First Look: Wayward Pines Review

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By: Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)

A small town that is not what it seems and a law enforcement agent with personal issues who wants to figure out why no one can leave.

Sound familiar? No, it’s not Twin Peaks, but the new show Wayward Pines, premiering on Fox on May 14.

However, there is a reason it sounds Twin Peaks-esque. Wayward Pines is based on a series of books by Blake Crouch, who was heavily influenced by the early 90s series. And if you need something to fill the Twin Peaks void while awaiting news of the revival going forward or not on Showtime, this may just be the show for you.

Wayward Pines stars Matt Dillon as FBI Special Agent Ethan Burke, who was on assignment to find two missing agents but instead winds up in a car accident. The town in which he wakes up is seemingly idyllic, but behind the façade lies something darker. Burke finds the residents a little too perfect – almost creepily so – and no one seems to want to help him, including Sheriff Pope (Terrence Howard) and a cheerfully threatening nurse, played by Melissa Leo.

It’s not until he meets bartender Beverly (Juliette Lewis) that he starts to open up and possibly make a friend.

However, nothing is what it seems in Wayward Pines. There are no crickets, phones don’t call out, and there’s a dead body in the home Beverly told Ethan was where she lived. But is it all in Ethan’s head? Is it his past, including his history of mental illness, catching up to him? Or is he part of a bigger, Stepford Wife-filled conspiracy?

We don’t have to wonder long, as things start to become a little clearer after Ethan’s superior keeps his wife Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon) in the dark regarding his whereabouts. And in the closing moments of the episode, Ethan takes matters into his own hands and learns why Wayward Pines is reminiscent of The Hotel California in that you can come in to the town, but you can never leave.

The pilot is directed by M. Night Shyamalan, but don’t let his recent string of box office disappointments dissuade you. He offers up a suspenseful show that leaves you wanting more. The characters are eerie, which is what Shyamalan does best, plus the fact that the show is based off previous source material (he can’t come up with stuff himself!) and is a closed-ended run (ten episodes means – hopefully – answers and resolutions!) should be enough to entice viewers to tune in.

With such mysterious circumstances surrounding the town and its residents, Wayward Pines will also be inevitably compared to Lost. But that it’s a limited-run show means limited investment, and that’s a good thing. As critically-acclaimed and well-loved as Lost was, it still meandered through plotlines. Unlike Lost, though, a few reveals were made in the Wayward Pines pilot. Nevertheless, there are still more questions that haven’t been answered and it will be intriguing to see where everything goes.


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