Season 2 of The Wilds was a rollercoaster that ended just as you’re starting the descent. It worked in a lot of ways, didn’t work in a few specific ones, but it absolutely left us wanting — no — needing more. I cannot even process a world where we don’t get a Season 3. It’s not a want, it’s a need. These stories need a conclusion.
I’m not even talking just for the girls, though yes mostly for them, no use lying here. But the boys — as boring as I found them at times — served a storytelling purpose and can, perhaps, find redemption, and better storylines, in a Season 3 that would require them to team up with the girls.
Before we dream big, though, let’s examine the second season, and discuss what worked, what didn’t, and what we want to see next:
The girls: Yes, all of them. From Rachel, who wasn’t that easy to love in Season 1 and who in Season 2 proved to be calming presence, and someone who really and truly bonded not just with Leah, but with the rest of the group. Martha, who we thought we’d lost, Martha who some people might dismiss, but who we always saw — and who the storytelling didn’t forget. Leah, who lost herself, found herself, and then ended up leading, even when it was hard. Especially when it was hard. Dot, who was more than just the strong one, more than just the one everyone looked to for answers. Dot, who finally got to be just …Dot, whoever that was. Fatin, who has so much love to give, and has finally found an outlet for it that truly means something to her — and I’m not even talking ship wise. Toni, who was more than just half of a ship, who was a friend, who was soft and kind and angry and lost, because we can be all of those things at once and still worthy of love. And Shelby, who found freedom, love and …acceptance, with a group of people she would have never let herself choose before. They all worked, in their own very different ways, because they all got to be individuals.
Shoni: I shipped it in Season 1, I did, but I fell deeply, madly in love with them in Season 2. With the soft way they looked at each other. With how they always saw each other, and took care of one another. With the way their love made them stronger, and weaker, but they accepted that. And with the way that, even when broken, it never felt like there was a chasm big enough to keep them from coming back together.
Kirin: Yes, I’m as shocked as you are to find Kirin was my favorite of the boys. I’m even more shocked at how much I didn’t like him before, and then, in two words, said to Josh, “I believe you,” everything changed. If you’d asked me, I would have said Kirin would have been the one least likely to believe Josh, and perhaps that’s why it worked so well that he was the one who did. Whatever I thought about you, Kirin, or said about you, I take it back.
Gretchen: There’s something deliciously evil and yet completely relatable about Gretchen that makes it hard to look away when she’s on screen. You know she’s a villain, but she — of course — doesn’t see herself as once, and she’s so convincing with her reasoning that, at times, you sort of wonder if there isn’t a part of her that could be right. That’s brilliant writing …and acting.
The ending: Now that was a twist, and it worked not because it was shocking — it wasn’t really, even if we didn’t see it coming — but because it felt earned. Good stories take you to a place where you go oh yes, that makes sense. That’s what The Wilds Season 2 did, and that’s why the show deserves a Season 3.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
The boys, individually, or as a group: Outside of Kirin, the boys didn’t really work as anything other than a comparison point. They weren’t as interesting individually, and other than the relationship between Kirin and Ivan, or Raf’s backstory, there wasn’t much there to connect to them. They had moments, of course, but they never truly clicked, separately or as a team.
Seth: The sexual assault storyline wasn’t necessary, but Seth in general also just …didn’t click. The message was supposed to be that it was about individuals, not genders, and Seth was just the wrong operative, and this isn’t really a defense of Seth, but how did he even get there? How did he trick Gretchen and so many others, for so long? No one knows, and does anyone particularly care about him?
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE NEXT
This one’s both easy, and hard. The boys and the girls will have to work together, by necessity. And it will be fun to explore some of the dynamics between them. But the show must not lose what has made it work — the relationships between the girls, and their individual growth, not to mention Shoni and yes, Leatin. Because that’s there. We all see it, right? Riiight? Season 2 didn’t always work with the groups separated, but Season 3 can work with all of them together, as long as there’s balance and the show focuses on the characters that work and uses those to, perhaps, elevate the ones that didn’t quite click in Season 2.
Here’s to that.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of The Wilds Season 2? Share with us in the comments below!