Tuesday, December 15, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Wilds' - Gretchen Explains Her Motivations While Recruiting a Key Asset to Her Experiment in 'Day Fifteen'

Amazon's The Wilds - Episode 1.07 "Day Fifteen"

A tidal surge forces the castaways to relocate their camp. Still suspicious of the island and how they got there, Leah turns her paranoia on one of the other girls, viciously accusing her of knowing more than she's letting on. In flashback, Jeanette's astonishing backstory is unveiled.

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 Fifteen" was written by Melissa Blake and directed by Ed Wild

Gretchen operates under the thesis that her experiment is a radical option in the pursuit of saving the entire world. The apocalypse is near. She places blame on the patriarchy that has ruled the world forever. In order to save the world, a radical change must occur. She believes her program will highlight the ways female leadership is drastically different and will allow problem-solving methods to grow enough to save all humanity. She doesn't hate men. She makes that clear when Lin asks her about her philosophy. Gretchen relies on several in order to conduct this experiment. She values their opinions while they always recognize her authority. She also projects a sense of power and control because she frequently tells people what they need in order to address the issues in their lives. Of course, it's a superiority complex. She believes she knows how to save the world. She believes her theories can be proven correct if given the resources to actually conduct her research. Things have gone incredibly wrong every step of the way in this experiment. She probably shouldn't have expected everything to go according to plan. She even cautions Lin that her history may compromise her identity amongst the castaways. She has to keep those emotions in check. And yes, Lin does have a visceral reaction upon seeing the castaways unconscious and being moved onto the island. She hated seeing herself in that vulnerable state not aware of the violence being inflicted upon her. She was forced to go along with society's expectations instead of confronting the violators as badly as they needed to be punished. She still goes along with the program. She suffered her internal injuries because of her personal history. She was willing to go along with all of this. Gretchen even argued that Lin's presence amongst the castaways would legitimize the whole experiment because she is a legal adult offering supervision of minors. Lin went undercover and remained in contact with the crew. It ended tragically for her. Gretchen is being deceitful when trying to sell this program to investors. She only wants to highlight the value. People may not know enough to question what is truly going on. Leah is spiraling out because she is convinced that things magically happen on this island just to ensure their continued survival. She is right to question the circumstances of the events on the island. Shelby has nothing to do with that. She faces a lot of internalized pressure about how to act in society. She puts on a performance every moment of her life. She has been taught what to believe and how to act. This island is starting to deprogram her in a sense. She is willing to kiss Toni despite her religion telling her it's a sin. The other girls have shunned her for her beliefs. She needs love and compassion right now. She is confused and spinning out. All of the girls fear the worst because destruction washes ashore once more. They are done and tired. They believe that rescue is no longer coming. They have been stranded too long. They may be destined to die on this island. They are turning on each other. They have held onto small comforts in the hopes of remaining sane during this traumatic experiment. Addressing their real problems breaks them out of that illusion. They turn hostile. Gretchen presents the theory that women don't operate in that way. Again, she isn't drawing her conclusions based on what is actually happening on the island. She just wants to prove her point with this experiment no matter what. Nothing is truly up to chance. Lin knew that the moment Gretchen "accidentally" ran into her again at the bar. This is simply a torturous experiment with designs of grander ambitions. Gretchen wants to put her thoughts into action. She has the ability to do so. She is ruining lives as a result. The castaways have hope at the end of the hour because they see a plane flying above them. The audience knows rescue isn't the salvation they need at the end of this journey. The trauma will continue because it remains a fantasy. A way to provoke responses in the hopes of corroborating Gretchen's core thesis. It's so impersonal. Yes, she responds to Lin's tragic death. That hasn't stopped her though. Nothing seems likely to hold her accountable. Meanwhile, the castaways are isolated and at a complete loss. They turn on each other before that moment of hope reignites their excitement. It will be false hope that may only insure more damage is done later on. That evolving sense of dread drives the stories forward in ways that are complicated but really tantalizing as well.