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US Secret Service Agent Matt Dillon ( ) is ordered to visit a remote town in Idaho. He must recover two missing Agents, including Carla Gugino (with whom he had a recent fling).
Marshal Dillon is in a car crash. He wakes up in a massive hospital in a small town named Wayward Pines. The hospital only has one full-time staff member, Nurse Ratchett ( Melissa Leo ), whose bedside manner consists of veiled and blatant threats.
Dillon’s mission was to find his ex-partner ( Carla Gugino ). When he finds her, she claims to have been there for twelve years - even though he last saw her five weeks previously.
Dillon finds himself trapped in the town, where everyone is kept under electronic surveillance. It is surrounded by an enormous electrified fence, like something out of Jurassic Park .
This is an unusual show. In a sense it is more like The Prisoner than anything else, though the obvious comparison would be with Twin Peaks . It turns out that it is based on a series of novels, like most of the concept-based Sci-fi shows in recent years. Flash Forward springs to mind, as does Under The Dome . would they have been commissioned as TV shows without a successful literary precursor?
Dillon’s wife ( Shannon Sossymon ) and teenage son go looking for him. They have no backup plan, and blunder around asking his FBI colleagues about his secret mission. Soon she gets pulled over by a familiar-looking Sheriff ...
Dillon and his wife ( Shannon Sossymon ) are given nice middle-class jobs in the town. He is the new sheriff, and he must punish a miscreant. There is a three strikes law, even for misdemeanour graffiti.
The son begins class in the new school. He even makes a new friend - a girl who looks like a young Summer Glau .
The big question is - what is on the other side of the fence? Sheriff Matt takes it upon himself to find out.
Marshal Dillon tries walking to Boise, Idaho. But he is going cross-country, and he is soon on the run from some scary naked albino dudes.
Meanwhile, schoolteacher Hope Davis gives the new school pupils (including Dillon's son) their induction talk. This gives exposition that answers a number of questions raised by the show.
The main mystery that is solved is - why was Toby Jones ( Your Highness ) hanging around in the first episode? He seemed oddly out of place in a small town in the American Midwest. But now, everything makes sense!
Toby Jones ( Your Highness ) gives Matt Dillon a lot of exposition. This includes flashbacks to him recruiting the Sheriff (Terence Howard) and teacher ( Hope Davis ). Despite having his own tech lab, he needed a book-reading tour to get acolytes. Dillon was thawed out to help the Sheriff - a pity that both Nurse Ratchett and the Sheriff went to such lengths to antagonise him, Which lead to him beating one up and killing the other.
Dillon’s son knows, but the wife ( Shannon Sossymon ) does not. She starts asking questions about a mysteriously undeveloped piece of land.
The mountain above the town has a bunker complex housing 200 crew. They are needed to manage the town’s secret infrastructure. Basically, the town is not self-sustaining and it needs constant monitoring. This is almost as inefficient as expecting a single wall to stop the Aberrations from encroaching. There is no backup, and the houses do not have any sign of fallout shelters.
The new Sheriff goes about his first task, locating a group of insurgents before they blow a hole in the fence and unintentionally let the mutants kill everyone. He goes through the files, and discovers that Ian Tracey was an insurgent in that other post-Apocalyptic survival dystopia, The 100 . He then tracks Tracey to Reed Diamond ( Dollhouse ) and Carla Gugino , who are obvious suspects because they are not bothering to breed. Since the only role of adults in the town is to repopulate the world, they are deliberately sabotaging the town’s missions by selfishly staying childless for a dozen years.
There seems to be a problem in the people that Doctor Pilcher chose to populate the town with. Instead of choosing small-town people who would be content to stay put, he selected people with wanderlust and a certain set of skills, as Liam Neeson put it in Taken. Explosives experts, Secret Service Agents and the like. Not the kind of people one can put under house arrest indefinitely. And what kind of punishment suits such people? Marshall Dillon opposes any further Reckonings, and he is right to believe that public executions are counter-productive. But they cannot build a prison for everyone who transgresses. The best option is exile ... let the rebels try to walk to Boise!
Marshal Dillon tells both his women about the year they are in. Neither believes him, although how they rationalise the 12-year age gap and the massive dinosaur-proof fence are not explained.
The teenagers have survived the explosion, but they are hospitalised. The teacher ( Hope Davis ) manipulates the boy against his father, blaming the sheriff for letting the suspect (Reed Diamond - Dollhouse ) go. Naturally, the child’s mind accepts a simplistic black-and-white version of reality. Realistically the sheriff had to catch ALL the cell members, not just a token suspect. Standard procedure is to let one go, and follow him to catch the others. Unfortunately the Sheriff’s former career in the Secret Service (AKA Homeland Security) was marred by just such an incident. An illegal snatch-and-grab op in the sovereign nation of Mexico was called off, and the suspect was later implicated in a mass bombing attack. Now he has a second bombing attack on his conscience.
The Doctor (Toby Jones - Your Highness ) disregards the skills of the insurgent leader ( Carla Gugino ) and assumes she has an inside man. He has his sister interrogate all the surveillance operatives. Of course, he keeps HER under surveillance too. And it turns out that SHE is a much more sympathetic person than we thought. It seems that the character is being watered down, as it makes no sense that she was a sociopath towards Marshall Dillon and is now a bleeding heart.
Doktor Jones also underestimated Agent Gugino. She should never have been defrosted, as she was a well-trained Federal Agent who could easily see through the Potemkin Village illusion. Despite pretending to play along in order to be freed from the Asylum, over a dozen years she made no attempt to donate DNA to the procreation project. As such she was obviously more trouble than she was worth. It seems the main flaw of the village management is human error.
It is midnight, time for a Reckoning. The Sheriff (Matt Dillon) takes the insurgent ringleader ( Carla Gugino ) out to the scaffold and offers to execute her. Of course, this is phony jeopardy. We flash back several hours to see the real story …
The insurgents have breached the fence. First, Marshall Dillon must plug the gap. Then he must find the other insurgents, before they do even more damage. The flaw in the town’s security system is obvious. There are over five thousand cameras all over the place, but if there are only five operators to man the consoles at any one time then there are a thousand cameras per operator. You can watch all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot watch all the people all of the time!
There is a civil war in the brewing, and the insurgents are not the only side. A group of school-kids decide to play Vigilante, and take the law into their own hands. This illustrates the generation gap that the war would unfold along - the parents want to go back to the world that was, while the youngsters want to build a new and better world in Wayward Pines.
Dillon’s plan is simple – stoke the people up into a revolt. He blames David Pilcher, the town’s unseen and benevolent dictator, for the problems. In other words, he is trying to stop Carla Gugino from rocking the boat by causing a mutiny on Noah’s Ark.
After Marshall Dillon tried to start an insurrection in the previous episode, David Pilcher (Toby Jones – Your Highness ) shut down the power. The irony is incredible. Pilcher fought so long to keep the town safe, but now he decides to let the Abbies wipe it all out. Carla Gugino fought for so long to destroy the town, but now she and her terrorists are the only defence it has.
The civil war takes a step for the worse. The children who Reckoned the terrorists in the previous episode are left locked up, without food or weapons or medical care. Marshall Dillon is too busy invading the inner sanctum. Luckily for him, the guards’ Kevlar vests are vulnerable to his puny low-velocity 9mm bullets.
Unfortunately the rear door, which the Marshall and his friends decide to use, is also incredibly vulnerable to the Abbies. They can punch through sheet metal, such as you would find in a door or an elevator.
The town is now under martial law. There are some revolting rebels on a kill-crazy rampage. After all, the human race is all but extinct so why not start killing off even more of the survivors?
Doctor Yedelin (Jason Patric - Lost Boys ) has been exiled outside the wall. At the same moment, the Abbies decide to charge the wall using human wave tactics. They make piles of corpses to climb over, like the Fast Zombies in World War Z .
Pilcher's sister returns to public life. She has been a recluse since Invasion Day. She claims to be loyal to the new regime, even though they are Pilcher's loyal followers.
C.J. Mitchum (Djimon Hounsou - Deep Rising ) leads a crew out to harvest the crops. They use their newest weapon - flamethrowers. This seems to scare the abbies off.
One of the exiled traitors has survived outside the wall. He meets up with one of the explorers who Pilcher send out, many years earlier. The good news is, they make it back to the wall. The bad news is, the explorer has severe PTSD and will not get a bath or a haircut. But at least the traitor gets a stay of execution as long as he can make himself useful.
The abbies have not been seen lately near the wall. C.J. Mitchum (Djimon Hounsou - Deep Rising ) leads a well-armed team outside the wall, to take soil samples and find a good area to grow more crops. After all, they have no idea when the abbies will come back so the smart thing is to take advantage of the opportunity. However, the abbies are a lot smarter than people give them credit for.
The doctor's wife tries to help a teenage girl. The young girl has hit puberty, so she will be fast-tracked into the breeding programme. We are meant to believe that this is immoral, because it is at odds with modern morality. However, Wayward Pines is a utopian (okay, dystopian) society that should hold to the rules of logic, not religion or political correctness. Many societies in history have embraced the idea of marrying off their teenage girls. However, a logical society would not put young girls in such high risk of fatality. Instead they should be impregnating the more sexually mature women ( Carla Gugino, Shannyn Sossamon ).
An Abbie somehow got into the town. Worse, it is a female - something that has never been seen before. The humans take her alive, and imprison her in the science wing. Her presence exerts a calming influence on the male Abbies there. Megan Fisher ( Hope Davis ) notes this, but does not think more deeply on it.
Doctor Yedelin (Jason Patric - Lost Boys ) has another patient, a teenage boy who has failed his sex practical exam. The poor boy is uninterested in losing his virginity to a girl. The Doctor labels him as homosexual, a term that is unknown in the town.
The Abbies finally launch their counterattack. They use fire against the fields of crops, and then ambush the humans who try to extinguish the fire. This is evidence that the Abbies have learned tactics, but the overlord of Wayward Pines is unwilling to accept obvious facts.
Finally, Megan Fisher ( Hope Davis ) gives the female Abbie an MRI scan so they can examine her brain. Doctor Yedelin (Jason Patric - Lost Boys ) also speaks with the FBI Agent who survived in hostile territory. It turns out that the Fed knows about the females, and just did not bother to tell anyone. Yes, he knew all along and just held back on the info.
In the flashbacks, C.J. Mitchum (Djimon Hounsou - Deep Rising ) is the caretaker of the cryogenic pods. Every twenty years he is thawed out and checks everything is working fine. This has a negative effect on his mental health, among other things.
Margaret the Abbie makes an escape attempt. After Jason's actions in the previous episode, she cannot be expected to have positive feelings towards the human population of the town.
The rebels, who kept a few guns after the last battle against the Abbies, decide to go out on the streets and look for trouble. Naturally, a few blue-on-blue encounters are to be expected.
The Abbies have a massive army outside the town's perimeter. Since the humans cannot run or fight, Jason decides that the only option is for them to hide. He orders CJ to sort out the cryo-pods so the population can go to sleep. Unfortunately, and through no fault of Jason's, only half the pods have sufficient power. The smart move is to select the best people and discard the liabilities.
Jason, as a wise leader, delegates the selection to Doctor Yedelin (Jason Patric - Lost Boys ). In fact, to avoid accusations of nepotism Jason is willing to save a rival and sacrifice someone he loves. However, Yedelin has taken it upon himself to stage a regime change. The mad Doctor has no long-term plan, he just wants Jason out of the way. To do this he sadistically manipulates everyone with mind-games.
The flashbacks are of Pilcher's attempts to find the perfect child to inherit the leadership of the town. He started by selecting a pregnant teenager at an upper-class school in Chicago named Walcott Prep. The identity of Jason's mother is a shocking twist.
Doctor Yedelin (Jason Patric - Lost Boys ) is now the de facto ruler of the town. For all of his criticism of Jason's plan, he has not got a better one. He goes along with the idea of a special list, and ditches his idiotic plan for a lottery. However, he decides to bring along a couple of deadbeats because they are friends of his. All the other deadbeats are left to be eaten by the Abbies.
The unworthy humans, when they realise they will be left behind, decide to riot and murder the law enforcement officers. Yes, a town like this must be ruled with an iron fist. All Yedelin has done is prove that Jason was right all along. A benevolent dictatorship was necessary, especially in time of war.