When it comes to world premieres at San Diego Comic Con I usually abide by the adage of expect the worst and hope for the best. Should the result lie somewhere above middle in that spectrum, then it usually means the pilot has enough interesting questions that warrants following up with watching the next episode. Wayward Pines does just that with its great cast, quirks, and dark humor.
Wayward Pines is based on the novel Pines by Blake Crouch and with its suspenseful premise one can understand why M. Night Shyamalan was tapped to direct. The show follows secret service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) after he awakens from a car crash and finds himself in Wayward Pines, Idaho. Quickly thereafter we’re introduced to characters who meant to put Ethan at ease, while doing the complete opposite for both Ethan and the viewer. The nods to Twin Peaks are definitely there, especially with Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo) and her over eager niceness and Sheriff Pope (Terrence Howard) with his musings on rum raisin ice cream. They serve to keep Ethan from his task of searching for two federal agents who have gone missing. It only gets crazier when he finds agent Kate Hewson (Carla Cugino) only to not have her recognize him. I swear to you that spoilers these are not. The rest of the episode is a venture into dark humor, more characters with hidden agendas, and the family that wonders where Ethan could be. The show ends with a a couple great reveals about the town of Wayward Pines and how it may work, which promises that as the show continues the audience will get answers quickly and not more questions.
Shyamalan confirmed that unlike the books the mystery would be revealed by mid season because the world is just as interesting and allows for tons of creative opportunities for the characters to play in. Shyamalan agreed with the moderator that there is definitely some Twin Peaks inspiration at work in the direction style, and that to him David Lynch was like God when it came to this style of work. That was as deep as the answers got when it came to the Q & A portion. Every actor, when asked about their characters and what the audience could expect from them, was cagey in their responses and careful not to say too much or rather hardly anything of all. I supposed that’s par for the course when you’re working on anything with M. Night Shyamalan. Such as it was you could pick up that the actors were excited for the project and the hidden agendas of their characters.
The Wayward Pines pilot offered much for those who still have a cherry pie sized hole in their heart for Twin Peaks, and also for those who never heard of the David Lynch darling. The pilot showed enough promise that one hopes the rest of the mini-series can deliver on it.