The Wilds: Ending Explained

If you binged The Wilds as fast as we did, then you probably have questions about that ending.

The Wilds on Amazon Prime
Photo: Amazon Prime Video

Amazon’s new female-centric castaway series The Wilds doesn’t hold back when it comes to throwing mysteries at its characters (and the audience) and, following its first ten episodes, the two timelines we’ve been following both conclude with cliffhangers of differing kinds.

One, which has been following the girls as they try to survive on a seemingly uninhabited island, cuts out just as Rachel is attacked by a shark and Nora runs into the water to save her. The second, taking place in the present after the girls have been transferred to a facility 150 miles away, leaves the audience just as baffled as Leah with the reveal of what the Dawn of Eve may actually be up to.

But after ten hours of patchwork backstory, interviews and watching the drama unfold on-island, fans are still somewhat in the dark about why the girls were on the island in the first place, and why they’re being kept in the dark now.

What does Leah’s discovery of another camp of survivors mean? Do the girls’ families really know where they are? And what exactly is Gretchen Klein’s plan? Here we dig into the ending of The Wilds, the questions it answers, and the mysteries that are still left unresolved.

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Where are the girls?

Thanks to the ‘good cop’ operative who takes Leah outside and foolishly hands her his smartphone, we learn that the facility that the girls are being held in is situated near Peru. That doesn’t mean much in itself, but it does indicate that any attempts at escape are pretty futile.

Why was Nora working with Gretchen Klein?

Hidden in plain sight, with viewers assuming that Nora’s flashback episode was folded into Rachel’s so as not to raise suspicion, the final episode of The Wilds’ first season finally gave us a glimpse into the life of Klein’s second secret agent. The episode tells the love story of Nora and Quinn, which ends in tragedy when Quinn is accidently killed during a fraternity hazing ritual gone wrong.

The twist is that the perpetrator of that ritual was Gretchen’s son, who went to prison for his part in what happened. Nora and Gretchen meet when both attempt to visit him, and talk soon turns to how the patriarchy is responsible for most of the ills in the world.

It doesn’t take much to convince Nora, in her state of grief for both Quinn and Rachel’s spirit following her eating disorder and trip to rehab, to agree to take part in a mysterious social experiment that promises to allow women to log off, break free and rebuild themselves.

How much does Nora know?

Unlike Jeanette, it doesn’t seem like Nora has been fully informed on the details of the Dawn of Eve project. For example, did she know that there would be a staged plane crash? And what was she told about Jeanette’s death if she didn’t know she was the other agent until later?

It’s hard to believe that Nora would stick with the charade after she’s taken part in burying a fellow campmate, unless she’s been informed of more than the audience currently knows.

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Our guess is that she was as blindsided as everyone else about the realities of this ‘feminist retreat’, but fear of being found out stopped her from outing Klein to the others.

What was Leah right about?

Adn earlier episode saw Shelby slip a piece of paper reading ‘you were RIGHT’ to Leah in secret, which she reads at the beginning of episode ten away from the camera’s gaze. The easiest answer to this is that she was spot on with her assumption that something wasn’t right about the girls’ experience on the island, but there may also be more to the story.

As we never see the girls being removed from the island – just what happened at some point before and almost immediately after – it’s safe to assume that there are still some twists and turns to come. When we leave the girls, Leah has just outed Nora for something bad but non-specific before the group is immediately distracted by Rachel being in danger.

It’s important to note that we haven’t seen Nora in the current timeline, which could mean that her attempt to rescue Rachel doesn’t go too well. 

Is Dot also involved?

One thread that wasn’t picked up in the final episode was Dot’s involvement with Klein and the Dawn of Eve. The Wilds’ third episode ended with the reveal that Dot’s situation following her father’s death had been taken care of, and with her asking what the organisation wanted in return. We didn’t hear the answer, which in itself suggests a story yet to be told.

Was this just a misdirect to cast suspicion on Dot and distract from Nora? Possibly, but it could also be something to be explored further in a potential second season.

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What is Phase Two?

When discussing whether or not to remove Leah from the ground, Klein is told that “the rollout for phase two has absorbed all available watercraft”. 

Could it be possible that Phase Two is what the girls are currently experiencing at the facility, and that they haven’t actually been rescued? Or that another group of girls are being shipped out to start the experiment all over again? At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if the shark heading towards Rachel was planted by the organisation as another test.

Who are the ‘Twilight of Adam’?

A doozy of a cliffhanger was delivered at the very end of the episode, with Leah discovering that they aren’t the only ones who have been stranded on an island. Video screens – presumably showing live footage – reveal a control group named the ‘Twilight of Adam’.

Based on what we know about the organisation so far, a solid guess as to the purpose of this control group is to show how ill-equipped men are at surviving together when compared to women. Basically, it’s Lord of the Flies playing out off-screen while The Wilds focuses on what might happen if the castaways had been girls instead of boys.

It’s always a brave move for a mystery show to end with so many questions hanging in the air when there’s no assurance of a second-season renewal and, by the time the final episode cuts to black, viewers are still as curious as the characters as to what they’ve just been through.

If this is all we get of The Wilds, we could be left wondering about its many mysteries forever but, on the other hand, a second season certainly won’t be reaching for stories to tell.

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