Yellowjackets Still Does One Thing Better Than Every Other Show On TV

“You’re just seventeen.”

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Natalie and Travis stand in the snowy woods together in Yellowjackets Season 2
Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

The Yellowjackets Season 2 premiere, titled “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” picks up shortly after the events of the show’s Season 1 finale. That means the series’ teenage characters are still in the midst of suffering through a difficult winter in the wilderness when Yellowjackets Season 2 begins. Their older selves, meanwhile, are struggling to recover from their own recent setbacks.

To its credit, “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” doesn’t waste much time setting the stage for what is sure to be an even darker season than Yellowjackets’ breakout first. Along the way, the episode utilizes several music cues that prove, once again, why Yellowjackets understands the art of the needle-drop better than basically every other show that’s on TV right now.

Credit where credit’s due: Courtney Eaton really made sure we all felt Lottie’s scream in this moment.


The opening minutes of Episode 1 of Yellowjackets Season 2 are set to “Seventeen” by Sharon Van Etten, a song that’s as much about the bittersweet nature of nostalgia as it is about the anxiety of growing up. As such, the show uses the song to further highlight the traumatic turn its characters’ teenage lives all took when they crash-landed in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. Juxtaposed against the images of Yellowjackets’ teenagers struggling to survive the winter, the angst of “Seventeen” just adds an even greater level of tragedy to the opening moments of the show’s Season 2 premiere.

Once the episode transitions to its characters’ lives after they were finally rescued, though, its use of Van Etten’s 2019 jam becomes all the more poignant. As viewers watch Courtney Eaton’s Lottie get forced into shock therapy by her parents, Van Etten’s lyrics take on multiple meanings. A line like “I used to feel free, or was it just a dream?” carries a whole more weight when it's played over images of Lottie convulsing in her hospital bed while her real life and supernatural visions bleed together.

As Lottie’s teenage memories give way to her adult life as the leader of a commune, it becomes clear just how emotionally stuck Lottie and the rest of Yellowjackets’ adult survivors are. While they’ve each developed their own ways of dealing with the trauma of their past, the opening montage of the Yellowjackets Season 2 premiere suggests that they’re all still — as Van Etten’s song says — “just seventeen.”

Of course Papa Roach is Jeff’s go-to band when he needs to let some inner rage out.


“Seventeen” isn’t the only memorable needle-drop featured in the Yellowjackets Season 2 premiere. The episode also gives Jeff (Warren Kole) a moment to headbang out some of his frustration over the state of his relationship with his wife, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), while blasting “Last Resort” by Papa Roach at full volume. The moment is, in true Jeff fashion, extremely meme-worthy. “Last Resort,” even more importantly, feels exactly like the kind of song a decidedly uncool suburban dad like Jeff would turn on in order to exorcise some of his personal demons.

Later, in the episode’s final montage, Tori Amos’ “Cornflake Girl” plays over images of Callie (Sarah Desjardins), Jeff and Shauna’s daughter, digging through her family’s grill for evidence of the crime she (correctly) believes her parents committed. The episode then ends moments later with Sophie Nélisse’s pregnant Shauna deciding to eat the severed ear of her dead best friend, Jackie.

Just as Shauna bites down on Jackie’s ear, Amos sings, “This is not really happening, you bet your life it is.” The 1994 song, in other words, isn’t only a perfect pick for a ‘90s-obsessed series like Yellowjackets, but it also underscores the unnerving final moments of the show’s Season 2 premiere in the most brilliantly on-the-nose way. Amos, notably, has remarked that “Cornflake Girl” is “about betrayal between women.” With that in mind, it’s hard to think of a more fitting show for Amos’ 1994 track to be featured on than Yellowjackets.

The Yellowjackets Season 2 premiere ends with the most sickeningly effective chomp in recent TV history.


The Inverse Analysis — “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” features more noteworthy needle-drops than most TV shows deliver in entire seasons. Yellowjackets has always been good at picking its music cues, though. In fact, there’s no other TV show on the air right now that has a better handle on how to use music to sonically match its tone and sense of humor.

Not only do all of the show’s songs feel like tracks that its characters would actually listen to, but they also match Yellowjackets’ uniquely renegade, punk-rock attitude. That was true in the hit series’ debut season, and it already looks like it’ll be true again this year.

New episodes of Yellowjackets Season 2 premiere Fridays on Paramount+ with Showtime.

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