Martin Carr reviews the sixth episode of Wayward Pines…
Back story is always a difficult nut to crack. It is necessary for two reasons. Number one people require context. That annoying essential for the sake of plot and character that adds dimension. Which in turn lends breadth, creates cohesion and eventually leads to an emotional connection. When these things are done well hours slip by and tea gets cold. Done badly and those hours of creative investment can seem like a tedious digression. Wayward Pines has reached just such a delicate juncture.
What made and makes Pines such a good drama is that intangible air of mystery. Existing just beyond the lines of realism, yet never straying into a realm of unreality. However, by employing flashback they are slowly stripping away this façade and bringing Pines dangerously close to familiar ground.
Toby Jones is doing his best at selling omnipotence with a benevolent face, yet Matt Dillon barely mutters a word throughout. In all fairness these flashbacks are so frequent that dialogue seems superfluous for everyone not just Ethan Burke. But if Pines is to successfully combine its take on contemporary issues with homage, then moments of silent exposition are required. It is true that Toby Jones and the hair piece need discussion but on forums not here. For me such things are negotiated easily, when a drama promises the exploration of something topical further down the line. And with Pines it has already started to set out that stall and construct a soapbox.
In a society where web access and an online presence take precedence, a person and their ability to make unimpeded decisions is diminishing rapidly. If you look on a website for shoes let’s say, within moments your page is flooded with images of the same product. Our need to keep up to speed on the newest innovation or fad is making free choice difficult. Corporations access phone records and pass on our information for financial gain, whilst governments offer tax incentives and silently profit. An abuse which is clearly not lost on those in charge of Wayward Pines. A show which may well be using this notion of ‘free will’ as a fundamental tenet of its narrative. Exploring the inherent ethical dilemma of not only whether such things are right, but where and when it becomes necessary to intervene.
Whether you believe everyone is here for a reason, or that we all have control over our own destiny, Pines is at least attempting to address these ideas. However exploring these notions in the media still remains a dicey proposition and occasionally things suffer slightly. Yet by combining back story and genre techniques to keep its audience guessing, Wayward Pines continues to set the standard for a less than engaging opposition.