Wilderness, based on the namesake novel by B.E. Jones, is an Amazon Prime series in which the dominant theme is revenge. Olivia Taylor finds out about her husband’s extramarital affairs, following which her life and relationship spiral out of control. In a moment of rage, she commits the despicable and soon starts a chain of events that makes her life more miserable.
The ending of Wilderness (read the review here) brings a full stop to the back-and-forth threats between William and Olivia and also features a brief scene between Liv and a nameless passerby that is a message to the patriarchal society. Jones didn’t leave much to guess in his groundbreaking novel and the series captures his ideas and themes perfectly.
Wilderness Series (2023) Ending Explained: Olivia and William’s Fractured Relationship was Fated to End
Whenever William tried to be back in the good graces of Olivia, something about his past popped up to cause an issue. First was Cara – which he termed to be a one-time thing. Olivia became clear about his disloyalty and slyness once her mother obtained pictures of a different woman from Willaim’s bedroom. She compared it with Cara’s lingerie and found a mismatch.
Prior to the revelation, Liv and Will tried to mend their marriage by having a baby, believing it to be the ‘solution’ to their problematic marriage. Olivia almost has a nervous breakdown in Ash’s place but is finally able to reciprocate her friend’s selfless love. It is revealed to the viewers that William also had a relationship with Marissa, Cara’s friend, thus cheating on both his girlfriend and his wife.
Olivia realizes that William’s promise to Cara about leaving his wife was false assurance. He had been playing with their love all this time. When confronted, William stammers apologies and proposes to make up to her, similar to how the toxic manipulator behaved after being confronted about Cara. Liv doesn’t fall for it and destroys all their wallhangings and pictures together, thus signaling a complete end to their marriage and a shift to the violent side.
Garth’s Insignificance Became Significant
Cheated on by his girlfriend and betrayed by his friends, Garth is a pitiful character. He is also not introduced as a third wheel in Will and Cara’s affair, which would garner any tension. The typical good guy is unnecessarily dragged into the mire and it seemed he would wrongly bear the punishment for his girlfriend’s murder until he is freed by the detectives.
The narrative of Wilderness is driven by Liv’s vengeance, Will’s past, and the couple’s faltering marriage. Cara also plays a significant role. Garth’s moment and significance arrive much later when he goes to the Taylor’s residence. He finally comes to know about Will and Cara and the reason why Olivia was keeping secrets from him, but unfortunately, he is killed by the latter.
Garth’s death announces the final chapter and builds intensity for a thrilling climax. Olivia defends herself by claiming that she acted out of self-defense, although Detective Rawlings became suspicious about the three slashes she made ‘after’ Garth was dead. Characteristic of William, he tries to run away from all the troubles by shifting to England and threatens Liv that he will reveal the truth about Garth’s murder if she doesn’t come along.
Unknown to Will, Liv recorded him saying it should have been him who should’ve killed Garth and protected his wife. She anonymously sends the recording as well as Will and Cara’s sex tape. Victory is hers as William is arrested for murder while she is free to do as she chooses. The faithful wife turning into an independent lady, undeterred by her past, is the morale of the psychological thriller.
The Ending of Wilderness is Laced with Irony after Events Come Full Circle
“There is no badness in you.” Bonnie’s words to her daughter gave Olivia the courage to overcome her fear of not being left as a widow, similar to her mother. She embodied Lady Justice during Willaim’s arrest after sacrificing a marriage in which she had given her everything.
The white knight William Taylor had a morbid ending. Concerned by the amount of evidence piling against him, Will staked his future on Liv and asked if she would wait for him. It is ironic that the woman who once staked her future to support her husband denies it. At the end. the roles are reversed: Olivia is free to take any love interest while her playboy husband is in shackles.
In one desperate attempt, William threatens Olivia that he will use a team of detectives to prove that she murdered Cara. Unfazed, Liv claims that she is carrying the next generation of the Taylors. This is yet another ironic scene, given that Will wanted to have a child as a means “for a fresh start” and to escape his problems, but his hands become tied due to the same.
When Olivia tells Willaim that she actually intended to kill him rather than Cara, Will tries to attack her but is restrained. The egoistic husband cannot comprehend that his wife can do anything wrong to him, which ultimately becomes his flaw.
Olivia Taylor never reveals whether her statement about a baby was a bluff. Her future is left for open interpretation, but it narrows down to an obvious case. She will continue using the child in her womb to blackmail William and work on her romantic relationship with Ash – the woman who was always considerate of her feelings and gave her space.
What did Olivia’s dialogue with a passerby mean?
After giving her husband a final goodbye, Olivia goes to the edge of the cliff where she pushes Cara Parker. She sinks in the events that have unfolded in her life. While ruminating about her life, she is warned by a hiker of a “silly girl who went over (the cliff) not long back.”
Olivia berates the hiker, having been finally able to understand the plight of Cara after her death. She was a woman who fell victim to the predatory nature of men after being taught to be submissive to a man’s needs and desires. “Too approachable, too flirty, too much makeup”, these terms were associated with a woman who attracted trouble.
What becomes of a woman who is able to stand for herself rather than need the protection of a man? In Liv’s words, “they become something to be feared,” such as wolves. The line could be interpreted as a lone wolf, a strong and independent person, ready to take on challenges that life throws at them.