For the previous couple of weeks, my thoughts has been stuffed with questions that, out of context, make little sense. I’ve thought lengthy and exhausting about why a highschool woman would begin consuming filth and which middle-aged man is likely to be coated in glitter. I’ve contemplated the importance of all the pieces from psychedelic mushrooms to a highschool soccer coach’s pep discuss to a lacking bullet in a police officer’s gun. I’ve even rewatched video to see if a state championship-winning objective was offside — and don’t get me began on how a lot I’ve considered cannibalism. What I’m saying is: Yellowjackets has fully taken over my mind. I haven’t been this obsessive about theorizing about occasions in a tv present for the reason that solid of Lost found the hatch.
On the floor, there are some very apparent connections between Lost and Yellowjackets. Each heart on a aircraft crash during which the survivors discover themselves within the wilderness the place a bunch of bizarre shit begins taking place. Each soar round in time, exploring not solely the occasions within the wild but additionally the solid’s life earlier than and after the tragedy. Most crucially, each are completely jam-packed with secrets and techniques, making theorizing about what’s really taking place arguably essentially the most enjoyable a part of the expertise.
It’s not like there haven’t been bizarre mysteries since Lost. I imply, I watched the continued Microsoft Floor advert often known as Beneath the Dome. However none of Lost’s successors has grabbed me fairly the identical approach that Yellowjackets has. I really got here to the present just a few weeks late and binged the primary half in a single night time, earlier than becoming Sunday night viewings into my schedule. It didn’t take lengthy in any respect; I’ve been hooked for the reason that first 5 minutes.
It begins out within the good approach: pure what the fuck? power. A younger woman, chased by way of a frozen forest, with unsettling whispers and screams within the background, finally ends up impaled on spikes in a lure beneath the snow. Then there’s a ugly ritual that I’d moderately not take into consideration an excessive amount of. From there, issues get a bit extra healthful, shifting to the titular Yellowjackets, a highschool soccer workforce from New Jersey that simply gained the state championship, incomes them a spot at nationals. (I stay satisfied that the game-winning objective was, the truth is, offside, however I have to see some higher digicam angles to make sure.)
There are various totally different sorts of dramas taking place in Yellowjackets concurrently. There’s the standard teenage stuff from earlier than the crash, as the ladies cope with events and boyfriends and their on-field dynamics. There’s the Lord of the Flies-style breakdown within the woods, because the workforce — and some folks who occurred to be caught on the aircraft, just like the obsessive and possessive gear supervisor Misty — attempt to survive within the wilderness. After which we have now the current day, when the survivors wrestle to maintain it collectively after all the pieces they went by way of; one is simply getting out of rehab, whereas one other lets free on a reporter in search of juicy particulars on the crash. And all of that is set to a musical backdrop of this one mixtape I made myself in 1995 by recording Smashing Pumpkins songs from the radio.
It’s this mixture of weird moments, intense drama, and time-shifting storytelling that makes Yellowjackets work so effectively — and makes it so preferrred for theorizing. First, you’ll see one thing that’s both surprising or complicated. It could possibly be darkish, like a ritual killing or a suspicious suicide or a child sporting antlers like some sort of mystical goddess. Or it could possibly be one thing smaller, like a wierd image that retains showing with no rationalization. These moments all provoke questions, and because the story shifts round in time, it not often clears issues up. As a substitute, it piles on the mysteries and makes you marvel if the reply you’re looking for would possibly simply be present in a unique time. An awesome instance of that is the survivors; till somebody makes an look within the current, otherwise you see them die, you by no means really know if somebody made it by way of the ordeal within the wilderness.
As any Lost fan will let you know, this sort of construction might be irritating, notably if it doesn’t repay. That present was a deluge of cool, bizarre concepts — a smoke monster! a hatch! additionally polar bears? — that finally by no means went wherever. However I nonetheless cherished it. The mysteries had been enjoyable sufficient even with out satisfying solutions, and in addition to, they had been additionally an excuse to spend a number of time with these characters. The solid of Yellowjackets is a delight and completely unpredictable, to the purpose that I’d look ahead to the Riverdale-style drama alone. (Critically, Misty scares me, and that’s true in any time interval.)
Up to now, Yellowjackets is evoking all of those self same emotions for me that Lost did. Positive, I’d love the finale to fulfill my lingering curiosity and to seek out out who is admittedly behind the antlers. However the experience to this point has already been a blast. It’s the journey, as they are saying, not essentially the vacation spot. Solely, on this case, the journey includes teenagers consuming one another and a seance gone unsuitable.
The ultimate episode of Yellowjackets’ first season airs on Showtime on January sixteenth.