Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 2 Review: Edible Complex
Peep that episode title. Yeah, Yellowjackets is finally doing this.
This Yellowjackets review contains spoilers.
Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 2
The sick magic trick of Yellowjackets is that its characters are so richly realized that even when they do the most lurid things imaginable, they remain completely relatable somehow. In less capable hands, the visions of horror the show presents every week would be much harder to stomach, or worse, easily dismissible as silly or unbelievable. But all of the ghastly acts are earned, with easy-to-follow character motivations and behaviors that not only make sense, but make all the drama wickedly fun to watch.
“Jackie, I’ll never have another friend like you. I don’t even know where you end and I begin. I’m sorry, and I love you.” When young Shauna says these disquieting words as the party prepares to cremate Jackie at the pyre, it’s clear that she’s being sincere. But that doesn’t change the fact that she sounds somewhat insane, particularly because we just got done watching her literally consume a piece of her best friend at the end of last episode. Mixing the sick and the sentimental is something the show does well, and watching young Shauna go through all of these…changes…makes for riveting television. Sophie Nelisse does a good job of making Shauna believable, even when the material is at its cheekiest.
Lottie emerging as one of the show’s centers of gravity has been a huge development for the characters in that everyone’s got a strong opinion about her, her methods, and her spirituality, which has heightened the interpersonal drama quite a bit. Travis being so consumed by her influence that he sees her when he finally has sex with Nat for the first time is spicy/weird as hell, and Nat’s decision to lie to him about finding Javi’s pants doesn’t seem to be strengthening their relationship like she intended. And Lottie defending Shauna when Tai calls out her unsettling connection to Jackie’s corpse is yet another way Lottie is disrupting the dynamic of every relationship she touches.
The friction between present-day Lottie and Nat isn’t as engrossing as their burgeoning rivalry in the flashbacks, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. Juliette Lewis can make even the tiniest moments hilarious, like when she picks up the heliotrope-dyed clothes Lottie’s flock has left for her to wear and winces in disgust at the pseudo-bohemian BS of it all.
But is it all BS? There are hints that Lottie isn’t as benevolent as she appears to be, like how she condescends to the girl Nat stabbed in the hand when she gets her coffee order wrong. Lottie’s community does seem like a front for something strange, though her empathy does seem intrinsic and true. Is she telling the truth about her involvement (or lack thereof) in Travis’ death? It’s an interesting question whose answer will, as they do in shows like these, lead to even more questions.
The subplot focusing on Shauna’s daughter Callie is easily the least compelling on the show at the moment. From a plot perspective it does make sense, and watching how she, Shauna, and Jeff’s family dynamic is affected by the conspiracy surrounding Adam’s murder should lead to some pretty intense confrontations. But the simple fact is that it’s difficult to like Callie at this point in the story, which makes her a tough protagonist to get invested in.
Take Misty, for example. She’s clearly a bad person who is capable of, and has done, atrocious things. But she’s such a charismatic, psychologically complex character that, despite her flaws, we still like her. Or at the very least, we like watching her. When Callie ditches her friend to do shots of Fireball with Kevin’s undercover partner, it couldn’t feel any less relevant to anything. Why should we care? Yes, she has legitimate qualms with her parents, and thus far, the only thing she’s guilty of is being a bit of a brat sometimes. But we have yet to see a character moment that makes her worth buying into as a focal point of the story.
Tai’s portion of the show fared better this week, with some creepy visions and foreboding bouts of hysteria hinting at some dark days to come. In the ‘90s, we see her glimpse a “no-eyed man” as she nearly sleepwalks to her death before being saved by Van. Van’s just the best, by the way, and it comes as a huge relief to learn that she’ll be involved in the present-day storyline because she definitely deserves to not be eaten in the wilderness by her friends.
Adult Tai’s unhealthy obsession with staying awake and focusing on everything but her family comes to a head in startling fashion here, with the hallucination of her son and the subsequent violent car crash with Simone in the passenger seat signaling her complete and utter self-destruction. How this series of calamities resolves will undoubtedly involve Van, whose courage and strength is hopefully still intact following whatever events ultimately played out in the wilderness all those years ago.
Elijah Wood’s Walter looks to be a fun addition to the show seeing as he seems to have the same sociopathic energy Misty has. Both Wood and Christina Ricci are really good at the whole psycho-but-strangely-adorable thing, so seeing them riff together as the season rolls on is going to be a treat.
The episode, suggestively titled “Edible Complex,” ends on one of the most disturbing and anticipated moments in the series yet, with the freezing, starving ‘90s crew standing over Jackie’s roasted corpse. “She wants us to,” Shauna says of her old friend just before she and the rest of the party start digging in. The show cuts evocatively to an alternate version of the nauseating act in which the group, dressed in togas and gilded jewelry, dine on a bounty of fruit and wine, feeding ravenously and reveling in filling their mouths with juicy flesh. The bloody feast is set to Radiohead’s “Climbing Up the Walls,” whose lyrics invoke Jackie from beyond the grave.
“You know we’re friends till we die / And either way you turn / I’ll be there / Open up your skull / I’ll be there.”
Yellowjackets is the most chilling show on television, period.
New episodes of Yellowjackets season 2 premiere via Showtime.com on Fridays and Showtime on Sundays.