Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Popsicle Friends Forever
Papa Roach, popsicle friends, Steve the Dog & weaponized forks are all in the fantastic second-season premiere of Showtime's Yellowjackets.
Showtime's Yellowjackets season two started off with a quiet yet disturbing journey into the depths of grief, survival, and bittersweet reunions. In this season two premiere, two months into winter, the survivors cope with falling rations and low morale, plus some teammates are better at letting go than others. This will be a longer examination of the episode since it's the first one of the season, so settle in and grab some tea (but maybe some with just tea leaves in it). A lot happened in this episode, so major spoilers will be plentiful…you've been warned… buzz buzz.
Yellowjackets: Two Months Into Winter and Bloody Tea
Yellowjackets carefully brought us back into the story after an emotional and adrenaline-pumping season one finale. The girls are functioning the best ways they know how to in the wilderness at this point, which is two months after the discovery of popsicle Jackie (Ella Purnell) when winter arrives at full force. She couldn't seem to create a fire (even while using a lighter) at that point, so I didn't have much hope early on for the team captain. In any case, teen Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) is glowing with inner guilt and fetus. But that doesn't stop some psychosis-induced chats with meat-shed corpse Jackie. If she had some super glue, we'd maybe avoid the part where she carries part of her friend in her pocket, but alas, Cabin Guy wasn't prepared in that way.
Teen Lottie (Courtney Eaton) has become a guiding light for the others in the cabin, blessing teen Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and teen Travis (Kevin Alves) before their journey yet again to search for animals to hunt in the woods. Based on the duo's travels through the harsh winter landscape, only the fear of accepting Javi's (Luciano Leroux) potential death after missing for two months can be found. That is found and Natalie's growing skill to map out the surrounding area and discuss those findings with Coach Ben (Steven Krueger). This is an obviously great plan of theirs, but it also reveals to them how few options are left when it comes to food in the near future. Seeing the way teen Van (Liv Hewson) and teen Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) interact when talking about their sleepwalking problems just made it more difficult not to want a romantic and loving reunion between the two of them as adults. Van declaring to Taissa, "I'm not scared of you, Tai," was so important when comparing present-day relationships Taissa has (looking at you Simone (Rukiya Bernard)).
Lottie Matthews as Her "Primal, Elemental Self"
Yellowjackets did a fantastic job with the focus on the horrors of the psychiatric institution and the carelessness of Lottie's parents after the team's 1998 rescue. This immediate shift is rightfully sending younger Lottie into shock and a mute state. The reality of what Lottie experiences with the drugs and electro-shock "therapy" are profound and honestly made me cry. I cried for the many women, minorities, and queer people put through a barbaric system. Seeing Lottie go from deep concern and protectiveness in the wilderness to a shell of a person was so important. Some aspects of their lives they were brought back to at home became more barbaric than the wilderness, and that says a lot.
When this episode of Yellowjackets shifts to adult Lottie (Simone Kessell) speaking in front of her crowd of people at an outdoor sort of retreat/commune, everything fell into place. Slowly introducing this grown version of Lottie was important to do on its own without more added besides flashbacks and a few present-day scenes not involving her. Lottie is someone we still approach with careful curiosity as an adult, but there's more given to us that helps us understand her better than ever before.
Misty on Reddit, Shauna Gets Kinky & Taissa in Denial
The inclusion of adult Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) receiving a practice interrogation from adult Misty (Christina Ricci), lawyer reminder cookie included, was a hilarious and well-timed moment by both the actors and the Yellowjackets writers' room. Meanwhile, the denial and proceeding horror from adult Taissa (Tawny Cypress) as she goes from adopting another dog, Steve, to crawling to her arts and crafts horror altar was heartbreaking but also so fucking funny. I love Taissa, but if I were that dog, I'd be running away by now.
Callie (Sarah Desjardins) is still being an asshole to people, as usual. While it makes sense that her parents are being evasive as hell and she doesn't know her mother's background, it still annoys me whenever she's on-screen. Although Shauna and Jeff (Warren Kole) could do a better job at communicating with their daughter about everything, even if they are wishing to not implicate her in anything. Outside of things with Callie, Jeff, and Shauna are finding a weird yet poetic kinky connection in destroying paintings in Adam's art studio. I'm finding their relationship to be oddly important and one of the best ones in the team's adult lives. Also, I too find myself emotionally jamming out to Papa Roach's "Last Resort." Much love to Jeff Sadecki through this time.
Speaking of rough parenting struggles in Yellowjackets, introducing Steve to Sammy (Aiden Stoxx) didn't go great, and Simone got involved. What's upsetting is Simone never attempted, even in a public area, to speak honestly about what she found with Taissa, even after the sleepwalking and struggles had been revealed to her. Threatening Taissa with going to the press felt like a huge leap, but then again, I am unsure where my mind would go after that kind of discovery.
If Misty had discovered that, then there'd be no reaction, and that may freak me out if it weren't for the lengths she goes to when watching out for people like Natalie (Juliette Lewis). Misty going on the true crime subreddits gave us a taste of what could be getting dug up about Adam's (Peter Gadiot) death online that may prompt further investigation coming up in future episodes. We might have heard Elijah Wood's voice reading out one of the threads Misty sees online. Walter may not be exactly a friend for Misty; instead, he might be someone she aims to keep quiet and away from investigating Adam. Adult Natalie gives us a deeper look inside Lottie's compound or lakeside retreat space when she attempts to flee, and the cult vibes only increase.
Things Are Getting A Little Cannibalistic on Yellowjackets
Yellowjackets often does a great job with its characters and exploring their backgrounds and personalities. While we're getting more information in the group with people like Gen (Mya Lowe) and Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman), it could feel sudden or rushed but based on the interaction as a whole, it quickly shows us dynamics we hadn't previously seen. The interaction between Crystal and teen Misty (Samantha Hanratty) outside of the cabin offers a lot of information and might be a reason why adult Misty has such a love for musicals which doesn't hold well for the fate of Crystal. Not to mention Crystal isn't listed as "Teen Crystal" like others on the cast list for the episode on IMDb.
Yellowjackets inches us closer to the increase of tension and decreasing amount of sanity within the group in the wilderness. Misty continues to be watched if she's anywhere near food, which I can rightfully get. Shauna being responsible for grabbing the meat from the same shed her popsicle friend is in may not have been a good idea from the start, but alas, these are starving teens, not therapists. In any case, Jackie's ear thaws out, and a curious mind and grief get the best of Shauna. My guess is right after this, she spits it out because it isn't the best thing to eat first (human or not), and the conflicting feelings initially get the best of her. But I don't think this will stop future curiosity for Shauna or the group.
Overall, this start to season two of Yellowjackets had plenty to dissect (maybe pun intended, unsure yet), and this whole discussion only scratches at the surface. We all can't have Taissa's finger strength when digging through soil and dirt for theories and details. I will say to pay attention to the opening credits, many little moments have changed, and in the future, they could play a part in later events. Otherwise, let me know in the comments below what you thought and what theories you have from this episode!
Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 1 "Friends, Romans, Countrymen"
Showtime's Yellowjackets S02E01 "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" brought us back to the wilderness and gave a first-class examination of grief, survival, and the impact of trauma later in life. Meanwhile, we were also provided with some perfectly timed absurdity that disturbed and enthralled us.
Daisy von Scherler Mayer
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