Revisit 'Wayward Pines'? It's not worth the trip

Monday, 23 May 2016 08:49 AM Written by 

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Fox’s “Wayward Pines” told a complete story in its first season and while it left room for a second season, maybe Fox would have been better off leaving well enough alone. The series gets a disappointing second-season reboot (9 p.m. Wednesday, WPGH) that brings back some first-season characters (several for nothing more than glorified cameos) and introduces a new lead and elevates some supporting characters to leading roles.

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If you didn’t watch season one, a brief recap at the start of season two won’t help much. And even if you did watch season one, it’s been almost a year and not all viewers will remember where the story left off.

Time has passed since the end of season one – how much time is unclear, although my research suggests about four years has passed but the show makes little effort to be clear about that – and First Generation leader Jason Higgins (Tom Stevens, pictured above), clad in Hitler Youth brown, continues to control Wayward Pines in the year 4032. All its residents were put in cryogenic freezing circa 2015 and unthawed centuries later after Earth became largely overrun by mutated Aberrations.

In need of a new doctor, Jason defrosts Dr. Theo Yedlin (Jason Patric) while Ben (guest star Charlie Tahan), the son of the first-season’s lead character Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon, who is not returning), continues to lead a resistance effort.

The exposition-heavy season premiere violates the first rule of good writing – show, don’t tell – but even with all of the chatter about the past, some viewers will still find this new iteration of “Wayward Pines” pretty confusing.

Under new showrunner Mark Friedman (“Believe”), “Wayward Pines” does explore the scarcity of food in this spoiled-Earth future, which is a nice touch of realism, but what made the first season of “Wayward Pines” so great was the mystery. The series revealed its big twist midway through season one and the first two episodes of season two don’t suggest another twist is on the way. Instead, the mystery has largely been replaced by a dystopian soap opera that disrespects one first-season character in particular by having the character take an action that doesn’t reflect the character’s first season strength and resolve.

I liked season one of “Wayward Pines” a lot and had been eager to revisit the series but at this point I’m disinclined to stick with it.

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