Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Yellowjackets has reawakened my inner Lost fan

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For the previous couple of weeks, my thoughts has been crammed with questions that, out of context, make little sense. I’ve thought lengthy and exhausting about why a highschool lady would begin consuming filth and which middle-aged man may be coated in glitter. I’ve contemplated the importance of every thing 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 thought of cannibalism. What I’m saying is: Yellowjackets has utterly taken over my mind. I haven’t been this obsessive about theorizing about occasions in a tv present for the reason that forged of Lost found the hatch.

On the floor, there are some very apparent connections between Lost and Yellowjackets. Both heart on a airplane crash by which the survivors discover themselves within the wilderness the place a bunch of bizarre shit begins taking place. Both leap round in time, exploring not solely the occasions within the wild but additionally the forged’s life earlier than and after the tragedy. Most crucially, each are completely jam-packed with secrets and techniques, making theorizing about what’s truly taking place arguably probably 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 Surface advert generally known as Under the Dome. But none of Lost’s successors has grabbed me fairly the identical method that Yellowjackets has. I truly got here to the present a couple of weeks late and binged the primary half in a single evening, 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 method: pure what the fuck? vitality. A younger lady, 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 grotesque ritual that I’d reasonably not take into consideration an excessive amount of. From there, issues get a bit extra healthful, shifting to the titular Yellowjackets, a highschool soccer crew from New Jersey that simply gained the state championship, incomes them a spot at nationals. (I stay satisfied that the game-winning objective was, actually, offside, however I must see some higher digicam angles to make certain.)

There are many various sorts of dramas taking place in Yellowjackets concurrently. There’s the everyday teenage stuff from earlier than the crash, as the women cope with events and boyfriends and their on-field dynamics. There’s the Lord of the Flies-style breakdown within the woods, because the crew — and some folks who occurred to be caught on the airplane, just like the obsessive and possessive tools supervisor Misty — attempt to survive within the wilderness. And then we now have the current day, when the survivors battle to maintain it collectively after every thing 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 mix of weird moments, intense drama, and time-shifting storytelling that makes Yellowjackets work so properly — and makes it so superb for theorizing. First, you’ll see one thing that’s both surprising or complicated. It may very well be darkish, like a ritual killing or a suspicious suicide or a child carrying antlers like some sort of mystical goddess. Or it may very well be one thing smaller, like an odd image that retains showing with no clarification. These moments all provoke questions, and because the story shifts round in time, it not often clears issues up. Instead, it piles on the mysteries and makes you marvel if the reply you’re searching for may simply be present in a special time. A fantastic instance of that is the survivors; till somebody makes an look within the current, otherwise you see them die, you by no means truly know if somebody made it by way of the ordeal within the wilderness.

Image: Showtime

As any Lost fan will inform you, this sort of construction will be irritating, significantly if it doesn’t repay. That present was a deluge of cool, bizarre concepts — a smoke monster! a hatch! additionally polar bears? — that in the end by no means went wherever. But I nonetheless liked it. The mysteries have been enjoyable sufficient even with out satisfying solutions, and in addition to, they have been additionally an excuse to spend a number of time with these characters. The forged of Yellowjackets is a delight and completely unpredictable, to the purpose that I’d look ahead to the Riverdale-style drama alone. (Seriously, Misty scares me, and that’s true in any time interval.)

So far, Yellowjackets is evoking all of those self same emotions for me that Lost did. Sure, I’d love the finale to fulfill my lingering curiosity and to search out out who is absolutely behind the antlers. But the experience to date has already been a blast. It’s the journey, as they are saying, not essentially the vacation spot. Only, on this case, the journey includes teenagers consuming one another and a seance gone improper.

The ultimate episode of Yellowjackets’ first season airs on Showtime on January sixteenth.

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