Wayward Pines – First episode review

This is a brief review of the new series Wayward Pines, I also tried to watch Sense8 this week, but just couldn’t get past the initial episode, I will try again however.

From IMDB: A Secret Service agent goes to Wayward Pines, Idaho, in search of two federal agents who have gone missing in the bucolic town. He soon learns that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive..

Oh great, so just like all those made for television movies, or Under the Dome – small town, everyone is creepy and they won’t ever let you leave, but you won’t know it for a while and think that you are just going mad. But while it shows some signs of being like this, there is definitely some redeeming qualities.

To start with it has a great cast Matt Dillon playing the protagonist Ethan Burke, Juliette Lewis playing Beverly (but who is she really?) and Terrence Howard playing the intimidating Sheriff. This isn’t just a slap together of actors with little other work happening, but rather a group of people who have received critical acclaim for their work throughout their careers.

Pines is beautifully shot, and creates a sense of unease – from the film set style main street, to the dark and dingy outdated hospital scenes, you are left wondering whether this place is real or a set up for Burke (and anyone else sent there). Whilst the cinematography isn’t quite as artistic, the dark and brooding atmosphere reminds me a lot of True Detective.

But it isn’t that which drags you in, it is the constant sense of unease and psychological pressure which builds throughout the first episode. It begs the question, how would you respond if you woke up somewhere unfamiliar and no-one was willing to help you? For this is the position that Burke is put in within the first episode of Season 1, he awakens in a forest physically hurt and then makes it into town where he eventually ends up in the hospital under the care of a very Nurse Ratchet-esque nurse.

Burke is looking for two colleagues who were last seen coming this way, he had arrived with his partner, but he is nowhere to be found either, so now it is Burke against the town, trying to determine their motives, what happened and how he can get back to his family who are looking for him.

Now the pilot was directed by M.Night Shyamalan – and I feel that his sense of over the top foreboding that seems to accompany his later work (especially that of Signs) is very present here in PInes, but we will see where that goes – really there is no secret that the town of Wayward Pines actually has a secret of some sort that the inhabitants don’t want anyone to know about.

It’s a solid show and will probably fill some time as shows such as Game of Thrones goes off the air, but by no means do I think that it will be a classic.

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