‘Wayward Pines’ Starts Anew Without Relying On Blake Crouch’s Books

People who tuned in for last summer’s Wayward Pines got an unexpected treat: a 10-episode journey that combined mystery, sci-fi, and action. What was intended to be a limited-run series covered the entirety of the original trilogy of books by Blake Crouch. Now that the show has returned, with actors Jason Patric and Djimon Hounsou taking on new starring roles, Wayward Pines may be a different show altogether — or it may be very much the same.

Indeed, E! Online called Season 2 a “semi-reboot” of the series, but according to Patric, it will be a welcome feature for newcomers to the story. The audience will experience the creepy town through the eyes of his character, the recently awakened Dr. Theo Yedlin, and uncover its secrets in much the same way.

“[I]n a lot of ways, I’m a subjective surrogate for the audience, and that’s how I’ve tried to play this guy who does not understand and is trying to figure out the logic of everything.”

Patric was so committed to bringing that reality to his performance that he did not watch Season 1 of Wayward Pines, preferring, like his character, to have no knowledge of what’s going on, according to Entertainment Weekly. He does say Yedlin, a surgeon, is “being used against his will,” but the larger secret of the town has been revealed to its citizens. That removes a major element of mystery that was at the heart of Season 1.

The secret’s revelation to the audience occurred mid-season last summer. Wayward Pines ended with the death of the main character and destruction caused by monsters that were outside the town’s walls. In the final scenes, there was a time jump where viewers learned that three years later, members of the First Generation were running the town in an authoritarian manner.

Mark Friedman, who joined Wayward Pines as a showrunner for Season 2, told Entertainment Weekly that there was plenty of stuff left to explore in the Wayward Pines mythology, even though the plot lines from Crouch’s books had already been exhausted. For Friedman, the idea that legions of individuals remained to be awakened from suspended animation was enough for him to envision new stories.

“The best asset that I had was a mountain full of people still sleeping in pods, and that ending was a little open-ended. The story could continue.”

But some critics who got advance screenings of Episodes 1 and 2 of the new season objected to its similarities to the first season. Daniel Fienberg, writing in the Hollywood Reporter, objected to the casting of Patric since he closely resembles Season 1 star Matt Dillon. In addition, the two characters — Patric’s Yedlin and Dillon’s Ethan Burke — have a similar role to play.

“Theo is reacting exactly as you would expect him to, with steely determination, incredulity and a healthy disrespect for authority. You’d expect him to do this, because we already saw Ethan do the same darned thing.”

Fienberg admits, however, that Season 2 explores some interesting aspects of humanity’s survival that were not mentioned in Season 1, including the food supply, and how a town might actually run, on a practical level, when youths with limited knowledge are in charge.

Fans who loved Season 1’s Ms. Fisher (Hope Davis) and Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino) are in for a treat, as they appear in the new season. Gugino told TV Line those two characters have a new dynamic after the time jump.

“It’s tense between them. They’re coming from two really different perspectives on life and the world and pretty much everything.”

Wayward Pines Season 2 premieres Wednesday, May 25, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on Fox.

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]