Yellowjackets Season 2 Review – Uneven execution is a let down, but strong performances make it worthwhile

 

Season 1

Season 2

 

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 4/5

 

Season 2 of Yellowjackets has come to an end. The highly anticipated finale saw yet another moment of raw cannibalism in this season, as was promised in the build-up to it. There was a shock to the fanbase as a beloved character bid adieu to the cinematic universe. Overall, it marked a satisfactory end to the story arc. But one cannot escape the feeling that the action-packed finale couldn’t cover enough ground for the entire season. For the most part, we followed the conventional two-timeline structure; one set in the past and the other in the present day.

The stakes were higher in the former as the girls battled hunger and barely survived in the unrelenting winter. Lottie’s growing influence over the group had mixed results, especially for Shauna. The legend of the wilderness had enough bite and eagerness to capture our imagination. However, that did not translate as effectively into the present day. The wait for tangible outcomes was as stretched as the long-drawn buildup around the police investigating Adam Martin’s disappearance and the tightening of the screws on Shauna seemed never-ending.

It eventually came to no fruition and that was a big disappointment. Initial episodes were hallmarked by severe overhang as Lottie’s visions returned and our Yellowjackets united to “protect one of them.” The fundamental difference between the two seasons was the nature of the setting and the positioning of the narrative focus. While the first season saw the creators establish the central conceits, the second took the mantle to build on that. This made the second instalment of Yellowjackets uncharacteristically verbose, latent, and ambiguous.

The processing of the feelings by the ladies in the present-day took a toll on the prospective explosiveness of the storytelling to surprise us. The creators were left with limited options to ease the viewers’ ability to cope. It is not easy to navigate through the heavy and serious-minded talks the group has while looking back at the wilderness. Most of the dialogues are obtusely written. The approach is very heavy-handed with no clear sense of what they are getting at.

The core meaning of what the characters say isn’t readily accessible. This denseness keeps you at arm’s length, even as the cast does a remarkable job of bringing the complexities to the screen. The creators had a multivariate spectrum of themes to explore like parenthood, mental illness, and quirky detective work from aficionados, among other things. Elijah Wood promised to be a great addition to the cast. But we hardly got to see him on screen. His limited time ensured that Walter Tattersall didn’t win us over quite as we expected him to.

Callie and Jeff’s increased presence in the initial episodes pointed towards themes surrounding the challenges of parenthood. But somehow, the discussion about the season overall comes back to the two halves of it. They are discordant and represent different creative intentions. Calling most of these arcs unfinished is a softer way of criticizing the execution, which was a hammer on a nail in the first season.

Logistical impossibilities like Taissa, a sitting State senator, going missing for weeks and no one noticing is symbolic of this season’s shambles. The lack of direction and preparedness to adjust to the changing realities of the cinematic universe also add salt to the wounds.

Even with so many different avenues, season 2 feels like a missed opportunity. Lottie’s arc was the biggest betrayal. The final two episodes mischaracterized the work that was done to make it compelling by undermining the veracity of the wilderness. Season 2 only gave us a single glimpse of Lottie seeing “it” and then led us astray by relegating her visions to mental illness. The inherent, devastating trauma that they carried into their adult lives turned out to be the commonality in their struggles. But if that was the case, the makers did a poor job of weaving it into the storytelling.

Credit must be given to the large ensemble for really making something out of the dull content. Headline names – Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, and Melanie Lynskey – elevated the present tense to a great extent, bringing new, unexplored dimensions to their characters. As the actors spent more time with them, the viewers got to see a more wholesome portrait that goes beyond what was written on paper.

Both the Sophies (playing young Nat and Shauna) had an incredible grasp on their changing arcs for the season. Courtney Eaton’s young Lottie took on a leadership role at the start of the first episode and assumed a much more influential role through the rest of it.

Everything that made the first season of Yellowjackets such a banger is mostly visible in the past timeline and that still had the same kind of magic in season 2 as well. But as the gap in the quality of manifesting the two universes set decades apart widened, the season trudged on to its eventful conclusion.


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  • Verdict - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
6.5/10

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