Wilderness, the TV series that landed on Amazon Prime Video in September 2023, generated a real case about how a TV transposition can completely change a story. The TV show is based on the book of the same title, written by B. E. Jones in 2019, but the plot is entirely different, and the destiny of every character changes. Most people learned the psychology and characterization of Liv and Will Taylor from the series, but how are they in the book? Let’s explain the ending of both cases.
You can watch the official trailer for Wilderness here on Youtube.
Wilderness ending explained: Liv & Will, the difference from the book
Let’s start with the common elements that the plot of Wilderness has between the TV series and the book: Liv and Will are married, but Liv discovers Will’s infidelity with a work colleague. In the book, the colleague’s name is Jenna, whereas the show names her Cara. Liv and Will plan a trip to the USA, trying to fix their marriage, but with different intentions.
Here, we already have a difference between the book Wilderness and the TV series. In the series, Liv is following Will in the USA for his job, but she’s already planning to kill him during the trip. Then, Cara and Garth show up on their vacation, changing everything. That night, Liv is furious with Will and goes out in the storm: she believes to see Will standing between the trees, and she pushes him, trying to kill him. The day after, she discovers she killed Cara, and the series plot takes an entirely different direction.
The TV series evolves around Liv’s diabolic actions, trying to avoid the truth to emerge. Liv seconds Will’s request to lie about that night to not attract the investigators’ attention. Garth is arrested and accused of being the murderer, but he’s released for lack of evidence. The night he’s released, he shows up at Liv and Will’s apartment and, finding out about the affair between Will and Cara, tries to kill both. Liv kills Garth in self-defense. The case seems closed, but something still doesn’t leave Liv satisfied: Will doesn’t agree to divorce and threatens to tell the police she will Garth voluntarily. That’s how Liv completes his revenge, sending the police the video that proves Will and Cara’s affair, then admitting she lied about his alibi.
None of this happens in the book Wilderness, making the plot and the ending completely different. In the book, Liv and Will have a trip to the American wilderness. Will intends to fix their marriage, and Liv plans to test her husband during that trip: if he proves with no doubt that he changed and repented for his sins, she will give him a second chance; if he fails the tests, she will kill him, simulating an accident.
Before Liv and Will go on that trip, Liv stalks Jenna (Cara in the series) and even starts a flirt with Jenna’s boyfriend, Gus (Garth in the series). Then Liv and Will leave: when Gus and Jenna show up in the wild, it’s because Gus wanted to follow them, not Jenna! After Jenna dies and the investigations occur, Gus intends to inform the police about Will and Jenna’s affair. But Liv knows this information will raise suspicions about her, so she kills Gus. The rest of the book proceeds with the investigations, unable to find the truth. Liv and Will will return to the UK, with Will totally unaware of what has been in Liv’s mind the whole time.
The ending of the TV series Wilderness is affected by the big difference in the plot. Through Liv’s evil plan, Will is imprisoned for Cara’s murder. Liv will even face Will in prison, confessing that she wanted to kill him, not Cara. Liv will continue his life with the questions that come up at the ending.
It’s worth analyzing Liv’s psychology, the difference between the series Wilderness and the book, and the series ending. Let’s explore everything.
Liv in Wilderness: the series’ finale her psychology
In both the book and the TV series, Liv is definitely a cynical, calculating character. However, the most significant difference is that in the series Wilderness, Liv seems already sure she wants to kill Will, whereas in the book, she’s open to observing if her husband is worth a second chance. After avoiding all suspicions after the investigations, she willingly returns to the UK and continues her marriage with Will.
The series Wilderness shows a different progression, and the ending leaves some questions open. Liv is free, but she’s in a much bigger danger: Will is in prison, knowing the whole truth about her guilt, and he has all the time and the tools to accuse Liv. Liv is aware of it, and from some signs we catch in the plot, we believe she knows it won’t end well for her. She writes her story in a book and ends it by talking about herself in the past. She sends the manuscript to her mom; then, we see her visiting the place where she killed Cara. Everything makes us think she wants to take her life before going to prison for what she did.
The series Wilderness has an ending open to all interpretations. Liv has a meaningful conversation with a ranger about how women are ultimately forced to become what men want from them. She has badness inside her, and she knows it. Will is in prison for her crime, and she knows something is coming up for her. Will she commit suicide? We will never know, especially because the series is not designed to have a sequel. But watching Wilderness until the ending, we can feel satisfied with the difference between the book and the series, seeing how Liv won’t easily escape her sins.