The Wilds Episode 2 reveals that Rachel lost a hand on the island.
The Wilds Episode 2 focuses on Day Two of the island and Rachel’s backstory/FBI questioning in the past and present. By extension, this episode also centers around the relationship between Rachel and her fraternal twin sister Nora. Rachel resents her sister for forcing her to go on this trip in the first place, blaming her for their current predicament.
In the flash-forward, Rachel gets to tell the FBI agents what happened on the island and what led to her time there. As was established in the first episode, Rachel is an elite diver who struggles with an eating disorder that started when her coach told her she didn’t have the physique to make a career out of diving. Despite trying to phrase it as carefully as possible, Rachel’s coach should absolutely be fired for that. She should know better than to discourage a young girl from her dream, especially by pinpointing something beyond her control.
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Wanting to prove that she is capable of looking the part, Rachel becomes obsessed with exercising and controlled eating. She is later hospitalized and begs Nora to help her get out because “she’s not sick.”
At the time, Nora believes her sister and helps her get checked out of the facility. Rachel goes right back to her old habits. This culminates in a meet in which she fumbles her dive and sustains a head injury from the diving board on her way down.
Throughout her life, Rachel has always felt dwarfed by Nora at home because of her brains. We’re shown the strong relationship Nora has with their parents as they play word games and quote literature to each other. During one of Rachel’s first diving competitions, her parents finally looked at her with the same mixture of pride and reverence they showed Nora. She’s been chasing that high ever since.
Rachel and Nora’s backstory significantly informs their relationship on the island. Now it’s easy to understand why Nora constantly hovers around Rachel and refuses to let her be alone for too long.
On the island, Rachel, Leah and Shelby embark for a high lookout point on the cliffs to see if there is any sign of life elsewhere on the island. Nora tries to come with them, but Rachel tells her not to. An avid fan of survival television, Dot recommends they take a mirror with them to create a signal once they reach the peak (it worked when Bear Grylls did it!).
Along the way, tensions grow as Shelby pleads for a brief respite from Rachel. But she’s insistent that they keep going because “they’re almost there.” Later, when Shelby insists on taking a break, Rachel snaps at her, and the force of her fury sends the mirror soaring over the edge. A desperate Leah, who was previously scorned by Rachel for not fighting hard enough to get them off the island, makes a dive for the mirror and almost falls over the edge. Having secretly followed along, Nora helps Rachel and Shelby pull her back to safety.
The mirror is gone, but Rachel continues the climb. At the top, she discovers there is nothing around for miles and breaks down. Nora tries to comfort her. In the present, Rachel explains she hoped to find “some kind of sign that we weren’t alone.” “But that didn’t materialize?” “It did, and it didn’t.”
Nora and Rachel’s relationship takes a turn for the better after the failed excursion. Nora explains that while Rachel wanted the connection she had with their parents, Nora was ignored and felt invisible in every other aspect of her life. She also reminds Rachel that she was cut from the diving team and will no longer be going to Stanford after Rachel told Shelby she was accepted. Rachel asks Nora to let her believe she can get it all back when they’re rescued.
When we return to the future in the final moments of The Wilds Episode 2, Rachel displays both arms — she’s now missing a hand. Also, based on the language Rachel and the agents use throughout the episode, it sounds like Nora might not survive the island.
”It’s true what they say, you know, that you can still feel things. Messages from old nerve endings, messages from the past. You know what I feel? It’s her hand, holding mine, forever.”
The Wilds Episode 2: Is Shelby the other operative?
Back in civilization, Gretchen’s crew is hesitant to continue with the experiment in light of Jeanette’s death, but Gretchen wants to make her death mean something by continuing. She sends an associate to deliver a black duffle bag to the island at the drop-off point where the remaining operative will know to retrieve it. It’s Shelby that ultimately finds the bag, which begs the question: Is she working for Gretchen?
If so, it paints her behavior on the mountain trek in a different light. Was Shelby deliberately trying to prevent them from using the mirror as a signal by stalling their trip, perhaps until it got dark? It’s too early to say definitively.
However, the bag is designed to look like it came from the plane’s pilot and washed up on the shore. It contains a first aid kit and lots of medical supplies. That’s good news for Martha, in particular, as her ankle has gotten significantly worse. Toni tends to her throughout the episode as tensions between her and Shelby continue to flare. Martha is growing increasingly fond of Shelby, and Toni is obviously jealous. Does she have feelings for Martha?
What did you think of The Wilds Episode 2? How do you think Rachel will lose her hand? Is Nora still alive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
All ten episodes of The Wilds Season 1 are now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.