Review: ‘The Wilds’ is not your ideal story line

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Photo credit: Promotional image by Amazon Prime Video

Prime videos newest series, “The Wilds,” released in December 2021, follows a group of teenage girls as they are stranded on an island. The riveting and surprising journey will leave you addicted.

By Rose Sarner, Staff Reporter

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead.

A group of teen girls all struggling with intense internal conflict and trauma are all stranded on an island together…..what could go wrong?

Prime Video’s newest series “The Wilds,”  written by Sarah Streicher, has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and follows a group of diverse teen girls all struggling with issues a parent could only try to prevent. Whether it’s discovering their sexuality, eating disorders, boy problems, substance abuse, academic pressure, dying family members — you name it, and these girls are going through it. This series takes a modern, teenage twist on the “stranded-on-an-island” trope of shows like like “Survivor,” “Lord of the Flies” and “Lost” but creates fascinating, yet unrealistic, issues and character lives. The show was released in December of 2020 with 10 episodes in the first season and was picked up for a second season later that month. 

The thrilling drama and mystery follows the group of girls trying to survive as castaways, stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere after their plane en route to Hawaii for the Dawn of Eve program, a young women’s empowerment retreat, crashes. There’s just one catch, these girls are subjects in a social experiment, their crash was entirely staged, and their parents knew the whole time. Hoping to heal their daughters from all their trauma and allow them to grow as women, their parents were promised their daughters would cultivate new skills, gain confidence and heal their past. 

The story also explores the unique character running this social experiment: Gretchen Klein, played by Rachel Griffiths, a former professor who was fired at her past job as a phycologist. She is portrayed as the ultimate feminist running this all-girls empowerment retreat. However, she seems to cause the girls more stress, anxiety and chaos.

As I dove into this fascinating series, I thought of “Survivor,” “Lord of the Flies” and “Lost.” The story is similar to “Lord of the Flies,” but if it was done with a group of struggling teen girls. You immediately notice the distinction between the leaders and followers and witnesses.  It seems that each character is based on a typical high school archetype — you witness a mean girl, a hard at work athlete, a nerd and many more. However, do not be too sure — you may think you know what is happening, but expect surprises.

Every episode ends with an addictive cliffhanger that will make you never want to stop. The episodes are structured switching back and forth between one of the nine girls’ lives and their current life on the island, giving viewers a deeper understanding of their typical lifestyle, personality and struggles. Each individual character on the show has their own unique and traumatic background, not one of these teenage girls has a normal life.  

Unfortunately, the series exaggerates many teen girl issues to an extreme making it seem like they dismiss and do not acknowledge the important and serious reality such issues cause in girls lives.  An example of this is the portrayal of the character Rachel’s eating disorder, played by Reign Edwards. When Rachel’s eating disorder gets to its peak, her sister notices and instead of telling her parents or a trusted adult, she tells the woman running the social experiment. This ultimately leads to Rachel and the many other girls being sent on this crazy adventure to so called “Hawaii” to help the girls heal from their various problems, which is a harmful representation because of the traumatic events they are forced into dealing with while stranded on the island.

Despite the unnecessary exaggeration used throughout this series in hopes of drawing viewers in, the shows plot is enough to catch the audiences attention and have you hooked after episode one. If you have the time, I suggest getting lost in this fascinating unique series. My advice to you: start early and make sure you have a couple hours, trust me you will be immediately drawn in.   

  • Story
  • Acting
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact
3.6

Summary

Prime Videos newer series “The Wilds” follows a group of struggling young girls as they try and survive stranded on an island. As they are on the island various secrets unfold about why they are there and all the girls lives in general.