Spoiler alert: Don’t read on if you didn’t watch Thursday’s finale of “Wayward Pines.”
The entire time I watched Fox’s “Wayward Pines,” M. Knight Shyamalan’s first entry into television, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
As many of you know, Shyamalan is the famous movie director known for his surprise (and at times unsubstantiated) plot twists. It was used very well in movies like “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable,” but not so much in “The Village” and “The Happening.”
So, I braced myself for that moment when “Wayward Pines” would go off the rails and I’d curse myself for ever watching it every week.
I thought it would happen around Episode 5, halfway through the limited season and the point in which the town’s big secret was exposed: It is actually two thousand years into the future, humanity has died off and been replaced by savage wild versions of itself called “aberrations” or “abbies” for short, and Wayward Pines is a community made of people chosen by a scientist named David Pilcher (Toby Jones) to mate and carry on humanity.
There are a couple reasons why this didn’t become a major problem in the show.
First, it was revealed early in the storytelling — a very important writing rule whenever you’re creating a new world. In several of Shyamalan’s movies, the twist occurs way too late in the action so that it just seems to be a cheat or unearned.
Secondly, the twist was revealed slowly over Episode 5 and then was dealt with further on Episode 6. It wasn’t just dropped on the viewers as Shyamalan is known to do in some of his movies.
That pacing of the reveal may be attributed to the fact that there was a cushion between Shyamalan and the series, because it was based on the novels by Black Crouch and Chad Hodge (“The Playboy Club”) created and wrote on the series. Shyamalan served as an executive producer.
Fast forward to Thursday when the show’s finale would become its last chance to throw something wacky at us and make us regret we watched it at all. That moment never happened.
The finale was an exciting, edge of your seat ride with the hungry abbies descending on Wayward Pines after Pilcher decided this group knew too much and it’s time to kill it off and start over again. It would take Ethan (Matt Dillon) sacrificing his life, the town, and Pilcher’s volunteer staff coming together to survive his dangerous reboot plan. But, even here there was a Shyamalan twist…
Before the finale ends, we fast forward three or so years into the future to find that the young adults (those who grew up to know Pilcher as a hero) had commandeered the town, put the adults in a sustained sleep, and restored it to Pilcher’s rules. What a great way to set up a second season. And, still there’s no regrets here.
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