Leslie Hope’s direction emphasizes that haunted, hunted nature of Pike strongly. He’s shot from novel angles to make him look extra unsettled, and he’s often shown in deep focus in a scene, or by himself in a crowd to highlight his paranoia. At no point is Pike allowed to seem comfortable or around allies, even when the only person he’s around is Ruth. Pike is alone in his mission, and he’s cut himself off from the last friends he still had who might be able to talk on his behalf. Instead, he’s determined to end things his way, no matter what.
Full credit to Steven Ogg. Since showing up as Trevor in Grand Theft Auto Vhe’s blown up as an in-demand character actor, bolstered by incredible turns on The Walking Dead and Westworld among other things. He’s been no less stellar as Pike, showing off both ample charm and skill as a performer. His scenes with Ruth, Till, and Layton all have crackled with energy, and Ogg’s final confrontation with Daveed Diggs in Ivan’s way show off Ogg’s full range as a performer while giving Diggs a lot to work with in response. It’s stellar stuff, and centering the episode around the character of Pike, while sprinkling in other characters around him, makes for a fitting possible finale for the character. Though, as we’ve seen, just because someone is no longer on the mortal plane, that doesn’t mean they’re off the show entirely.
Given Layton’s concussions and his waking dream sequences, perhaps Pike might be back again one day soon. Layton depended on Pike to do his dirty work, and while Layton was off on Snowpiercer racing around, Pike (and Ruth) were the people who kept fighting Wilford at every turn. Fighting Layton’s fight, getting his hands bloody when Layton couldn’t or wouldn’t, Pike was a necessary weapon in Layton’s arsenal, and a key member of Layton’s team several times over, but Pike just couldn’t let go of his past.
Other people with similar or worse trauma, like Roche and Wilford, seem to be able to move on, but Pike never could, which is probably why he remained such a useful person within the resistance movement, and why he was such a loose cannon outside of it. Pike seemingly could neither forgive nor forget, and he was a little too smart to fall for Layton’s attempts at reconciliation. The others could let go, grieve, but not Pike. Pike had a dogged determination matched only by Wilford’s literal attack dog.
That’s a useful trait, but a dangerous one. Governments need someone to enforce will, like a Ruth or a Kevin or even a Pike. Though, truthfully, Pike lacked the loyalty to Layton to have the job long-term. Zarah was confident that Layton could figure out a way to manipulate Pike one more time, to bring him around to their side through bribery. He couldn’t; Pike, at the end of the day, was his own man, and his ability to labor for Layton was permanently knocked off-line by the lie of New Eden.