What's Happening In 'Wayward Pines,' Idaho? Spoilers From The Book Explain Its Uniquely Creepy Nature
Twin Peaks, eat your heart out. The newest thriller TV series set in a creepy town is here, and while it may not be as incredibly awesome as Twin Peaks (it's a classic, seriously), Fox's new show Wayward Pines definitely packs a punch in the eeriness department. The show follows special agent Ethan Burke, who is stranded and basically imprisoned in the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho after getting into a car accident while searching for two fellow colleagues who went missing weeks earlier. The real mystery, however, are the townspeople, as Ethan finds out they were trapped in Wayward Pines as well. The entire town is filled with strange people who have rules about their way of life: Do not try to leave, do not discuss the past, you must always answer the phone when it rings, etc. But what is actually going on with Wayward Pines, TV's newest creepy, too-good-to-be-true little town?
For that answer, we have to go to the book trilogy upon which the series is based and hope the similarities line up as the series evolves. This is your official SPOILER ALERT! In the first novel of Blake Crouch's series, Pines, Ethan discovers that the town of Wayward Pines is actually a place where people who are suspended in animation wake up and live. What does this mean exactly? Well, a billionaire by the name of David Pilcher created Wayward Pines when he realized how terrible the world had become. He got some people together and put them in suspended animation so they would one day wake up in a better world.
Until then, they'd live in Wayward Pines while the world caught up to its true potential. More and more people were trapped in Wayward as time passed. Each townsperson has awakened at different times and all believe it is a different year than it actually is. For example, in the series, Beverly believes she's only been in Wayward Pines for a year, when actually the last year she remembers it being is 1999.
The TV series shows Ethan finding out creepy, horrifying things about the town rather quickly. It all starts when Ethan first wakes up in a hospital room with no other patients and just one nurse. She won't allow him to leave, but he does anyway. He makes his way to a bar after trying to go to the Sheriff's office to get his things that he left after his car accident, but the station is locked. In the bar, Ethan meets Beverly, the only seemingly normal person in the town who gives him two messages: One is the address of a burnt down home that is housing the corpse of one of his partners, and the other is a note that states "there are no crickets in Wayward Pines." When Ethan goes outside and hears crickets chirping, he takes a closer look to find that the noise is coming from an electronic box in the bushes.
The townspeople follow the rules of Wayward Pines. Even after Ethan sees Kate, his old partner and lover, she acts as though everything is completely normal and "meets" Ethan for the first time. Where are all of these rules coming from and why must they be followed to the letter? The books tell us that not following the rules leads to public executions in the town square, as following the letter of the law is more important than freedom, which poses a threat to their world. At the end of the pilot, Ethan discovers the edge of the town, and all that lies on the other side is darkness for miles.
So are people suspended in animation and the town is in everyone's mind? Or was there an actual town built in Idaho that is suspended in time? I think it might be the latter considering what Ethan found at the end of Wayward Pines' yellow-brick road (if you will). Of course, the TV series could diverge from the book and give a totally different explanation for the town's mysteries. Either way, I'm just going to enjoy the ride in the weird little world created by Wayward Pines.
Images: Frank Ockenfels, James Minchin/FOX