Post Mortems

Wayward Pines Boss Weighs In on the Biiiig Reveals, Book Deviations, a Changed-Up Death and His Finale Plan

Wayward Pines The Year 4028

Warning: The following contains an Abby-normal level of spoilers from this Thursday’s episode of Wayward Pines.

This week on Wayward Pines, midway through the Fox drama’s 10-episode run, Ben Burke as well as viewers learned that the question we should have been asking all along was not “What is Wayward Pines?” but “When?”

Because the year that Ben, his folks and the other last remainders of humanity are living in is 4028. Yes, more than 2,000 years into the future. This is where you join me in bellowing:


The time jump was actually the second “shoe to drop” in the episode. Because prior to quizzing Ben about the ancient coin she had given him — a quarter minted in 2095 — Mrs. Fisher revealed that the  fence is protecting Wayward Pines from Aberrations (or “Abbies”), mutated, violent descendants of humans. Ethan meanwhile tussled with at least one Abby while exploring the area beyond the cliff, before bumping into David Pilcher (aka “Dr. Jenkins”), the scientist who foresaw the Aberrations and constructed Wayward Pines as an “ark” to save humanity.

To help you process this download during the show’s one-week hiatus — Episode 6, airing June 25, details how exactly Ben, Kate et al were “brought” to this time and place —  TVLine invited showrunner Chad Hodge to discuss his modifications to the book trilogy; explain the importance of his own creation, the First Generation; and answer our most burning question.

TVLINE | I haven’t yet gotten to Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy, but I understand that you veered somewhat in how you delivered the reveals?
Right. I think I told you when we last talked in New York that all three books are covered by the 10 episodes. So if I had strictly followed the plot of the first book, we would have gotten to the truth in Episode 3, which would have been a little rushed. I wanted to dive a bit more into the characters and the town before we got to the truth.

Episodes 3 and 4 were sort of a deeper dive into what was going on in Wayward Pines, and bringing in Ethan’s family, which happens differently in the book, and then sort of seeing him take on the job of sheriff. And as you meet all the characters, you see how the town sort of works, how most people just sort of accept the job that’s given to them and do as they’re told, because otherwise you get killed in front of the entire town, as Beverly did. Most people are like Carla Gugino’s character, Kate, Wayward Pines Ethan Sheriffwho even though she’s trying to figure out what’s going on is still working at the toy store, she’s married to this guy… she follows the rules.

And in Episode 4, Ethan takes on this job as sheriff – which probably is the role that was designed for him in the town. You actually see it in Episode 5, when Theresa finds his file and his job is listed as sheriff. Had he been not our hero and not a former Secret Service agent and not the guy that he is, he might have eventually fallen into this role of sheriff and accepted it and gone along and been another person who works in Wayward Pines.

TVLINE | So all of the adults that have been brought to this town were chosen for one specific reason or another?
A lot of people were chosen for specific reasons, Ethan for sure. Some people were chosen because they happened to be around Wayward Pines and they could easily hijack or abduct them. Some people were chosen because this is actually a better life than the life they had before — you’ll see a lot more of that as we go through Episodes 6 and 7.

TVLINE | As for the facts as laid out by Mrs. Fisher, did you tweak anything there? About the Abbies, their origin, the time lapse… any of that?
All of the mythology is exactly the same as it is in the book. I didn’t play with any of that whatsoever. The only thing that’s different is the way the information is laid out. In the book, when Ethan gets beyond the cliffs and out into the wilderness and runs into Pilcher [fka Dr. Jenkins],Wayward Pines The Year 4028 Pilcher is the one who tells him everything. There’s nothing with the kids in there.

TVLINE | Oh, the First Generation isn’t part of the books?
No, that’s something that I created for the show, mostly thinking that the future of this town and the last of humanity is going to be these kids, so ideally nobody would be in the dark. What you’ll see is that there are reasons that they had to keep the adults in the dark, because as Megan Fisher hinted, adults can’t handle the truth. I liken it to when you’re in third or fourth grade and your teacher teaches you about the planets and space and galaxies, all of this stuff that you can’t actually see or touch but you accept it and you learn it and you don’t think it’s crazy. But if you knew nothing of that and you’re a 40-year-old guy, and someone on the street tries to sell this “bill of goods,” that there are nine planets out there, you’d think this person was crazy, because as adults you can’t accept things like that. But the mind of a child… is much more open to new ideas. Telling them and making them feel special and all of that is integral to Wayward Pines and to the way that Pilcher envisioned it.

TVLINE | What’s Ben going to do with this information?
I’ll let you wait and see what Ben does with it. What I can tell you is that hopefully it was somewhat clear that Ben was coming from a life in Seattle where maybe he wasn’t the happiest. He was a little grumpy and maybe didn’t have so many friends. He didn’t have a girlfriend. And here he’s not only been welcomed into this group but sort of like put up on the stage and told, “You’re important and you matter and we trust you.”

TVLINE | So his mindset might be: “Don’t rock the boat.”
Yeah, it’s a big thing for any kid — for anybody, but especially a young person — to be told you’re important and we trust you. What he’s going to do with this information is interesting. A lot of the latter half of the season is about, “Is Wayward Pines a good thing, a bad thing? Is it as simple as good and evil, or not?” If we’ve done our jobs, you’ll constantly be changing your mind about that.

TVLINE | In the aftermath of the big reveals, one thing in particular doesn’t track for me: Sheriff Pope’sWayward Pines Pope own origin story is revealed in the next episode, but it’s not addressed why he went on to become such a sadistic lawman.
I think he probably got power hungry. Imagine being told that you’re the boss of the last 500 people on the planet — some people, if they’re not wired correctly, could take that power and abuse it, which is what Pope did. And Pilcher recognized that it was getting a little out of hand. Yes, there have to be strict rules in this town, different from what might be considered normal rules and punishments in our world, but Pope went and took that a little too far.

[BOOK SPOILER IN NEXT PARAGRAPH] I know you haven’t read the books but Pope’s death happens differently and might make it a little clearer, because when Pilcher comes out to find Ethan in the wilderness, as in Episode 5, Pope is with him. He’s not dead yet. Then when they have to rush back onto the helicopter in order to avoid the Abbies, Pilcher purposely leaves Pope out there with the Abbies. He wanted him to die.

TVLINE | I may read the books now, just for that scene!
Sorry if I spoiled it for you!

TVLINE | How confident are you in your depiction of a 2,000-year time jump? Did you  research what the world might look like in 4028, how aged an Interstate sign would be…?
We definitely did a lot of research, especially with our production designer, Curt Beech, who did a fabulous job. Essentially what we wanted to show is what the world would look like after 2,000 years without human intervention or pollution or destruction. If we all died out, the planet would probably redevelop and be more green and more beautiful, be the planet that it should be without every horrible thing that we’re doing to it.

TVLINE | What’s your favorite episode beyond the next one, in which Ben gets a look “behind the curtain”? Carla Gugino raved to us about 9, but she didn’t get into why.
I was going to say 9. I have a very special place in my heart for that one; I don’t want to reveal too much about why. It was directed by Nimród Antal and it’s very focused on the First Generation, I’ll say that. It’s an incredibly well written script by the Duffer brothers and directed wonderfully by Nimród.

TVLINE | Are there any additional bombshells that we won’t have been made privy to through Episode 6? Like, is there something Mrs. Fisher omitted?
I won’t answer that. But there are constant reveals through the rest of the show, always. There’s always something that you didn’t expect, a twist and a turn.

TVLINE | Will readers of the books be at all surprised by your season finale?
I think they’ll find it very similar to the books with a few tweaks here and there. Again, the First Generation is not a part of the books in the way that it is in the series, and they figure in in a major way in the ending. So there are some differences. But globally and schematically and mythology-wise, it’s all the same. I’m very close to Blake Crouch, the author, and everything was sort of put through his filter the entire time.

TVLINE | I heard there’s a hint of places to go in Season 2, should Fox want one…
There’s a hint of it, but Wayward Pines was always designed to be just these 10 episodes. So the promise that we’ve been making — which is that there’s a beginning, middle and end in these 10 episodes — is a real promise and we deliver on it. Could there be a possibility of a Season 2? Sure, of course, and you’ll see a window to that, but it also is a complete ending as it is.

Want more scoop on Wayward Pines, or for any other show? Email and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Flaw says:

    If you’re intending to save the human race, why is it that you pick Idaho to fill up a town with about 95% white, english speaking adults? Shouldn’t you check for genetic diseases and fertility, account for multiple languages that will otherwise become extinct, mix in PoC of which I only saw Pope and an asian girl at the cafe, and gather families with more children or at least one kid?

    • westwingwolf says:

      Exactly. Especially in Ethan’s case it didn’t seem like Theresa & Ben were going to initially be a part of the town. So why bring in only Ethan first if Ben is what they wanted? (My theory is that the guy who nominated Ethan wanted to hook up with Theresa with Ethan declared dead.) Or in Beverly’s case it sounds like her daughter was never brought to the town. Unless we learn otherwise that she was brought to town and Beverly was made to forget her instead of continuing to raise her for some reason. Then again with Beverly, it could have been that her daughter died and she was brought to town because she needed to forget in order to move on. Except she never fully moved on.

      • partisan says:

        You’re right
        *BOOK SPOILER*

        In the book the guy who sent Ethan to WP was in love with his wife and he made a deal with Pilcher to let him have her. When she was “sent forward” he went too and he was living with her for 5 years before Ethan popped up. There is a whole love triangle thing that just never really clicked in the book and I think they left it out of the show, at least so far.

    • Brigid says:

      Ben walked right by a black man watering his lawn after school. There are other races. It seems that some people accidentally get there that weren’t chosen for anything.

    • SPAM says:


    • rich s says:

      so what youre saying is…..white people are more likely to be deseased

    • rich s says:

      probably did it because he was fed up of hearing people complain about race.

      besides, its obvious pilcher is a nob who thinks hes god

  2. PL says:

    Seemed like Ethan was purposely sent to Wayward Pines by someone in this time, who wanted to change his mind later. When he wanted to change his mind, he was told it was too late. So does Pitcher have a time machine. Is Wayward Pines an experiment in the future by Pitcher to figure out how to STOP the abbie future from becomming real?

  3. Virgil1528 says:

    How are people from WP able to go back to our time? The guy in charge was at the FBI building, Pope sabotaged the car, and the kids on the bikes were at the gas station.

    Did I miss that explanation?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I know, it’s tricky to get a handle on it… but anything that happened/anyone you saw outside of Wayward Pines, that took place back when it did, in “our” time. No one went back; instead, everyone (eventually) went forward. It will make a lot more sense after the next episode, when Pilcher details the mechanics of it all for Ethan.

      • Virgil1528 says:

        Wouldn’t that indicate that Pope and Pilcher knew this was all going to come in our time? If so, I feel like there could or would have been different courses of action taken.

        • partisan says:

          Pilcher (and Pope) saw the “end” coming and came up with the whole WP scenario to “save” humanity, although in the books he comes off as a megalomaniac who just wanted to create a live action diorama to rule over. There’s a lot of suspension of disbelief required for the story to work.

      • Moski says:

        This still makes no sense to me. Pilcher was in the hospital talking to Ethan. Later he is seen talking to Ethan’s co-worker in 2014. And Pope was in WP causing havoc. Then later he sabotages the car in 2014. ??? They would have had to go bck in time or else the writer hoped the viewers wouldn’t notice these things. I watched the episode where Pilcher explains things to Ethan but I can’t clear this up.

    • Bartimeus says:

      Well the books definitely go more in depth with that stuff, but Pitcher was convinced that humanity would devolve, and he was right. He found Wayward Pines quaint and pleasing, he thought the All American town would be a good home for the last of humanity. The way they went about it is stuff that would have been more conceivably possible in the 70s than time travel. And Pilcher is just a guy,like anyone, not everyone is gonna agree he preserved humanity in the best way, but he had the idea and found the followers to realize his vision so “better ways” is kinda moot. Haha.

      • MikaC says:

        You’re right that the books — the first book, really — go into more depth about “where” they are. But I think the show handles it much better. In fact, the show handles everything much better. Including the new stuff about the first generation. It’s awesome TV.

        There was no real story in the book. It was more like Wandering Pines. Just 280 pages of set-up, and then the “big twist” — which didn’t mean anything at that point because you really couldn’t care less about the characters. I wish I hadn’t wasted the time reading the book. But I am thrilled it was turned into a TV sholw!

        • Wow. I couldn’t disagree more. I thought the books were so much more interesting than the show and really well thought out in terms of story and why and how things were done. Then again, I’m lucky enough to have seen up to episode 8 already. I’ll be interested to see if you still believe the show is better than the books the more you see.

        • Andy says:

          If you like the show more than the books, that means you saw the show first, then learned about the books, and vice versa. Don’t deny

          • Lol you don’t know that! You don’t know these people commenting. You have never met them and you have no idea what their motivations are or why they think certain things. I can’t stand people like you who think they can read minds!

  4. BG says:

    This series puts me in mind of an old, I believe it was a BBC show, called The Prisoner. In it too, an agent awoke in a strange town, with strange acting residents, alway being spied upon by cameras and microphones. Believe Patrick McGhohan stared in it. Remember the town was on an island, and guarded by a huge bubble ball, which chased escaping residents.
    Also, If Wayward Pines is so far in the future, why are the secret cameras so old fashion. Seems like they would have advance security systems in place. Maybe even invisible tracking devices in the sky, like they had in the movie They Live/

    • MikaC says:

      Did you catch the part where the realtor called Theresa his “new number 2”? That was straight out of “The Prisoner”!

      But who is number 1? ;)

      • CountryQueen says:

        He’s number one. She replaced the other realtor – his previous #2.

        • Dirk says:

          Just as a point of interest… When MikaC above wrote “But who is Number 1? ;)” it was not about Theresa in “Wayward Pines.” It was [as the winking emoticon hinted] a reference to the aforementioned TV series “The Prisoner” in which Patrick McGoohan’s secret agent character was also mysteriously taken to a village where no one could escape, and where all residents had numbers instead of names. McGoohan was designated Number 6 and would often confront Number 2—the person seemingly in charge—by asking “Who is number 1?” (Much like in “Wayward Pines” where Ethan is speaking with the mayor and Nurse Pam but, when they back down after receiving a phone call, he realizes he’s not talking with whoever is really in charge.)

    • Wouldn’t high tech gadgetry tips these people off? If they are supposed to be kept in the dark, I don’t think that high tech cameras and eyes in the sky would be the way to go. Plus, I think that the choice of the town and its simplicity/quaintness have purpose.

    • KCC says:

      The technology would only be as advanced as the time the town was “created.” I would think Pilcher set this whole thing in motion in the early 2000’s, the first residents disappeared around the year 2001 or whatever and revived 2000+ years later. The coins were from 2095 but were old so they came from outside Wayward Pines 2000 years after they were minted. At some point Pilcher was put into stasis (or whatever they’re calling it) and that was probably not long after 2015.

    • rich s says:

      patrick maghoon created and wrote the orisoner, classic show, reminds me a lot of it too….many similarities

  5. AngelWasHere says:

    I don’t know if I like where this show is going. I’m disappointed with the monsters/abbys too. I hate being a complainer, but ugh time travel or maybe I should say time jumping is so exhausting. :/

    • timetogo says:

      I. agree. Was really looking forward to this show. Now I really feel we were played. Don’t think I’ll continue watching.

      • Martin says:

        Yep, i feel the same way… The show was doing so good (at least in my eyes) and then they jumped on the same road as most of new shows… Can someone please make a cool show that doesn’t involve time travel, zombies or any other kind of mutated things with no brain? First 4 episodes… AMAZING! But the fifth one will be the final one for me…

  6. Lynnette says:

    I want to read the books now. Never saw te over 2000 year jump

  7. NewhouseGrl89 says:

    Ab-solutely the best show on network tv right now – the one bright spot of the summer hiatus. Plot questions aside, this 80’s chick is having a blast watching Matt Dillon in his best role since the Outsiders ;)

  8. Joey Padron says:

    great episode. glad to get answers about the town, creatures, and why time haven’t moved that much for people that arrive there. can’t wait for next episode!

  9. farleyc says:

    I am LOVING this show!!! Such a great summer surprise!!!

  10. Ed says:

    Holy exposition, batman! That reveal is a huge letdown. And why would adults not be able to handle the truth? Their explanation was lame. It’s better to create a paranoid state and kill people if they talk about the past? So stupid.

    • AngelWasHere says:

      Yeah the whole “adults can’t handle the truth” thing made no sense to me either.

    • Et al says:

      Your questions answer your questions.

    • partisan says:

      In the book the explanation, such as it is, is that when the first group of people were awakened they were told the truth. Then half of them committed suicide rather than face the future. The boss decides not to tell anyone else the truth to avoid more suicides. It really didn’t make a lot of sense but at least there was an effort to explain it. Maybe they’ll get there in the show too.

      • eliot says:

        They aren’t told the truth because of worries that they’ll commit suicide, yet if they try to find out the truth on their own, they’re publicly executed. So far this show is one set of contradictions after another.

  11. Et al says:

    Very cool reveal! I can’t wait to see how the rest of it plays out.

  12. Lexy says:

    I’m happy we got answers, but can’t say I’m satisfied.
    I’d much rather have the town be a gov experiment or have Pilcher be responsible for the genetic mutations.
    Still, props to them for having such a big reveal halfway through, it’s very unusual for tv shows these days. And the editing in this episode was superb.

  13. N says:


  14. My goodness! Definitely didn’t expect THAT! This show is so well-done!

  15. Matt says:

    I was channel surfing and came in on this show unexpectedly and the gal that was talking with the 3 kids caught my eye and watched it to the end. This was my first time watching the show,I just might watch it again. The acting is great but anything on Fox of this genre is good.
    I kind of thought after watching the show to be a little “creepy” and thought of the tv show Helix on the Syfy channel.

  16. partisan says:

    Love the twist or hate it, at least they HAVE an explanation for what’s happening!
    And they didn’t make us wait 8 years for it either. *cough*Lost*cough*.
    I liked the books and they’re doing a really good job of being faithful to the original story.

  17. LynnH says:

    How sad for humans that it only takes 2,000 for the race to evolve into monsters!

  18. rob says:

    confused as to why they would be frozen in 2014 when civilization went on to 2096 Did scientists already know in 2014 the future

  19. I actually was betting with my friends what the town’s twist would be. ‘In the future’ was absolutely on the list, though sadly not mine (I had alien experiment on earth). Other pool choices were: the past, not on earth, future Antarctica (that’s our zombies vs zombie redneck family situation), underwater, on the moon and in purgatory.

  20. Morgan says:

    To many holes and flaws in the story, it’s not 2000 years in the future, they are being brain washed. How do you explain the last sheriff causing the car wreck with his wife and son?

    • Steven says:

      I think the idea was that when the sheriff caused the wreck it was a flashback showing us what happened, Ethan was frozen and they decided to also freeze the family and eventually the sheriff would get frozen himself. If you remember the scene when Ethan was in the hospital drugged up he thought he hallucinated seeing his family in the hospital on stretchers. I imagine he really did see them, they were just being brought in from the cryo state.

    • Karen says:

      I am really enjoying the series but I agree that there are some things that don’t sync up so far. If thousands+ of people have been frozen for 2000+ years, why do they still have the vehicles from each accident? Not only would the vehicles have decayed beyond recognition (not to mention the ones they drive around town) but also what significance would the wrecked cars have for them to be stored in a large facility for so long? And, why has the nurse aged but the doctor hasn’t? If people started aging again after they were woken up, she has been awake quite a long time but wouldn’t the doctor have been awake at least as long or longer than her? He looks exactly the same as when we saw him speaking to the other Secret Service agent in modern times.

  21. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    This episode was crazy! The whole ABBY storyline was crazy too. How the hell they ended up like that they’re so ugly and scary looking. Anyhow I really like the show so far and it’s a great start for the summer line up!

  22. Jooshua says:

    You know you watch too much TV when you managed to actually guess this twist. I even guessed it was mutated humans. The year however, was further in the future than I imagined.

    Off topic. but that’s why I love me some Shonda Rhimes. Never know what’s about to happen in her shows.

    • kritterlady says:

      I laughed when I saw the abbies! Not scary at all when they freeze-framed them. But I did appreciate the 2000 years into the future reveal. Never expected it to be that far into the future.

      I would not agree with you about Shonda shows. I predicted Derek would be killed off two episodes before it happened. I thought it was obvious, based on the things he said in those last two episodes.

  23. Nellibly says:

    I never read, or even heard of the books. I have no idea what I was expecting, but the “big reveal” jumped so far over the shark, I just broke out laughing. The good news, not watching the show anymore frees up Thursday nights for catching up on my reading of any number of other books.

  24. EYEWIDEOPEN says:

    The obvious inconsistencies should point a critical mind toward the logical progression of the storyline. EYE knew from the beginning exactly where the story was heading and the underlying philosophy involved which reflects the current state of things.

    It is a shame that people do not realize what is being shown them.

    We are all living in the world of Wayward Pines.

  25. Lorraine Sebesta says:

    This show is fabulous!!!! I hope there will be a season 2. This show is addictive. I love it. the writers and producers are very creative. the acting is very good! I am hooked!!!

  26. Doug says:

    Will it be a 2 HR finally ??

  27. tayja says:

    This show was a massive disappointment…started off strong, but soon as the family elements were introduced it started to fizzle (that was in episode two). The end was terrible. Please don’t make a second season.

  28. Ramakant Taparia says:

    I just started to watch this series and I don’t understand that how in the earth is that possible that Ethan is in Year 4028 in Wayward Pines and Ben & Theressa are been shown in 2014 and the Pope is in both the places like he is in Wayward Pines in 4028 and few minutes later he is seen 2014 cutting the oil pipe of Theressa’s car and again he comes back to 4028 and Ben and Theressa also comes back to 4028?

    • MoskiC says:

      This was a common question during the season and some people even suggested time travel but that isn’t the case. The show’s big secret is that the whole thing is in the year 4028. All the other clips of normal life are flashbacks. They do it in Season 2 also. What I think is really unbelievable is how they kept this massive “ark” powered for over 2000 years??? Still good show.