Written by Victor DeBonis
I might need to reflect on this some more as time goes on, but, although I’m not sure, yet, if this season narratively clicks as well as the first one, I absolutely loved Season 2 of the show.
Elijah Wood is fantastic in this as a humorous, unpredictable oddball who is unsettlingly calm in this season’s events, and all of the actresses from both the present and past timelines are excellent, too. Christina Ricci is, once again, superb and expresses a playful joy that is intriguing in its ability to hide her character’s brokenness and wild state of mind. Her character of Misty Quigley is easily one of my new favorite outcast characters, and I always love seeing her on-screen partly because I never know what to expect from her in the most intriguing way.
Melanie Lynskey sadly doesn’t have as much to do in the first half of this season (which is one of the disadvantages of Season 2), but she always makes her moments count with her quietness hiding her frustration and impressively vicious spirit in facing what’s in front of her. Tawny Cypress is fantastic at switching both sides of her character, Lauren Ambrose is great in highlighting the intensity and straightforward demeanor of her character as an adult, and Juliette Lewis is excellent as a wild, damaged soul who just barely escaped the end of her life from the previous season and is believably working on seeking a method to adapt to her new surroundings while also trying to determine if she is changing within her unexpected, new environment (for better or worse).
The teen actresses from the past timeline are wonderful, too, including Samantha Hanratty doing great in her awkward, vulnerable, unpredictable character’s presence and Sophie Nelisse giving some (I would argue) Emmy-worthy work for what her character goes through, especially through some truly heartbreaking moments in this season. Courtney Eaton plays the “spiritual guide” character of this series and calmly aids her fellow cabin members through rituals created by her that, while questioned, serve as the best way for some to cope in this wilderness, and her patience and passion through how she gently leads is impressive.
The 90’s rock soundtrack from this is absolutely amazing, maybe, one of my favorites from recent film in a while. Nirvana, Cranberries, Smashing Pumpkins, and other amazing, musical artists from this era elevate this show to something special in my eyes because they’re not just randomly placed to suggest, “Oh, here’s something to remind you that this timeline takes place in this decade. Here’s something from it!” The needledrops for almost every tune matches perfectly for the tone or the conflicted (or, on a few occasions, happy) feelings that one of the characters are going through. One of my great joys from watching this season has been reading the articles from professional film writers and not only viewing some of the great debate going on about this series and its events but getting to see what other film writers and watchers find or notice about how the lyrics of specific songs connect to what’s happening in the show.
This show does what most great pieces of art, in general, should do on some level: It engages them to ponder and reflect.
A few subplots are strangely not given as much focus or returning to as they would’ve benefitted from, and the season finale episode, while pretty good as a whole, has a weird vibe for how everything just combines in this episode as it does. Also, I feel that more could’ve been done to lead to one major moment from this episode that, from a certain standpoint, it makes sense how it was led to this, but it also needed additional development to make it to where it does.
Aside from that, I loved this season, and, warts and all, it’s a season that has helped me to continue to love and respect this show. In fact, this is probably my favorite new show for right now and might even be in one of my Top 10 favorite shows, right now.
I love the soundtrack. I love the performances. I love the direction and writing with these episodes. I love how invested I am with these characters who, similar to the main characters from “The Last of Us” are not necessarily great people but are so human and relatable in specific ways and, as a result, I greatly care about what happens to them. I love this show’s exploration of strong characters trying to cope with hardship and overcome horrible pasts and women’s friendships and relationships (especially following harder times) and, particularly, the difficulty of trying to make one’s way through life in the aftermath of trauma.
I don’t know what it is, but I am always a sucker for a good story about trying to cope with or overcome trauma, and this show is one of the finer recent examples of it. No joke: “Yellowjackets” is one of those works of film that has meant a ton to me not just to someone who loves writing about film (and even reminds me of why writing about film and experiencing it brings me so much joy) but has genuinely helped me to cope with and recover from past tough events and trauma of my own and what I’ve experienced.
If I have more time in the future, I would love to write an essay about what this show has meant to me in that regard.
I applaud the makers of this show for engaging in the WGA strike because, as mentioned before, screenwriters deserve way better treatment than what they receive. They halted making season 3 until things are properly resolved, and I and other fans will be waiting eagerly for however long it takes because there is true talent involved with this show, and I can’t wait to see where Season 3 goes.
Content Warning: This is a dark psychological horror-drama series written for an adult audience, and it largely focuses on vicious actions that its characters do to survive, and, as such, some content might be tough for some viewer