Pilot Review – Wayward Pines on FX

WAYWARD PINES:  Matt Dillon as Ethan Burke.  @2014 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Liane Hentscher/FOX
WAYWARD PINES: Matt Dillon as Ethan Burke. @2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Liane Hentscher/FOX

“Do not try to leave. Do not discuss the past. Do not discuss your life before. Always answer the phone if it rings. Work hard, be happy, and enjoy your life in Wayward Pines!”

How does one describe Wayward Pines?  A Murder-mystery with plot twists and turns?  A homage to the 90s classic Twin Peaks?  A drama filled with bat-shit crazy characters?  After watching the pilot episode of Wayward Pines, it’s easy enough to state that all of the above apply though the show itself becomes difficult to truly describe without delving into spoiler territory.

Based off the novels by Blake Crouch, produced by M. Night Shyamalan and developed by Chad Hodge, Wayward Pines, more than anything, plays as a very tight, well done and intriguing shout out to David Lynch’s cult series where the ‘who killed Laura Palmer’ mystery is replaced with ‘two missing secret service agents’.

In this ten-part series, Matt Dillon stars as Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke who, following a car accident, awakens to find himself in the sleepy town of Wayward Pines, Idaho.  His phone and wallet are missing, his wife Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon) isn’t returning his calls and no one is able to provide him with answers regarding the two missing secret service agents he’s been sent off to look for.

Well no one except for barmaid Bev (Juliette Lewis) who seems to be the only of-sound-mind resident in this creepy town and secretly leads Ethan to both missing agents…one dead in an abandoned shack, the other, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) claims she’s been living in Wayward Pines for 12 years even though Ethan knows he was with her 5 weeks ago.

Instead of making us wait for answers regarding Ethan’s sanity, it’s made very clear early on that all this ‘crazy’ is not in his head and in fact, even after a severe car accident and subsequent beating, Ethan is actually in a proper frame of mind. During the first few episodes, we learn that surveillance equipment is everywhere, and that the townspeople live by a strict set of rules which forbids them from discussing the lives they had before coming to Wayward – but the bigger question remains – who is listening in?

The first four episodes don’t seem to offer much in the way of variety with each one feeling just as similar as the the previous but for those who stick around, the pay-off comes from episode five on when everything ticks into place and sets the wheel going for a crazy season back end.

It’s not far along into the pilot when that familiar Twin Peaks feel kicks in with Pine’s cast of wayward characters (played by an A-list roster) begin to be introduced.  Toby Jones as psychiatrist Dr. Jenkins, Melissa Leo as Wayward Pine’s head nurse Pam and Terrence Howard as ice-cream loving Sheriff Arnold Pope are just some of the questionable residents of Wayward Pines we meet in the first episode.

Check out the trailer below:

For this first outing, Wayward Pines is one to watch and easily become involved with.

Wayward Pines premiere’s Thursday  May 14th 8:30pm on FX (Foxtel)