Sunday, December 13, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Wilds' - Toni Responds with Rage as the Castaways Grow More Serious About Building Shelter in 'Day Six'

Amazon's The Wilds - Episode 1.04 "Day Six"

A shelter-building contest turns ugly. Toni provokes strife on her team, and we'll learn in flashbacks that this isn't the first time her rage issues have caused devastating harm.

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 Six" was written by Tonya Kong and directed by Cherie Nowlan

Toni has rage issues. When talking with Dr. Faber and Agent Young, she reflects on struggling to remain in control. That seems like the only true introspection she has done as a result of her time on the island. With some of the castaways, it's clear that their perspectives and identities have shifted. With Toni, it feels stagnant. That makes this episode more difficult to understand and feel on a grounded level. It likes to emphasize the same point about Toni over and over again. When things don't happen according to her satisfaction, then she blows up and destroys everything for the people around her. Martha has long stood by her as her loyal best friend. And yet, she can no longer tolerate that behavior when it is jeopardizing the group's ability to stay alive on this island. Now, the show jumps forward a couple of days here. In that time, the castaways have accepted that the cave Dot and Shelby found isn't good for them to survive in. That feels a little anti-productive because it's discovery was billed as a massive improvement for the well-being of the entire group. It means a plot is created where the castaways compete to see which team can build the better shelter. This is something they probably should have done earlier. Rachel is adamantly against it because it suggests that she is resigning to the idea that they will be stuck her for awhile. And yet, they need shelter in order to survive the brutal conditions of this island. Dot notes that exposure to the elements can actually do the most harm to their bodies. That may be the gravest threat they face. The final shelter isn't all that impression. But once again, it suggests that the group is improving. They are relying on the resources of the island and accepting that they have to build something here in order to survive. Nora suggests that the world will present a cosmic salvation for the group solely because they build a shelter. They will be rescued as soon as they admit to themselves that they can't keep clinging to that hope. People always read into things what they want to believe. Shelby misunderstands a monologue from Death of a Salesman. When Nora corrects her, it suddenly contradicts with her beliefs. That remains her lifeline. She has to hold onto them in order to make sense of the crazy world around her. She isn't vindictive like Toni, who believes retaliation is the only rational response whenever someone does something to her. It's seen as a tool she uses to protect herself. But it also makes her incredible hot-headed and destructive to the progress the people around her want to make. At first, this competition seems evenly split. In the end, Dot wins by default because her team actually builds a structure. Toni would rather destroy hers than admit that she isn't in control. Her jealousy towards Shelby has been incredibly transparent so far. She hates that Martha has clung to Shelby on the island. She doesn't want to share her friend with anyone. She needs that support. Her being jealous ultimately pushes Martha away though. Toni always comes out swinging. That's the way she has always lived her life in order to survive. The world has never sought to protect her. She has long accepted some terrible living conditions for herself. Martha gave her a friendship that lifted her up out of dark times. Toni's personality still causes issues. Those haven't changed. They may only make things worse on the island. But again, the narrative never really seems to build on that idea. In fact, it seems to indulge in the concept that many of these castaways are lashing out at the world. Their behavior could easily be seen as psychotic at any moment. That may be why Gretchen is so intrigued by them. They each believed different things about this retreat. Some people in their lives even knew that it was a lie. That only further shows just how complicated this core premise truly is. Gretchen is juggling a lot. And yet, she still seems to have the influence to know absolutely everything about these young girls. She has the tools to manipulate so much. Meanwhile, the agents trying to understand what happened out there are completely in the dark about just how terrifying it all truly was. That confrontation of the truth seems inevitable. However, the show still has plenty of more characters to introduce with tragic backstories that inform their actions on the island. So, resolution and a deeper understanding still seem far away. Noticing that in this hour highlights just how bland Toni's overall story is even though it should be incredibly expressive because of the damage her actions frequently leave behind. People seem to be more worried about Leah, which suggests darkness that remains aloof. It's a mystery people talk around which doesn't create for the most engaging content for the average viewer.