Episode 1 of Yellowjackets begins with a young woman rushing through the woods, panicking. Crunching through the snow with bloodied footprints, she slips and lands in a hidden spike pit, which kills her instantly.
We’ve got a real Lord of the Flies deal going on here, but before we dive into the craziness, we cut back to 1996 and see the girls before they crashed into this nightmare. The all-girls football (soccer) team in New Jersey, the Yellowjackets, is our main focus. Specifically, the college girls who happen to be part of this team.
Interspersed around nightmarish scenes on the island, we cut to different characters during our present day timeline off the island. These women have been through quite the ordeal, and seeing how each of these women are suffering works perfectly to keep things suitably intriguing – especially as we’ve yet to see how crazy things get.
Jackie is the proverbial Queen Bee, while the various worker drones include Natalie, Shaunna and Allie. There’s a beautifully foreshadowed moment too when the coach brings Jackie into his office, telling her that as the captain she needs to rally the team around her when things get hard.
The first test comes from freshman Allie, who seems to choke under pressure. Taissa meets with a few of the other girls, deciding to freeze her out and force Allie to up her game. Natalie, who’s there to witness the girls trying to enact their “tough love”, is completely against this and walks away.
On the pitch, a crunching slide tackle sees Allie’s bone sticking straight out her skin. The girls are shocked, torn over whether this was intentional of not. Jackie does her best to rally the girls, eventually having them all line up and say one nice thing to each other.
Jackie goes first and honestly, this scene is brilliant. Not only does it feel natural, it also brings out a lot of exposition to help understand who these characters are – and what their defining trait is. Carefree Natalie; faith-loving Laura, determined and tenacious Taissa; straight-talking Lottie and of course Shauna, Jackie’s best friend.
In the morning, all our characters hop aboard their private jet to the upcoming game. They’ve got a long flight ahead of them and all our girls get settled in.
Now, in the present, Shauna meets Taissa and reminds her what they agreed to. They’re to stay quiet, not talk to the press and keep what happened on the island a secret. Another who made it back is Misty, who works as a carer – and she’s clearly mentally unhinged. She takes away the meds for her patient and has a menacing scar while she does it too.
As Misty leaves work, she’s watched from afar as Natalie grabs a hunting rifle and begins stalking her prey. It’s here we cut back to the island one more time as we see the plane crash-land in the middle of the forest.
The Episode Review
Yellowjackets has been the talk of the town recently and yes, we are four weeks late to this show but that’s just as well – this looks like quite the bingeworthy drama.
The first episode perfectly sets up all our characters, exudes exposition naturally and helps to introduce all our different key players across the season to come.
Not only that though, Yellowjackets also has the benefit of including some beautiful foreshadowing, including the gnarly scene involving Allie’s broken leg. These little moments of character conflict – and Jackie rallying everyone together in the past timeline – help to start building up an established hierarchy that’s going to be shattered when we make it to the island. That much is especially true with the reveal that Misty is the one calling the shots.
It’ll be interesting to see just how far down the rabbit hole we tumble!