Time is an important subject in Wayward Pines, not just in the town’s rules about what can and can’t be discussed but also because the town itself seems to sit on the outskirts of time’s normal passage. It seems set in a weird alternate universe outside of reality, what with its dated rotary phones and style of dress combining with more updated technology like implanted microchips and video cameras stashed in nearly every area. Even the two women that Ethan knows in Wayward Pines, Kate and Beverly, have differing timelines: Kate has aged ten years in seemingly only a few weeks, while Beverly has been in the town for a year and has not aged despite her claims to be over 50 years old based on her birth date. It would almost seem as though the show is confusing its own timelines except for the fact that it continually brings up these anachronisms.
In “Do Not Discuss Your Life Before,” we see the importance of time to Wayward Pines. One of the most important rules of living in the town – and there are rules, posted in every building – is that you can’t talk about your past life before you came to the town. It’s not like they have much choice; there are cameras and recording mics everywhere, the only place to get away from them in a cemetery with a rock that blocks out sound. It’s something that has been ingrained in all of the citizens living in Wayward Pines, and as Ethan continues to unravel the mystery of what is going on and why he can’t leave, he continues to come up against people that are obstacles for his answers.
One of the best things about Wayward Pines right now is Matt Dillon, continually giving his all as a confused passersby in this wacko town. We’re in the same boat as him, meaning we’re right there alongside him in his confusion. That translates to the people of Wayward Pines as well, because though all of them seem to act like they agree and understand the rules of the town, it’s unclear whether they actually want to be there or not. There’s no one that Ethan can trust besides Beverly, and that allows the show to mess with the audience’s head when it comes to Ethan’s conversations with people.
Sheriff Pope is one of the most confounding, a guy who loves his ice cream and seems to be everyplace at once. He also continues to urge Ethan to stay away from attempting to figure things out in Wayward Pines, not because he has concern for his safety but because he’s the executioner should people stray from the rules. There’s great chemistry between Terrance Howard and Dillon, mostly because of the tense dialogue. So far it’s been working very well, even if the audience doesn’t get many answers in each episode.
But Wayward Pines is moving very swiftly, surprisingly so to be honest. It has been billed as a ten-episode event, and if these first two episodes are any indication, the show has a good plan for pacing the miniseries. In “Do Not Discuss Your Life Before,” a lot of questions are posed and some answers are given. There are people in town that want to help Ethan, but they’re forced to remain quiet. Wayward Pines has a way of separating from Ethan to give the viewer a more omnipotent look at what’s going on, like the government cover-up, and in a way that’s giving us reason to continue watching – the show isn’t withholding answers, just keeping them under wraps.
The episode holds a big surprise, though, in its conclusion. It crafts a pretty good relationship between Beverly and Ethan and then seems to end it when they attempt to run away. Without revealing anything major, it looks like Beverly has a less important role to play than the pilot first hinted at. The way “Do Not Discuss Your Life Before” exposes this twist is convincingly shocking, although it’s difficult to say if what we’ve seen is real, or something else entirely.
The show is also doing a great job of juggling Ethan’s family on the side. We’ve flashed back and forth to his kid and wife quite a few times in these two episodes, but “Do Not Discuss Your Life Before” actually makes something of it when they both decide to head to Idaho to find him; while the episode doesn’t show what they find just yet, it seems like the show is making some progress in their storyline as well, even if their importance this episode is minimal.
Two episodes in, Wayward Pines continues to weave an enjoyable story that allows the viewer to participate in the mystery with Ethan. It’s making a lot of strides towards answering questions, and that is one of the most important things about this style of show – it’s got to at least act like it has ambitions of answering questions, and Wayward Pines is doing just that. If the show can keep up its off-kilter approach, it should remain as entertaining as it has been in its initial premiere.