Monday, July 18, 2016

What happened to Wayward Pines? (General Spoilers Warning)

While there are no spoilers in this editorial related to the final two episodes of the second season of Wayward Pines, there are what can be considered general spoilers and just plain spoilers based on the first eight episodes aired so if you have not yet seen the first eight season two shows or any from the first season, I ask that you please watch those episodes first and generate your own opinion before you read mine. That noted, you have been warned and my spoiler sprinkled editorial begins in the next paragraph.

I want to make it clear to anyone who reads this that while Fox has offered rough cut digital screeners to members of the press like myself, these episodes often are not made available until the morning of the day the episodes are due to air and furthermore one cannot rewind the screeners once they have been viewed because in order to protect the content, the journalist must request a second authorization from Fox, which could take awhile to the point that by the time one has written and published a spoiler free review, the episode is already either about to air or has aired, making the whole system as it has been set up for this show appear pointless. Thus like all of you, I just watch the broadcast or record it on my OTA DVR and view it later. 

The biggest problem I have had with this season is that it makes everything seen in the first show seem futile. Practically every surviving major character from the first season has been unceremoniously killed off and thus watching everything that has happened in season one seems like a waste of time. I am not joking either because every major season one character has been killed off in terrible ways ranging from one slitting their own throat in a defiant act of suicide while another important survivor is eaten alive by the mutated humanoid creatures known as "Abbies" on the show, and another character decides to attempt to wipe out humanity by injecting herself with smal pox and later because it is still incubating inside her, is strangled to death by a person she treated like her son. Then another character either dies from wounds given to her by an Abby attack or was ethunized by another character whose purpose feels squandered by the time the eighth episode of this season has ended.

Yet these decisions are not as bad as the cardboard strife introduced into the second season storyline. We learn more about the Abbies and yet it feels like not enough because the show appears to be pushing for a finale that mirrors the first season in many ways instead of taking new ideas in a different direction. Even the flashbacks seem only to further the one philosophical question the series is asking this season and that is, "If it is possible should homosapiens reclaim the Earth or has our era past?"

Jason Patric represents this question in many ways because he is the only true outsider in season two to have come into the series without knowing where he is and why? Once he discovers the truth, he basically behaves at times as an almost robotic surgeon with such a cold disposition, it is hard to believe this man is a surgeon? Not all Doctors have comforting bedside manners, but Patric, who is a good dramatic actor and a nice change in style and approach from Matt Dillon's character in the first season, is not given enough to work with in the scripts other than to act cold, calculating and civil with an underscore of anger.

The other side of the coin is the young man handpicked from an early age to be the leader of the first generation. Since he is young, inexperienced and at times impetuous, he follows the dogma left behind by the town's Patriarch Big Brother/Scientist like a man of faith versus a man of science. 

His character could have been richly developed as much as Jason Patrick's should have been had the writers looked at examples where questions like this were explored in far more interesting ways, like LOST.

I am grateful that the local broadcast networks like Fox have come to understand the value of airing original scripted dramatic television instead of cheap soulless reality television. I want Wayward Pines to succeed so that it gets a third season, but I recognize if this happens, the third season has to be radically different from the first two and that terrible intro that appears at the beginning of every episode should be omitted. It insults the attention span of the devoted viewers and new ones alike. It is not hard to follow what is going on when one tunes in regardless of whether or not they are new or returning viewers.

I hope the final two episodes either take the second season to a bold new level that will redeem everything that has come before or closes the series in a satisfactory way that does not feel like a cheap homage to The Twilight Zone.

If anyone from Fox or the show reads this, I say give Wayward Pines a third season and bring in some new writers to work with the current series creators and while you are at it, hire me to work as a writer for the series as well because I not only have professional experience and understanding of storytelling whether it is drama or fiction, but I am positive I could do no worse than what has been done this season. Thank you.

(C) Copyright 2016 By Mark A. Rivera
All Rights Reserved.