Wayward Pines: “Walcott Prep” (S2, E9 review)

CJ realises as he checks the hibernation pods that he forgot pay the last electricity bill and that could be a problem (image via Spoiler TV © FOX)
CJ realises as he checks the hibernation pods that he forgot pay the last electricity bill and that could be a problem (image via Spoiler TV © FOX)

 

*SPOILERS AHEAD … AS WELL AS OVERLY INTIMATE MOTHERS DAY CELEBRATIONS, NOT ENOUGH JUICE IN THE TANK AND ABBIE-FREE HOLIDAYS*

 

It was back to the classics this week in Wayward Pines, nominated as the town most likely to be consumed by vengeful evolutionary anomalies by  10/10 apocalypse survivors, with Oedipus Rex, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and Pilcher’s well-worn and increasingly flaked life teachings all getting a pertinent look-in.

And in an episode where perspective mattered, I mean really mattered, all of these various influences played a part in telling the story of a town in near terminal decline.

Outside the walls, the walls electrified by so much power that certain other things such as, oh I don’t know, all of the life-saving hibernation pods weren’t fully-charged and ready, Abbies were gathering in insanely large amounts and it became apparent, even to Jason (Tim Stevens), Pilcher’s heir apparent and noted ostrich head-in-sand impersonator, that Something Had To Be Done.

What great, inspired, humanity-saving genius idea did the fascist-apparel-favouring leader of all of rump humanity come up with? What amazing solution did he concoct to save all 1000 souls within the town?

Why putting everyone back to sleep of course!

Yup, in the face of a dire threat from humanity’s evolutionary successors – it’s arguable whether they are in fact aberrations or simply, as Dr Theo Yedlin (Jason Patric) has repeatedly stated the ones who won out in the survival of the fittest race – Jason’s solution is to put everyone back to sleep in the hope that the Abbies will die out at some point in an indeterminate future.

Problem here of course, apart from it being a plan lacking in scope, imagination or any real understanding of the new world they’re living in (so only a few fatal flaws then) is that no one, not even the eminently capable, sane and sensible CJ (Djimon Hounsou) can put a time limit on all this nocturnal activity.

And when Jason is queried on this at one of those Nazi Party-esque rallies Jason is so fond of holding in main street it becomes obvious he has no idea which let’s face it doesn’t exactly assure everyone in the town that there will be any kind of happy ever after ending.

 

Nothing like a bit of insurrection in an ice cream parlour to start a day off right (image via Spoiler TV © FOX)
Nothing like a bit of insurrection in an ice cream parlour to start a day off right (image via Spoiler TV © FOX)

 

And that is the dreadful point.

Pilcher’s whole grand, quixotic vision has been in search of an ideal, a perfect envisioning of a world in which humanity would emerge triumphant, unencumbered by the follies and mistakes of the past.

The main problem with this approach is that it has no baked-in flexibility, no ability to mould itself to changed conditions, and it was placed into the hands of people like Jason and the rest of the First Generation who don’t have the necessary life experience or skills to rethink the approach.

Sure you have a Greek Chorus of dissenters like Theo who tries to co-opt Xander for a bit of Viva the Revolution-ing – a plot which went nowhere fast after Kerry took a rather aggrieved Jason out after he found out he’d been sexing up his mother all along – but frankly he’s so freakishly arrogant that you probably don’t want him calling the shots either.

Frankly Wayward Pines, quite deservedly so if recent news events are any kind of guide, has a rather dim view of humanity and whether it deserves to survive, and the events of “Walcott Prep”, which refer to flashbacks in which Pilcher tries to secure an heir, simply underscore that idealism is probably not the best basis on which to establish a futuristic community because the reality of the human condition will always come up and bite it right royally on the ass.

The episode beautifully underscored the dichotomy between idealism (Pilcher/Jason) and hard reality (Theo) when it quoted from Animal Farm during a conversation between Pilcher and Abigail, the young woman who was initially going to be the mother of his child (she was passed up in favour of, ahem, Kerry, played by Kacey Rohl) but more on that in a moment).

First up, Pilcher made a reference to Sugarcandy Mountain, which he quoted in loftily idealistic tones, missing the fact that it was actually an act of enslavement rather than of freedom:

“The pigs had an even harder struggle to counteract the lies put about by Moses, the tame raven. Moses, who was Mr. Jones’s especial pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges.”

But Abigail, who queried whether Pilcher had ever finished the book – his facial expression indicated he had NOT which explains a great deal – retorted with this pithy quote which ably asked whether there was any real difference between the us and them, the friend and the enemy, and most pertinently in a future Abigail never lived to see, human and Abbie:

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

The short conversation, told in a flashback which encompassed a great deal of Kerry and Jason’s pre-apocalypse past spoke profoundly to the great disconnect which has powered Wayward Pines great, flawed, ill-fated experiment and which could ultimately doom it.

 

Jason was nothing if not pragmatic - by dating Kerry he rolled Valentine's Day and Mother's Day into one cost-saving bundle (image via Spoiler TV © FOX)
Jason was nothing if not pragmatic – by dating Kerry he rolled Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day into one cost-saving bundle (image via Spoiler TV © FOX)

 

While Jason was refusing to depart from Pilcher’s grand vision for the future, to the point where even his solution was recklessly limited – a solution it should be pointed out rather doomed by CJ’s discovery that only half the pods had enough power to sustain life thus bringing into play some rather nasty eugenics-based lifeboard discussions – the flashback also startlingly revealed that the love of Jason’s life, Kerry was, in fact, HIS MOTHER!

Yes the tabloid-like exclamation point is entirely warranted.

Kerry was blissfully unaware of this, having been selected by Pilcher when Abigail, his first heir-producer, had failed to deliver the required baby, and put into deep freeze along with her newly born son so she was hardly guilty of any great crime; and Jason, who didn’t bother reading the Super Duper Top Secret files till he had to start selecting people to leave behind, wasn’t aware that the partner he’d selected by imperial decree was way too maternally close to be his romantic partner.

So while Wayward Pines figuratively burned around them, Jason attacked Kerry, who had a history of standing up to abusive men and winning handsomely, and lost, earning a gunshot to the stomach for his trouble.

Thus opening the door for Theo to take charge, for Kerry, whose damaged reproductive organs would have put her into the Leave Behind camp of Wayward Pines residents, to grab a pod and for humanity to possibly maybe find a more creative way to survive the coming Abbies onslaught.

Just don’t hold your breath OK?

  • So we’re right royally screwed aren’t we? When I say “we” I mean humanity as a whole who has continued on in the future as it so effectively (ha!) did in the past and really pretty much deserves all it’s going to get. Is there any way to save the unsalvageable? Perhaps but judging by the trailer for “Bedtime Story” not without a great deal of cost and some well-overdue free thinking …

 

 

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