Wayward Pines' "Time Will Tell" was a bottle episode done exactly right. Rarely does a high-concept show, let alone a high-concept MONSTER show, strip back to just acting and dialogue and remain so suspenseful and entertaining, but with great credit to the writers, the actors, and especially Djimon Hounsou, "Time Will Tell" was one of the most deeply stirring episodes of the series and took place in a grand total of about three sets. And it continued the ruthless slaughter of Major Characters From Season 1, killing off my series favorite, Hope Davis in one of the most disturbing murders since the public execution of Juliette Lewis.
I say "bottle episode", but it was sort of two bottle episodes interwoven: 1) we followed C.J. popping himself out of the People Freezer every couple decades to see if civilization had collapsed yet.
Yikes! Despite his diligent jogging and chess-playing it appeared C.J. was having about as much fun as I did going to sleep last and waking up first at every childhood sleepover I ever attended. Flashbacks to C.J.'s wakeful 2,000-year sleep was intercut with "present day" Theo and Megan down in the Abbie Labbie with Margaret (Rochelle Okoye) trying to train her to communicate in much the same way The Gorilla Foundation trained Koko: green = good, food = yes, hand = friend. Theo sassily implied that he had more hope for communicating with Margaret than communicating with Megan.
Then he even more sassily flirted with her? Guys, I've been clamoring to see these two in a lab together bickering and they did NOT disappoint.
Thanks to some very strange flashcards, Megan just happened to have lying around for some reason (cards with just a square of green on them? Or a hand? or a crown? Is this a variation of Uno I'm not aware of?), they also figured out that hey, Margaret had tons of empathy (she wanted the other abbies to get fed instead of herself), but then Ole Beardy Adam burst in and started demanding they just drop Margaret outside the wall already so the thousands of abbies amassing there would calm down. Her palm swirl meant she was the leader and the abbies wanted their leader back!
Meanwhile, in the flashbacks, C.J. had gone so crazy he was arguing with file folders.
C.J.'s routine seemed simple enough: check radio stations, watch the various wars unfold on CNN, play a little chess and leap back into coke machine full of coffee grounds for another decades-long snooze. But in actuality this amounted to him being the only man in human history to watch civilization collapse in fast-forward, while isolated from all human companionship. This job should have been split among, like, at least two people, and that was a major HR oversight. Then, when it got to the point where it seemed people were mostly dead, C.J. went out for soil samples and ran into this dude.
A foraging straggler with some bad variose veins in his face. The dialogue between them was great, obliquely suggesting a great deal about how deeply and intensely things had fallen apart, and then this dude tried so hard to attach himself to C.J. that finally C.J. had to break his neck just to flee back to his cozy hidey-hole and catch a few winks.
Yikes! That would keep me playing chess with file folders for the next couple centuries as well. Talk about trauma. C.J. has perhaps the most unsettling and dramatic backstory of any of the characters: witnessed the fall of man. I don't know if you can really come back from that. C.J. was having such a hard time with it, he made a ghost look cheerful in comparison.
Also, Djimon Hounsou can capture existential pain in his eyes in a way that transcends space and time. Eventually he woke up for good and nobody really understood what it had been like for him watching the world end in one long time lapse animation, like when that poor fox decays in the True Blood credits. He was kind of emo.
Meanwhile Beardy and Theo were debating if the more gentlemanly thing to do with Margaret was return her to the abbies or let her hang out in a cage in Wayward Pines, and then suddenly Jason barged in and he had no time for all this talk-talk-talk, it was time to kill-kill-kill. Despite literally every one telling him not to, Theo opened one of the cages to show Jason how much Margaret controlled the other abbies, and Margaret protected him from getting his arm chewed, but then Jason got so tense about it, he shot every abbie in the room except Margaret. It was only like, the exact opposite of what everyone wanted, so great move leader! Well done.
Oh, man. The only, and I mean the only, thing Theo had been able to learn so far was that Margaret cared deeply about her fellow abbies, and Jason had just shot three of them right in front of her. Diplomatic relations were clearly at an end. Also, Beardy suggested she might have been one of the original abbies who had lived in the abbie settlement cleared by the founders to make way for Wayward Pines. We saw this moment, with C.J. pointing out the settlement and Pilcher deciding to just kill off all the human-like creatures without investigating them whatsoever.
A weary Beardy insisted these abbies are our replacement and it was time we came to terms with it. Megan remained hopeful that humans would overcome the abbies with superior skills like hypnotherapy.
Hilariously, Margaret snuck up on Megan later and lacerated her when her back was turned, in a part of her body she could not feel, so Megan slowly bled to death without even realizing it was happening. That is terrifying! Not to mention messy.
Wow, just wow. We say goodbye to Megan Fisher, one of the best if not the best character in Wayward Pines history; just a hilarious, snide, sinister, always entertaining character. I'll never forget Hope Davis laying out the entire premise to the series in Season 1 in a 10-minute monologue to the first generation and carrying that episode like a champ. Season 2, you could tell the writers were excited to write for Davis and she really dug into every moment and I am going to miss her presence on the show so much.
How did Margaret do it? Did she use fancy big brain mind magic? No, she'd seen Theo punch in the code, memorized the combination, and typed it into her own cage keypad because she is a quiet genius. Now she's free, she's angry, and she's got an army waiting on her! We're getting right up to the wire with Wayward Pines. There's an army of monsters at the gates, a fascist teen run amok inside, and maybe the humans are the bad guys? Maybe the best happy ending is everybody tucking themselves back inside their Coke machine-sized people freezers, taking another 1,000-year snooze and waking up when the abbies have invented, like, cottages or at the very least alcohol? That would be my plan.
...is Margaret going to wreak a terrible vengeance on the entire town or just Jason?
...have you ever trained an animal to understand commands and what was the most complicated one you got across?
...why wasn't Pilcher the one to wake up every 25 years? Why didn't C.J. at least have a wake up buddy to play chess with?
...how would you have enjoyed your alone time if you were C.J. trapped in a nightmarish bunker all alone, ringed by a slowly disintegrating society?