Wayward Pines' episode "Blood Harvest" proved that, while the second season may be a completely different show than the first, it's actually a better one. Don't get me wrong; I loved Season 1. Atmospheric small town mystery is kind of my jam. After earning my respect for having an answer to its central mystery that was neither "aliens" nor "purgatory", the show has won my heart by ramping into one of the most gloriously high concept series I've seen on Fox in years. Pregnant school girls! Pyramids of dead abbies! And Shannyn Sossamon is back!
We'll get to Shannyn in a moment, but let's start at the beginning: We opened on everybody in Wayward Pines cozying up to their TVs for a little mandatory posthumous indoctrination from Dr. Pilcher, when suddenly the feed switched and revealed that the abbies had formed a pyramid of naked bodies against the wall and were climbing up over them straight into Wayward Pines! Yes, that's right, in Episode 2 of Season 2, we are already at the point we reached in the finale of Season 1: full-on abbie invasion!
(Quick question: are there only male abbies? We only ever see male abbies. I'm guessing production doesn't want to have to worry about naked abbie boobies flopping around. But maybe lady abbies are just way more chill.)
Hottie teen despot Jason Higgins (Tom Stevens) sent out the troops to fend off the attack of naked monsters, including Kerry Campbell (Kacey Rohl), the platonic ideal of a sexy librarian who was following him around all last week, who immediately got all bitten up.
The only surgeon in Wayward Pines who could save her, Dr. Theo Yedlin (Jason Patric), had been driven beyond the wall in a paddy wagon last episode. Yedlin, Ben and some other random rebel dude were still trapped inside it, defenseless as squares of ham in a Lunchable.
Higgins dispatched soldiers to recover Yedlin, who, somewhere in the last 24 hours of lies, public executions, and near-death experiences, had completely lost his patience. He refused to operate on Kerry until Higgins explained what was going on. So Jason brought our main character (and any new audience members) up to speed with the most concise possible re-statement of the premise.
Hilariously, the truth was instantly rejected by Dr. Yedlin (or should I say DR. YELLIN'!?! Sorry, wow, not cool, excuse me.) Eventually, Yedlin's wife Rebecca (Nimrat Kaur) had to just cup his face with her hands and explain that a young woman was dying before their very eyes so he should maybe go try and sew her shut or something, Hippocratic Oath and whatnot.
Dr. Yedlin may have been at least a little concerned about how he was going to get paid for all of this.
Another thing I love about this season, which was also the salient point of "Blood Harvest": Yedlin, as a surgeon in a town with no doctor, has real life-and-death leverage against the powers that be. Wayward Pines needs him, Higgins is at his mercy, and overnight he becomes an institution: The day after being rolled out in the woods to die, Yedlin stepped into a lovely little office with his degrees framed on the wall and Wayward Pines' best secretary by his side.
ARLENE!!! Arlene (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) stole every scene she was in last season, I'm so glad she's back! Apparently she was the woman getting electro-shock-therapied last week — which makes sense, since she came to support Ethan Burke by the end of Season 1. And maybe she'll recover some of her organic brain activity and similarly help out Yedlin, who has more of an opportunity to save this town than Ethan Burke and his bare-knuckled justice ever did... provided everyone in Wayward Pines doesn't starve first.
Some genius planted all their crops outside the protective wall, because the chemical composition of the soil changed inside the wall or something? It really doesn't matter; it's a great way to give the First Generation a life-or-death motive to go tangle with abbies on the regular, with FLAME THROWERS!!
I cannot believe this season. Just literally pouring the gas on the central conflict, I love it.
Meanwhile, across town we followed Rebecca Yedlin to her job at Wayward Beauty (which I may get tattooed on my lower back) and in came Theresa Burke, aka Shannyn Sossamon!!! And one of her trademark oversized comfy coats!!!
So glad Theresa is back. She was a bit of a sleepwalker in Season 1, but Sossamon is a Boss, man. (I am so, so sorry.) Needless to say, she had some questions, namely: WHERE IS BEN?! She also referenced this sacred rule of the First Generation, that they're not allowed to harm each other. Still a little unclear about who exactly qualifies as First Generation. The first kids born and raised in town, I'd imagine, except Ben Burke was defrosted... so, maybe the first group of kids to graduate from Indoctrination High School? I think that must be it. The First Generation's biggest concern seems to be making a Second Generation, and also dissecting monsters.
Hope Davis dropped some tantalizing hints about what the season has in store: there are three live abbies in captivity in a big crazy research center! Which she directs! And, as we've seen, the abbies are getting pretty nosy about what's on the other side of the wall.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Higgins complained to Kerry about how Yedlin had used a condescending tone to him and acted like a big shot just because he'd completed 12 years of med school and had saved countless lives. The nerve! Kerry was like, "Deal with it, he's necessary." Sort of makes me wish I had actual practical skills. I can only imagine what jobs former bloggers are given in Wayward Pines! Probably they're the ones harvesting corn from the abbie-infested orchards in the dead of night.
Yeah, that totally would have been me and my fellow liberal arts majors, sprinting past the burning monster corpses into the corn rows. Also, why are they harvesting crops at night? Doesn't it make way more sense to do this in the daytime? When they can see the abbies coming? Whatever, it looked pretty scary, so fine.
During the harvest, Ben asked one of the workers to help him sneak back inside and was totally refused. The whole thing was a little embarrassing because, Ben, come on. You don't ask, "Pretty please, can I sneak back inside?" No, you climb down under one of the trucks and cling to the undercarriage. Hello, you have the cover of darkness on your side. I guess this didn't occur to Ben. He's awfully by-the-books for the Face of the Rebel Force. Instead, he went and complained to the nearest security camera.
Meanwhile, Theresa was doing everything possible to save Ben. Or at least everything that involved yelling at other people to save him.
Maybe I am missing some of the subtleties here, but what was stopping Theresa from getting a ladder and throwing it over the wall herself? Also, I get that Ben is First Generation, but to be fair, he led revolutionaries who liked to lob grenades willy-nilly in residential neighborhoods. So yeah, maybe some of his neighbors don't feel like squaring off against a half-dozen abbies for his benefit.
Still, Theresa did not let this deter her from yelling as loudly as possible at a closed window.
Alas, Ben was eaten by monsters. It was sort of a shocking death, I thought on some level he'd carry on Burke's legacy. Instead, Ben bridged the two seasons and has now full handed on the Protagonist Torch to Yedlin.
Far from the slurping of flesh and chomping of Ben's bones, Kerry and Jason celebrated the successful harvest over breakfast in maybe the most jarringly surreal visual of the evening: two people in their early twenties in a gorgeous house they owned! Like, in what world?! Hahaha, debt is a real problem, folks.
Anyway, this moment reminded us that, despite his terrifyingly authoritarian tendencies and the fact he sentenced Ben Burke to being eaten alive by undressed monsters, Jason believes his intentions are good and pure, and his love for Kerry is sincere. As he cupped her face in his hands, I set my mental countdown clock for the big reveal that she is cheating on him or something. Nothing screams "heartbreak ahoy" like a big bad villain revealing the one soft spot he has left is his lady love, who is being vaguely distant for some reason.
Heartbreak also seemed to loom large in the house of Yedlin. Rebecca, who has been in Wayward Pines three years longer than Dr. Yedlin, seems to be holding back some kind of a secret. Theresa also mentioned Rebecca had "lost people." Also she doesn't seem too terribly excited about her husband coming back to life.
Relationship drama nested within social drama nested within dystopian drama! Oh, I love this series so much. We closed out the episode with the weird anti-cliffhanger that all the abbies had gone missing. What are these swole cretins plotting now? I can't wait to see next week. What do you think will happen?
...what exactly does First Generation mean can someone please explain?
...would you have helped Theresa go get Ben or advised her to look into grappling hooks?
...what do you think Rebecca Yedlin's hiding?
...what job would you want in Wayward Pines?
...what are these abbies UP TO?!