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“Yellowjackets” Season 2 Episode 2 Review

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Where to stream it? Showtime or the Paramount+ w/ Showtime bundle

Starring: Sophia Nélisse, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sophie Thatcher, Courtney Eaton, Liv Hewson, Samantha Hanratty, Steven Krueger, Kevin Alves, Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, Simone Kessel, Lauren Ambrose, Warren Kole, Ellan Purnell, Nia Sondaya, Alexa Barajas, Nuha Jes Izman, Sarah Desjardins

Directed by: Ben Semanoff

Written by: Jonathan Lisco

Intro: Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 2 Review

Currently streaming via Paramount+ and Showtime, this weekend's episode of the psychological horror drama series, Yellowjackets, sets up the stage for what we can expect in the rest of of Season 2.

The second season's second episode is titled “Edible Complex”.

Minor spoilers ahead for those who have not seen Yellowjackets Season 1, along with the Season 2 premiere.

First Impressions

The title “Edible Complex” takes on two meanings. On one hand, it serves as a play on the psychological “Oedipus complex” term. It suggests that a child is attracted to an opposite-sex parent. Jeff (Warren Kole) is absent from this episode. However, we do see Callie (guest star Sarah Desjardins) finding herself attracted to another adult male in some manner.

On the other hand, the presence of Jackie Taylor's (guest star Ella Purnell) cadaver insinuates the possibiity of a certain course of action for the young adults in the winter portion of the series. As insinuated in the first season's pilot and third episode, members of the surviving group resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. Last weekend continued that idea when Shauna Shipman (Sophie Nélisse) took a bite from her former friend's ear. This weekend, we see the group dealing with what more to do with the body.

There is a sequence in the final act of this episode that juxtaposes nightmarish reality with fantastic reverie. It brings us to a hefty combination of editor Jeff Israel's use of cuts, Margot Ready's production designs, Mark Lane's set decorations, and work from hair department head Jaala Wanless.

The Gothic Double and Foils

While last weekend's episode felt more of a transition from the first season to the second season, this current episode sets the larger stage for new character arcs and an overarching one. There is a brief moment between teens Crystal (guest star Nuha Jes Izman) and Misty (Samantha Hanratty), to which another character remarks, “Oh, great. There are two of you now?” For the series thus far, Misty has been seen to function as sort of the sole nuisance to the group. This season, Crystal serves as a foil to her in ways that will bring about shocking reactions.

Likewise, Lisco and the writers' room showcase Shauna and Jackie as the juxtaposition between life and death. In these first two episodes of the season, there is a slowly progressing spiral in the former towards madness, while the latter never really seemed to hide secrets from others in the first season. Shauna's interactions with her former best friend also depicts the uglinesses of herself coming to light as she attempts to cover up, through makeup, the true Jackie.

Moreover, it looks as if madness will become a character of its own, as it is the case with Taissa Turner (Jasmin Savoy Brown and Tawny Cypress) and a third character. Taissa's story is an intriguing one as her internal conflict deals the darker side of herself. This points to the Gothic trope of the double such as with Dead Ringers, King's The Shining, or Peele's Us. It could be argued that Taissa has the strongest subplot of the episode and possibly of the season, from what I have seen. Her story also leads to another Gothic trope: the uncanny – the strange return to familiar grounds.

Performances and Character Developments

Next to Taissa's story, at least a couple of others are worth highlighting. Adult Shauna's (Melanie Lynskey) relationship with her daughter, Callie, takes on new obstacles as the Sadecki family continues to deal with the investigation of a dead and missing man. Lynskey does remarkably as the mother who seeks to protect her family, teasing heavy development in the next four episodes. She does a fine job when paired with Desjardins. While we did not see much of Callie in the first season, she has more to do in a great portion of this season. It is an interesting thing to see more of her side of the story and how that affects her mother.

Teens Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and Travis' (Kevin Alves) continuing search for the latter's younger brother is one that takes a toll on the couple's dynamic with one another. Travis has this view that “[e]veryone has their role”. This indicates that the group of survivors function as a unit or a machine. Although, what is challenging about this notion is that everyone needs repairing before they can even think of properly working together. Thatcher and Alves perform well together and even have a trippy sequence in the final act. Still, from what I have seen, their best is yet to come, and I cannot wait to see where that heads.

Final Thoughts: Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 2 Review

On the surface, “Edible Complex” has somewhat normal things happening in its narrative compared to the previous episode. However, it is only after peeling away at its skin that viewers will realize that Yellowjackets has only begun to show us its insides, and it is far from glamorous. As it continues to consume us from within, fans will be satisfied at the new kinds of character arcs they are eating up. A few noteworthy scenes are not without the help of music supervisor Nora Felder's inclusion of tracks, such as Massive Attack's “Inertia Creeps”, SadGirl's “Little Queenie”, and Radiohead's “Climbing up the Walls”.

Stay tuned for the third episode, which will give us a motherly spirit to help its characters settle just how to further resolve their conflicts.

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John Daniel Tangalin
John Daniel Tangalin
Senior at the University of Guam Majoring in English Literature with a Minor in Writing. I watch a lot of films and television to keep up with popular culture.
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