Leslie Hope’s direction places a heavy emphasis on Pike’s haunted, haunted nature. He’s shot from novel angles to make him look extra insecure, and he’s often shown sharp in a scene or alone in a crowd to emphasize his paranoia. At no point is Pike allowed to be comfortable or around allies, even if the only person he is with is Ruth. Pike is alone in his mission, and he has cut himself off from the last friends he had who might speak for him. Instead, he’s determined to end things his way, no matter what.
Full credit to Steven Ogg. Ever since I showed up as Trevor Grand Theft Auto Vhe’s made a name for himself as a sought-after character actor, backed by incredible twists and turns the Walking Dead and western world among other things. He was no less outstanding than Pike, displaying both great charm and skill as an actor. His scenes with Ruth, Till and Layton have all crackled with energy, and Ogg’s final confrontation with Daveed Diggs in Ivan’s way shows Ogg’s full range as an actor, while Diggs is busy in response. It’s standout stuff, and centering the episode around the character of Pike while interspersing other characters around him makes for a fitting possible finale for the character. But as we’ve seen, just because someone isn’t on the show anymore doesn’t mean they’re off the mortal plane.
Given Layton’s concussions and his waking dream sequences, maybe one day Pike might be back. Layton relied on Pike to do his dirty work, and while Layton raced around on Snowpiercer, Pike (and Ruth) were the people fighting Wilford at every turn. Pike fought Layton’s fight and got bloody hands when Layton couldn’t or wouldn’t. Pike was a necessary weapon in Layton’s arsenal and a key member of Layton’s team on several occasions, but Pike just couldn’t let go of his past.
Other people with similar or worse trauma, such as Roche and Wilford, appear to be able to move on, but Pike never was able to, which is probably why he remained such a useful person within the resistance movement and why he is so useful outside an unpredictable cannon was of it. Apparently Pike 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, mourn, but not Pike. Pike had a dogged determination second only to Wilford’s literal attack dog.
This is a useful trait, but a dangerous one. Governments need someone to get their way, like a Ruth or a Kevin or even a Pike. Honestly, though, Pike lacked the loyalty to Layton to take the job long-term. Zarah was confident that Layton would find a way to manipulate Pike once again to bribe him to her side. He could not; At the end of the day, Pike was his own man and his ability to work for Layton was permanently disabled by the New Eden lie.