‘Wayward Pines’ Postmortem: Creator Chad Hodge on That Time Jump and Season 2 Plans

Liane Hentscher/FOX
WAYWARD PINES: Ben (Charlie Tahan, R) listens to Ethan (Matt Dillon, L) 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

SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading if you haven’t watched the finale of Wayward Pines!

The war is over, but the cycle continues on Fox’s Wayward Pines. After the small town’s ruler David Pilcher (Toby Jones) cut off the electricity, a swarm of flesh-eating abbies breached the fence and eliminated a majority of the population. Sheriff Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) led his group to safety in the mountain bunker while sacrificing his own life to stop the abbies from penetrating the high-tech complex. But during the fight, Ethan’s son Ben (Charlie Tahan) was knocked unconscious, only to wake up three years later and discover Wayward Pines under the rule of the First Generation, who have committed themselves to carry out David Pilcher’s vision through violence and intimidation. We spoke to series creator and executive producer Chad Hodge to fill in the blanks between the time jump and get his thoughts on the possibility of a Season 2.

After Pilcher is killed, Kate (Carla Gugino) and Pam (Melissa Leo) agree that in order for humanity to thrive again, Wayward Pines needs to change. Flash forward three years later and the First Generation has reverted back to the old ways of David Pilcher. What happened?
The First Generation took over and put the adults all back into suspension because they felt parents just don’t understand! [Laughs] The adults were the cause of the downfall of Wayward Pines in the opinion of the First Generation and they couldn’t follow the rules, so keeping them around wouldn’t work. Now, obviously it doesn’t look like this is really working, either, but they are following David Pilcher’s rules for Wayward Pines to the letter. So the question is, will it now work under this new regime?

Would the First Generation still have been successful in obtaining control if Ben hadn’t been knocked unconscious?
They might have put Ben back into suspension just like everybody else, which is what happened. He was knocked unconscious and then put back into suspension. Amy convinced the First Generation to take him out of suspension and here he is, mostly for love.

Why was it necessary to kill Ethan?
The storytelling of Wayward Pines is constantly surprising for reality’s sake. S–t happens, and often the lead characters are kept living in a way that probably isn’t very realistic. In this situation, Ethan had, for better or for worse, told the whole town the truth. Many people pay the price, of course, but he sacrifices himself to save everybody else. If he doesn’t explode that elevator and kill all the abbies, then the abbies are eventually going to get in and kill everyone. So it’s a moment of sacrifice and a true heroic move.

Why was it important to have Pam, of all people, pull the trigger on Pilcher?
What I love about the show is what you think is good is bad and what you think is bad is good. There’s no black and white, it’s all a big grey area. You think she’s the evil nurse, but it turns out she cares more than anyone about the survival of humanity and has the back of Wayward Pines and its people. She cares so much, sometimes to a fault. But she realizes her brother has gone off the deep end and he’s going to be the one to really ruin everything if she doesn’t do something about it. That’s a different sort of sacrifice, but she had to let him go in order to save everybody else.

The First Generation is essentially resetting the population of Wayward Pines for the third time. Is it impossible for this town to survive without strict rules and violence?
Wayward Pines is a microcosm for the real world, so you could ask the same question about the entire planet. Are we in a cycle of war and violence and repeating that even though we see the consequences? Even though we’re killing people and even though we’re killing ourselves, we just keep doing it. We are the abbies. Not to get too analytical about it, but abbies are what humans used to be. Abbies are descended from us, so in a way; we are the abbies, even on our planet now.

Even though Wayward Pines was originally billed as a limited event series, is Season 2 possible?
There is some talk, but there’s nothing official. When we wrote that ending, it wasn’t necessarily so that we could have a Season 2, it was just to show that history repeats itself. Obviously it seems like it leaves a window to a Season 2, but that wasn’t the reason we did it. Right now, I’m focused on the new pilot [TNT’s Good Behavior] that I’m doing with [Wayward Pines author] Blake [Crouch].