Martin Carr reviews the first episode of Wayward Pines season 2…
There are a few problems following success. First thing is how to repeat that without copying beat for beat whatever came before. Your options are limited and involve calculated risk, plain risk or reinvention. From a network perspective the latter is a non-starter as it would mean capturing that lightening one more time, which unless you’re Chuck Lorre or Vince Gilligan is impossible. Option two is mix it up, as in back or forward in time and go prequel on its arse. This is your calculated risk which brings back familiar elements but introduces them differently. Think Back to the Future even though, if we’re honest, part three was always the weakest instalment.
Then we come to the option which showrunners have chosen with Wayward Pines for season two. That beat for beat, rehash, rejig, ridiculously lame reintroduction of the same old story. Sure it might be years later and those that survived are now being ruled by an uptight Emo with military pretensions, yet nothing seems to have changed. Wayward Pines should have remained a one off drama event as it was designed to be.
M. Night Shyamalan had created something which helped us forget The Last Airbender and remember The Sixth Sense. Matt Dillon and Toby Jones made for interesting adversaries and the premise was clever. Name checking H.G. Well’s Time Machine and making us recall how good Dillon could be, Wayward Pines kept you guessing throughout and played its cards with skill. But as with any M. Night twist, once you’ve seen it all the mystery disappears never to be recaptured.
So we find ourselves into episode one with few familiar faces and no tangible threat. Dillon has disappeared having been blown up to avoid contractual obligations, only to be replaced by Jason Patric looking equally confused but less engaging. Let me be clear this is not the fault of the actor but the premise. Now we have established the threat there is only drama from within the community to sustain us. Unless this is going to be amazing I think the shine might come off this season real quick.
A lack of drama is not helped by the return of Charlie Tahan and Hope Davis from season one, who provide voice over and cryptic waffling in equal measure. There are only statues of Toby Jones and the occasional picture to remind us why Wayward Pines was so good. That twenty odd minutes is taken up with filling you in on stuff you missed, only compounds the sense of indifference.
That I have managed to write four hundred and fifty words about ‘Enemy Lines’ without actually drawing either a line or decent comparison says a lot. If something monumental fails to happen in the next forty minute episode, I may go and watch Gary Daniel’s classic A Hitman in London for entertainment purposes.