Warning! Major spoilers for The Wilds.
The Wilds ended on an explosive note, providing little-to-no answers to the mysteries it teased all season long. From the very beginning, the Amazon Prime series revealed that the girls made it off the island, but the hows and whys to everything that happened remained a mystery. Here’s The Wilds‘ season finale explained.
The YA thriller follows a group of girls stranded on a deserted island after surviving a plane crash. Everything that happens on the island is a flashback as the girls are currently being held in a bunker, completely separated from one another. They’re each recounting their events of what happened on the island after being interrogated by two men.
The Wilds‘ season finale shows their final day on the island. The girls are still being heavily monitored by Gretchen and everyone else back at the Dawn of Eve. After a full season of heavy paranoia, Leah realizes she was right all along and Nora was the one who had something to do with their crash. Their final scene on the island shows Rachel being attacked by a shark, explaining her missing hand during her interrogation scene. What happened between the shark attack and their rescue is a mystery.
The Dawn of Eve & Gretchen’s Motivations
Gretchen is the mastermind behind everything the girls have experienced. Throughout its first season, The Wilds sheds a little light on Gretchen’s motives. Rachel Griffith’s Gretchen wants to prove women are capable of being better leaders than men. And so, the girls were placed in a chaotic situation to prove that women are capable of rising above and coming together to work through the problem. But the real kicker is that stranding and saving them from the island is only part of the plan.
The Wilds‘ season finale shows Gretchen’s reason behind her desire to raise up women in such a twisted way. Her college-aged son participated in a fraternity hazing ritual that led to another boy’s death. She recognizes her son’s fault in the incident but blames the patriarchy for shaping a system that allowed this to happen. Gretchen’s rage toward toxic masculinity blinded her, pushing her to an extreme solution to ending it. She presents a dangerous definition of feminism, and the girls will likely band together to show her that in The Wilds season 2.
The Wilds presents a complicated view of feminism. Gretchen sees herself as a feminist icon, of sorts, taking a group of young women and showing them they are more than the patriarchy tells them they are. She’s forcing the girls to take a stand and rely on themselves instead of men. But she’s coming about it from the wrong place. Feminism is supposed to be about the equality of the sexes, not one taking charge over the other as Gretchen wants. That idea will likely be explored in The Wilds season 2, taking Gretchen from a vague villain to a clear one.
Why Nora Was Working With Gretchen
Early in The Wilds season 1, it’s revealed that two survivors are in on the Dawn of Eve’s plan. One is Jeanette, who dies in the first episode, and the second is eventually revealed to be Nora. She became connected to the organization through a tragic connection to Gretchen — the boy Gretchen’s son killed was Nora’s friend and crush, Quinn. The two women cross paths at the prison where Gretchen’s son is being held. They take their conversation to a pancake house where they discuss the dangers of toxic masculinity and Nora’s current discontent with her life.
Gretchen takes advantage of the vulnerable state Nora is in after Quinn’s death and convinces the teen to join the experiment. The patriarchy created the fraternity system that killed Quinn, so Nora joins up to end it once and for all. Gretchen seems to have fully convinced her of the power of the Dawn of Eve’s mission, as she asks if she can take her twin sister Rachel along, too.
The Wilds Hints At Martha’s Death
The Wilds follows Lost‘s lead and focuses on one character per episode, providing flashbacks to inform the audience of the person’s backstory. Those flashbacks are typically woven in with that character telling her story to the federal agents in the present-day — but the exception to this rule is Martha. Her episode ends with agents rifling through her stuff, looking for something substantial to provide Gretchen with so Martha’s family doesn’t sue. This implies Martha died at some point between Rachel’s shark attack and the girls’ extraction from the island.
Martha’s likely death points to something bigger, though. Whether it was the fallout from confirmation that Nora was part of the scheme, or something else totally unrelated, it points to the fact that things eventually got violent. Since the organization showed concern that Martha’s parents may sue over her death, it also means that her death was avoidable. Martha dying points to the fact that things have begun to go seriously wrong in Gretchen’s experiment. But seeing the lengths Gretchen has gone to in order to prove her point about the dangers of toxic masculinity, she will stop at nothing to see it through.
What’s Going On With Shelby?
For most of The Wilds season 1, Shelby presents a perfect exterior. She’s a beauty queen contestant and a religious girl who tries her best to keep the group together. But the present-day shows an injured Shelby with a buzz cut and newly diagnosed dissociative identity disorder. It’s a far cry from the way she was on the island. Thanks to an incredibly conservative upbringing with the constant pressure to be perfect, Shelby was always a ticking time bomb. She let loose a bit once she met and fell for Toni on the island. Starting her first same-sex romance allowed her to finally begin to accept her formerly repressed sexuality. But that’s likely not enough to put Shelby into the state she’s seen in during her interrogation.
The odds are, she saw something that pushed her to her breaking point – whether that be Martha’s death, Nora’s admission to her involvement in the experiment, or something else entirely. But as she was coherent enough to secretly pass a note to Leah in the bunker, informing her she was right, there’s a chance it’s all an act to help her get to the bottom of the true intention of the experiment. That will inevitably be explored in The Wilds season 2.
The Twilight Of Adam Explained
In The Wilds season finale, Leah manages to break out of her room and explore the bunker. She finds a room with a wall of TV screens monitoring a group of boys on an island. Leah also notices an envelope stating that a group known as the Twilight of Adam acts as a control group. She then looks directly into the barrel of the camera and bewilderedly asks, “What the f***?” as the episode cuts to black.
Leah is shown discovering information the audience already knows. The girls’ plane crash was orchestrated as an experiment. Any good experiment needs a control group. The Dawn of Eve is meant to prove women can run society instead of men. So naturally, that control group should comprise of a group of boys in the same situation. Season 2 may very well bring the two groups of survivors together, and odds are the results won’t be good.
She discovers more than just the fact that they’re part of an experiment. Leah breaks the fourth wall to keep audiences on the hook for The Wilds season 2. Viewers already know about the experiment, so that’s not a shocking revelation. Leah likely opened up the folder and read further information that the audience is not yet privy to. The secrets inside that folder will likely act as the crux of The Wilds season 2.
How The Wilds Season 1 Ending Set Up Season 2
The Wilds season finale wrapped up season 1 but left some huge questions in its wake. Most likely, some of these queries will be answered in The Wilds season 2, which is currently available to watch in full on Amazon Prime. One of the ways in which season 1 sets up season 2 is with the introduction of more test subjects. Now that the boys are added to the mix, season 2 has the recipe for even more unfolding drama as they are introduced to the other group. The boys find themselves on another island, still under the watchful eyes of Gretchen and the Dawn of Eve as they carefully render their social experiment. Each of the boys will be introduced to the audience along with the stories of how they got there and the events that unfolded while being stranded on the island. Whatever else unfolds, the newly introduced boys’ group will remain a central focus as they become more intertwined with the girls’ island. Another plot thread to follow during The Wilds season 2 examines the lengths to which Gretchen will go while ensuring that her experiment is a success. Gretchen proved in season 1 that she is an ambitious woman who will stop at nothing to achieve results, and she’s likely to venture even further as the show progresses. The Wilds season 2 also reveals what was in the folder that Leah finds – the only way to share that information is by watching it, as it’s viewable right now.
The Wilds season 2 is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
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