Set 2000 years in the future, Wayward Pines chronicles the effort to preserve a slice of humanity from before a genetic mutation changed the landscape of the world as we know it.
As I sit to write this review, I realize that I never covered Wayward Pines season 1. That’s a shame because this would be the opportune time to compare the two seasons. Before I continue, I’ll give a brief rundown of season one.
Wayward Pines began as a limited series event on FOX, based on the novels by Blake Crouch and produced by M. Night Shyamalan. As a limited series, it was meant to be a 10-episode event, and it was meant to be a complete story, going through the plot of all of the books and reaching a conclusion by the finale.
Within the first season of Wayward Pines, secret service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon), after being in an accident, wakes up in a small Idaho town called Wayward Pines. He soon finds that nothing about this town is normal. It’s like a model town, and nothing is real. Every person in the town is going through a similar situation, where they were suddenly brought to Wayward Pines with no explanation. You have to answer the phone every time it rings. You can’t talk about your past life before Wayward Pines. If the rules are broken, there are executions in the street. Everyone is trapped within the walls. It’s even weirder when you realize that every person has a skewed perception of how long they’ve been there; Ethan has only been in Wayward Pines for a few days, but a fellow agent in the town claims to have been there for 12 years.
As the series progressed, it delved more into the mystery of Wayward Pines. It was weird. It was intriguing. It brought in some deception and science fiction. The actors involved were all great. I loved it, was a huge fan. I recommend the first season of Wayward Pines as a complete story in itself.
When I heard that Wayward Pines was coming back for a second season, I was taken by surprise. Since the first season had gone through all of the source material, I had no idea where the second season was planning to go. I was worried to say the least.
The second season of Wayward Pines relies on an entirely new cast of characters. Many characters from season one are classified as recurring, and the second season disposes of them as soon as possible. I felt that the first half of the second season was incredibly hard to get into.
I wasn’t as big of a fan of the new characters, and it felt like the mysterious allure of Wayward Pines was completely gone. Well, it was gone! The intended series finale from season one had uncovered everything there was to uncover. It was hard to be on the same side as new characters waking up in Wayward Pines when, as a viewer, you already knew what was going on.
The main character within season two is a doctor named Theo Yedlin, played by Jason Patric. I never really felt anything for him. He made me angry most of the time. As a viewer, you disagree with the methods of the people running Wayward Pines, but I didn’t really appreciate Theo just coming in and thinking he knew how to run the place. I was much more interested in other characters, such as Djimon Hounsou’s CJ, Nimrat Kaur’s Rebecca, and Kacey Rohl’s Kerry. I found them to be much more compelling.
As the season progressed, I will say that it did get better. The second season focused heavily on the “Abbies,” a name given to humans who underwent the genetic mutations that the people of Wayward Pines were able to avoid with their cryogenic sleep. The season debates whether they really are an inferior form of humanity or a progression of it. These were the issues that I was most intrigued by.
The season throws in some mind bending moments that harken back to the first season, but overall, Wayward Pines season two feels like a completely different show when compared to the first season. Where season one focused on the mystery of the situation, season two is far more science fiction. I’m currently unsure if the show will be renewed for a third season, but if it does, I’ll once again be worried about where it plans to go.
I would wholeheartedly recommend the first season of Wayward Pines, but for the series as a whole, I’m still up in the air. If you’re a fan of science fiction, genetic mutation, life after the end of the world, you may very well enjoy it. If you find yourself yawning at the thought of finding ways to feed people in a desolate landscape, then this may be one you want to skip.
Personally, I’m glad that I continued giving season two a chance because it did redeem itself in the end. It just took a long time to get there. If there is a season three, I will most likely be watching. It would be all new ground, and I’d be interested to see where they’d go next.