The first season of The Wilds was surprising. A breath of fresh air and one that showcased such intriguing and developed characters. It was a show that upped the ante every episode, and by the end of the first season, you just wanted more.
The Wilds’ premise is pretty straightforward, and survival hangs in the balance for a group of teenage girls stranded on a deserted island after the explosive discovery that what’s happening to them is an elaborate social experiment. But season 2 ups the drama and keeps you guessing by introducing more test subjects – a new island of teenage boys – who must also fight for survival under the watchful eye of the experiment’s puppet master.
By the end of the first season of The Wilds, it was clear that the show would somehow switch directions with The Boys’ introduction. For some, that introduction seemed to be the wrong thing to do, and The Wilds was this show that many people had gravitated towards because of how female-centric it was. Others were intrigued with the experiment being done again but on a male group.
It was an idea that had divided people.
To me, I was a mix of both. While I was intrigued to see where the story would go with the introductions of the boys, I was also skeptical about the show losing what had made me love it so much. While the show’s story was intriguing and kept me on my seat, the characters made me stay.
My love for all of these girls had me wanting more and more of them. The moment they appeared on screen during the second season, I audibly sighed because I missed them so much.
So does the boys’ arrival change the show that we had loved? To some level, it does. But for the most part, The Wilds is very much still the same.
There is a lot that happens in this season, but it is clear that the main idea is to state the differences between the two groups. It is precisely what the point of the experiment is, and even from the character archetypes, you can see why everyone was chosen.
While I will not say a lot about the boys and their story, I think it is better to leave it for everyone to discover it as I did and get shocked as more and more gets revealed. I will say that I did not expect to love and hate who I did.
The show has always been good to play on our expectations with characters. Kirin (Charles Alexander) appeared on screen from the first moment, and I had an obvious idea of what I expected of him and why he would probably end up being my least favourite of the new group. The girls were very much like that too. The boys, however, crank it up to a 100.
By episode 5, Kirin was my favourite out of the group. The one who somehow surprised me completely and that I just wanted to know more and more about.
And that is what this show does so well—playing on the expectations we have and ultimately changing them. The first season did it a lot, and upon rewatch of said season, it happened time and time again where my opinion changed.
While some of the stories feel repetitive, especially by watching the boys do what we saw the girls do during the first season, the show can keep it fresh because of the characters. No matter how much the story might repeat itself, it is those characters that we come back to time and time again.
And let’s talk about the girls. They are back, and they are still the best. They might not have as much to do as during the first season, but it doesn’t matter because those characters are so defined that we know them. We know how they would react. And this season, the show does a great job at showing the difference between the boys we are seeing at the beginning of them being stranded versus the girls who have already been through so much.
It’s a dichotomy that is played on perfectly. So much so that by the end of the season, when they set the stage for its future, it is clear cut that the girls have been through a lot more and are equipped a lot better for what is to come.
The Wilds continues to impress and proves that it has a grand idea behind it. This isn’t just about people being stranded or the experiment. They advance the story with significant stride and lean into Gretchen (Rachel Griffiths) being the villain. It is fun to watch the show realize that they can go more prominent, and it still works.
While it is disappointing that the girls take a little bit of a backburner role this season, the overall arc makes it worth it. It might not have been the popular choice, but it was a choice that was necessary to advance the story.