By John Daniel Quinto Tangalin
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 Kessell, Lauren Ambrose, Warren Kole, Nia Sondaya, Alexa Barajas
Directed by: Liz Garbus
Written by: Karen Joseph Adcock & Ameni Rozsa
Intro: Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6 Review
This weekend's episode of the psychological horror drama series, Yellowjackets, serves as a strong transition to the actual reunion that fans and viewers were meant to see.
The second season's sixth episode is titled “Qui”.
Minor spoilers ahead for those who have not seen Yellowjackets Season 1, along with the previous five episodes of Season 2.
“Qui” is a well-written episode when it comes to the development of teenage Shauna Shipman (Sophie Nélisse). While adult Shauna Sadecki née Shipman (Melanie Lynskey) somewhat comes to her senses, her subplot this season was just a means to bring the character to a much larger cause. It could be argued that the primary thesis of the episode weighs in on the darknesses of the wilderness, or whatever other unseen force exists within it. Extrapolating what we have been taught about and are supposed to learn about darkness this season, the series' main adult women characters prepare to come to terms with conflict that is both internal and external.
As revealed to her in the previous episode, Natalie “Nat” Scatorccio (Juliette Lewis) admits that was a certain darkness about herself and her former high school soccer teammates. This was something that kept in touch with them even after their rescue from their months-long incident. Likewise, this is the case with adult Charlotte “Lottie” Matthews (Simone Kessell). In therapy, she is asked if her fear of the past equates to a fear of her “illness”. To this, she suggests that it is an uncanniness.
A great way to explain the uncanny is in French philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle's theory of risk. She cites renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's idea of das Unheimliche as “not [necessarily] the coming to light of a buried secret, which would be inherently foreign, but rather the return in foreign guise of something known and familiar”. Gothic literature scholar Allan Lloyd-Smith also describes Freud's uncanny as “a strangeness within the familiar”. Instead of taking matters of the world at face value, we can view them underneath their visible layers. One good example is life from the perspective of a homeless man in Ari Aster's short film, C'est la vie.
Now, the obvious part about this episode is that the group was always going to reunite. What the series has told about the darkness is that it is a doorway or passage to the truth. When Ben Scott (Steven Krueger) has his hallucinations, what brings him back to reality is some sort of trigger. The uncanny functions in this way: certain cues remind one of what is real and true. For teenage Shauna, what is uncanny is her reminder that she and her team resorted to cannibalism.
The arrival of the uncanny, then, becomes synonymous with the movement of the spiral. Dufourmantelle says the spiral is a cyclic movement “that seems best to describe our relation[ship] to the past and, even more, to trauma”. When adult Vanessa “Van” Palmer (Lauren Ambrose) speaks about her relationship status, we should expect her to eventually rekindle her relationship with Taissa Turner (Tawny Cypress) or so risk that very spiral.
Performances and Character Developments
Adult Shauna's personal sphere takes a turn for the worst when local law enforcement is involved. Every action that she has made since her meeting with the artist has been an act made from risk. More so, her confrontation with the darkness is akin to that of her teenage self. Story editor Karen Joseph Adcock and executive producer Ameni Rozsa did excellent work on depicting the character's metaphorical path. While Lynskey performs well this season, Nélisse deserves as much credit for portraying tragedy and despair time and time again.
Jeff Sadecki (Warren Kole) continues to prove his worth as a husband and a father figure this season. In contrast with his wife, the character represents the avoidance of the spiral. It is not necessarily that he is developing drastically. Rather, there is a certain maturity about him that has been surfacing. As a parent, he is the one making the wiser decisions. This is a character trait that asks for some appreciation.
Teenage Misty Quigley's (Samantha Hanratty) guilt over a fallen friend begins to take a toll on her. The episode does not show much of it. Although, it should be important to take note of this in case of future reference. It looks more and more that adult Misty (Christina Ricci) is trying to make amends for her unfortunate actions.
Final Thoughts: Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6 Review
The sixth episode of Yellowjackets Season 2 may not have as many crucial narrative beats as prior episodes. However, meticulously paying attention to the characters' movements in their respective subplots is pivotal. Outside of what happens to the past and present versions of Shauna, I admired the one-take scene between Lottie and her therapist. The music team brought in another sweet set of music for the season's soundtrack, including a popular late-80s song from the West Coast, which suggests the kind of taste that Jeff Sadecki has. While I have not yet seen the next two episodes, it could be predicted that the final four episodes will guide the series' protagonists to more hectic circumstances.