Martin Carr reviews the seventh episode of Wayward Pines…
Week on week there are so many ideas playing out in Wayward Pines, that the superficial framework of plot and structure seem effortless. By showing us behind the curtain producers have added a resonance which underpins these more fantastical elements, with natural character moments. Dillon’s Ethan Burke pulls off the same trick which DiCaprio did for Chris Nolan’s Inception. He continues to provide a solid central performance instilled with charisma, somehow making the improbable realistic. Over the course of this drama Dillon has had the opportunity, not afforded him since Drugstore Cowboy or Rumblefish, to remind us how good he can be. Criminally overlooked and experiencing a career resurgence, he more than holds his own against Jones and Leo who threaten to steal scenes elsewhere.
This subtlety, sureness of touch and assured sense of pace are in evidence throughout as Wayward Pines continues drawing you in. Never heavy-handed or condescending, Pines examines humanity’s devolution and the need for a modern-day Moses with a steady hand. In every sense Toby Jones has taken on this role with skill and reserve. This doctor has issues of conscience which are at constant loggerheads with his academic nature. It is that delicate balance which provides the axis upon which Jones’ performance hangs. Moments of doubt played out in silence or through a measured glance or reaction shot, make his Doctor Pilcher the beating heart of this drama.
However in a rare slip there is a moment of predictable plotting this week, which proves even the best people sometimes drop the ball. In between the Fight Club references and ticking time bomb sub plot, there is the use of a glaring plot device. As I have said before the best ones slip by unnoticed while others go off like distress flares. Thankfully, such is the assurance on display elsewhere that this minor flaw is forgivable. Melissa Leo and Shannyn Sossman continue playing increasingly important roles, while an emotional investment becomes unavoidable.
In the wake of rumours concerning Pines and its renewal, I ask the question once again. What exactly constitutes success in this fickle marketplace? For all the money getting ploughed into pilots each year, most of which never see the light of day, is Pines merely getting renewed because Fox have nothing else? And the fact that TiVo amongst other brands is responsible for providing that all important ratings boost, begs the question when did primetime become anytime television? Irrespective of the answer and eventual fate of Wayward Pines, this show remains a rare treat amongst a sea of lesser equals. As plots thicken drawing us irrevocably onwards, we are reminded that formula need not be our only recourse for entertainment. Original thought still has a place in this world.