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TV Review: Wayward Pines 1.1 “When Paradise is Home”
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Wayward Pines
Season 1 Episode 1: “When Paradise is Home”
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Written and Created by Chad Hodge
Starring Matt Dillion, Juliette Lewis, Carla Gugino, Toby Jones, Shannyn Sossamon, Melissa Leo, Hope Davis, Reed Diamond, Terrence Howard
Air Date: Thursday, May 14th, 2015, 9:00pm

Wayward Pines is the type of show where halfway through the first commercial you see, you’re already coming up with bizarre theories. Sure, the debut episode was directed by the one time hit-director with a panache for surprise endings, M. Night Shyamalan, so you go in ready to tread carefully. But there is just so much to like in this show, before silly things like plot points and details that make sense, get involved.

Be sure to check out the image gallery and clips below.

Let’s start with the cast. The show has a short 10-episode run on FOX and it’s packed in one of the greatest casts in TV history. You have Oscars winners (Melissa Leo), Oscar nominees (Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard) and plenty of other well known faces including Carla Gugino, Juliette Lewis, Shannyn Sossamon, Reed Diamond, and Toby Jones.

Dillon is Special Agent Ethan Burke of the Secret Service. We find out that he and his partner were on the way to Wayward Pines, Idaho to investigate the disappearance of two agents. The show opens with Burke, waking up near a river having survived a car accident. He stumbles into town and ends up in the hospital – no wallet, no phone. Getting nowhere fast with creepy nurse Pam (Leo), Burke ups and leaves and heads into a bar trying to contact his wife and the agency. There he meets Bev (Lewis) who gives him a burger and his “check,” a which has her address on one side and a message on the other, “There are no crickets in Wayward Pines.”

My first thought, unfortunately with anything Shyamalan, is “HE’S DEAD!” or… I’m waiting for the big reveal. But at the same time, Burke is struggling to get his grip in Wayward Pines, the Secret Service is actively looking for him, and his wife (Sossamon) and son are wondering where he is and if he’s ok. There is definitely something much more than meets the eye. The acting carries the show well, while the plot is unveiling its layers. When we meet the sheriff (Howard) there is an undercurrent of evil in him. Maybe it’s Howard’s voice and his inflections, but it created great tension. There’s evidence that this is all some government cover-up, a guy with a walkie-talkie knocks Burke out, and a psychiatrist (Jones) appears in both Wayward Pines and in Seattle at Secret Service headquarters.

With much of Shyamalan, you get into the game of guessing while watching. “Is he dead?” “Is he hallucinating?” “Is this all an elaborate prank?” Some of the coolest moments involve time discrepancies. When Bev helps him escape from the hospital she says she’s been in Wayward Pines a year, since 1995! When he finds one of the rogue agents, (Gugino) who was his partner and lover, she sits him down and tells him she’s been there 12 (!) years. She also warns him, “They’re watching us… and listening.”

Finally, Burke says, “screw it” and steals a car and hightails it out. The problem? The road out of Wayward Pines brings you right back to Wayward Pines. In one last desperate attempt to flee, he heads into the woods and ends at a security fence carrying of warning of death should you pass that point. The camera pans back to show the entire town surrounded by this fence and you’re left sitting there going. “WTF!?”

Unfortunately with Shyamalan, we tread cautiously. Parts of the show reminded me of the The Sixth Sense (Yay!). Others reminded me of The Village (Boo!). But the cast is SOOOO good and the acting so powerful, that you can’t help getting pulled in. There’s definitely some great X-Files level creepiness on the way, and I am more than willing to go for the ride.

Wayward Pines continues its 10-episode event, next Thursday night at 9:00pm ET on Fox.

Image Gallery



Based on a best-selling novel and brought to life by suspenseful storyteller M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense”), WAYWARD PINES is an intense, mind-bending 10-episode thriller starring Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon (“Crash”) as a Secret Service agent on a mission to find two missing federal agents in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, ID. Every step closer to the truth makes him question if he will ever get out of Wayward Pines alive. The all-star cast also includes Academy and Emmy Award winner Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”), Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (“Crash,” “Hustle & Flow”), Carla Gugino (“Entourage”), Shannyn Sossamon (“How to Make It in America”), Toby Jones (the “Harry Potter” franchise) and Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Juliette Lewis (“Cape Fear”).


M. Night Shyamalan & Matt Dillon talk about FOX’s new event thriller Wayward Pines.

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