Martin Carr reviews the season finale of Wayward Pines…
This review has been started over three times now. I keep going back and deleting huge chunks of text because nothing feels right. Whether I am preoccupied or not it’s hard to say, but one thing is certain Wayward Pines deserves better. For a ‘mini drama’ which has consistently delivered every week for the last nine, it would be sad if this finale let the side down.
Thankfully what we get is a smartly paced conclusion which leaves a lot of narrative doors open. There is more than enough source material to continue Pines on into a second season, but whether a similar cast can be found remains an issue. Because ultimately what lifts this above the competition, are some stellar performances from world-class talent. After all with Oscar nominees, globally recognised character actors and a solid gold premise, by God you have a show. Something which executive producer M. Night Shyamalan knew all too well.
Without giving the game away, it is fair to say that this high production closer rarely puts a foot wrong. Never opting for a plain fire fight when there are still character beats to be gleaned, Pines remains on top of things throughout. Dillon still supplies that moral centre, while Leo and Jones play out the brother sister act impeccably. There are some barmpot crazy moments which force others to pull out the artillery, but nothing massively clichéd or needlessly overblown.
What you get instead is a steady increase in tension. Some good character pay offs and enough action to satisfy your average gun totting US civilian. As expected once those aberrations start snacking on the residents we drift into World War Z, Walking Dead territory very quickly. Comeuppance’s are decisive but never feel forced or plot driven. Those that do end up taking an early bath, are merely the victim of their own actions rather than bumper fodder to satisfy a need. What can be garnered above and beyond the obvious however, is that Pines still thinks with its head up until that final frame.
There are no easy answers or simple explanations designed to tie everything off. Ultimately Wayward Pines is a morality play dressed up for mainstream audiences. Those questions which writers have chosen to address week after week remain the same. What does it mean to be human? What defines us from others? But more importantly perhaps, does human nature get in the way of progress? Are we destined to permanently struggle for supremacy, power and independence perpetually ham stringing any baby steps we might make? Going on the evidence here things do not look good. Let’s hope they do the decent thing and give us all a second season.