Wayward Pines Blood Harvest S2 E1

Wayward Pines Blood Harvest – It’s hard not to feel a little disappointed in “Blood Harvest” after the eventful return Wayward Pines had in its premiere. There’s no denying that this second episode is much slower, taking a step back from the action and reveals to focus on how its main characters are adapting to the new situations in the future. Still, Wayward Pines is a show that thrives on its character interactions, and taking a step back to study both sides of the rebellion doesn’t hurt, especially when building a large-scale war.

Wayward Pines Blood Harvest

Review and recap Wayward Pines Blood Harvest

But “Blood Harvest”‘s biggest misstep is its focus on Theo Yedlin, who rebelled against Jason’s authoritarian regime last episode and found himself exiled from Wayward Pines. After a group of abbies attacks and begins to make a human pyramid to get over the electric fence, Jason figures out that throwing people outside of the walls might not be such a good idea; a worse idea, though, is getting rid of the town’s only doctor.

So he lets Theo back in and gives him a cushy office space in a private clinic, then works him to the max because all of the citizens of Wayward Pines are malnourished thanks to rationing. This meshes with Dr. Pilcher’s work ethos from season one: everyone has a job, and everyone is assigned something to do because that’s how the town survives.

Yet “Blood Harvest”‘s scrutiny of Theo reveals him to be the bland character the season premiere hinted. Theo is boastful, arrogant, and brash in a way that makes him stand out marginally from Ethan Burke. And yet they’re going through the same motions – denial, frustration, and finally a halting acceptance. That cyclical nature of Wayward Pines is coming out yet again, but it’s less interesting to watch a second time. At best, Theo’s references to Wayward Pines as a hallucination, where he runs through a list of illnesses he could possibly be suffering from are humorous; but too often, “Blood Harvest” sits back to let the usual character denial occur.

The episode does allow glimpses of characters the audience doesn’t know that well. Last season stayed pretty far away from the secrets behind Wayward Pines, but now that we all know what’s going on, there’s room to get closer to the governance in town. Jason and Kerry’s relationship seems to have a manipulative undertone; while it appears that Jason is leading the town on the surface, it is really Kerry who is pulling the strings underneath. Wayward Pines is attempting to get the viewer to empathize with the leadership, those people who have to make the tough decisions to keep humanity surviving, and for the most part it’s working in “Blood Harvest.”

There are some inevitable questions that come up during the main plot of the episode, however. The harvest of the title refers to a military-led operation to escort pickers outside the town’s walls so that they can harvest crops they’ve been forced to plant away from safety. Why did the crops need to be planted outside the walls? Because the soil’s pH inside the town doesn’t allow anything to grow. It’s a solid explanation, but the mission’s execution – from the planning down to the actual action – is poorly devised, and it feels like an afterthought to add a bit more momentum to an already slower-paced episode.

Ben’s presence in Wayward Pines is another issue, since “Blood Harvest” finds him attacked and presumably killed by abbies outside of the walls. As a leader of the rebellion, it’s hard to believe that he won’t be coming back somehow. But Wayward Pines risks a scenario much like The Walking Dead’s cliffhanger with Glen – promoting a death, only to reverse it, leaves the viewer less trusting of the writers.

While “Blood Harvest” sports a few more flaws than its premiere episode, it still seems to have a handle on some of the aspects that made the first season a sleeper hit – subtle humor, character pathos, and a weird vibe are still present, just not as successful here. But the bigger concern is moving forward with Theo as the protagonist; the viewer doesn’t want to continue to watch him deny the things happening around him, and that shouldn’t be drawn out to the same degree as last season’s events because the audience is already privy to the mystery. Hopefully, the next episodes will cement the arc of this season and give Theo something to do.

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