Call them guilty pleasures, eyebleach, comfort TV… whatever they are, they’re those shows you’re not exactly proud to be watching. So… why are you?
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Showtime’s Yellowjackets season 1 in its entirety.
A ruthless New Jersey high school girls soccer team is heading to Nationals after kicking ass and winning States. Their plane—obviously flying private because how else could this show work—crashes in some cold, northern, maybe Canadian wilderness and leaves the survivors off-the-grid and fending for their lives for 19 months.
We catch up with some of the survivors in present day, as they continue to wrestle with their trauma and the aftermath of “what they did out there to survive.” Hey, what DID they do out there to survive? THE WHOLE WORLD WANTS TO KNOW, BUT NOBODY’S TALKING BECAUSE THEY SWORE AN OATH OF SECRECY.
A New Jersey girls soccer team? In the 1990s? Surviving the wilderness? A dash of the occult? Add a free space across the middle and this show fills up my BINGO card.
Honestly, the first four episodes are pretty good. They do a good job building that “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?” vibe and making you invested in the relationships across characters. Shauna is having sex with her best friend Jackie’s boyfriend? Taissa is a secret lesbian? Natalie’s shithead, addict dad died because he tripped and shot himself while threatening Nat and her mom? Misty is a lonely psychopath? You’re invested…
But then, just like their plane in the fucking woods, they do not know how to land this thing.
Okay, here come the spoilers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
It’s a tie between the following:
(a) When teen Jackie—the textbook pretty, mean girl—decides to have vengeful sex (it’s her first time and she’s doing it out of anger!) with coach’s son Travis when the whole tribe is tripping on shrooms and fermented berry booze, which then turns into an almost orgy murder when the now feral, almost wolflike girls “sense a cosmic disturbance” or some shit; and
(b) When adult Shauna—the plain, but smart, but now chaotically spiraling mom—confronts Adam, the hot artist with whom she’s been having an affair, in his apartment and then stab-murders him. She wanted to know whether he stole the journals from her locked safe, and whether he’s the one blackmailing the Yellowjackets for $50,000. Of course, after she kills him, she realizes it’s not him. It’s Shauna’s own husband, who, upon finding out about Shauna’s affair, doesn’t get angry? But instead he decides that he’ll fall on the sword and take the wrap.
By mid-season, everything that happens is totally illogical. And it’s also WAY too much. Just all over the damn place. It requires too many leaps. The plot just feels like what would happen if you took the starting 11 of a soccer team—none of whom are in honors English, mind you—and asked them to write this show.
I mean, meangirl Jackie basically dies of her own pride and spite. That feels about right.
Teenage witchy wilderness vibes, nostalgia, and chaos. But if that’s what you’re into, I recommend you just re-watch The Craft and put on dark lipstick.
Like I said, the first four episodes are good. Then, I kinda hung on through five, six, and seven in hopes that it was all building to something. By episode 8, I was routinely pausing the show to explain the implausibility of certain plot points. By episode 9, I was furious. Fuming. I flipped to the show details page and declared, “How many episodes are left? If it’s more than one, I’M DONE.” My patience had run its course before the show had run its course.
But, of course, just one episode remained. So, I watched it. I wish I could have that hour back. THIS IS YOUR WARNING.