Horror

“Yellowjackets” Season 2 Review – The Wild Rumpus Begins in the Penultimate Episode

The penultimate episode of “Yellowjackets” Season 2, “It Chooses” bides its time laying out all cards on the table before taking giant strides toward the wild hunt teased in the series’ opening. Things look dire for the group, both in the past and present. The careful plotting this week builds to a soul-shaking conclusion that ensures next week’s finale will bring the pain.

“It Chooses” provides crucial context from the outset, before the opening credits play. Akilah (Nia Sondaya), who’d been hiding her mouse friend from the group lest they deem him an easy meal, is forced to confront a tragic truth. The mouse isn’t alive and hasn’t been for some time based on its dried-out husk of a body. The devastating effects of long-term starvation and malnutrition have finally come for the girls, altering their temperament and reality as hallucinations increase. That precise set of circumstances leads many in the group to view Lottie (Courtney Eaton) as a savior. That she’s still reeling from the brutal beating from Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) means the group is officially without a compass until she’s better.

Yellowjackets Akilah

Nia Sondaya as Teen Akilah in YELLOWJACKETS, “It Chooses”. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

In the present, the legal predicament Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) finds herself in creates panic. While her husband and daughter deal with the cops at home, Shauna must confront her choices before she can join them. It’s here where “It Chooses” shows its hand and puts all the surviving Yellowjackets’ present-day secrets on the table for the group to reckon with. It’s a heady retracing of the winding road that brought them all to this point. While this groundwork is essential, it means a slower-than-expected penultimate episode.

Luckily, the talk gives way to shocking decisions with irrevocable consequences, especially in the past. The psychological toll of starvation combined with Lottie’s suffering makes her most devoted to take drastic action. This switch takes a character-dense, heavily expositional episode from a quiet simmer to a roaring boil. The wild rumpus officially begins.

Yellowjackets "It Chooses"

(L-R): Kevin Alves as Teen Travis and Sophie Thatcher as Teen Natalie in YELLOWJACKETS, “It Chooses”. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Because we’re now nearly two full seasons in and know these characters well, the threat of violence hits differently. The thrilling third act of “It Chooses” alters our perceptions of many of its characters. Inhumane acts and bloodthirsty feral behavior toy with our allegiances. That spills over into the present. The moral ramifications of what transpires in the past leave deep scars that explain why the survivors are so broken in the present. And to think this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to disturbing, unshakable reasons these women can’t shake their survivor’s guilt. There’s much to answer for, even when they only act out of self-preservation.

For those patiently waiting for the Lord of the Flies-style cannibal chaos teased in the series’ opening, the hunt, at least in its early inception, is here. The first half of the episode carefully laid the path forward, and the second half thrillingly rewards the wait. Where it ends ensures that next week’s season finale will bring destruction in multiple ways, and it will be ruthless and painful. Death was always on the menu in “Yellowjackets,” but now it brings profound moral, emotional, and physical consequences.

Episode 8 of “Yellowjackets” Season 2 is available to stream now for Showtime subscribers and the episode will make its on-air debut on Sunday, May 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

3.5 out of 5

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