Enjoy your life in Wayward Pines. Be happy. Work Hard. Always answer the phone if it rings. Do not discuss the past. Do not discuss your life before. Do not try to leave. Most importantly, do not mention The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth. Only mention Lady In The Water if you’ve already discussed the brilliance of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and dare I say it, The Village.
Matt Dillon stars in this 10-part event series (which basically means they’re not sure about it) as a Secret Service agent on a mission to find two missing federal agents whose investigation only turns up more questions. Weird questions. Based on Blake Crouch's international best-selling series of books and brought to life by the one-time super-awesome suspenseful storyteller M. Night Shyamalan, we’re guaranteed a satisfying conclusion that doesn’t resort to aliens or everyone being dead already. Apparently.
The opening episode, Where Paradise Is Home, aired on Thursday. There were problems with it. Car crashes play pivotal roles in all Shyamalan’s films, and Wayward Pines opens with one. So far so good. The creepy town Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) wakes up in has potential, but reeks of every other mystery on screen you’ve ever seen. Characters he comes across, other than Beverly (welcome back Juliette Lewis), are odd. Too odd. So much so there’s little empathy for any of them.
Is Shyamalan trying too hard to be kooky? And what about leading man Ethan – his affair hardly commands compassion. Sheriff Pope (Terrence Howard) likes ice-cream, hates work. Dr Jenkins (Toby Jones) doesn’t have to utter a single word to justify his eccentricity; he looks creepy enough already. The other characters are about as helpful as a one legged dog trying to bury a bone on a frozen lake. And was it me, or was the entire episode ever so slightly out of sync?
There are unanswered questions worthy of our time, of course. Why do the characters immediately answer the phone if it rings, why do they age so much quicker, and why isn’t Juliette Lewis doing more stuff? Okay, so there aren’t that many questions just yet, but it’s early days, and I’ll stick around for Episode two, just in case. Remember that moment you discovered Willis was dead? Or when Willis discovered the truth about himself and Jackson? I owe Shyamalan another episode. DW