One year ago, I wrote about the first season finale of ‘Wayward Pines’ fully expecting it to be the series finale. Somehow, the show got renewed. Even though the second season didn’t start off great, I continued to watch. Now that this one’s over too, please let this really be the end.
It’s hard to explain why I stuck with the show. I think it has an intriguing premise even if the execution is frequently lacking. Every time the series lapsed too far into tedium, it would spring back by pulling a crazy stunt to keep me interested. Ruthlessly killing off a few of the most annoying characters – including Theresa (Shannyn Sosamon) and her dipshit son Ben – helped. In the penultimate episode, Fascist dictator prick Jason Higgins discovered that the cutie-pie girlfriend he’d been boning all season was actually his mother! Yeah, the show actually went there.
Two thousand years earlier, Kerry (Kacey Rohl) gave up her baby for adoption before being cryogenically frozen, never realizing that mad scientist mastermind David Pilcher froze the baby too, then thawed him out first and raised the boy as his own. After Pilcher died, Jason picked Kerry’s photo out of an inventory list because he thought she looked hot, unaware that Pilcher had altered her records to redact any mention of the child. When Jason finally learned the truth, he went bonkers and attacked his mom/lover. In the fight, she wrestled his gun away and shot him in self defense.
The finale opens with Jason being rushed to the hospital, where Dr. Theo Yedlin (Jason Patric) pretends to try to save him, but intentionally flubs the surgery and lets him die on the table. (Theo hated Jason and had encouraged Kerry to kill him.) Unfortunately, even with that jackass now eliminated, the last vestiges of humanity still face impending doom from a giant horde of the mutant Abbies amassing in numbers outside the fence and preparing to storm the town and kill everybody.
Jason’s plan to deal with this threat was to evacuate everyone to the mountain fortress and put them all back in cryogenic sleep for another thousand years or so. He assumed that the Abbies would surely die off by then. Now the town’s de facto new leader, Theo can’t think of any better options. Sadly, only about half of the cryo pods are still operational, which means that he and C.J. (Djimon Hounsou), the town’s chief engineer/botanist/badass soldier, have to make hard choices about which residents to save and which to leave to get torn apart and eaten by the Abbies. To delay a mass panic, they’ve kept the pod situation a secret and told the populace that they’ll be evacuated in two groups. Of course, the buses and shuttles will never come back for the second group.
Most of the hour is spent watching the townspeople either being evacuated or panicking about not being evacuated, with repeated cutaways to the Abbies beyond the fence screaming and running through the woods. Theo records a message announcing his intention to wipe out the Abbies by injecting himself with a cocktail of virulent viruses (including Bubonic Plague) and letting the mutants eat him alive. That doesn’t sound like much fun. Crippled by guilt, Kerry listens to Theo’s tape and opts to sacrifice herself first so that he doesn’t have to.
The episode ends with Theo, C.J. and a bunch of other main characters putting on their silly spandex leotards and getting into the cryo pods. Kerry exits the fence and we hear sounds of her being attacked. Then the episode just suddenly stops with a bizarre, unexplained cutaway to a female Abbie in the woods cradling a baby.
And that’s it. The season’s over.
I’ve read some speculation online that the Abbie baby supposedly looks more human and less mutant than the other Abbies, which suggests that the Abbies will evolve back into humans. I didn’t notice that myself. If true, I guess this is meant to play into what we’ve learned about the Abbies having a queen leader and some sort of social structure, including a brief glimpse we catch of an Abbie town with a giant hut in the center. They’re not purely feral monsters. They can think and use tools and have feelings. If the show were to get renewed for a third season, I kind of like the idea of the survivors waking up even further in the future to find themselves in the middle of an actual Abbie civilization.
These ideas are potentially interesting. I just wish the series were better at acting on them. The biggest problem with the second season is that the show had basically no likeable or sympathetic characters. Theo, our presumptive hero, was a tremendous wet blanket the entire season. His only saving grace was that he was a moral voice of reason speaking up against Jason’s dictatorship. Nonetheless, in the finale, he follows through with Jason’s plan to leave half the town to die without so much as a warning, and then (from out of the blue) decides to commit genocide on the Abbies, even though he’d objected many times earlier in the season to killing Abbies or experimenting on them like lab rats. In addition to that, he gleefully rubs it in Kerry’s face that she had sex with her own son, for no other reason than to be a dick. I don’t know that I could stand another year of the show with him as the lead.
As for the episode itself, despite having a professional filmmaker (Ti West of ‘The House of the Devil‘ and ‘The Innkeepers‘) at the helm, the finale is slackly paced, confusingly structured, tediously repetitive, and completely forgets about a storyline involving looting and riots in the town. If the final scene with the Abbie baby is supposed to be some sort of zOMG! twist, it’s incredibly limp and doesn’t work at all.
The Fox network hasn’t yet announced whether ‘Wayward Pines’ will be canceled or renewed for another season. I think it should stop here. The show just isn’t good enough to drag on for a third year. Frankly, it wasn’t good enough for a second.