Yellowjackets is back – not with a bang, not with a whisper, but something far more unsettling.
Season 1 of the Showtime series crash landed onto our screens in late 2021, introducing us to a high school soccer team from New Jersey whose plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness on the way to a national tournament on the west coast, switching between dual timelines to demonstrate the lasting effects of the ordeal 25 years later.
The season 2 premiere pulls us straight back into the action and it's like we've never been away. There's certainly a lot going on in this episode, with lots of loose threads left untied at the end of season 1, and the episode switches between multiple storylines in multiple timelines, but it never feels overwhelming or difficult to follow.
In the present day, the leading quartet of now-adult survivors – Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Nat (Juliette Lewis), and Misty (Christina Ricci) – are all at their wits' end, with each of them dealing with their own crises of varying severity. Shauna is trying to cover up the murder of her lover Adam after she falsely believed he was blackmailing her and the other survivors and killed him, while Taissa is juggling being a newly elected senator with her family falling apart. Nat has been kidnapped and is holed up in an unknown location, and Misty is hellbent on finding Nat. Ricci and Lynskey are standouts in a strong ensemble cast – Ricci continues to be gleefully unhinged as Misty, while Lynksey excels at demonstrating Shauna's quiet complexity.
Meanwhile, in the 1996 timeline, it's been around two months since the season 1 finale, when Jackie (Ella Purnell) froze to death, and winter has well and truly set in. Nat (Sophie Thatcher) and Travis (Kevin Alves) are still searching for Travis' younger brother Javi, who disappeared amidst the chaos of the girls' mushroom-fuelled frenzy at the end of season 1.
Season 2 seems to be leaning more forcefully into potential supernatural goings-on in the wilderness. Lottie (Courtney Eaton) is carrying out rituals to protect those who venture outside the cabin and Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) is experiencing terrifying dissociative episodes after dark. Whether these things have supernatural causes remains to be seen, of course, but the show is keeping us guessing for now. And, regardless of their cause, it's all still deliciously creepy.
The episode also gives us our first look at life post-rescue for the survivors – a very brief scene set in 1998 showing the girls disembarking a rescue plane to hordes of press on the tarmac reveals that they were in the wilderness for around two years. The time frame has never been confirmed before now and feels like a game changer for how we view the survivors in the present day. A lot can happen in two years, after all.
There's a darkness lurking under the surface in episode 1. It's a tense, frenetic energy that's not bubbling up anytime soon. But when it does? It's going to be spectacular.
Yellowjackets season 2 premieres on Showtime in the US and Paramount Plus in the UK on March 24, with subsequent episodes releasing weekly. In the meantime, check out our picks of the other best new TV shows coming our way in 2023 and beyond.