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, Nicole Maines, Nia Sondaya, Alex Wyndham, John Reynolds, Sarah Desjardins, Alexa Barajas, Elijah Wood, Mya Lowe, Jenna Burgess, Luciano Leroux
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Written by: Ameni Rozsa
Intro: Yellowjackets Season 2 Finale Review
Showtime's psychological horror drama series, Yellowjackets, showcases what the season has taught us all along: the bigger play has been about performance.
The second season's ninth and final episode is titled “Storytelling”.
Minor spoilers ahead for those who have not seen Yellowjackets Season 1, along with the previous episodes of Season 2.
“Storytelling” has become the build-up of moments spiraling into a key event for the series. As Misty Quigley (Samantha Hanratty and Christina Ricci) has learned in the past, everyone is acting in a functioning role, almost as if partaking in a vast stage production. While there are not as many crucial narrative beats as I would like for there to be, I loved how executive producer Ameni Rozsa's teleplay wrapped two seasons' worth of story and subplots up within the confines of an hour.
On the one hand, adult Natalie “Nat” Scatorccio (Juliette Lewis) comes to terms with both her inner and external conflicts, learning about forgiveness as “a nice idea” to live with. Meanwhile, the best male characters, Jeff Sadecki (Warren Kole) and Walter Tattersall (guest star Elijah Wood), play the roles of their respective love interests' protectors in a way that must continue on in the third season. Although the two men share on-screen time together briefly, what dynamic they exhibit teases what could be, and I do feel that viewers will be seeing them again in the future.
The Truth Shall Set Ye Free
This concept of performance works well for the finale, allowing the show's characters to gather around from stage left, stage right, backstage, or elsewhere, displaying what can be offered to the darkness to manifest or hinder their deepest human truths. Charlotte “Lottie” Matthews (Simone Kessell) tells her friends there is no difference between themselves and the darkness, suggesting that they have finally reunited not just with each other, but with the darkness as well. She makes a strong point here; bits and pieces of the women's true selves have slowly surfaced as the series progressed over the course of nineteen episodes.
Moreover, Teenage Vanessa “Van” Palmer (Liv Hewson) tells a short story that piques some interest. They talk about how the wilderness was “beautiful and full of life, but [at the same time] lonely and violent and misunderstood”. As part of the wilderness, both the darkness and the Yellowjackets have been searching for their purpose albeit without foundation, at least until the opportunity came to construct something to keep them intact, even if temporary.
Callie Sadecki (guest star Sarah Desjardins) and Lisa (guest star Nicole Maines) have proven themselves to be magnificent character actors this season. When it comes to the finale's climax, the two delivered well and in a thrilling manner. In fact, the girls parallel nicely, especially considering that their backgrounds are not so dissimilar.
Face the Music and Feast Your Eyes
Music composers Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker, supervisor Nora Felder, and featured vocalist Caroline Shaw continue to bring their A-game in terms of keeping the narrative on its toes, providing chilling and distorted vibes such as The Cranberries' “Zombie”, Buffy Sainte-Marie's “God Is Alive Magic Is Afoot”, Radiohead's “Street Spirit”, Echo & the Bunnymen's “The Killing Moon”, and more. The Gothic tone present in this episode is heavy yet meaningful.
Production designer Margot Ready et al's set pieces are just as wicked when regarding what the Yellowjackets lose in the fires of their lives. The flames seen in this episode are perfect for illuminating the truth within the darkness. They give us a taste of what revolution and Hell look like, for example, defying intervening authority and calling upon the worst of predicaments. No longer is the show sparking up omens through hallucinations, at least, for the interim. Rather, the worst has arrived, and it has only gotten started.
Performances and Character Developments
As adults Lottie and Shauna Sadecki née Shipman, respectively, Kessell and Melanie Lynskey bounce back and forth in a shaky scene about self-sacrifice. Lottie plays the role of fearless leader excellently, while Shauna possesses trepidation as we have never seen in her before. These acting roles are great ones that deserve appreciation, even more so due to the fact that they do not last long when these women are together.
Also noteworthy is the neat juxtaposition of teenage Nat (Sophie Thatcher) with her present-day self. Thatcher delivers a short line that I love more than many others in the episode; in a scene with Ben Scott (Steven Krueger), she solidifies herself not as an Other or outsider to the Yellowjackets, but as a Same.
Next to Lottie (Courtney Eaton), Nat is a highlight among other young characters in the finale. The plane of existence scene involving the two girls along with adult Nat is emotionally potent. It spirals back to a certain destructive dynamic that has been foreshadowed since the pilot. My, does it pay off! Still, the consequence, then, becomes just another lie, at least for the public to know, and we can only wonder how much longer it will be until the darkness returns.
Final Thoughts: Yellowjackets Season 2 Finale Review
Overall, “Storytelling” is a special narrative that concludes another chapter for the adults in the interim. For those stranded in the wilderness, the writers' room displays another cliffhanger for fans and viewers, posing the question of exactly how the group will further survive the rest of their nineteen months in isolation. Executive producer Karyn Kusama deserves her roses for creating the spiral from the pilot episode to this second season finale.