The series starts off with Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon, There's Something About Mary, Crash) being tasked with locating his missing partner, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino, Watchmen, Sin City). His investigations lead him to a small town in Idaho. On his way in, he gets into an accident and wakes up in Wayward Pines' hospital. From the moment he meets the hospital's odd staff, Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo) and Dr. Jenkins (Toby Jones, The Harry Potter series, Captain America and more recently, Detectorists), he gets the feeling that something is off. As he starts to explore the town, he learns that communication with the outside world is hard to come by and there seems to be an unusual set of rules that everyone must abide by, the least of which is to not try and leave Wayward Pines.
To add to the show's growing feeling of "offness," Ethan meets a bartender, Beverly (Juilette Lewis, Natural Born Killers, From Dusk till Dawn) who claims to have only recently moved to the town, but also insists it is only the year 2000. He also finds an older Kate who claims to have been living in Wayward Pines for 12 years, despite only having been missing for a few months. She is even married to a man named Harold (Reed Diamond, 24, Dollhouse) and the two own a toyshop together.
Not long after Ethan's arrival at the Wayward Pines outskirts, Ethan's wife, Theresa (Shannyn Sossamon, A Knight's Tale) and son, Ben (Charlie Tahan, I Am Legend), start to worry that Ethan has also disappeared. When they learn that he was tasked with finding Kate, they are not very happy, especially since Ethan has recently had an affair with his partner. As they track down Ethan's trail, they also approach Wayward Pines and find themselves also waking up in the hospital after an accident. Reunited, the Burkes start to try to find their place in this odd community. All of the rules in the town are obviously designed to keep citizens from wanting to go back to their old lives, while heavy surveillance all around the place has everyone on edge.
The show grows deeper and more grim as more of the town's oddities come to light. While there doesn't seem to be an actual government in place, Sheriff Pope (Terrence Howard, Iron Man) is definitely in place to enforce the rules, and it seems that disobeying them too much can lead to deadly consequences.
Interestingly enough, the big reveal of what exactly is going on in Wayward Pines isn't a season-finale twist. The details are revealed about halfway through the season and the rest of the episodes are all about what Ethan does with the knowledge he is given. The main options are, of course, to tell everyone what he knows and risk possible panic, or to keep the secret and help uphold the rules now that he understands why they are in place.
There are two other supporting characters that really shine this season. One is Megan Fisher (Hope Davis), a teacher at the local high school that is giving off some really strange vibes that Theresa is compelled to look into. The other is a girl at Ben's school named Amy (Sarah Jeffery, Rogue, Descendants: Wicked World), and she not only quickly takes a liking to young Ben, but is also surprisingly forward about her intentions. In both cases, these characters and actresses help to add to the surreal feel that permeates Wayward Pines.
The two special features on this DVD release includes a featurette about the show's set design and style, as well as one about the overall mythology of the show and how it grew from the novel of the same name written by Blake Crouch. While both are interesting, the first should interest any filmmaker or potential production designer since it is all about making a quaint town that feels both too perfect and new, but also looks to be from the 1940's or '50s.
While Wayward Pines: Season One's start is a bit odd, once the reality of the show is revealed, it becomes a non-stop race to the finish line as various plans start to come together and crash into each other. Anyone with a sci-fi slant, or a desire to work out a good mystery, should check out this series.