Yellowjackets season 2 episode 3 review: "Feels a bit too much like filler"

Christina Ricci and Elijah Wood in Yellowjackets season 2
(Image: © Showtime)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Despite its strong moments, this week's Yellowjackets feels a bit too much like filler – and we know this show is capable of so much more.

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After a solid opener and a firecracker of a second episode, Yellowjackets season 2 starts to meander in its third installment. The final scene of last week's episode was always going to be a hard act to follow, but the pace has well and truly slowed for now and it feels like the show is floundering a little in episode 3.

For one thing, the episode is peppered with flashbacks of assistant coach Ben (Steven Kreuger) pre-crash and his inability to juggle his work with his long-term relationship. Unfortunately, Ben is not a very compelling character, and these scenes feel pretty unnecessary in the grand scheme of things (sorry, assistant coach Ben). 

Shauna, especially in her present-day iteration (Melanie Lynskey) continues to be one of the most interesting parts of the show, with her increasingly erratic choices and the stark contrasts between her teenage and adult selves, the former played equally as deftly by Sophie Nélisse. 

While it seems Shauna is definitely the focus right now, the season feels lacking in present-day Taissa (Tawny Cypress) and Natalie (Juliette Lewis) – this pair's plotlines, which involve dissociative episodes and kidnapping, respectively, have the potential to be the most interesting this season, but both feel like they're being dragged out at this point with little progression in either story since episode 1. So far, the season is also lacking in interactions between the core quartet of present-day survivors, with no scenes shared by Shauna, Taissa, Natalie, and Misty (Christina Ricci) so far other than a brief conversation between Shauna and Misty in the season premiere. 

Samantha Hanratty in Yellowjackets

(Image credit: Showtime)

Elsewhere in the 2020s, Misty and fellow citizen detective Walter (Elijah Wood, on top form as another Weird Little Guy) finally cross paths in real life after their online – and invisible ink – communication. They're a great double act as they pair up to question a possible suspect in Nat's disappearance, and it looks like we have plenty more to come of that dynamic as the season progresses.

Despite this, the '90s timeline is proving to be stronger than the present-day at the moment, as the girls drift further from reality and into their own insular, superstitious community – including making baby shower gifts out of woodland detritus for Shauna and a particularly surreal moment where Misty (Samantha Hanratty) performs a monologue from Steel Magnolias.

Despite a feeling of directionlessness permeating this installment, the episode's creepy conclusion – involving present-day Lottie and some beehives – pulls us back into the Yellowjackets intrigue we know and love and ups the momentum ready for next week. If episode 2 saw things unravelling in the '90s timeline, episode 3 shows that not much has changed in the present day. Despite its strong moments, though, this week's Yellowjackets feels a bit too much like filler – and we know this show is capable of so much more. 

New episodes of Yellowjackets release every Friday on Paramount Plus. Make sure you never miss an episode with our Yellowjackets season 2 release schedule.

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Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.