Yellowjackets is a series that focuses on a New Jersey girls’ soccer team who struggle to survive the aftermath of a 1996 plane crash and how those survivors are still processing their trauma twenty-five years later. Season two has a two-month time jump, where in the past, the survivors are dealing with depleting food and a frozen Jackie (Ella Purnell) while Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) is slowly getting crazier by the day. In the present scenes, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) is focused on hiding her indiscretion, Taissa (Tawny Cypress) is a newly elected state senator while Misty (Christina Ricci) is seemingly isolated from the rest of the group.
Picking up in season two, all the adult versions of the survivors are separated. Each woman has their own issues and priorities, though it is only Shauna’s turmoil that does not link to her past. The first episode, titled “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” felt more like a reintroduction of the series than a follow-on, with the addition of introducing another timeline, which is best described as a sort of halfway point. While it is interesting to see glimpses of the survivors shortly after they have been rescued, the constant time jumps into three different times made the episode a bit disorienting. It was clearly supposed to be a Lottie (Courtney Eaton)-centred episode, but it doesn’t quite flow into adult Lottie (going by Charlotte and played by Simone Kessell) and her healing cult. Out of the two given for review, this episode was the most disappointing. Lottie, however, does not disappoint as we are introduced to the adult Lottie. Like her younger counterpart, there is much more to Lottie and more buried under the surface of the healer.
Throughout season one of Yellowjackets, it felt as if the show was tiptoeing around the horror aspect, teasing what will happen and leaving you hungry for more and the second episode of the new season delivers on that with promise of more. It does not discount the wonderful writing and acting of season one, but “Edible Complex” does not hide away from the more definitive horror aspect of the show. In a sickening final scene, viewers will be torn between looking away from the screen and hugely appreciating the brilliant writing and outstanding acting that the younger cast deliver. It is beautifully shot, mixing fantasy and reality in quick cuts that ramp up the horror of what the teens have done and showcasing how wild they have become in order to survive. The build up has helped this. Since the first season, cannibalism has been hinted it but now that the feast has begun, there seems to be much more to fear given that the ritualistic element of it has not yet been established. One thing is clear: Misty and Walter (Elijah Wood) are on course to steal this show. From their brief interactions, their dynamic adds some much-needed levity to the show. There interactions, although brief, make for some of the best moments of the series that add a comedic yet sinister undertone. Despite the two not physically working together yet, their partnership online is already a fan favourite that leaves you eager for more. Ricci and Wood make an excellent duo and will undoubtably be a force to be reckoned with.
Yellowjackets season two has many good moments, but unfortunately, some things are yet to make sense. Lottie’s cult and just exactly what happens there have yet to be revealed. While Older Lottie offers a new, interesting dynamic, it’s almost ruined by Nat (portrayed by Sophie Thatcher as a teenager and Juliette Lewis as an adult). Thatcher and Lewis have vastly different styles of acting, and while Lewis portrays Nat’s complicated world, Thatcher seems to be focused on acting loopy and untrusting of everyone. Her focus is still Travis, and the only link older and younger Nat have is their entitlement over Travis (portrayed by Kevin Alves as a teenager and Andres Soto as an adult). No one can have any relationship with him, be it romantic or friendship, and it’s one of the more tiresome things to watch on the series. It comes across that both iterations of Nat dislike that Lottie more for how Travis and others turn to her in times of need rather than her. Nat is the hunter and it has already been established she saved them all in some way but it is as if she likes that role and not when someone else is perceived that way.
Overall, the first two episodes of Yellowjackets, season 2, are promising. It’s a slow build that will undoubtedly have a great payoff come the season finale, but there are still some kinks for the writers to work out. This series seems to have a lot of unreliable narrators, and while that can be enjoyable to watch, having it from multiple characters has the danger of becoming too complicated for the sake of being complicated instead of the sake of the plot. There are high hopes and expectations for the second season, and there is no doubt that the writers and performers can live up to them.
The MVC goes to teen Shauna for being the catalyst and taking the first bite that will propel the Yellowjackets such in the wilderness into darkness.