Yellowjackets: Showtime’s New Cannibalistic Sensation by Jerod Harris
Your skin peels away as you rush through the icy thicket of the Canadian wilderness; sharp-unnatural howls and screeches of savage animals echo through the somber forest indicating your scheduled demise. Their hunt has begun. The adrenaline courses through your veins but it can only carry you so far all while the sharp and uncomfortable twinges of hunger act as a mortal reminder of the inevitable. Gripping at your faded, torn nightgown you devolve into a hysterical sobbing mess all while the ominous carvings in the birch trees keep watch over you; they’re watching you. The distorted guttural cries break the moment of doom-influenced hysteria; you begin to run once more. Frostbite claims the soles of your bare feet as the sharp freezing air burns your face. They’re getting closer to you. Picking up your pace even faster than before, hunger be damned. As you’re running barefooted against the bitter snow and ice you glance at your injured feet, but in a moment’s notice the frozen ground breaks under you.
Yellowjackets is created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson while being directed by Karyn Kusama. Lyle and Nickerson have created one of the most compelling and gripping stories of friendship, loyalty, self-discovery, and the truly hellish reality of being a teenager. These aspects are only heightened by Kusama’s talent for directing; she’s able to express the vision of both Lyle and Nickerson by using fluid camera motions and unsettling pauses on both characters and the nature that surrounds them. This dynamically-creative duo has tapped into raw and primordial energies that still linger with us to this very day of how we, as humans, are driven by survival.
This dynamically-creative duo has tapped into raw and primordial energies that still linger with us to this very day of how we, as humans, are driven by survival.
There are two main timelines in Yellowjackets, one is set in the present day while the other is set in 1996; the latter of the two is by far darker and more sinister than the former. The 1996 storyline follows a high school varsity girls’ soccer team, the Wiskayok’s Yellowjackets, and their journey to nationals. However, on their flight from New Jersey to Washington, unforeseeable mechanical problems occur that cause a devastating plane crash. After the survivors mend their wounded and bury their dead they must face an onslaught of challenges such as survival and the unknown. With societal norms and obligations lost in the dense wilderness, the Yellowjackets realized that they must survive by any means necessary. 19 souls entered the darkened forest and only 8 came out…
19 souls entered the darkened forest and only 8 came out…
The present-day timeline follows the narrative of four of the eight survives of the ‘96 plane crash, those being Shauna Shipman (adult-Melanie Lynskey/teenager-Sophie Nélisse), Taissa Turner (adult-Tawny Cypress/teen-Jasmin Savoy Brown), Misty Quigley (adult-Christina Ricci/teen-Sammi Hanratty), and Natalie Scatorccio (adult-Juliette Lewis/teen-Sophie Thatcher). Each of these women present the impression that they have moved on with their lives without blinking an eye or giving a second thought as to what happened in the wilderness. In reality each of them has developed deep psychological issues along with disturbing coping mechanisms to manage their collectively traumatizing memories of their adolescence. Eventually, all four of the women are brought together by two sinister factors, one being that a former survivor of their cohort was killed in a grisly, ritualistic fashion. The second one is that of an anonymous blackmailer who, if not given $50,000, will release the official story of the team’s survival in the Canadian wilderness. Both of which have implemented the foreboding symbol tied to their deeds in the wilderness, implicating a betrayer amongst them, but who would dare do such a thing? Eventually the women come up with a number of ideas and solutions, one of being that if they kill the blackmailer then they’ll also be eliminating the mysterious murderer too. Yet, there is the possibility that these are two separate events. As they rise to face these looming threats they must make a choice: do they revert to the animalistic behaviors they learned in the wilderness, or do they bend to societal norms and humanistic alternatives?
Season two is set to be released on March 24th as well as the 26th for streaming platforms. On a personal note, I am more than excited for the release of the second season because it answers multiple questions from season one while also addressing the shocking ending of the first season too. It’s not too late to binge-watch the 10 episodes of season one in preparation for season two. I know I’ll be watching the new season of this fantastically-twisted show, will you?