'Yellowjackets' Season 2 Finds Direction in the Wilderness

Created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson

Photo: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

BY Marriska FernandesPublished Jun 2, 2023

If there's anything that Yellowjackets does exceedingly well, it's dishing out a deliciously good story, balancing the drama and dark comedy in equal measure, and Season 2 continues this, for the most part. Yellowjackets simultaneously moves between the past and the present — not an easy storytelling device to master. But the series never gets too chaotic or hard to follow, as it slots together pieces of the puzzle slowly and deliberately. 

The first four episodes of Season 2 were made available to Canadian critics, and, so far, the season continues to build upon Season 1's dark and twisted tension, with one particularly memorable scene that's horrendously hard to stomach. The scene is very much expected given the cannibalism hints last season, but nonetheless, it's an intense moment and perhaps the highlight so far.

Season 2 picks up soon after the place where the show left off: in 1996, Jackie's (Ella Purnell) death looms large among the survivors of a plane crash, and, two months later, a very pregnant Shauna (Sophie Nelisse) is still reeling from the loss. Factions are formed in the wilderness, as some side with the more spiritual Lottie (Courtney Eaton), while others are more on board with the practical ideas of Natalie (Sophie Thatcher). Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) tries to figure out the cause of her sleepwalking with help from Van (Liv Hewson), while Travis (Kevin Alves) continues the search for his missing brother Javi (Luciano Leroux).

In the present, it is revealed that Natalie (Juliette Lewis) has been kidnapped by Lottie's (Simone Kessell) "wellness group." As dark and twisted as Lottie is in the '90s flashbacks, her reveal in the present as an adult is less interesting, with a disappointing storyline.

After the death of Adam Martin (Peter Gadiot) last season, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) and husband Jeff (Warren Kole) try to stay one step ahead of the police, while also trying to bring back the spark in their marriage. If there is one actor on Yellowjackets who has been consistently crushing it with her performance, it's Melanie Lynskey in her award-winning role (she deservedly earned the Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress). She is compelling, driving home both the drama and comedy of the series and her character.

Misty (Christina Ricci), who soon discovers that Natalie might have been kidnapped, goes searching for answers, and hilariously crosses paths with a fellow amateur sleuth Walter (Elijah Wood), whom she meets on an online message board. Their story is the most entertaining one on the present timeline, and the duo add to the show's comedic relief with their solid timing. 

Taissa's (Tawny Cypress) present storyline is chaotic, as her sleepwalking worsens and she can't get a grip on reality, making her personal life hard to handle. Four episodes in, it's still unclear where this is heading.

Season 1 united all the core characters in the present timeline, and that's what kept the excitement going, but Season 2 has failed to do that so far, thereby weakening the story. Seeing Ricci, Lynskey, Lewis and Cypress in the present could gain momentum for the show and add more colour (rather than seeing them individually handle their own problems).

So far, Season 2's strength lies in the unravelling of the girls' past in the woods. Based on the first season, we had a sense that the series was going to get darker, bloodier and far more entertaining — that's reason enough to keep biting into new episodes every week.

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