Wayward Pines Season 1 Episode 8 Review – ‘The Friendliest Place On Earth’

Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of Wayward Pines…

There is an old adage. Power corrupts, whilst absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is written that the last ruler of Rome went mad. Duly elected by the people to hold sway and rule with diplomacy, when time came for him to relinquish that power he refused. Such I imagine would be the fate of anyone given free reign over any populous. There are numerous examples of people in similar predicaments who have lost the plot. In such ways do countries fall and systems of government topple. From then on we get into the realms of dictatorship, oligarchy and brethren courts. Actually scrap the last one as I swear that only exists in Pirates threequel World’s End. Anyway my point is simple. We have finally reached that crossroads in Wayward Pines.

 

Human nature and by that extension humanity is always treading a tight rope. Harmony and discord are two sides of the same coin. Recent attacks in Tunisia illustrate this theory all too well, as does the anniversary of the London bombing which happened this week. There have always been groups prepared to disturb the peace. Whether for moral, ethical or religious reasons. These factions, splinter groups or borderline fanatics construct bombs, pick up firearms and kill innocents year after year in the name of progress. By which of course I mean regression, collapse, anarchy and moral instability. Which is what this crossroads represents for Wayward Pines in real terms.

At the heart of the decision-making process sit David and Pam Pilcher. A representation of nature versus nurture, if such a thing could be said to exist. Such has been the skill on display from these two actors that sympathies have been reasonably one-sided. Melissa Leo ambivalent in the face of human suffering, while Jones carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. However, it would seem on the strength of this episode that things are about to change. Put plainly it is clear that order, discipline and reason will soon become increasingly rare commodities.

If anything Pines represents a morality tale for those willing to listen. Bill Hicks, a comedian, theologian and social commentator once said that ‘we are nothing more than a virus with shoes’. We inhabit, populate, drain every natural resource then move on. This impulse is at the heart of what gives Pines relevance right now. In allegorical terms humans are perpetually at war with themselves. Those fences merely a physical manifestation of that which we as a species do not wish to discuss.

 

Elsewhere beyond the intricate subtext Wayward Pines remains entertaining without preaching. Matt Dillon and Shannyn Sossaman are dramatically believable within the confines of this chocolate box setting. As aberrations gather beyond the boundary fence ‘Wayward Pines’ is shaping up to metaphorically implode. We are now mere moments away from a flaring of blue touch-paper and narrative closure. You best pull up a chair; this is going to be good.