The best family films to watch in the BT TV PlayerJul 21 | 2 min read
You might not associate a drama beginning with a plane crash with being subtle, but The Wilds was one of the more understated hits of 2020.
After that bombshell start, each of the nine teenage girls who woke up on an island slowly unravelled amid their challenging surroundings.
Race, privilege, sexuality, friendship, patriarchy, feminism and all the pressures of being a young woman were carefully explored, while the show’s plot kept us gripped.
However, the final episode certainly left some rather large loose ends untied, and with season 2 confirmed we take a look at what questions need to be answered.
Warning: Season 1 spoilers ahead
What happened to Shelby, Martha and Nora?
Let’s start with Shelby. She went through one of biggest journeys on the island: from super-happy Texan beauty queen, to being called a bigot, to beginning a relationship with Toni.
But the biggest surprise of them all was when we saw her bunker episode – without any hair and on crutches.
We know Shelby wore dentures, but we’re pretty sure her hair wasn’t fake as well – the island isn’t the kind of environment you could keep a wig in place for so long.
Did she injure her ankle on the way out of the island? Were the effects of the experiment too much for her to take, causing her to have a Britney moment and shave her head? She did start to cut off her hair in episode 8, when a hair brush got stuck in it, but that’s as far as it went.
In the final moments of the series, we saw her receive urgent medical attention – we could assume this was planned in some way in order to give Leah the chance to escape from her room (the two exchanged notes when they were allowed to meet and hug in the bunker). Another possibility is that Shelby is genuinely sick and has lost her hair because of ill health.
We think that Martha is probably dead. She isn’t seen in her flashback episode – instead, we see Agent Young sorting through a box of her things, and he recommends that her family is given something substantial to avoid being sued.
At one point, it looked like she might die from the severe food poisoning that swept the camp – especially when the one remaining pill that could help her was given to Toni, who was also in a bad state. However, she pulled through and instead we’re left wondering how she did die, if that’s what happened.
Nora was revealed as the second islander to be in on the whole operation.
Like Martha, we didn’t see Nora talking to investigators. Worryingly, the last we saw of her in the island was racing to the water to save twin sister Rachel from a shark attack. We know Rachel survived, although she has lost a hand presumably as a result – but did Nora sacrifice herself for her sister?
“She was throwing herself in front of the world for me,” says Rachel in her flashback episode – and perhaps she meant it more literally than we first thought.
How did the girls leave the island?
We know that the parents are aware the Dawn of Eve retreat is not exactly as advertised – but Gretchen is definitely keeping many of the details to herself, too. In one scene she talks to Leah’s parents over video call, but makes it sound like her experience on the island is nothing but positive.
When Agent Young accidentally reveals to Leah that they’re off the coast of Peru, he claims that none of the girls’ parents have been able to get to them yet because of visa problems – but we don’t know how true that statement is.
Will the girls be let out of the bunker?
It seems unclear as to when the girls will be set free. Gretchen and her team have a real mess to sort out first (Martha’s fate, for example, seems to be one of them).
Also, how can the girls be expected to keep quiet on their return to the real world? Perhaps those who are oblivious to the experiment could live with the plane crash story – but would Leah and Shelby be allowed home, knowing that all is not as it seems?
What is the Twilight of Adam?
The final scene of season 1 shows Leah discovering footage called ‘Twilight of Adam’ - which seems to be a similar experiment involving young men rather than women.
It’s not a huge surprise, in truth. We know that Gretchen was interested in monitoring groups of teenage boys and girls separately during Jeanette’s flashback episode – Gretchen remarked to Jeanette that the boys didn’t fair as well as the girls in the test group, even when most of the girls were seen copying each other to give the incorrect answer to a perception question.
When Gretchen recruited Nora, she told her that she wanted to prove that a world of women would be much more of a success than one built by men – so it makes sense that she would want to prove this with the same experiment involving boys.
We also wonder if there is another Dawn of Eve experiment – it seems that Gretchen is keen on plenty of data to prove a theory, and surely one group is not enough…
The first episode of The Wilds is free for Prime and Non-Prime members until December 26, 2020. The whole season is available to Prime members now.