DEADtime TV: Wayward Pines ‘The Truth’

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When Wayward Pines states it’s going to tell the truth, it does just that. Or, and this is a pretty big or, it’s possibly messing with all of us. “The Truth” is an episode that so bluntly and brazenly states what’s going on in Wayward Pines that it’s difficult to believe in it. Almost the entire thing is told in exposition from Megan Fisher, Ben’s teacher and personal historian, and if what we’ve seen and heard about her is true in previous episodes, nothing she says can be believed in its entirety. Even her own husband warned Ethan about listening to her, so that kind of advice has to count for something.

Ben’s given the lowdown with two other classmates because they are part of a chosen first generation at Wayward Pines. She presents some interesting arguments, like a very dirty coin from 2095 and a lot of pictures of Abbies, or aberrations, found on the outskirts of the town; but the audience is never allowed to really forget that Megan is also a hypnotherapist and that she has been working her magic on other kids in town too. When Ben and the other two kids enter a room full of students who have already been initiated into the truth, it reminds more of a freaky cult than people who know the weird, science fiction truth about how Wayward Pines is an outpost of civilization somewhere in the 4000s.

There are two ways to take “The Truth.” One can simply accept how forthcoming Wayward Pines is with all of this information, essentially dropped like an exposition bomb while Ethan struggles to find a way out of the forest filled with abbies over the mountain wall, or one can reject how ridiculously overwrought the whole thing is. In all honesty, it’s difficult to figure out how I feel about the whole thing. On the one hand, it’s sort of disappointing to have four episodes of intriguing mystery only to find out what’s being touted as the truth during the middle of the miniseries; on the other, now that we know what’s going on, the show has more room to expand and explain how it came to occur.

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The exposition drops are a problem, but they’re delivered along with Ethan’s exploration of the territory surrounding Wayward Pines. His encounters with the abbies cement what Megan explains to the kids; but the reason behind it, the time travel aspects and the world’s apocalypse, don’t necessarily have to be true. Theresa also gets a subplot in “The Truth” interviewing a newcomer to Wayward Pines who seems to reiterate the time travel that Megan refers to.

The episode, then, is both ingenious and frustrating at the same time. The tension that has been slowly created over the first four episodes kind of dissipates because of this reveal, but it’s also a ballsy move from the show to focus its ideas in different areas. Now that the audience knows about the abbies and the decline of the world, the show can explain more about what that means for the people of Wayward Pines. It might even give Ethan a new outlook on what’s happening in town.

There are still secrets for the show to explore, too, like why some people age and others don’t, or why the town is so strict with its ideals. There’s also that matter of how people like Pope and Pilcher can travel back through time. I think that’s what makes “The Truth” such an interesting part of Wayward Pines‘ approach. There are still stakes despite the reveal of the truth, and that can’t always be said about shows like this.

What’s to come now that we know what’s been branded the reality of Wayward Pines? It’s all up in the air, and “The Truth,” at the halfway point of the miniseries, really hinges on whether or not the audience are willing to accept the mystery’s reveal. The way the episode combines all three of the Burkes finding out about the secrets of the town is unique and intriguing, but the exposition drops can be somewhat grating. Even so, Wayward Pines is willing to take risks with its story, and I think “The Truth” pays off.

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