When a high school all-female soccer team is involved in a plane crash on the Showtime series Yellowjackets, they end up stuck in the wilderness with a few others, including the assistant coach and the now-deceased coach’s sons. They are convinced they will never make it out alive. But they do, 19 months later. The events that occurred within that year-and-a-half, however, stay with the survivors through to adulthood.
Yellowjackets, one of the best shows coming in March, flips back and forth between the ‘90s while the girls are navigating survival in the wilderness and the present-day when the ladies, now adults, are trying to leave the past behind them. But the secrets they hold and the trauma they endured aren’t easy to push aside. Every woman has handled things differently, and while most of them are rather unlikable, a few of the women (and other peripheral supporting characters) have some endearing qualities.
Taissa’s wife Simone is instantly relatable as a working mother who is simply trying to navigate her career and motherhood while her spouse reaches for the stars with major career aspirations. But she also has to deal with Taissa’s fame for more than one reason, both as a political figure and as one of the women who survived that dreaded ‘90s plane crash.
Simone is patient and kind, doing her best to help Taissa navigate everything from her emotions to struggles with their son and issues with her campaign. She’s supportive and worried about her wife, yet always stands by her side. With Simone making a harrowing discovery about her wife in the inaugural season finale, however, fans are excited to see what will happen next for the character.
As a teenager, Jeff comes across as the stereotypical prom king. He’s dating the most popular girl in school yet sleeping with her mousy best friend behind her back. He’s arrogant and boastful. Even as an adult, Jeff quickly comes across as the same type of person. Now married to Shauna, he spends most of his time at work and she is merely going through the motions with him.
Despite suspicions that he’s cheating on her, however, Shauna discovers that he is not only faithful but simply trying to navigate financial difficulties and didn’t want her to know. When Jeff offers to sacrifice himself to save Shauna from being arrested, his true character is revealed, making fans surprisingly like the man who was originally painted as a villain.
Now married to her former best friend’s high school sweetheart, the adult Shauna should be viewed as a horrible person. But fans can’t help but sympathize with her. Not only has she never gotten over what happened to her as a teen, but she is also living a mundane, passionless life, which makes her question why she was saved in the first place.
Despite her infidelity and a short fling with Adam that help reinvigorate her spirit, fans still don’t fault the woman who had been through so much. There’s something oddly relatable about Shauna. She spent much of her youth playing second fiddle to a more popular best friend. She finally stood up for herself and made sure she got noticed. Even though it resulted in tragedy, it was a catharsis that needed to happen.
Travis was a typical teenage boy in an atypical situation. He had to not only endure being one of the few male survivors in the wilderness but also the fact that his father died in the plane crash. What’s more, he still had to be strong for his little brother Javi.
Travis was tortured and traumatized by the ladies during the 19-month period away. So much so, that he seemingly never got over it. Whether the adult Travis took his own life, his death was an accident, or he was murdered remains to be seen and will likely be answered in the second season. But the depiction of the teenage Travis was that of a young man who had to take on far more than anyone his age should have. When the ladies, all under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, abused and almost kill Travis, it was tough for fans not to feel sympathy for the young man.
Juliette Lewis is perfectly cast as the rebellious Natalie, otherwise known as “Nat,” who was troubled as a teen and hadn’t changed much as an adult. She continues to struggle with addiction and is impulsive and reckless at times. But the reality is that none of what the women accomplished once reuniting to investigate the mysterious postcard they received would have happened without Nat.
She’s a natural leader and the type of person who is willing to take risks to get things done. When it comes to the dirty underworld they need to navigate, Nat knows it all too well. She’s rough around the edges but it’s all part of her charm.
The teenage version of Natalie is just as compelling. She is perfectly representative of anyone who has ever felt like the misfit at school who doesn’t quite fit into any group. Natalie dealt with a lot due to her fractured family life, including an abusive father who, it’s eventually revealed, accidentally shot and killed himself following a fight with her and her mother.
What makes Natalie so likable is that she has a clear softer side that she only shows to a select few, like her childhood best friend Kevyn and eventually also Travis. Natalie’s harsh personality was merely a product of her upbringing. But beneath the surface, she was a thoughtful, kind-hearted person who cared deeply about others.
The teenage version of Shauna is instantly someone worth rooting for. The quiet, meek student is often overshadowed by her far more popular best friend. She never speaks up for herself and seems to avoid ruffling feathers or being in the spotlight at all costs. While it’s later revealed that she finds revenge by secretly sleeping with her best friend’s boyfriend, there’s still an air of innocence that oddly follows her.
Shauna had one of the most interesting character arcs in season 1, finally finding her voice and standing up to get noticed. It resulted in a tragic situation. Nonetheless, it’s believed that teenage Shauna is inherently a good person who is simply trying to find her place among her peers.
Season 2 of Yellowjackets is currently streaming on Showtime.
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