[SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE OF THE WILDS]
Amazon Prime’s The Wilds returns this week for its second season, and this time, the girls aren’t the only group of castaway teens. The Wilds follows a group of girls from radically different backgrounds as they come together for a supposed wellness retreat. Still, when their plane crash lands in the middle of the ocean, they’re forced to work together in order to survive on a deserted island. But the longer they remain, the more they start to figure out that something’s not right, and they’re actually at the center of an elaborate social experiment.
As hinted at the end of the first season, the girls aren’t the only ones taking place in Gretchen Klein’s social experiment Dawn of Eve, and season two delivers on precisely that. The addition of the boys to the narrative doesn’t overshadow the girls’ story, and often it highlights significant gender disparities and serves as a great “compare and contrast” dynamic for the experiment and the audience. There were times when their screen time tended to cut away from more exciting moments from the girls’ side. Their storyline holds its own and thoroughly works to shock and showcase just how men tend to deal with sensitive issues.
They’ve come full circle on the girls’ side and grown into a solid and determined family. They’ve established routines, roles, and a bond that transcends this shared experience. But there are still a lot of conflicts to be experienced as Leah (Sarah Pidgeon) continues to spiral, Rachel (Reign Edwards) grieves her sister and deals with the trauma of the shark attack, Shelby (Mia Healey) and Toni (Erana James) develop their relationship, Martha (Jenna Clause) wrestles with her love of animals and her role as the hunter of the group, and Fatin (Sophia Ali) and Dot (Shannon Berry) struggle with the weight of keeping everyone alive.
The season progresses from maddening to f-ed up as we see what goes down on the island until the moment the girls are “rescued” and just how much the trauma of the experiment is taking a toll on them. And the boys are no different. Their bonds are tested all the way through as an assault divides the group and strong conversations about how quick and easy we’re able to forgive someone due to our need for survival.
Overall, season two of The Wilds managed to keep me hooked. Even when I wanted to, I couldn’t stop watching, which would be good or bad depending on who you ask. The show beautifully builds on the foundations they built in the first season and pushes characters to their breaking points to bring them back up to push them back down again immediately. There’s a lot to love from this season and a lot of meaningful conversations that will be had around it, but most importantly, the show maintains its momentum and builds a lot of excitement for the next season to come.