Wayward Pines took a week off after the 10-ton truth bomb that was episode five. Now that (some of) the characters are in on the town’s massive secret—and all of the audience is up to speed—the show returns to try and keep the momentum going with episode six, “Choices.” And it does!

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Spoilers follow.

Opening shot: Wayward Pines’ bucolic main drag, but something terrible has happened. It looks like the aftermath of a battle that’s just finished being fought moments ago: fires, crashed cars, destroyed buildings, people running around shrieking, dead bodies, and that merry-go-round we’ve seen before, now eerily empty and spinning as its lights flicker. A lone figure strides down the street. It’s WP mastermind David Pilcher, the ark-builder himself, looking disheveled and devastated. Gotta say, a thunderous amount of shit seems to have hit the fan during that one-week hiatus, Wayward Pines!

After the credits, though, it’s back to calm and normal in the year 4028... for now... suggesting we’ve just seen a flash-forward in a show previously so dearly fond of its flashbacks. A little girl pauses her bicycle to look up at the extremely odd sight of a helicopter flying overhead, and we get to follow as it whirrs through a canyon and settles cliffside at an apparently abbie-proof landing pad. Here’s Ethan (who’s just learned the truth about his new town), Big Daddy Pilcher, and Nurse Pam (whose role in all of this is still to be determined). “You didn’t think Wayward Pines ran itself, did you?” Pilcher asks as he leads a goggle-eyed Ethan into a fortress built inside of the mountain. There’s a warehouse, buzzing with activity, hidden within; it’s where Wayward Pines, the Last Stronghold of the Human Race, stores all of its non-perishable goods, at least until it can become completely self-sufficient.

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TWIST: That throaty female voice we’ve been hearing through the phone is not Susan Sarandon, unless there’s some dubbing going on, because we see the woman in person for the first time. She’s one of over 200 volunteers, Pilcher explains, who’ve left their lives behind to live and work in “the Complex” and help Pilcher’s cause by overseeing Wayward Pines’ back end. When Pilcher’s called away to “the CRU,” Pam offers to take a look at Ethan’s abbie-clawed arm. It must be said that Pam is a lot less creepy/way more likable in this setting.

Back in the town, Theresa (who, as you’ll recall, has no idea what year it is, who Pilcher is, etc.) is worried about Ben (who’s just emerged from the most sensory-overloading school orientation ever, and is filled with insane information he’s been strictly instructed not to share with any grown-ups). Without giving up any details, and blaming “science class” for awakening deep thoughts about his place in the world, he’s able to convey to his mother the magnitude of the existential crisis he’s facing. “Everything’s gonna be all right,” she assures him, because parents just don’t understand.

Back downtown, delivery guy Ted shows up with supplies for Kate and Harold’s toy store, but he has an ulterior motive, and deploys what’s clearly an established ploy (“I’m here to pick up that package”) to get into their de-bugged back room. “We can’t meet here!” Kate insists, but Ted has urgent business with the couple. He can’t find “McCall’s package,” and “without it we can’t finish what we started.” Peter McCall, of course, was the subversive real estate agent who threw himself on Wayward Pines’ electric fence rather than suffer a public “reckoning.” Is the package hidden in his old office, now the domain of reluctant new real estate agent Theresa?

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Before we can find out, Theresa has office politics to sort through. Secretary Henrietta quits in a huff, angry that she wasn’t promoted to the agent job that Theresa now has. When Theresa follows her outside, she tells the older woman that she’s hoping to get back to Seattle, and that her client yesterday revealed that he “saw things” (BTW, what happened to her warning to him not to share that observation with anyone?). Henrietta cuts her off to deliver a warning, reminding Theresa what happened to Peter, who died because he was “looking where he wasn’t supposed to.” He thought “Plot 33” was a way out. What is Plot 33? Theresa and we wonder in unison. “Don’t be stupid!” Henrietta hisses, and flounces off.

Back in the Complex, Nurse Pam (in her new, way mo’ chill guise) and Ethan are coming to an understanding, after antagonizing each other thoroughly up until this point. “There is a purpose to everything you find so strange,” she tells him. She admires how he’s been trying to save himself and his family this whole time, but “Wayward Pines is bigger than you, and it’s bigger than any one of us.” Then, OMG, over the intercom: “Pamela Pilcher to the CRU.” What?? Nurse Pam is David Pilcher’s... wife? Nope. She’s his sister. Well, sheeit. Could see that.

Ethan, ever the secret agent, can’t resist exploring the facility a little bit after she leaves. He passes by a sign that says “OUR FUTURE IS IN YOUR HANDS” into a darkened laboratory, where an abbie is being kept in a glass-walled cell. As Ethan draws his gun in terror, David appears. “I don’t think he likes you,” he says wryly. Since Ethan hasn’t had the benefit of Ben’s illustrated lecture on abbies, David fills him in on what the creatures really are, with some key new bits of background. In the late 1990s, as concerns about humanity’s impact on the environment began to escalate, David’s company discovered that DNA mutations were starting to happen among the population. “We were changing the world, and as a result, we ourselves were beginning to change. Adapt.”

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He tried to warn the world, he says, and we get a flashback to David with more hair, and Pam looking exactly the same. He’s just failed to make any impact with his doomsaying about the environment, and points out that it’s difficult to get anyone to care about anything unless it directly affects them. People want to prioritize the present, and not worry about what’s going to happen decades down the line; nobody wants to take a serious look at eliminating the factors that are causing those genetic mutations. Pam (who we learn is a recovering drug addict) assures him that saving the world is possible.

“I couldn’t protect the entire world, but I could protect a select few,” he tells Ethan. We see Past David driving his car into Pilcher Technologies’ parking lot, where the security guard is... Pope, the future ice-cream-loving sheriff of Wayward Pines. Nice. Cryonics became his focus, David explains, and he removed much of his research from the public eye, both to avoid the ridicule he’d already experienced for his ideas, and also because of the sticky legal matters involved with, uh, freezing people for long periods of time. We learn, though, that the Secret Service, including Kate and Evans (RIP), took notice of what David was up to... not because of the vast amounts of money he was secretly funneling into the project, but because people had started disappearing, including the teacher from Missouri that’s currently being brought out of deep thaw. “How many more are there?” Ethan asks. David turns, and says nothing. We’re guessing a lot more... and once we get a look at the long hallway where all the bodies are stored, we realize we’re right.

Ethan is still a skeptic about all this, and what he says makes a lot of sense. These people waiting to be car-crashed into Wayward Pines as needed aren’t willing volunteers, like the folks who’re running the Complex. They didn’t choose to be there. They’re abductees. And David agrees, but he’s got a justification ready to go. He’s saving their lives, man! He’s saving the lives of their future children, grandchildren, and beyond! “I did this because I had to,” he says.

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Later he asks Ethan, “Has anyone ever lived a life entirely defined by their own choices?”, citing soldiers drafted into war as an example. The men walk into an opulent room that’s completely different than any other setting we’ve seen yet on this show, in town or in the Complex. Two thousands years, he tells Ethan, was enough time for the environment to “reset,” so that’s why he picked 4028 as the target year for the ultimate second chance for the ultimate cause: the survival of the human race. Building the town didn’t take long, and keeping the abbies out proved surprisingly easy. Unlike humans, he says, their behavior is predictable. Hence, the need for all that surveillance.

We get another flashback, this time to David meeting Wayward Pines’ future school headmaster, Mrs. Fisher the hypnotherapist. She’s very much a believer in his cause. “You have to do whatever it takes, Dr. Pilcher,” she says. And so he does! We then see him chatting up Pope the security guard (who’s otherwise planning a hot weekend of “March Madness, the couch, and Rocky Road”), and learn of Pope’s struggles with the law, subsequent straightening-out, and squelched desire to become a police officer. Since he’s a guy invested in second chances, future Sheriff Pope—whose erratic behavior earlier in the season is suddenly making a lot more sense—becomes David’s number-one recruiter (i.e. kidnapper; chloroform is involved) of future Wayward Pines residents.

Meanwhile, Theresa is futzing at her desk, wondering if McCall left any clues about Plot 33 behind. Of course he did, because the package, which he didn’t exactly hide all that well. As she pages through the binder, boss man Big Bill calls across the room: “Whatchu lookin’ at, babe?” He becomes irate when he realizes she’s looking at Plot 33 surveyor maps (seems it’s a large, curiously undeveloped parcel of prime residential real estate) rather than scouting properties for the town’s newest resident (a lawyer who’s still in the ICU, apparently). Theresa bites back her anger right as Kate walks in, obviously in search of the very maps that Bill has just snapped about.

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The two adversaries step out for coffee and barbed dialogue. Theresa can’t hide her disdain for the woman who nearly broke up her marriage, and Kate chooses her words carefully. (But she hasn’t been careful enough, since Bill has somehow taken notice of her conversations with delivery guy Ted ... and since in Wayward Pines, gossip can lead to a public execution, Ted is sufficiently rattled.) “I want to change things,” Kate says. She’s come to accept she’s in Wayward Pines because of choices, mostly her own. She could have made better choices back then, but all she can do is make better choices now. “More than ever, we need to be friends,” she says, cryptically, as the scene cuts to Harold building what looks like a bomb in his toy workshop. Oh boy.

Sabotage is afoot! Though he’s worried that innocent people will die as a result of whatever they’re planning, Kate is persistent. “We have to make this choice,” she insists. (Did you notice this episode entitled “Choices” is about choices, yet?) The dramatic irony, as Ethan learns absolutely everything about David’s plan, builds to a fever pitch as Kate’s plan to bust out of Wayward Pines by any means necessary tick-tocks into place in the episode’s final moments.

“You have to tell them the truth,” Ethan insists. “I tried,” David says. Ethan and his family, and Kate, and the rest, are all part of “Group B.” The first wave, he explains, were told immediately, and they couldn’t handle it. There was chaos, suicides, and the fiery destruction glimpsed in the episode’s opening. That’s why there’s such emphasis on the First Generation, of which Ben is a part, and David insists that Ethan is the guy to keep the town safe until the kids, who are enlightened with WP’s truth, grow up and take over. Young minds can handle the truth, David says. But we see Ben, still wearing his school tie, looking full of despair at his new reality.

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“There’s a new threat,” David says. A faction prepared to do something reckless: take down the fence. He doesn’t know who they are, but we do, and as Ethan says he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure nobody is killed by the radicals, the abbies, or David’s controlling laws, we cut back to Harold and Kate. The bomb, we see, is tucked inside a wooden music box.

“It’s ready,” Harold says. Next week: BOOM?