We begin episode 8 with the Oceanic Six returning home. Bad LOST pun aside, the group here are known as The Unsinkable Eight. It turns out all of this was just the girls staging their own television appearance following their rescue.
It’s interview time in the future though as Daniel and Dean ready themselves to interview Shelby. She’s having dissociative issues and arrives in the room without her hair and on crutches. The two men waste absolutely no time grilling her about the time she spent on the island and why she felt bad about rescue arriving.
In a flashback we see Shelby in spin class with friend Becca while her Father, Dave, tries to encourage them all to keep pedaling. In the morning, Shelby sees her Father praying with a group of people as it’s clear he takes religion very seriously. Shelby takes a moment out of her busy Father’s life to ask for implants but he’s loathe to the idea. He tells her God made her beautiful and she doesn’t need them.
Later that day, Shelby and Becca head out to play bowling but there she becomes spooked when she sees her step-brother, Brian. Apparently he used to sneak into her room and they’d kiss when they were both younger. That kissing, however, soon turned into so much more.
This one incident caused Becca to go to the “dark side”; she was 13 at the time and he was 19 which obviously is pretty shocking and something that still affects her to this day. To get their own back, both girls decide to graffiti and vandalize Brian’s car.
Gretchen wans Alex on the island to initiate Phase 2 and intercept the rescue. She gives Thom orders, including an influx of cash to pay the pilot off and have him keep quiet about what they’re doing.
Back on the island, the kids decide to eat weed together while Shelby takes herself away from the others to pray. Dot approaches her though and leaves a bottle of booze next to the girl – something Shelby immediately snatches up when Dot leaves.
A drunken Shelby heads back to the group and immediately interrupts their conversation with a suggestion of playing games. While everyone scrambles and throws themselves into the water, Shelby hangs back and drinks on the shore.
Eventually she bides her time and confronts Toni about their kiss in the previous episode. After a heated encounter, Shelby mentions how she can’t wait to get back to “her”, which seems to be in reference to Becca.
In the past, we see Shelby make a move on Becca while getting dressed for her latest pageant. Only, Dave walks in and sees. Afterward, he confronts Shelby about what happened with Becca. He admits that this is the last thing they want for her, as Shelby promises to never do anything like this again.
Shelby lays into Becca later that day, telling her that she was disgusted upon hearing her story about Brian. Obviously she’s just saying this to unsettle the girl and Becca knows this. Eventually though Shelby leaves and heads back inside.
This happens to be the last time she sees Becca, who winds up committing suicide. She’s told right before her pageant show appearance too no less, eventually showing up shell-shocked and singing while biting back tears.
At home, Shelby feels guilty about what happened. Dave eventually decides to tell her she can have permanent implants but it doesn’t have the same effect it would do normally.
Back on the island, Nora and Rachel have a really touching conversation about the latter’s future and how she needs to embrace her future. At the same time, Martha stumbles through the woods and eventually sees Alex walking past. Unfortunately Alex’s appearance immediately sends Martha back to camp but they obviously don’t believe her.
On the island, Shelby eventually loses control and begins cutting bits of her hair off with a pair of scissors. Afterwards, she sits with Leah and the two “train-wrecks” (their words not mine) start to find comfort in one another.
With Alex seemingly off the island, Gretchen reveals that the pilot has been paid off and the GPS locations changed. As they rally together, the group prepare for what this experiment has in store for them next.
The Episode Review
Jokes about The Oceanic Six aside, The Wilds delivers a pretty good episode this time around as we focus on the most interesting character on the show – Shelby. It’s been coming for a while and the disclaimer at the start certainly proves that this is an episode tackling some pretty heavy stuff.
In a way, I actually think The Wilds may have benefited from doing this more across the previous episodes as aside from Rachel’s past, we haven’t really seen a lot of this. I’d say the weakest character here is probably Fatin who hasn’t had a lot to do since her big turn-around.
The pilot flying overhead is a bit of a dubious talking point too, especially given this decision to quieten the pilot would rely on there being no radio onboard for him to call in for rescue and not realizing where the island is either.
Anyway, the episode itself is easily the best so far this season and in a series of lulls and melodramatic, contrived scenarios, it’s Shelby who happens to come out the gates with the best episode. Hopefully this is a sign of things changing going forward.