Yellowjacket Season 1 was just plain fun.
The excellent start to Showtime’s addictive series hinted at cannibalism and ritual sacrifice, but it’s not until Season 2 that we really understand what happened to the Yellowjackets in the desert. This season dives deep into the supernatural hauntings that plagued the disqualified football team, as well as the darkness that continues to follow them 25 years later.
Given the show’s glowing reception and multi-season renewal, it stands to reason Yellowjacket Creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson have more room to play. Get ready for more genre changes, more characters, and bigger stylistic swings. While some of these swings don’t quite stick the landing, Yellowjacket Season 2 remains an irresistibly harrowing watch, filled with new mysteries, terrifying terrors, and a consistently incredible cast.
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The Yellowjackets face major consequences in Season 2.
Murder has consequences, as Shauna learns.
Credit: Kimberley French/SHOWTIME
Yellowjacket continues following two timelines in Season 2: the aftermath of the 1996 plane crash and the lives of the survivors 25 years later. At the beginning of the season, both of these timelines begin with the common thread of the Yellowjackets dealing with the brutal consequences of their actions in Season 1.
For the young Yellowjackets, that means grieving the loss of Jackie (Ella Purnell), who froze to death after being exiled by her teammates. It’s been two months since that tragedy, and the troubling coping mechanisms of the heavily pregnant Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) are shocking the team.
Present-day Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) also finds herself in some hot water as the police investigate the disappearance of her ex-lover (and murder victim) Adam (Peter Gadiot). Instead of turning to the remaining four Yellowjackets, such as Misty (Christina Ricci), Taissa (Tawny Cypress) and Natalie (Juliette Lewis), she leans on her husband Jeff (Warren Kole) for help.
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For most of the six episodes sent to critics for review, Yellowjacket keeps the core four separate in the present. Taissa reckons with the terrifying impact of her sleepwalking – remember her dog altar? — in a storyline that leads her to ex Van (Lauren Ambrose). A kidnapped Natalie finds herself in a commune run by Lottie (Simone Kessell). Not leaving her friend hanging, Misty teams up with fellow detective Walter (Elijah Wood) to track her down.
While the sheer volume of the plot can occasionally feel overwhelming, these branching stories deepen the cast of characters in some fascinating ways. Obviously, it’s a treat to meet two young adult Yellowjackets and see what life has thrown at them. But it’s just as satisfying to see Jeff get an expanded role, along with his and Shauna’s daughter Callie (Sarah Desjardins). Shauna and Jeff’s murder cover-up results in some of the darkest funny moments of the season, allowing Lynskey to peel back the layers of Shauna’s housewife exterior to reveal something darker and more reckless.
Wood’s Walter is also a welcome addition to the cast as Misty’s potential friend. The two are a match made in heaven, from their Citizen Detective skills to their love of musicals. Dare I send them, even though they are both public threats? Ah, I dare.
Yellowjacket Season 2 leans into the supernatural in a big way — and a lot of that is thanks to Lottie.
Lottie takes center stage.
Source: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.
Season 1 of Yellowjacket teased us with a strange symbol, a man with no eyes, and Taissa’s terrifying sleepwalker self. The new season deepens these mysteries and hints at some answers, but don’t expect full explanations just yet. Currently, Yellowjacket he seems content to turn up the horror dial. Mysterious dead birds and slack-jawed apparitions are all in the spotlight this season, along with rivers of blood and flesh-tearing slime. Remember, this is a show about cannibalism… although by the end of the season, this might not be the worst offense our Yellow Jackets have committed.
By far the biggest supernatural element this season is young Lottie’s (Courtney Eaton) connection to the desert. After killing a bear and sacrificing her heart in the Season 1 finale, Lottie became a kind of spiritual leader for the Yellowjackets. She performs a blood ritual to bless Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and Travis’ (Kevin Alves) hunting efforts and encourages her team members to cultivate their relationship with the wilderness. Then there’s the matter of her visions, which helped the team find sustenance and inspired faith in many of her compatriots. These omens take a bad turn in the present, however, as Lottie worries that the darkness they encountered in the wild has followed them home.
As someone who rarely finds visions to be particularly compelling or interesting narrative devices, I loved it YellowjacketRestraint when it comes to Lottie’s. Her mysterious powers are less the focus than the rift they cause between the group’s true believers and skeptics, creating a dynamic push and pull in the flashback sequences that expands into Lottie’s own present-day cult. The group member activates the group member and Yellowjacket examines each character’s capacity for cruelty as they slide closer and closer to the ritualistic cannibals we encountered in the series’ first episode.
Eaton lives up to her newly expanded role, portraying Lottie as a genuine believer who just happens to be put on a pedestal by some of her friends. Sometimes it’s hard to buy people’s reverent attitude toward her in the early episodes of the season, but Eaton plays Lottie’s commitment with such sincerity that it’s easy to believe her actions, no matter what those around her might be doing. Kessell’s current counterpart is somewhat more slippery, especially given her apparent cult leader status. As we learn more about her time between the rescue and now, her motivations become clearer in ways that illuminate the events of season 1 as well.
Yellowjacket has always combined genres such as psychological horror, teen drama and dark comedy. With the added emphasis on the supernatural, Season 2 takes us further into that mix while incorporating even more surreal elements. Taissa confronts her sleepwalking double in a mirror. In a dream sequence, a member of the group stumbles upon a crowded mall while wandering through the woods. In another, a Yellowjacket fantasizes about a life where they’ve never been on a plane. These departures from reality provide fascinating glimpses into the mental state of each yellowjacket and the different ways they deal with and sort through their trauma.
Other similar departures, such as a sequence in which the Yellowjackets see themselves as Greek goddesses, also fail to land. The latter undercuts a pivotal moment with tonal disconnection, to the point where my reaction to the scene was not to imagine the scene’s horrific consequences, but rather to sit in confusion.
Nevertheless, I still appreciate yellow jackets dedication to going above and beyond the wild expectations he set for us in Season 1, both story-wise and style-wise. Season 2 is bolder, darker, and willing to take more risks with its deeply troubled characters, and it pays off. Could I use more answers about what the heck is going on in the desert? Sure. But I trust it Yellowjacket he will take us there. Meanwhile, this season’s many twists, turns, and creams are enough to keep me hooked — and buzzing for more.
Yellowjacket Season 2 begins airing March 24 on Showtime, with new episodes airing weekly on Fridays(Opens in a new tab). Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET, starting March 26.