‘Wayward Pines” is weird. Like, “Twin Peaks” weird. “Lost” weird.

But here’s the thing: “Wayward Pines” eventually makes some sense. The 10-part limited series which begins tonight on Fox is at least going somewhere and all the strangeness does add up to a (semi) logical story at about the halfway point.

Which is sort of impressive, considering how wacko the opening episodes are.

The focus here is on Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon), a secret service agent. He’s your standard TV hero with a tortured past, having apparently messed up on the job in some incident, suffered mental health issues, and then messed up his home life by having an affair with a fellow agent, Kate Hewson (Carla Gugino).

Now Hewson and a male agent have gone missing and Burke has been sent to Idaho to look for her. When we meet Burke, he’s waking up in the forest, concussed and cut up, disoriented. He staggers into the nearest town, a picture-perfect little burg called Wayward Pines. And collapses.

Burke wakes up in a hospital, being treated by a scary-friendly Nurse Pam (Melissa Leo, having fun). He has no ID, no money and no gun. He tries to phone his wife (Shannyn Sossamom), but gets no answer. Same with his work.

He stumbles around town, meeting the uncooperative sheriff (Terrence Howard), and a friendly barmaid (Juliette Lewis). Eventually, he discovers the male agent he’d been searching for — dead and rotting, apparently murdered, in a rundown house.

And then he discovers agent Hewson, living under another name, and 12 years older than when he last saw her, five weeks ago.


So Burke decides to leave town. But it turns out the only road out of Wayward Pines leads to ... Wayward Pines.

The show is executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Signs”), who also directs the first episode, and other film directors — James Foley, Zal Batmanglij, Nimrod Antal — helm episodes along the way. Other good actors also pop up — Toby Jones is a mysterious doctor, Charlie Tahan plays Burke’s son and Hope Davis becomes something like the local schoolmarm — but none of that would matter much if “Wayward Pines” were just spinning out of control.

Have faith, it’s not. It’s not going anywhere you’d likely suspect, and the big reveal episodes have a lot of explaining to do, but this hyper-paranoid, time-twisting and addictive show is actually laying a foundation for something. How that something eventually plays out remains a question, but the ride there is an undeniable kick.

‘Wayward Pines’


9 p.m. Thursday


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