WAYWARD PINES Post-Mortem: Chad Hodge on 'The Truth' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

WAYWARD PINES Post-Mortem: Chad Hodge on ‘The Truth’

June 11, 2015 by  

Credit: Fox

Credit: Fox


[Warning: this post contains massive, massive spoilers for WAYWARD PINES’ “The Truth.” Please don’t read this interview until you’ve seen the hour.]

The truth is out on WAYWARD PINES.

While the show had teased for weeks the true story behind the mysterious Wayward Pines, the audience only had to wait five episodes to discover the insane reality: it’s not 2014 — it’s actually more than 2000 years later — and the town is the last of humanity. The world is now occupied by human-like creatures who are incredibly deadly, and the walls are kept up to keep the townspeople safe. Oh, and Dr. Jenkins? He’s actually David Pilcher, the creator of this new world.

It. Is. So. Crazy. Good.

I spoke with WAYWARD PINES showrunner Chad Hodge about the big reveal, watching with fans, and more…

You had the opportunity to watch this pivotal hour with fans at ATX. What was that like?
Chad Hodge: It was super fun. I actually snuck up to the back of the auditorium and watched the episode with them. It was so fun to hear them gasp and shriek. It was pretty vocal.

It’s been really fun, because it has been such a build-up. It’s also fun to deliver on the promise we’ve been making, and then for people to be satisfied and blown away by what the truth is, it’s fun. There’s been no manipulation. We’ve been saying all along we’ll tell you the truth in episode five and we do. [Laughs]

What was WAYWARD PINES author Blake Crouch‘s reaction to seeing the episode?
CH: He loved it. He co-wrote this episode! In his contract, originally, he was going to write one episode of the show. And early on, I didn’t know him as well, and I thought, “Oh, great, the author is going to write an episode.” And he had never written an episode of television before. And I thought, “Okay, I’ll have to rewrite it, or whatever.” I wanted to give him this episode, this big episode when the truth is revealed, because obviously he is the person that came up with all of this, and came up with WAYWARD PINES, and this stunning truth. And he did a fabulous job with this episode. When he saw it come to life, I think he was pretty blown away.

Oh, and I should tell you: the script [Crouch] delivered was unbelievable, and so good, and I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “How have you never written an episode of television before? Do you want to write another one? And another one?” So we wrote two more episodes together after that. So he did a really good job.

How did the cast react when they got this script?
CH: A lot of them didn’t read the books, but they did know what the truth was. The only person who didn’t know was Terrence Howard because he didn’t want to know. But he’s been dead now for two episodes, as you know. [Laughs] So they knew. I think it was more in the execution. We did it a little more differently than the books…the way the truth is revealed in the books is similar, but it’s a little bit different.

You know how Ethan Burke is out in the forest and he runs into Pilcher? Pilcher, in the book, basically tells Ethan everything out there. He tells Ethan, “This is what Wayward Pines is” and it’s a whole long section, and it really works well in the book, but visually, for the show, it would have been a little straight-forward to have Pilcher reciting a monologue about everything that Wayward Pines is, and all of that.

So we came up with cutting back to the teacher, and the school, and the lesson that is learned about the truth. That’s the difference between the book and the show. I think it’s cool, because we’re able to do two things with this episode: it’s not just finding out the truth, but it’s also launching where the next five episodes go, because we know Ben knows the truth, and all the kids in town know the truth, and this is a big part of what the second [half] of the [series] is about.

Intercutting between those three storylines is what makes it work. If we were just in one storyline — for instance, if the entire episode was just Megan Fisher, the teacher, talking to the kids, and we had nothing to cut to, that would get boring. If we were just in the woods with Ethan and Pilcher, that would get boring. This is just a way of unveiling the truth as everyone is learning it, or learning pieces of it.

By the end of the episode, Ben is the one that knows the most; the kid. Ethan knows some things, but less than his son does. He will learn more in the next episode. And we’re also tracking Theresa and her investigation of the truth by playing along. I love watching her as the realtor with the client, trying to figure out what he knows and what he’s seen. You see how people come into Wayward Pines, and how they learn to play along.

Ben was trusted very fast. Obviously age is a key, but is there any other reason why they didn’t wait, like, a week to verify they could trust him?
CH: I think that it’s all about the young minds are like sponges, and open, and much more willing to learn new things. I sometimes liken it to when you’re young and you learn about space, and you learn there are planets out there, and galaxies, and stars, and all these things you can’t really see or touch, or know your teacher is telling you the truth, but you accept it…all this stuff you’re taught, and you just accept it, and you don’t question it.

But if you were 40 years old, and you had never heard any of this, and someone came up to you on the street and tried to convince you there were nine planets out there, you’d be like, “You’re insane.” Adults have such a hard time accepting things they don’t believe to be true, or that sound strange or foreign. But young people are able to. And young people want to feel special and trusted. And so because this is about the last of humanity, the kids are going to be the ones to lead the future, and it’s a hint about what’s to come: it’s not that Pilcher and the people that created Wayward Pines want everybody to be in the dark and lied to; it’s a necessity for adults who can’t accept the truth, because there are horrible consequences when adults learn the truth.

The kids are going to be the future leaders of this town, and as the last of humanity, they need to know what’s going on. And the younger you bring them in, the better.

Is there a certain age cutoff where they can’t reveal the truth? Or is something too young?
CH: It’s about 14/15 years old. We all definitely talked about [it] a lot. It’s the ages of the kids in the episode…you don’t want to tell a 10-year-old, because that might be a little too young, but this 14-year-old, 15-year-old age they have deemed is the perfect time to bring them into the truth.

In a way, the environment could be construed as very cult-esque. How much did you intentionally play that up with production and filming?
CH: That’s really one of the main themes of the show: is it a cult, or is it a good thing? When you hear stories about cults, and see movies about cults — and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE is such a great movie — but people who are in them, they think they’re great, for the most part. This isn’t what I would say is a cult, but from the outside, it looks incredibly bizarre and cult-like. From the inside, these are the last people on the planet, and the rules of survival to ensure the survival of most of them are harsh. But the constant theme in the show, especially from episode five, on, is “who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy?” Is killing someone every now and then because they don’t follow the rules the way to have most people survive? Are Pilcher’s intentions actually good? Or do they just seem bad? Or is he really bad? That’s what we talk about for the next five episodes.

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