Wayward Pines is a new mystery mini-series debuting on FOX TV May 14. The pilot episode (available now on Comcast On Demand) shows strong potential of a layered puzzle with unexpected twists to come.
Secret Service agent Ethan Burke is sent to the isolated town of Wayward Pines, Idaho to look for two missing fellow agents. He's involved in a sudden car crash and awakens in the town hospital. Nothing is normal after that.
Ethan can't get a phone call to the outside world. The local sheriff is menacing and unhelpful. The town residents seem to be hiding something. The highway out is a circular road, leading right back into the town again.
Ethan is suffering from a concussion. References are made to his past mental problems. Nothing about the town seems normal, or is it all in Ethan's own mind? Then it gets worse when he finds the body of one of the missing agents in an abandoned house.
Wayward Pines is directed by M. Night Shyamalan, whose past films have featured artificial reality situations with hidden secrets lurking beneath (Signs, The Village). In Wayward Pines, some characters seem to be manipulating events around Ethan, and at one point, he is referred to by a number. Is the whole town part of some kind of experiment or a test? Or is it a mental treatment facility or even a high tech prison?
Based on the first episode, Wayward Pines looks like a sinister psychological puzzle that should appeal to fans of other enigmatic series like Twin Peaks, Lost, and The Prisoner.