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YELLOWJACKETS S1E8 IT CHOOSES 😊

(L-R): Sophie Nélisse as Teen Shauna, Samantha Hanratty as Teen Misty, Liv Hewson as Teen Van and Nia Sondaya as Teen Akilah in YELLOWJACKETS, "It Chooses". Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

If I had been reviewing last week’s YELLOWJACKETS, I probably would have given it an ‘Experience Now 🤩’, but my colleague didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. It was weird and wild and jam-packed with excellent performances and incredible music, and it made me say “WTF” just enough without detracting from the overall story. 

IT CHOOSES isn’t as offbeat, but it sure is a trip. This season of YELLOWJACKETS excels more during the scenes with our teenage survivors more than it does when it focuses on them as adults. Even with standout actresses such as Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, and Lauren Ambrose, I still find myself asking, “What’s the point?”. Yes, there’s drama, but it can be silly and inconsequential. There are life or death stakes in both timelines, but I’ve become far more invested in what happened in the winter of 1996-1997 than I am in the present day. 

This week’s episode serves up (no pun intended) a lot of “what happened” and “why” from that era. It’s thrilling and scary, and it’s not hard to see how a group of desperate, starving teenagers were driven to the brink. I wish we’d had a full episode of this because there’s so much to tell and a lot that seems left out as the story jumps between then and now. 

What’s happening with the Yellowjackets in 2022 is both frustrating and often insulting to who these women could be. It’s obvious that at least a couple of our survivors are semi-well off, but we’re supposed to believe that in the last 25 years, they’ve never, not a single one of them – dealt with the trauma of their plane crash. What have they been doing with their lives for so long, then? The late 90s was a very different time. Therapy wasn’t nearly as well accepted. I understand that. But in 2022, it is, and each of these characters seems to have some means to get help. 

One has somehow become quite successful despite some very serious psychological issues. Most of them seem to have floated along, completely suppressing the events of 25 years ago. It’s a common survival instinct, but it doesn’t seem to answer how blasé they seem toward life and death as 40-something-year-old women. I’m trying to be patient with the show and tell myself that “they’re just beginning” and “there’s a lot left to tell”, but when a dozen or so folks are cooped up in a cabin for the winter without food, not much happens outside of the slow descent into madness. That’s why BURIAL worked so well. It walked a fine line between what was really happening and what our characters were imagining. IT CHOOSES, on the other hand, relies on some episode-ending shock value to keep us coming back again. Yes, I’ll be back YELLOWJACKETS, if for nothing else, that sweet, sweet soundtrack of my teen years. But I need for the women to pull their shit together and for the girls to be in the cabin to finally get a break from the cold and spend more time outside. 

YELLOWJACKETS streams Fridays on the Showtime app, and this week, May 26th, is the season finale.  

Jami Losurdo

When not writing film and tv reviews, Jami is expanding her collection of colorful sunglasses, lifting weights, and working her day job as a Digital Advertising Director. An alumnus of NYU Tisch for Film/TV, Jami made Los Angeles her home in the early 2000s and continues her quest to find the very BEST tacos of all time.

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