Why Fox should let ‘Wayward Pines’ die after one season

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“Wayward Pines” ended its 10-episode run in such a way that we never want to see the mysterious Idaho town of the title again.

Don’t get us wrong: Thursday’s finale — a genuine wrap-up, not a bait to a potential sequel — was excellent.

Which is exactly why Fox should ignore the ratings and critical praise, and not renew its prestige sci-fi “summer event.” None of that life-support nonsense on Yahoo or Vine or whatever: “Wayward Pine” needs to be gone for good because it works better that way.why fox should let wayward pines die after one season

Exec-produced by M. Night Shyamalan and boasting a primo cast — Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Melissa Leo — “Wayward Pines” was always conceived as a complete miniseries with a definite ending.

And yet, from the start, there have been voices saying the show could/should get a second season.

Admittedly, Thursday night’s finale does leave a window for Fox — or someone else — to pursue that opportunity.

It would be a mistake.

One of the best things about “Wayward Pines” was how it kept switching genres: It started off as a supernatural thriller, took a turn toward horror, then another into science fiction, with detours into family drama and teen romance along the way. The last three episodes added an icing of generational warfare that made the series really spooky.

TV STILL -- DO NOT PURGE -- WAYWARD PINES:  Pam (Melissa Leo) in the "Cycle" season finale episode of WAYWARD PINES airing Thursday, July 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co.  Cr:  Liane Hentscher/FOX
TV STILL — DO NOT PURGE — WAYWARD PINES: Pam (Melissa Leo) in the “Cycle” season finale episode of WAYWARD PINES airing Thursday, July 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Liane Hentscher/FOX

The finale — caution: gigantic spoilers ahead — convincingly wrapped up all those strands into a surprisingly dark, pessimistic package. That the series would conclude on a twist won’t surprise Shyamalan’s longtime fans (though it will surprise readers of Blake Crouch’s “Wayward Pines” trilogy since the endings are very different). But that twist isn’t gratuitous — it provides closure.

Halfway through the run, we learned what was going on in Wayward Pines, in which Matt Dillon’s Ethan Burke and his family had found themselves stranded. Turns out they had been artificially frozen for centuries then thawed in the year 4028 — on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by murderous, possibly telepathic mutants nicknamed “abbies.”

Humanity’s only hope lay not just in Wayward Pines, protected by an electric fence, but in its “first generation,” i.e. the town’s teens, brain-washed into scary fascists by the guru-like Hope Davis.

In the finale, Burke sacrificed himself to save the remaining adults — farewell for good, Matt Dillon!

But then said adults were faced with equally unsavory options: being chomped up by rampaging abbies or being ruled by teenage overlords.

The best part is that the teenagers won and took over Wayward Pines, with the most barbarian of all as sheriff, no doubt responsible for public executions.
What a fantastically grim ending!

Shyamalan has said that he and Crouch have been chatting about a possible Season 2. But here’s a crazy thought: How about leaving their beautifully self-contained tale alone?


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