[This is a review of Wayward Pines episode 4. There will be SPOILERS.]
Wayward Pines may be the most dysfunctional town in America, but after only four episodes, the series is quickly becoming one of the most entertaining shows on television.
The series' strengths rest in the hands of its capable ensemble. Whenever a script gets too hammy, or too verbose, a single line read by Academy Award winner Melissa Leo settles everything down. If these spouts of verbal ridiculousness were spoken by anyone less talented than she, the show would fail. Thankfully, Fox chose wisely in selecting its players.
Ethan's son Ben (Charlie Tahan) steps up this week with an admirable performance, as the young man attends one of the creepiest schools in recent memory. It's never a good sign when your classmates are silently and eerily starring at you from a distance. Fortunately this is a school with a sense of diversity - not only in the creepy students that inhabit these sacred halls, but also the teachers. Specifically, one Megan Fisher who we discovery to be a therapist, the mayor's wife, and to top it off, she loves trout, beer, and bison burgers. No person is that well-rounded, so she instantly receives the crazy label in this reviewer's eyes.
The addition of Golden Globe nominated actress Hope Davis (The Newsroom) add another heavy hitter to an already stacked actors bullpen. She beautifully inhabits multiple traits without even blinking. The moment you see those golden locks and that bright smile you know something isn't right about her, yet it's easy to get trapped in her awkwardly cool demeanor as she plays the "high-five" game with Ben. Wayward Pines is locked in a contradictory bubble, with its community divided up into three distinct parts (so far).
Firstly, there are those who are all-in for the way of life that has been created for them, like the newly appointed Sheriff, Nurse Pam. Her toast at the now former Sheriff's welcoming party was frightening, due to her utter belief in what she was saying. If it was up to her, more of these throat cuttings, or "reckonings" would happen on a daily basis. She is the worst kind of leader and it was surprising that Ethan would so easily hand her the reigns after he decided to climb the mountain. Perhaps he was in a hurry, or maybe there's something at play we haven't seen yet, like some ulterior motive behind the agent's decision? Only time will tell.
In the second category are those who are too scared to speak out, but one can easily tell how unsettled they are. Dr. Jenkins (Toby Jones) is one such character. Jones carries himself as a man would if he had a heavy satchel strapped around his back. The Doctor is burdened in a way we don't understand yet, but there is very little joy in what he does. Even when speaking about the beauty of Wayward Pines to Ethan, you can sense the sadness in his voice. For him, it appears that the ends don't easily justify the means.
Lastly, there are the revolutionaries. Ethan is the most obvious choice for this category, but our now departed realtor, played by the talented Justik Kirk was another such idealist. He was a man who wanted everyone to see past the lies. His sacrifice was admirable, if not foolish, but it proved that there is more going on in this small town than just government conspiracies and extraterrestrials. Pines is building towards something we hopefully won't see coming, and that is a rare thing indeed in a television landscape cluttered with like-minded shows. Although, those creepy monsters at the end of the episode do look like aliens. Maybe they are just mutated mountain men?
What were your favorite moments this week, and do you trust Ben's new girlfriend Amy? It was nice to see Ben smiling, but he better watch his back. Stay tuned to see what happens next.
Wayward Pines continues with 'The Truth' next Thursday @9/8c on Fox. Check out a preview below: