Spoiler warning: nothing I have listed is confirmed for season two, but all the theories detail major plot points from and information that is uncovered throughout the first season.
The cast of Amazon Prime Video’s The Wilds has descended upon Gold Coast, Australia to film season two, so I am (naturally) here to provide some theories about the secrets of season one and the ones to come. I swear some of these are correct—which ones, who knows—but at this point, I will take any The Wilds content I can get, even if I have to create it myself. 98% of my brain activity right now is related to this damn show, and I have to just get it out of my system.
The Wilds follows eight teenage girls—Leah, Fatin, Toni, Martha, Rachel, Nora, Dot, and Shelby—after their plane mysteriously crashes on the way to a “feminist retreat” called The Dawn of Eve. They end up stranded on an island, and as it turns out, the plane crash was fabricated. The girls are part of an experiment, run by a woman called Gretchen Klein. She tracks their every movement via cameras all over the island and gets constant updates from Nora, who is in on the experiment and serves as an agent on the ground. The show toggles between the girls’ backstories, the island, and a bunker where the girls are being questioned about their experiences after the fact.
Though there are too many connections between all of the characters to be neatly outlined, a few details about them are particularly important in order to have any semblance of a clue what I’m talking about. Rachel and Nora are twin sisters, and Nora has convinced Rachel to take part in the “feminist retreat,” knowing that it is actually a twisted scientific experiment. Dot and Shelby are from the same town in Texas. Dot is the mom friend of the group and not super important to this set of theories. Shelby, though, is very central to them. She is a closeted pageant queen with a super homophobic family, and on the island, she and Toni have an enemies-to-lovers thing going on. Toni’s best friend is Martha. Leah, the main character of sorts, is from Berkeley, California along with Fatin. In the bunker, we see only some of the girls tell their story; Martha and Nora are missing from this group.
- The (in)famous Shelby’s anaphylaxis theory is at least in part true
Sarah Streicher, the show’s creator, and Amy Harris, its showrunner, revealed in a livestream that they have seen some fan theories that are actually true. This is probably the most popular and persistent one on platforms like Tik Tok and even Reddit, so it’s a good place to start.
How it goes is this: Shelby going into anaphylactic shock in the bunker in episode ten was actually a somewhat elaborate plan coordinated by her, Dot, and maybe even more of the girls to allow Leah to escape. In episode three, Dot orders tons of food, including shellfish sushi. We know from the island that Shelby is deathly allergic. We also know that Dot and possibly some of the other girls have a freer range of the bunker—we even see Toni get Takis from a vending machine. Now, the vending machine would be the perfect place to hide food for Shelby, and we also know that Shelby and her note prompted and helped along Leah’s escape. Logically, then, Shelby, Dot, and possibly more girls are in on Leah’s escape.
It’s almost too much of a perfect storm, and nearly all of this evidence lends itself to other theories (people are asking questions like, “how was Dot able to so quickly get very specific sushi Fatin mentioned from the Bay Area?” and “how come some girls seem to have freer reign over the space?”), but if I had to place a bet on any single theory, it would be this one.
- The control group of boys happened years before our girls “crash landed”
At the very end of season one, we see Leah find some veryyyy condemning evidence to back up her theories about the island and experiment situation. She, in an attempt to escape the bunker, stumbles across some footage of a control group of boys—dubbed The Twilight of Adam. We know that The Wilds hired a set of male cast members for season two, who will play the Twilight of Adam boys. That being said, we do not know much about them except for their names.
Based on this post, which is full of all sorts of other information that I won’t take the time to delve into, it seems as if there was some data for this experiment long before the girls ended up on the island. The date, namely, is 1989—which would place the first, or control, experiment about 30 years earlier. We know Gretchen is a scientist fallen from grace and enacting some kind of personal agenda with The Dawn of Eve, so it’s possible that she was involved when something went really, Lord-of-the-Flies-type wrong. Either that or, people just realized that the experiment was super morally reprehensible.
- Shelby’s injuries are related to why we don’t see Martha tell her story to Faber and Young
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the injuries Shelby clearly has in the bunker seems likely to be due to a fall. And though we have no proof that her head is shaved for a particular reason, it seems to be an odd choice for her, especially in the bunker where she clearly has so little freedom. Perhaps, she had some kind of traumatic brain injury—perhaps she may have even undergone surgery? This might seem a bit far-fetched, but we also see that Shelby has some kind of ankle injury going on, too.
My running theory is that Shelby and Martha ended up in some kind of accident, most likely a fall. Martha is probably worse off than Shelby—after all, there has to be a reason why Gretchen specifically seeks information that could be used to blackmail Martha to avoid retribution from her family in episode nine. We also, in a recent post from the show’s social media account (which was deleted shortly after going up), see Toni wearing a watch that Fatin had gifted to Martha. Suspicious.
Shoni angst was also promised in the Streicher-Harris livestream, and I think this kind of situation would be a fitting reason. After all, who does Toni care about more than Martha? Maybe she thinks Shelby put Martha in danger or she resents Shelby for coming through (relatively) unscathed.
- Nora is not dead (the girls just think she is)
The girls are each given a number that correlates with the experimenters’ files, etc. We know Leah’s is six, because we see her file. And yet, in episode ten, when Leah starts to uncover that Nora is actually a confederate (in on the experiment and working for Gretchen), she requests for number four to be removed from the island.
There are a lot of possibilities for who number four might be. Some fan theories purport that it is Rachel. But I would like to suggest that number four might be Nora herself. In episode nine, Gretchen assigns Agent Young to go through a box of clearly confiscated items from the girls, presumably taken upon their removal from the island. It is labeled “004-006” and contains Nora’s notebook.
Though that evidence alone might not be enough, it appears that actress Helena Howard, who plays Nora, is not in Australia at the moment. Maybe Nora really did get removed from the island. The shark attack in episode ten could have been a perfect opportunity for Gretchen and her team to pull Nora out of there—and it’s very possible that all the girls think she’s just dead. It certainly seems, in episode two, that Rachel might think she is, based on the way she talks about her. About phantom feelings in her amputated hand, she says she feels “[Nora’s] hand, in [her] hand, forever.” It’s the kind of thing someone might say if they think their twin sister tragically passed away in the incident that cost them their own hand.
- One of the girls’ parents is an investor in the experiment
My money’s on Fatin’s dad.
BONUS: Leah and Fatin will be girlfriends and live happily ever after
This is wishful thinking, but let’s be real here. While I love Shelby and Toni more than life itself, one might even be able to argue that Leah and Fatin have more chemistry than they do (please don’t kill me). I am the world’s biggest supporter of the Leatin agenda.