Martin Carr reviews the second episode of Wayward Pines season 2…
I was wrong and admit it. Whatever my misgivings about last week’s opener things have changed down in Wayward Pines. That needless re-tread which constituted episode one, left no time for progression, proved noticeably useless and removed any tension with devastating efficiency. There was no time for Jason Patric to look anything but confused before credits rolled and Wayward Pines was no more. This week however things are different.
We the audience were treated to copious amounts of dramatic meat on the bone. Which included heavy gun fire, psychological stand offs and aberrational cadavers ago go. We got to see more of the unbalanced Jason fronting off against Patric’s Yedlin, who clearly was in no mood for games. Which in turn gave us a better understanding of character dynamics and more entertainment. It uncovered those who run the show to have blatant inadequacies, whereas everyone else had tangible skills and inherent leadership potential. What show runners demonstrated was the very essence of dictatorship, using this microcosm of Americana as a dramatized example of what could happen whilst passing the message off as entertainment.
What Patric and guest stars Sossamon and Jones do to hammer home the point is add gravitas. A believability which the younger cast members are unable to muster. Only Charlie Tahan’s Ben gives us that innate desperation and sense of purpose that Patric, Jones and Sossamon are able to turn on like a light switch. At the moment Djimon Hounsou is nothing more than a farmer with heavy artillery and presence. He is in this episode rarely but steals scenes with minimal effort and maximum impact. Between himself and Toby Jones it might be said that Wayward Pines feels alive again.
With moral questions creeping in under the radar through obviously pregnant pubescent girls, rationing and children in charge. ‘Pines’ is becoming more Lord of the Flies than The Time Machine right now. Moral ambiguity and the posing of awkward questions is what television should be about in my opinion. It is after all a platform for discussion and if questions can be asked which challenge you, question us and get people thinking then the job is done. For those who want pure mindless programming designed to make you forget the options are endless. Anyone else with a pulse, brain and inquiring mind need to look further afield.
Pines at its best, which is still back in season one for me, asked such questions. So did Constantine, so does Preacher and so did Breaking Bad way back when. Whether you wish to engage your cerebral cortex or just veg out is completely your choice. But should you want your interest piquing then there are worse places to start than with season one of this unique thriller.