Several minutes into Yellowjackets, a journalist (Rekha Sharma) poses a very enticing query. She asks a subject with a secretive tone, “So, what do you believe actually occurred out there?” It is the series’ central enigma, its initial allure, and the reason to continue watching.
What actually transpired when a plane carrying a high school soccer team crashed in the middle of nowhere? How did the girls actually manage to exist for 19 months before being rescued? What impact did the ordeal have on the ladies they became 25 years later? In the six episodes released to critics for evaluation (out of a total of ten for the first season, out of who knows how many seasons), Yellowjackets appears to be in risk of becoming as lost as its protagonists.
However, it gets off to an excellent start. The story begins with a girl running barefoot through the snow while being pursued by unknown forces until she is impaled by a trap.
The context must come later, but the terrifying sequence leaves an immediate feeling of dread over the remainder of the hour, which interweaves two histories. In 1996, the Yellowjackets — consisting of team captain Jackie (Ella Purnell), assistant coach Misty (Samantha Hanratty), straight-A student Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), overachiever Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and burnout Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) — board a plane en route to a soccer game they will never reach.
In 2021, the adult survivors, portrayed by Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, and Juliette Lewis, shut down any conjecture about the trauma with a level of ferocity that confirms that whatever they did — and flashbacks indicate ritualistic cannibalism(!! )—it still haunts them.
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Naturally, our attention is initially drawn to the episode’s more brutal shocks, of which there are many: the gory image of a fractured bone protruding through flesh, the awful sound of lips ripping into what must be human flesh, and the terrified screams of passengers on a falling airliner.
However, the great potential of the episode rests in the manner in which it grounds these provocative swings in carefully researched detail. The sight of a corpse strung out for devouring may horrify in any horror film. It requires a keen eye to draw an entire world around these corpses and cannibals.
Creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson give their characters distinct voices (Shauna and Jackie may be best friends, but you’d never mistake Shauna’s deadpan threat to a boy for Jackie’s softer cajoling), while pilot director Karyn Kusama maps out an intricate web of subtle, ever-changing social dynamics in the side-eyes and half-smiles exchanged between the girls.
For a time, it seems sufficient. Yellowjackets satisfy the Lost itch more satisfactorily than the majority of blatant rip-offs that followed, thanks to its vivid characters and puzzle-box mystery, taut survival drama, and supernatural-tinged terror. Its harsh subject matter is tempered by a cynical sense of humor: It’s not necessarily hilarious ha-ha that a sadistic character’s driving soundtrack of choice is Cats, but it’s the sort of detail that elicits a knowing chuckle.
Strong performances from all cast members, particularly Lynskey’s portrayal of a suburban mother who conceals her shattered-glass wrath behind a meek housewife facade, keep us glued to the screen in hopes of learning more about these characters. Yellowjackets appear to be always in motion, with perhaps a dozen important personalities to track across two timelines.
The dazzling appeal of the first episode, however, fades over the course of subsequent episodes. Around the third or fourth episode, it becomes clear that the mystery isn’t truly progressing all that swiftly; it only feels that way due to the show’s fragmented focus. Worrisomely, it becomes increasingly unclear what the show is even trying to convey.
Though Yellowjackets first appears to be on a Lord of the Flies-style voyage into the savagery of the human soul (or whatever), it makes a series of storyline decisions that seem to confuse the theme and rob the characters of agency.
Any attempts to connect the past and current versions of the characters are thwarted by the enormous hole in the middle, which, after six episodes, has been filled with nothing but promises that a future twist will explain everything. The series is so preoccupied with the question of what occurred that it cannot even begin to consider what it could signify.
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Certainly, Yellowjackets is still capable of regaining its footing by delivering a reveal clever enough to put the puzzle together, or by recasting some of its more perplexing narrative twists as retroactively brilliant.
Yellowjackets remain too entertaining to write off just yet. Its audacity distinguishes it from the standard survival-drama fodder, and its performances hint at a greater plot, even though we do not yet know what it is. (Besides, what am I going to do, not stay to see the conclusion after investing six hours?) However, this is a journey that should be conducted with our eyes wide alert for signs of disaster, lest we follow the characters into the middle of nowhere.
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How Ominous Are Yellowjackets?
Yellowjackets is more of a sometimes horrifying drama than a straight-up horror film, but its breakout success means you’ve likely heard a lot about it recently, as well as the fact that it is not afraid to go really cruel when the content demands it.
is Yellowjackets Based on an Actual Event?
Although the show is not wholly based on a factual tale, it appears to be inspired by the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. On October 13, 1972, unfavorable weather conditions led the flight from Montevideo, Uruguay, to Santiago, Chile, to crash into the Andes Mountains.
What Purpose Do Yellowjackets Serve?
Yellowjackets is a show about a girls high school soccer team lost in the wilderness for nearly a year following a gruesome plane crash en route to the 1996 national championships. In a harsh mountain setting where they are left to fend for themselves, the girls become progressively savage.
What is the Great Mystery About Yellowjackets?
Lottie seems like she’s still alive! The final plot revelation of the finale was the most shocking: Lottie may be alive and the head of a full-fledged cult, based on what occurred in the forest. Adult Natalie, on the verge of committing suicide, is taken by what appears to be a squad of cult lackeys in the conclusion.