What is Wayward Pines? 4 Theories Why the Town is Holding Ethan Hostage

"You can check out anytime you like... but you can never leave."

"How do I get out of here?" — "You don't." Those were the final, chilling lines of last week's premiere of "Wayward Pines," the 10 episode series airing on FOX this summer. The show has already made a big impression on fans, who are taking to the Web in droves with theories why Wayward Pines was created. So far, we know a few key facts about the town, which we've used to construct some plausible explanations. 

Here's the critical information we've gathered from the first episode: Ethan, played by Matt Dillon, the protagonist of "Wayward Pines" is an FBI agent who's sent to Idaho to find two missing partners. He crashes his car, and the next thing he knows, he's waking up in Wayward Pines. Spoooooky. Ethan spends the majority of the episode trying to leave the town, but multiple people thwart his efforts. Finally, he manages to steal a car and hightail it out of there — only to be stopped by a massive electrified fence that surrounds the entire area. For now, he's completely trapped.

But who, or what, wants to keep him stuck in this creepy town? Here are our four best theories why Ethan can't leave Wayward Pines:


1. He's being punished for the "Easter Bombings."

During flashbacks, we see Ethan trying to overcome his grief about a catastrophic event called the Easter Bombings, which killed 621 people. Ethan blames himself for that tragedy — though we assume he didn't actually bomb anyone. His therapist tries to tell him he's not responsible, but if Ethan believes it's his fault, maybe whoever runs Wayward Pines does too. Could everyone in the town have a spotty past for which the mysterious rulers want them to atone?

2. He knows something he shouldn't.

We also learned in the pilot that Ethan's commander at the FBI, Adam, played by Tim Griffin, was the one who sent him to Wayward Pines in the first place. He seems to be on Ethan's side, until we discover that he's in communication with the town's own Dr. Jenkins, played by Toby Jones. Adam asks Jenkins to "call it off" (whatever "it" is), but it's already too late. So, did the FBI send Ethan to Wayward Pines to make sure he doesn't talk? Remember, two other agents also went missing there, and one of them ended up dead.

3. The town is performing medical experiments.

Dr. Jenkins isn't the only medical professional colluding to keep Ethan captive. Shortly after Ethan arrives in town, he's sent to the hospital after fainting in a coffee shop, and something tells us he didn't just suffer a caffeine rush. At the hospital he's "cared for" by Nurse Pam, played by Melissa Leo, who tries to prevent him from leaving her sight. But something is definitely not right.

4. The government is researching time travel.

Ethan comes to Wayward Pines in 2014. But the bartender, Beverly, played by Juliette Lewis, believes it's the year 2000. And when Ethan finally does find his old partner Kate, played by Carla Gugino, she tells him she's been living in Wayward Pines for 15 years… but Ethan thinks they were still working together just five weeks ago. Could the town be the location of super secret time travel experiments? Is it like the "Lost" island, a place that exists outside of time?

We'll have to keep watching to solve all these mysteries, and new theories are sure to emerge with each episode.

"Wayward Pines" airs at 8 p.m. ET Thursdays on FOX.

If you believe we've found the secret to "Wayward Pines,"or if you have your own theories, share this post!


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