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Wilderness is a perfect revenge thriller in some ways. It’s dramatic, full of twists and turns, unpredictability and immoral character arcs – it just isn’t always completely believable.

The new Prime Video drama is soapy in all the right places, delivering a constant slew of shocking reveals alongside red hot anger. But more importantly, Wilderness is a complex story of betrayal, love and unashamed female rage.

Following Liv (Jenna Coleman) as she tries to make sense of her husband Will’s (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) betrayal while on an American road trip together, it throws in sex, deceit, lies and a slow-burning plot to bring him down.

While we see everything from Liv’s point of view she’s not easy to understand or like. But then again that’s all relative because with Coleman’s captivating performance you’ll soon find yourself greedily devouring episode after episode to discover what our complicated protagonist will do next.

Known for roles in The Serpent, The Cry, Doctor Who and lest we forget Emmerdale too many times over the years; Coleman’s enchanting screen presence works wonders for the ever-complicated Liv – just as long as you ignore the slightly dodgy Welsh accent put on for this one.

Liv is unpredictable which makes her unguessable – that much is true about her character but also how this series plays out at times. Her constant flipping between having a perfect plan and acting out in a completely different way can be irritating to watch but it also sums up well the range of emotions being dealt with here.

And while Wilderness focuses on Will betraying Liv – it’s actually the smaller aspects that will keep you coming back each week. The relationship between Liv and her mother Caryl (Claire Rushbrook) is messy mother-daughter territory which sets up how Liv views herself as a wife in later life while also living with guilt and resentment from the past.

Similarly when she’s with New York neighbour Ash (Morgana Van Peebles), Liv has space to process her emotions and rage without feeling judged. It’s these little breaks from the main taut pull of the drama that truly give us glimpses into the wild heroine at the heart of Wilderness.

TV and film doesn’t have a wealth of content centring on the intricacy of female emotion but there are some very obvious comparisons to be made here.

And that’s not just because of internal monologue narration, overarching revenge plot and slow-burning nature of a bigger plan – all reminiscent of movies like Gone Girl or Fatal Attraction. Like Flynn’s novel-turned-movie Coleman commands attention in the same way as Pike did too, this is like television gold dust.

But it’s when her character makes decisions that you’re snapped out of any kind of trance-like state here. Are we really supposed to buy that all it took was a plane ticket for Liv to agree to go on a holiday of forgiveness with Will? Or that such an intelligent woman would believe anything this serial liar tells her?

Liv’s decisions in the show will leave fans confused, but more than that, it is people like Liv who would keep you up all night thinking about Wilderness. The sleekness of much of the production is in the early episodes where we are introduced to the road trip and all we can think about is when Liv might kill Will on their way there. Everything seems alright with Liv as she appears onscreen casually and doe-eyed, but her plan becomes evident through a series of flashbacks.

Wilderness does not do anything new with women wanting revenge on men who have deceived them, but it also leans into those tropes rather unfortunately. For one thing, while being predominantly female-led behind the scenes, this show lacks what could be called a fully rounded portrayal of female emotion. 

You know how on TV every time a woman finds out something tragic happens she starts drinking too much and sliding down walls crying into oversized knitted cardigans screaming “But I loved you” at her silent partner? Yeah well unfortunately Liv does pretty much all that stuff.

The pacing feels slow in its New York scenes which makes the last few episodes feel like a bit of a slog to get through but again six episodes is just right for any revenge thriller as far as I am concerned.

We get glimpses into some wider themes at play throughout such as the demonization of women’s actions no matter what they do or identity or even patriarchy’s role within marriage blah blah blah… But it is these very same themes which I would have liked to see dealt with little less subtly perhaps over fewer shouting matches between Liv and Will. 

In short Wilderness has got some good twists for a thriller and there will be many women who root for her character also leaving space for thought if only they had pushed it further.

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