It’s been 14 months since YELLOWJACKETS’s first season ended in a shocking cliffhanger. Thankfully, unlike the show’s characters, we’ve had enough food to eat and are not (yet) experiencing any strange visions. I’m so thankful this show airs weekly instead of dropping all episodes at once. Spreading viewings out over weeks and months help build the mystery-thriller aspect of the story. But having such a long break between seasons made making sense of the S2 premiere a bit challenging. And I say this as someone who rewatched the end of S1 just last week.
First things first. I LOVE YELLOWJACKETS. It was one of my absolute favorites of 2021, and S2 starts very strong. The leading women in the show are about the same age as me, and it’s incredible to have a cast of several 40-something women on TV, each actress a master of their craft. As a true Angeleno, I’m a credits watcher, and this show is filled with women creatives. Producers, creators, writers, directors, music, cinematography… Hollywood is thankfully finally diversifying, but many shows and movies are still 80-90% men. My heart warmed when I saw so many names in the credits that I knew belonged to women.
If you haven’t watched the season 2 premiere of YELLOWJACKETS yet, go back and rewatch the end of last season or find some recaps on YouTube or elsewhere. There’s Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Misty (Christina Ricci), and Natalie (Juliette Lewis) as the adult versions of the teens who survived the plane crash. The young cast, which is just as incredible, includes Sophie Nelisse (teen Shauna), Jasmin Savoy Brown (teen Taissa and also currently starring in the Scream franchise), Samantha Hanrattie (teen Misty), and Sophie Thatcher (teen Natalie), among others. There seem to be a few new girls suddenly in the cabin, but perhaps they were always there last season and are now just being given more dialogue. Back in the days of a show like LOST, I somehow was able to watch it weekly and keep all of the characters straight. Since then, aging and the era of binging have made it harder for me to follow shows with large casts and several mysteries going on at any given time.
The present-day storyline ties up the S1 cliffhanger question: What happened to Natalie? In the winter cabin of 25 years earlier, less has changed, despite a small jump. The most exciting development among the survivors revolves around how Shauna deals with the death of her best friend, Jackie, which she feels responsible for. As winter marches on and food becomes harder to find, it’s obvious the girls, Travis, and their coach are growing weaker in both mind and body. In keeping the mysteries of last season going, we, as the audience, still don’t know if there’s a supernatural element to this story. Are the woods cursed? Maybe they landed in a “special” place like the island in LOST. Or perhaps the traumatic toll the accident has taken on them is just exhibiting itself in dreams, visions, and ghosts.
YELLOWJACKETS adds one new major player to its second season in the premiere, and their arrival was both expected and also not quite how I imagined. One of the many strengths of this show is how it takes the “mystery box” trope and delivers an incredible drama about the complicated people around it. And the soundtrack – WOW. Dust off your 90s CDs and put on your Doc Martens. I’ve got big hopes for this season, but I don’t want too many questions answered just yet. That’s the magic of these mysteries – when they’re well spun enough, they keep us coming back and wanting more. And I’m with the YELLOWJACKETS for the duration.
YELLOWJACKETS is on Showtime and streams on their mobile Showtime app every Friday.