It might have come at one of the worst times, but Henry was right when he said, “death will come for us all.” That’s pretty evident on The Wilds when the line between life and the great beyond is generally stretched pretty fucking thin. One errant mosquito bite and you’re down with Dengue fever. A simple scrape could turn into a staph infection, or, as it turns out, you could be mauled to death by a mysterious growling big cat.
That’s what the boys are up against in “Day 36/14,” which opens on the guy gang all huddled together for warmth in their makeshift tent. (While you have to give it up for boys’ ingenuity, it does seem like the girls were perhaps a little more industrious and creative at this point in their experience, but that’s neither here nor there.) That’s where they’re visited by some mysterious creature that seems like a cross between a super wolf and a velociraptor, with growls and pants that can be heard from dozens of feet away.
The creature lurks silently and snoops around until — bam! — Josh loses his shit and makes a break for the water, where other deadly creatures surely lurk, but maybe aren’t so damn visible. The mystery creature ransacks their camp and digs through their food (which, again, why they didn’t have it locked up in the suitcase to begin with is ridiculous), and in the morning the boys task Bo and Scottie to go tie it up in a tree somewhere because they believe (probably falsely) that whatever creature they have around can’t get up into a tree — or maybe that having their food far from camp will make the creature leave them alone.
Speaking of Scottie: He’s our interview subject this week, and though he might not admit to it, it does seem like he loves to talk. Dean and Gretchen are interviewing him, the latter of whom seems fairly confident about her interrogation tactics. Scottie reads her almost immediately, ripping into her “moldy ass interrogation techniques.” Dean is no better, Scottie says, trying to play the “I can relate card,” but as it turns out if you ask Scottie about a topic he’s proud of, he does seem to open up. And that’s how we get to hear about what he calls the boys’ “battle fucking royale.”
Over on Girl Island, the ladies are having a pretty hot debate about bed-making when Toni is nearly crushed by a dead branch that falls on her bed. Dot blames Nora Roberts’ florid prose for her lack of vigilance and sets off in search of “widowmakers,” or dead trees on the verge of falling down. Fatin brings big mom energy to the camp, while Shelby seems to suddenly be wildly worried about the possibility of losing Toni. (And who can blame her?) Rachel and Leah are in some sort of manic “if we work, we don’t have time to think” fugue state, which will surely never turn out poorly, and Martha is working on her slingshot skills.
Maybe, Fatin says to Martha, the gods are mad at the girls. Maybe, she jokes, they should perform a virgin sacrifice. Martha is almost immediately hurt and ashamed, storming off. Later, Fatin finds her and brings some of the best kind of mom energy, talking to her about the spectrum of sexual experience. Martha admits “literally everything” about sex scares her, and Fatin sympathizes, though she’s been blessed, she says, to have mostly good and fun experiences. There is a dark side to sex, though, says Fatin to Martha, telling her, “if it came for you, I’m sorry.” It’s a lovely way to tell someone that you’re there for them, no matter what, but also that you don’t need to hear about their trauma unless they’re ready to share. I really did love it.
Fatin being Fatin, of course, things do get a little silly and naughty from there, as she covertly explains to Martha what she could do if she’s looking to reclaim a sexual confidence. While it’s not expressly clear what she said, given that she says she’ll give her a helpful lesson and “even do it with you — well, not with you,” I think it’s fair to assume we’re talking about a little self-pleasure. We don’t see Martha actually taking Fatin up on her offer, but we do later see her finding a secluded spot near a massive old tree while we get simultaneous shots of a sun-dappled Shoni sex scene, so let your imagination run wild.
Speaking of wild: Seth. After tracking down his step-brother for a little heart-to-heart about the time and the place for gruesome morbidity, Henry throws a comment back at Seth about how his mother essentially abandoned him. That, as it turns out, is Seth’s Kryptonite, and the two tussle. Seth clearly has the upper hand, given his size and strength, and almost drowns Henry in the ocean before letting him up. He tells Henry that it was part of teaching him a lesson about how much he wanted to fight to stay alive, but no one really believes that — not even Seth.
With Scottie as the narrator this episode, we’re able to finally get some insight into the dynamic between him and Bo. While Scottie is the consummate hustler, upselling Girl Scout cookies to bougie lawyers, Bo is the enabler. His home experience is, to put it mildly, awful. It’s clear that he lives in absolute terror of doing one tiny thing wrong and drawing the ire of his loose-cannon father, who rules the house with an iron fist. (He also, it seems, uses that fist on Bo.)
While it’s admirable that Scottie is always working some sort of scheme, the way he uses Bo left me feeling pretty gross. When he wants to steal food from the group’s supply, he tells Bo to put it in his pockets. When he wants to drive to Tallahassee to buy designer t-shirts, he asks Bo if they can use his dad’s car, knowing full well that any incident could put Bo in the line of fire at home. Bo asks him not to bring food that makes crumbs in the car, and Scottie brings Girl Scout Cookies. Scottie pushes Bo to the edge of his comfort level almost constantly, and Bo just takes it. It’s unclear why — perhaps he just really needs the friend — but it really doesn’t cast Scottie in all that great of a light.
All of this leads to the episode’s big conclusion, which is a three-part revelation of sorts. First, the boys set up camp on a ledge to escape the monster, but Bo grows a conscience and decides to put the jerky in his pocket back in the group’s food supply. He takes off for the tree with Scottie on his heels. They have a blowout in the woods, and Scottie insists that someday, the group will turn on them, leaving them in their wake. Bo disagrees, telling Scottie he’s disappointed in him, and stalks away. They continue their quest back to the ledge when — insert ominous branch cracks here — they see the mystery monster’s glowing eyes. Suddenly it’s hot on their trails, and they somehow manage to outrun it, which, again, impossible, considering a Jaguar can hit speeds of about 50 mph, and Usain Bolt’s world record had him clocking in at 27.33 mph. But it’s a TV show, so we’ll let it slide.
Scottie makes it up onto the ledge, but Bo gets clawed. The boys take quick action, throwing shoes and rocks at the cat and driving it away. Bo gets patched up, and while the others sleep, Scottie muses that it’s pretty weird that the cat attacked them even when they weren’t carrying food. Bo guesses it must not have mattered, then nods off while Scottie stares coldly into the distance.
Does this mean that he thinks Bo still has food on him? Is he still hiding food? Is it neither of those things? I couldn’t really tell, but I’m intrigued to find out, especially considering what we saw in the real world, where the two stupidly trashed a house Scottie used to live in right in the middle of a residential development in the middle of the day. Bo and Scottie referenced having charges against them earlier in the episode, so it’s probably safe to assume that these are the eventual charges, but I suppose we never know. Maybe it only escalates from here. Either way, it’s clear: These two boys are filled with rage, and they need an out.
In the morning, Scottie and Bo greet the rest of the ledge gang, telling them to get moving because “we got a jag to kill.” Here’s the thing about that, though: Earlier in the episode, Gretchen and Dean mentioned a mysterious incident that really polarized the boys on “day 15.” This episode took place on day 14. What fresh hell are we walking into in episode four? I truly cannot wait to find out.
Finally, back on Girl Island, Leah and Rachel play the group a makeshift version of Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros’ “Home,” which everyone knows is the song that all television shows use to indicate community and joy. It is seemingly the only song that any show can use to denote this, so we must assume it’s some rule set forward by the Emmy committee or something. The gang all breaks into a slow-motion dance party/singalong, and Shelby tells Toni that it’s “the most perfect moment of [her] life,” which is pretty staggering considering the actual nightmare they’re living through.
That’s clearly what contributes to Shelby’s most confounding moment yet, when, later that evening, as she sits on the beach alone and prays, she looks up and spots a boat on the horizon. Startled and clearly scared of what might happen in the real world, she quickly puts out the group’s signal fire, and the boat’s lights drift away. Will she be able to keep what she did a secret, or will the guilt eat her alive? And what will happen to these girls in the two more weeks they have on the island? Only time (and TV) will tell.
• All of the boys are looking a little worse for wear now, which seems about right. There’s no world in which they could just sit in the sun on the beach all day every day and not look weathered as hell.
• Scottie calls Gretchen out for her “resting judging face,” which is pretty apt.
• Last episode, I learned what color wild berries are safe to eat. This week, I learned how to remove water rings from wooden furniture. Frankly, I learn more from The Wilds than I do from most TV shows.
• Do we really think Kirin got the clap from a girl at a party? No, right?
• I loved the detail about how, when Martha’s grandma goes to the bathroom, she says, “I’m visiting the smallest room.” That’s too much.
• Shout out to Seth for his frank honesty about “munching butt.” That’s a dude who’s secure in his masculinity right there!