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Wayward Pines Episode 1: When Paradise is Home Recap

Updated on July 19, 2015
Carla Gugino as Kate Hewson
Carla Gugino as Kate Hewson | Source

Personal Thoughts on the Episode

It's the first episode of the ten episode mini-series following Black Crouch's book franchise and it's written by M. Night Shyamalan. How was it? Laden heavily with exposition and a bit jumpy, in my opinion at least. That's not to say it's bad, but this episode is definitely meant to set up the rest of the season. I feel that the scenes were a bit jumpy though and the introduction feels a bit rushed and leaves out pieces of the beginning of the book as well. There also doesn't feel like there's a hard hook and even the mysterious bits (dead bodies, mysterious confusion about what year it is, and the odd behavior of everything) is rushed so much that you can't dwell on it. The show might make you breathless, but not in the way you'll probably like it.

I will now cover the show in facts of what happened for those who missed the first episode or simply want a recap to refresh yourself for episode 2.

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What Happens?

Special Agent Ethan wakes up from an apparent car crash (but no vehicles or debris around) and stumbles into town, asks where he is, hears, "You're in Wayward Pines, Idaho." From there, he wakes up in a hospital (seemingly alone) with a sole nurse checking in on him in a strange bedside manner, treating him almost as if he's a juvenile despite his protests and claims to be a member of the Secret Service. He quickly and quietly leaves on his own and ignores the protest of the nurse.

Later, Ethan goes to a bar after not eating since the crash. The woman there is not only receptive to his story and gives him food on credit, but passes him a note, one with an address and the words, "There are no crickets in Wayward Pines." Leaving, he hears the sounds of crickets as he walks down the street, investigates a bush, and finds an automated sound box that's creating the noise. He goes to the address and talk to the bartender some more only to discover a decrepit house with a dead body behind, the body of one of two agents he was sent here to find.


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What Happened Continued

When the sheriff's office finally opens, Ethan heads there and has an intense conversation with the resident law enforcer. Whereas most of the other residents of the town have been strange at least, the sheriff is outright hostile and purposefully belligerent towards Ethan. With no help whatsoever, Ethan leaves to go back to the bar only to be told no woman works there. Under duress from the persistently savage headache, Ethan eventually collapses. The current bartender responds by pulling out a walkie-talkie. He says that some combination of numbers is down.

Ethan eventually wakes up and finds himself back at the hospital where an admitted mental doctor claims he's suffering from hallucinations (which he has had a history of from his time in the war) and that they're going to do surgery. Ethan is handcuffed in his gurney and wheeled away before Beverly the bartender shows up to save him. After assaulting the twisted nurse, they escape.

Ethan ventures back into town and encounters the other agent he was sent to find Kate Hewson, an old partner whom he had an affair with. However, things aren't right at all as Kate appears to be considerably older than she should be, not to mention she's a fully active member of the town and is married with another resident. He attempts to talk with her but she responds cryptically and informs him that 'they' are watching. Even more confused, Ethan asks her if he's suffering another episode of hallucinations to which Kate quietly shakes her head.

Frustrated, Ethan steals a car and drives to the edge of town and hikes out when he only faces loops that lead back to town. At the edge of the town, a giant fence prevents any escape from Wayward Pines. at a loss, begins to drive back to the surreal town only to be stopped by the sheriff. When Ethan asks how to get out of the town, the sheriff merely informs him, "You don't."

Fin Episode One.

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Closing Thoughts

And that's a recap of the first episode. It's largely in-line with the first few chapters of the book with minute changes. At this point in the show, they lead you to believe it's been three days since the start of the story but there's an additional night that Ethan spends in a hotel of sorts where the front desk girl becomes extremely upset with him due to his inability to pay his rent (because nobody has a clue where his wallet, keys, car, or phone is).

I was looking forward to more acting moments in the film from the strong cast, but I feel this episode was pretty strongly bogged down in exposition. I'm hoping that this isn't going to be a repeating issue in the future. Along with the exposition, I felt that this episode didn't settle on any particular moment which ruined the potential for some of the more mysterious scenes they provided this go around. By the time one strange element is introduced, we're on to investigate something else. The value of one moment is lost when the next scene is ushered quickly on top of it. I also worry that those who haven't read the books will be quickly lost in the untied strings of unsolved mysteries as the show goes forward. Hopefully this isn't the case.

I can't say I'm particuarly excited or frustrated with the show at the moment. I want to see where it's going but I feel the execution needs to be a little more crisp in subsequent episodes. I want to see the show succeed.

First Impressions

How'd you feel about the first episode?

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Further Reading

What is Wayward Pines?

Also if you're interested in what I have to say about other movie and show adaptations, you can find them at my Page to Screen page.

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