fades to black, we are treated to Ben waking up three years later and he walks down main street just like Ethan did. (By the way, is this the same Anytown Main Street that is used on Supernatural every other episode?) Hodge and Crouch are both credited as writers for this final episode, but you can just see Shyamalans sticky fingers all over it.
... of irritation.
For the love of Xenu, Mr. Shyamalan, please stop trying to do these wackytwist endings. You really hit it out of the park with The Sixth Sense and it really is too bad that your major debut was so fantastic because you keep trying to replicate it and these kinds of things only come along once in a blue moon. Your lunar cycle is over, Mr. Syamalan, please move forward, progress and show us something completely different because I have the utmost faith that you can.

Overall, Wayward Pines started really strong, but it lost its way when it deviated from the books and thought it was more clever than it really is. Had this series clocked in at six episodes and didnt have that silly ending, it would have been a truly satisfying summer treat, but as we love to do in America, we overfed it junk food and then we were surprised that it didnt live up to its potential.

Why am I on this stupid show???

Lisa, please say five nice things about Wayward Pines:

1. Matt Dillon is still on top of his game and he brought more class and clout to this show than it ultimately deserved.

2. Melissa Leo was impeccable as always and I especially loved her Kill Bill moment when she rocked that nurse uniform while whistling a tune.

3. Carla Gugino, you always deliver the goods even when youre given a paint by numbers female character to portray.

4. The Abbeys reminded me of the mole men in The Descent and I enjoy that movie very much.

5. Matt Dillon