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Yellowjackets: Season 1- Review

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by Serena Reidy (subscribe)
Freelance writer and avid reader living in the North of London. Check out my blog at
Published January 26th 2022
A feminist take on Lord of the Flies

Yellowjackets, TV show, TV series, Yellowjackets series, TV, television

Praised by the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Seth Rogen, Yellowjackets seems to be one of the most talked-about series at the moment. Having just aired its finale on Sunday to an audience of 1.3 million, it's already been hinted at that the next season will arrive before the end of the year. With a cast that includes well-known actresses such as Melanie Lynskey (Shauna), Christina Ricci (Misty), Ella Purnell (Jackie) and Juliette Lewis (Natalie), and a gripping storyline, it's no surprise that Yellowjackets is so popular.

Yellowjackets begins with a girl running through the woods, who then falls into a hidden spike pit, which kills her instantly. Before we find out why the girl is running, we are taken back to 1996, when an all-girls soccer team is just about to embark on a trip to a tournament in Seattle, unaware of the traumatic events that will inevitably follow. Throughout the 10 episodes, the series is split into a dual timeline, with the teens trying to survive in the Canadian wilderness, while their adult counterparts deal with the aftermath of the plane crash. They have somehow managed to live fairly "normal" lives since being rescued all those years ago, but nosy journalists and their own personal issues make it difficult. Taissa is a successful teacher and aspiring politician, whose career would be ruined if anyone found out the truth about what happened in the wilderness; Shauna is struggling in her marriage; Misty works at a nursing home, where she gains satisfaction from tormenting her patients; and Natalie is a recovering addict and has done multiple stints in rehab. The four girls are drawn together as adults when a blackmailer targets all of them, intent on forcing them to reveal what actually happened in the wilderness.

The casting is on point in Yellowjackets. Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci and Tawny Cypress (Taissa) are all stand-outs, and look exactly like their younger counterparts. In terms of the teenagers, Ella Purnell, Sophie Nélisse, Sophie Thatcher, Samantha Hanratty and Jasmin Savoy Brown are absolutely fantastic too. Ella Purnell is an established young actress, with an extensive list of previous credits that includes Sweetbitter, Belgravia and Maleficent. Sophie Nélisse, Sophie Thatcher, Samantha Hanratty and Jasmin Savoy Brown are also ones to watch (Jasmin has actually just appeared in the latest Scream film, which was released a couple of weeks ago). Jackie (Ella Purnell) is one of the popular girls at school and captain of the soccer team; Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) is a straight-A student and was offered an early acceptance from Brown University before the plane crash; Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) is your typical troublemaker, and has a difficult homelife that has made her accustomed to fending for herself; Misty (Samantha Hanratty) is a bit of an oddball and an outsider (but her first aid skills come in handy in the wilderness); and Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) is another talented soccer player.

Yellowjackets is primarily a horror series, with plenty of blood and gore. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted as there are numerous scenes that are really dark and will make you look away. There are hints of cannibalism and cults (which the writers will most likely delve into in the second season). At the same time, Yellowjackets is also a teen drama, with its share of jealousy, betrayal, relationship drama, teacher-student affairs, and supernatural elements. Despite being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no idea when they'll be able to return to normality, the teens try not to get too upset about the situation by having a séance, holding a mock prom and swimming in the lake. Yellowjackets does a fantastic job of exploring same-sex relationships amongst teenagers and the frustrations they feel when being intimate for the first time.

But at the heart of Yellowjackets is friendship. While the girls might not get on all the time, they have a really close bond, which is demonstrated numerous times in the wilderness. One particularly memorable scene is when the girls (plus their male deputy coach and a pair of brothers) discover a lake shortly after the plane crash: there is so much joy and it's like the survivors momentarily forget where they are. Shauna and Jackie are best friends and pretty much inseparable, but Jackie's confidence makes Shauna feel inferior and like she has to compete with her. Being stuck in the wilderness truly tests the girls' relationships, and shortly into the series it becomes clear that they will eventually turn on each other.

While Yellowjackets is intense, it's the perfect series to binge-watch on a rainy day. There is so much drama, mystery and dark humour to keep you entertained throughout the 10 episodes. You'll think the series is going in one direction, but then something completely unexpected happens. Yellowjackets has been compared to Lord of the Flies, The Wilds and Lost, but it is a unique show that will become your new obsession in no time.
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Where: Yellowjackets is available on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Hulu or Showtime in the US. There are 10 episodes and each is just under one hour.
Your Comment
I really like the sound of this one. I hope it comes to another streaming service I have access to or comes out on DVD.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 3|1431) 487 days ago
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