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, Elijah Wood, Nia Sondaya, Alexa Barajas, Mya Lowe, Jenna Burgess, Luciano Leroux, Alex Wyndham, John Reynolds, Sarah Desjardins
Directed by: Anya Adams (207) & Daisy von Scherler Mayer (208)
Written by: Rich Monahan (207), Sarah L. Thompson (208), & Liz Phang (both)
Intro: Yellowjackets Season 2 Episodes 7 & 8 Review
Showtime's psychological horror drama series, Yellowjackets, continues the titular high school girls' soccer team survivors' wallowing in the darkness, albeit now they are pushing through it together.
The second season's seventh episode is titled “Burial”, while the eigth is titled “It Chooses”.
Minor spoilers ahead for those who have not seen Yellowjackets Season 1, along with the previous six episodes of Season 2.
“Burial” and “It Chooses” maintain this ongoing concept about truths within the darkness, one that we have learned throughout the season, and bring about some resolution to the survivors' personal issues.
What I love about the cinematic elements in these episodes are how editors Daniel Williams and Kevin D. Ross allow for the narrative to flow smoothly and seamlessly. They present a character at one point in time and transition into a following scene as themselves at another time. For even more dramatic effect, the music team—composers Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker, supervisor Nora Felder, and featured vocalist Caroline Shaw—provide the best of what they have. Nirvana's “Something in the Way” paired with cinematographer Shasta Spahn's framing is a great way to introduce the former episode, and bringing in artists including Florence + the Machine, Live, and Low truly ramps up the atmosphere of appeal.
The writers' room never fails at offering strong storytelling, and these two episodes showcase some of the best sequences since the cannibalistic consumption of Jackie Taylor (guest star Ella Purnell). Adult Misty Quigley's (Christina Ricci) metaphysical dreamlike sequence and Jeff Sadecki's (Warren Kole) nightmare are produced well, one bringing out the brightest in herself and the other positing him at his lowest, yet both play out as bizarre spectacles.
In “Burial”, a theme about kairos (timing) arouses some interest. On one hand, Ben Scott (Steven Krueger) briefly has another hallucination of his lover, Paul (François Arnaud), who blames their failing relationship on time. This allows Ben to realize the harsh reality of finding new purpose through his predicament in the wilderness with the teenagers. Likewise, adult Vanessa “Van” Palmer (Lauren Ambrose) tells Taissa Turner (Cypress Tawny) she is done looking to rekindle their own relationship. This is due to an illness that the former has, as teased two episodes prior.
The theme of self-discovery through performance in the darkness is also expanded upon. With the Yellowjackets reunited as adults, they are urged into conversing about their individual lives growing up whilst recollecting their time in the wilderness a la the Losers Club in Stephen King's It. Their presence together via the darkness leads to the discovery of one particular woman's wrongful actions. Callie Sadecki (guest star Sarah Desjardins), now brought into the dark by her parents as well, eventually learns that she is not the only child of her parents in their household—a visceral, painful truth.
Characters find themselves spiraling back into uncanny circumstances. Shauna Sadecki née Shipman's (Melanie Lynskey) realized concern for her daughter comes about through her tried care for an Other—performing empathy. She admits to her anxiety about Callie suffering the same fate as her late newborn son. Moreover, her failure to protect her family becomes synonymous with her failure to perform her lies, as was stated in the beginning of the season.
Teenage Misty (Samantha Hanratty) and Ben Scott's unusual dynamic resurfaces as the result of personal decisions that the latter makes. Ben comes to the precipice of his life sphere similar to where another character found themselves. Misty's concern for him is displayed in such a manner that foreshadows her present-day career and the development of her skillset.
Adult Charlotte “Lottie” Matthews (Simone Kessell) continues to suffer profoundly from her hallucinations. In therapy, she is asked, “Is there anything of value in this life that doesn’t come with risk or loss or consequence?” She relays this to her friends and prompts them into speaking on their low points in such a way that parallels Jackie speaking about their most brilliant qualities in the Yellowjackets pilot.
Performances and Character Developments
Sophie Nélisse continues to put on a tragic performance as teenage Shauna. Her loneliness as the outcome of more loss urges her to take her anger out on Misty and Van (Liv Hewson), but more so on Lottie (Courtney Eaton) in the worst way possible. Her aversion to Lottie is an underrated highlight of the season, and it makes me wonder how much their dynamic will have changed in the decades since their time in the wilderness.
Kole does not get enough appreciation for his performance as Jeff. His line delivery on a phone call to his wife in “Burial” and his dialogue with local authorities and his daughter all carry different weights of morbid shock. What we do not know as of now is the kind of darkness he holds within himself, or if he shares that with Shauna.
In “It Chooses”, teenage Natalie “Nat” Scatorccio (Sophie Thatcher) is granted a role that puts her to a test of fate. Thatcher's scenes with a few others are great, and they exhibit just how much darkness lures her to the truth. To an extent, we could argue that Death itself is putting her through these mortal obstacles.
Final Thoughts: Yellowjackets Season 2 Episodes 7 & 8 Review
Overall, the writers are starting to wrap up the second season in a remarkably Gothic fashion. We can only hope that the finale can somehow up the ante for our beloved characters…