Martin Carr reviews the fourth episode of Wayward Pines…
How’s that for a tagline? Just grabs you by the lapels and won’t let go will it. Before you move on, let me give you some reasoned context to back up my seasoned sarcasm.
As a rule I try to avoid knowing too much. It means I can’t be overtly influenced ahead of broadcast and come to it fresh. So I consider this a first. There is no way I could have gotten anything from that. Not a snowflakes chance in hell as my analyst might say; if I could afford analysis.
Anyway what Wayward Pines continues to do is intrigue me. Coming off like a Lynchian wet dream minus the cherry pie, it holds the audience in a vice grip he would be proud of. While killing off star names is proving a good way to keep you off balance and maintain interest. Which in turn ramps up the drama and manipulates a palpable tension, Pines is proving more Hitchcock and less Chandler week on week.
Melissa Leo, forever short changed by Nurse Pam’s two dimensions, brings cold blooded determination and a clinical approach to the table this week. With Sheriff Pope permanently off the reservation, Leo steps it up a notch stealing almost every scene and forcing Dillon to raise his game. Meanwhile Ethan’s family cross paths with Megan Fisher at Wayward Pines Academy. Giving Shannyn Sossman and Charlie Tahan something more to do, which fills out an episode intent on playing mind games. Whether through social interactions or elsewhere, Pines is developing into a programme which requires more than a modicum of viewer interaction.
Using Robert Frost, Scottish poet and author of ‘Mending Walls’, show scribes work these lines in with no little poignancy, using Peter McCall as their conduit of choice.
‘Before I build a wall,
I would ask to know;
What I was walling in or walling out.’
Obvious references aside, Pines digs deeper than most prime time shows in its search for meaning. Everyone here is playing along. Each is hiding in plain sight and psychologically working off their own agenda. They are dissuaded from admitting the existence of another life outside of the town and perpetually live in fear. Kept in line by the threat of execution and plagued by what lays beyond that fence.
There are many theories circulating the net all of which I will avoid, because this is turning into great watch. Toby Jones, Matt Dillon, Shannyn Sossaman and everyone else are helping create a fine piece of television. There are nuanced performances and enough source material for this to keep running. Both layered and sinister yet appealingly watchable, Wayward Pines continues going from strength to strength. If this standard existed elsewhere I might watch more television. That people is a recommendation.