Why Was Gretchen Fired On 'The Wilds'?

Gretchen's Tragic Backstory On 'The Wilds' Is More Important Than Fans Realize

Amazon Studios

After watching Amazon Prime Video's newest series, The Wilds, it's clear no one and nothing is as it seems. The survival drama is about as twisted as shows come, with cliffhangers and shocking revelations in every episode. As you're keeping your eyes peeled for clues, it's important to pay attention to all of the characters' backstories, since they later come into play. Take the reason why Gretchen was fired, for example. The Wilds character's employment history plays a major role in the foundation of the story.

Warning: The Wilds Season 1 spoilers follow. The series starts with a group of teenage girls headed to a female empowerment and wellness retreat. On the way, their plane crashes and they wash up on a deserted island. It's quickly revealed the crash wasn't an accent and the group is being watched by someone named Gretchen (Rachel Griffiths). From the start, it's obvious you need to keep your eye on her, and for good reason. It turns out her motive for creating The Dawn of Eve, the name of the retreat (as well as what turns out to be Gretchen's experiment) is very personal.

It's revealed early on Gretchen is the one running The Dawn of Eve and playing puppet master with the girls on the island. And while it looks like she's in constant control — not just of her life but of the lives around her — her job history proves that's not exactly the case.

Amazon Studios

In Episode 3, one of Gretchen's old colleagues comes up to her at lunch and apologies for "how things were handled last fall." While Gretchen isn't moved by the sentiments, it did raise the question: What exactly did happen last fall? As the series goes on, it's shown she lost her job as a university professor despite being an accomplished author and respected teacher. The reason: a scandal involving her son.

Episode 10 reveals Gretchen's son, Devin, was a part of a fraternity hazing ritual gone horribly wrong. He, along with three other juniors, were arrested following the death of a student named Quinn. It's through this incident that Gretchen meets Nora (Helena Howard). The two cross paths and start talking at the prison while waiting to visit Devin. Nora tells Gretchen about her relationship with Quinn, and Gretchen convinces Nora to be a part of her experiment.

Though the details surrounding what actually happened at the fraternity were vague, Gretchen reveals to Nora she made her son plead guilty to whatever it was. It's implied that it's because of the incident and the ruling that Gretchen is let go from her job at the university. She starts spending more time planning The Dawn of Eve experiment and enlisting the help of people like Nora and Lynn (aka Jeanette). Her goal, fans learn, is to create a world where women aren't forced to live within the confines of a toxic, male-dominated society.

While the idea certainly sounds interesting, I have a feeling most of the girls stranded on the island don't exactly agree with her methods.

The Wilds is on Amazon Prime Video now.