We begin episode 1 of The Wilds with the aftermath of what’s happened on the island as Agent Dean Young and Daniel Faber discuss Leah’s situation. She asks what the “others” have been through and as we see flashes of the island itself, within 180 seconds of The Wilds starting we already know there are survivors.
Before we see the crash itself though, we hear from 17 year old Leah who bemoans her life and how responsibilities were thrust upon these girls before their time. “The world is a dangerous place for a sexually evolved girl” Leah continues, before informing us that being a girl is a worse hell than being on an island.
We then jump to the island prior to Leah’s rescue but this is interspersed around flashbacks of Leah’s parents sending her to a retreat as a way to try and help her, post break-up.
With all the girls arriving in pairs, Jeanette happens to be the only one who showed up to the island alone. It turns out they’re en-route to Hawaii and after some brief introductions to the different girls, the plane shakes and shudders.
We cut back to the interview room though instead of seeing the plane go down, as Leah tells the two men she sat in her “love puddle” and thought about a guy. She can’t remember what time she crash-landed and apparently the part at the beginning of her ordeal is a complete blur. Apparently, this goes for the rest of the inhabitants too.
Two of the girls, sisters Rachel and Nora, are on the island already with the former throwing up. Her sister doesn’t seem too phased though as she pats her back half-heartedly. Nora and Rachel immediately begin fighting.
Shelby finds herself forced to save Martha who winds up caught in water. Using her shirt, Martha takes it and wraps it around Martha’s leg. Meanwhile, Leah drags Jeanette to safety while Dot realizes that this girl isn’t breathing. With all the girls gathered together, Leah comments how strange it is that they all seem to have knowledge on doing CPR.
Leah awakens as Jeanette embraces her and apologizes. With no flight attendant in sight, Shelby decides to head inland to find fresh water – with Toni tagging along too. Only things take a turn for the worst when Toni smacks Shelby in the face with some stray branches. They don’t find any water though and retreat back to the beach.
Nora meanwhile buries her phone in a bid to try and dry it out. With only one bar and deciding they should make a call to one number, they contemplate who to phone. They mention how the area codes are different for emergency services… and then go on to mention they can only phone one person back home (ignoring said area codes being different in every country) Anyway, the phone miraculously rings (meaning they must be near or in the US) but the phone dies and runs out of battery.
Back on the island, Fatin’s luggage rocks up on shore and she immediately starts doing her make-up. Jeanette meanwhile heads off away from the arguing girls and collapses on the ground, bleeding from the mouth. A montage for this girl we’ve met for all of 10 minutes begins, as all the girls join together and bury her in the sand.
During further flashbacks, we see Leah with her crush. This author’s name is Jeffrey and she lost her virginity to him after lying about her age. When Jeffrey finds this out later on – courtesy of an anonymous birth certificate being sent – he tells her to get out the car.
Back in the present, Fatin hands out the different clothes from the luggage to the girls as they sit around a fire they’ve made. Together, they play Never Have I Ever as the situation surrounding Leah’s past is brought up around how she slept with the author after lying about her age.
As we jump back to the interview again, Leah mentions how she was the only one who heard a ringing phone that night. Scrambling over to Jeanette, it turns out her phone is there and it’s ringing too.
Leah phones Jeffrey, of all people, and listens to him tell her that everything is over. She remains quiet though and is too caught up by the sound of his voice to answer and ask for help. She wants to know if Jeffrey “tried” for her but it’s clear that he didn’t.
Elsewhere, a woman named Gretchen receives a series of text messages confirming that they have an issue. Code X to be precise, and this seems to be related to Jeanette. Apparently this team cut off communications to her, have cameras set up to show the girls together on the island and are clearly orchestrating their every move.
The Episode Review
Oof… wow. The Wilds gets off to a pretty shaky start – to say the least. This is an example of exactly how not to start your show and I genuinely don’t think I’ve seen a worse pilot this year outside of The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
Going into this I was informed by Amazon that this is a show designed exclusively for females but even that can’t excuse the writing and editing in this. Within 180 seconds we know that Leah survived the island ordeal, diminishing any sort of tension involving her on the island as we know she survives.
Then Leah mentions that “others” survived too and again, this reduces any tension as we know she’s not alone in coming away unscathed.
We also know this is a government experiment, nearby to America and that a woman named Gretchen has “operatives” on the island. That’s before getting to the more logical side of things where these kids couldn’t track down fresh water but did manage to find tinder and make a fire in high winds on the beach.
I do like the idea of an all-female troupe on an island though but really this could have been handled so much better. The editing ruins any sense of tension as we flit between different areas and the narration from the interviews ruins any sense of dread that could be in play from a standard survival scenario.
Imagine if Lost had Jack sat in a room talking to Kate about everything that happened up until Season 5. How he fought hard to save his friends and how there were “other survivors”… and then we cut back to the island to see this play out. All tension and allure would be gone instantly and that’s exactly what’s happening here too.
Still, we’ve got 9 episodes to go until we catch up with ourselves in the present so hopefully the episodes that follow pick up a bit as this pilot gets off to a poor start.