Sunday, December 13, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Wilds' - Rachel Rushes to Embrace Any Lead That Could Bring Her Back to Her Ambitious Life in 'Day Two'

Amazon's The Wilds - Episode 1.02 "Day Two"

The castaways are still reeling after a tragic event. Frustrated by everyone else's inaction, Rachel leads an expedition to the island's summit to get a lay of the land. We learn more about her career as an elite athlete, the extreme measures she's taken to succeed and the brutal truth she isn't sharing with the others.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Amazon's The Wilds.

"Day Two" was written by Sarah Streicher and directed by John Polson

In its first two episodes, the storytelling likes to foreshadow a number of dark things to come for the castaways. That may just be the design of the show because each character is narrating their events from a time in the future. They have the ability to see things in hindsight. However, they are clearly scarred by the events that have yet to happen. That means Rachel, Dr. Faber and Agent Young know that something tragic has happened to Nora. They address that right away. And yet, it's not a story that Rachel is comfortable sharing just yet. She is more intrigued by the idea of painting herself in a more flattering light. She knows that she doesn't come across well. She is hot-headed and stubborn. She is an elite athlete fighting to get back to the life she demanded excellence from. She blames Nora for even being on the plane in the first place. She didn't want to break away from her training. She never saw a problem with her behavior. It was perfectly reasonable for her to stretch her body to the limit in the pursuit of achieving greatness as a diver. She didn't want to prove her coach right. She was capable of getting even better if she continued to put the hard work in. She didn't want to listen to those saying she had hit her limit. She didn't want to stop. That compromised her health in several serious ways. She develops bulimia. She is hospitalized for it and still refuses to see it as a problem. She still gets back on the board and tells her family that she is healthy. She isn't. That creates a fair amount of dread as she pushes for greatness only to come toppling down both in the past and present. The show executes that tension very well. On the island, she's running up the mountain certain to find something at the top to offer the group some hope. In the past, she prepares for the dive that will prove she is the best diver in the competition. Both end in disaster. She suffers a head injury because her body has essentially outgrown the sport. And there is nothing around this island to suggest any form of human civilization. Now, the audience knows that not to be true. These girls are constantly being monitored. Gretchen is determined to keep moving forward with the experiment despite Jeanette's death. The people who also work for this organization are slightly concerned about that. However, they don't do anything to prevent this from continuing for the other castaways. They keep going according to plan. That means all the small victories the castaways earn along the way are just part of a forced narrative Gretchen has constructed to seemingly prove a larger point about their psychology. She notes that the dynamic has changed between Rachel and Nora when they come down the mountain. She can read their body language. That is significant. The progress they make may all be forced. The trauma they endure will only leave lasting scars on their minds and bodies. Of course, it's easier to highlight the physical harm. That's seemingly the effective way to tease just how dangerous this adventure will continue to become for the castaways. At some point, something drastic happens to Nora. Meanwhile, Rachel's right hand will have to be amputated. That will kill her dream of being a competitive diver. It shouldn't have had to come to that point at all though. She didn't want to accept the reality of her situation. It had several moments of physical harm done to her. She never wanted to accept the truth. She only saw this one thing in her life while her family had so many other opportunities to bond with each other. She has her sister on this island. That is a blessing. It may still be short-lived. Again, all of this produces trauma that will leave a lasting impression. Someone has orchestrated it all. That just means they will have to be held accountable for everything that happens to those forced to deal with all of this - in addition to the employees who facilitate every development designed to inform a sense of progress. Many people are apparently willing to go along with this experiment. That too should inform just how depraved humanity can be. People put these pressures on themselves to succeed. At times, it is crippling. It is isolating as well. Rachel always felt like she didn't belong in her family. Diving provided her with an outlet. She placed all of her value in succeeding in the sport. She is capable of so much more. The island may reveal that to her. It will just force out a lot of ugliness as well which still remains an extreme way to address all of these complicated emotions while adding even more to the mix.