The Wilds Season 2 On Amazon Prime Video: When Trauma Meets Drama, Film Companion

Eight teenage girls on a private plane. What could go wrong? In the first season of The Wilds, the plane crashes into an ocean surrounding a deserted island. The girls are each from a different background — queerness, indigeneity, colour, class — carrying their own burden of trauma. This diversity and the fact that this show is about and made by women (The Wilds is created by Sarah Streicher) was a feminist draw, infusing the genre of stranded-horror with both YA freshness and a compelling, female gaze. 

The cast of mostly newcomers included the Nora (Helena Howard), her sister Rachel (Reign Edwards), the Persian socialite Fatin (Sophia Ali), best friends Toni (Erana James) and Martha (Jenna Clause), Leah (Sarah Pidgeon), Dot (Shannon Berry), and the Christian beauty queen Shelby (Mia Healey) who, in a narrative twist, comes out as a lesbian at the end of the first season.

The bigger twist is that the plane crash and being stranded, collectively, on an island is staged. It is a social experiment run by Gretchen Klein (Rachel Griffiths, best known for her performances in Six Feet Under, Brothers And Sisters, and Muriel’s Wedding), a notorious woman of science, who is trying to study homosocial relationships in an experiment called “The Dawn Of Eve”. Why? Because her working hypothesis is that a matriarchal society is not only more efficient, but also less violent than the patriarchy we currently live in. So she creates this world that is without parents, boys, technology, or the social architecture that envelops us at any given point of time. 

The new eight-episode season which just dropped on Amazon Prime Video takes this strand further. There is a new group of all-male teenagers — or test subjects — the Kirin  (Charles Alexander), Rafael (Zack Calderon), Josh (Nicholas Coombe), Ivan (Miles Gutierrez-Riley), Henry (Aidan Laprete), Bo (Tanner Ray Rook) and Scotty (Reed Shannon). This becomes the “control” group who must fight for their survival against whom she compares how the girls did. But instead of turning into men, some of the boys turn into monsters. This companion experiment is called “Twilight of Adam”.

While the density of characters has doubled this season, so have the intrigues, twists, and sense of foreboding. Each backstory that unfolds provides a richer, more compelling glimpse into what goes on in the mind of the young Gen Z mind, adrift and most traumatized by their specific upbringings, but also the larger societal collapse. 

While each new male character is being established — the charisma and mysterious charm of Rafael, the overconfident fratty brattishness of Kirin, the charming queerness of Ivan, for example — the girls are not left behind. Like twisting a knife deeper, their stories emerge more wounded and troubled. In the first season a character says, “Death has been hanging over our heads. And yet, the only thing I seem to care about is love”, a conviction that is further explored in this season. These stories, jostling for space, culminate in a climax that is shocking, unexpected, while also promising another season. 

Recommendation in collaboration with Amazon Prime Video.

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