What worse than being stranded on a deserted island? Being a teenage girl in the world, Amazon Prime’s teen survival drama The Wilds suggests in Friday’s series premiere.
The first episode begins with an investigation: A scratched-up Leah (played by Gotham‘s Sarah Pidgeon) is being interviewed about what happened after she and several other girls found themselves stuck in the middle of nowhere. According to Leah, the authorities assume it was a horrible experience. But “what was so f–king great about the lives we left behind?” she posits, before adding that being a teenage girl is “the real living hell,” with its dark moods, brutal social scene, ridiculous expectations and heavy responsibilities.
Leah was going through one of those dark moods before the accident. She fell for Jeff (Snowfall‘s Carter Hudson), an older writer, and after she turned 18, she lost her virginity to him — except she was actually 16. Jeff finds out the truth when someone sends him Leah’s birth certificate. “You’re a child, and you lied to me,” he says like he wasn’t flirting with her when he knew full well she was in high school. Then he tells a distraught Leah to never call him again. Not knowing what to do with their gloomy daughter, Leah’s parents send her to the female-focused retreat Dawn of Eve on the island of Kona.
Also on the private flight are: Leah’s girly-girl classmate Fatin (Grey’s Anatomy‘s Sophia Ali); anger-prone tomboy Toni (Golden Boy‘s Erana James) and her sweet best friend Martha (Jenna Clause); elite diver Rachel (The Bold and the Beautiful‘s Reign Edwards) and her concerned, super smart sister Nora (Don’t Look Deeper‘s Helena Howard); tough Texan Dot (Hunters‘ Shannon Berry); God-fearing beauty queen Shelby (Mia Healey); and uber peppy, Pink-loving Jeanette (Chi Nguyen), the only girl who doesn’t come in a pair (red flag!).
While the gals are playing a get-to-know-you game, the plane starts to experience turbulence, and next thing we see, Leah wakes up in the middle of the ocean, with a barely conscious Jeanette floating nearby. Leah manages to get Jeanette to an island, where the other girls have also landed. Turns out they all know CPR — isn’t that weird, Leah asks the authorities? — and are able to revive Jeanette, who later mysteriously apologizes to Leah (red flag No. 2!).
With only Diet Cokes to sustain them — the sugar in the regular stuff causes it to sink, Nora explains — things are looking dire until the girls discover one working cell phone with just enough battery life and reception to make a strategic call. Too bad no one answers them. Shelby, who prides herself on being a hunter and not just a pageant queen, and Toni go searching for fresh water, but that doesn’t end well, either, after Toni accidentally sends Shelby tumbling down a hill. (The force nearly knocks out Shelby’s partial denture, which hmmm.) At least they manage to recover Fatin’s waterproof suitcase full of clothes. #smallvictories
Later that night, Jeanette starts vomiting blood and collapses from internal blood loss. Leah announces that she’s dead, so the girls bury her body and sing a Pink song in her honor. What Leah never told anyone is that Jeanette’s phone started ringing from the grave while everyone was sleeping, she reveals to the authorities. She called Jeff on it, but was cut off before she could tell him what happened. She never told the other girls about it because she was embarrassed. And she doesn’t know why Jeanette kept the phone from them (red flag No. 3!).
Cut to a building, where Rachel Griffiths’ character is informed that Jeanette is dead. It’s OK, though, because they have another operative on the island, she says as she watches a satellite feed of the girls. Twist!
What did you think of The Wilds‘ first episode? Grade it below, then hit the comments!