Return to the cold brutality of the wild for Season 2, Yellow jackets instantly reminds us that our lost protagonists are in fact still teenagers, with a perfectly chosen song.
Directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, the first episode takes you straight back into the woods, with the season’s opening shots soaring over the desolate, wild landscape and crawling back into the Camp Yellowjackets cabin. And with that return comes Sharon Van Etten’s steady, soaring anthem to late teens and the uneasiness of rapid change, “Seventeen.”
Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 1 kicks off with our first bite — and an equally big clue
The track is from Van Etten’s 2019 smash hit album, remind me tomorrow, builds as the series reintroduces the team members one by one, asleep in their makeshift beds, still lost in the woods with no rescue on the horizon. They aren’t all slumbering, however, as Travis and Natalie prepare to hunt down game and search for a missing Javi. No, these are not regular activities for suburban youth soccer players.
Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.
Next, “Seventeen” follows the Yellowjackets from the wild to the scenes of their rescue, documenting Lottie’s experiences with being committed to a psychiatric facility and being electroconvulsively administered by her parents. In the first scenes of Yellow jackets Season 2 is a stark reminder of the characters’ youth and the brutality of unexpected changes – or rather, lost time.
Van Etten co-wrote “Seventeen” with songwriter Kate Davis about life in New York, the disillusionment that comes with revisiting a neighborhood where you spent a lot of time growing up and seeing how it’s changing but also how brightly populated it is New Teens: “I used to be free / I was seventeen / Follow my shadow / Around your corner / I was seventeen / Now you’re just like me.” Talking to the song’s producer, John Congleton, on the podcast Song exploder(Opens in a new tab)Van Etten reflected on the pivotal change in the song as she yells, “I know what you’re going to be.”
“In that explosive moment, who did you imagine you would sing for?” asks Congleton.
“I. As a young me in New York, thinking I knew everything. But I also imagine my mom singing that to me too, you know. The more I lived with it and worked on it, it felt like a kind of multi-generational song. I wish I would have listened when she gave me advice or said I could be open with her. And I was just so closed off and I didn’t accept their help or guidance, and I thought I knew better.
“For some reason, whenever a parent gives you advice or says they know or understand, you know how you just didn’t believe them as a kid that they were ever human. As I get older, and especially now that I have a son, I’m becoming more like my mother than I ever realized. You know, I think as you get older and you have more and more hindsight, hopefully you can forgive who you were, you can forgive yourself. You can better understand where you come from and also where your parents come from. It’s definitely a message to her, to myself. It’s an apology, but it’s also forgiveness. You know, I feel like there’s something about closing in on my past a little bit and acknowledging the weaknesses, but also embracing them.”
For me, the strongest use of the song in a TV series is on Netflix sex education, in the most moving episode of the series. Based on the personal experience of author Laurie Nunn, Season 2 Episode 7 follows Aimee Gibbs’ (Aimée Lou Wood) sexual assault. At the very end of the episode, after Aimee has confided in her classmates that she cannot return to the bus where the assault took place, there is a beautiful moment of solidarity as they share their own experiences of assault and harassment. Later, in one of the most compelling scenes I’ve seen on TV, Aimee’s friends show up at the bus stop to support her while Van Etten’s “Seventeen” is being set up.
Although Van Etten’s “Seventeen” is tied specifically to her New York experience and her frustrations with neighborhoods, venues, and places from her youth, it has a broader thematic power when used in TV portrayals of teenage girls. The song effectively encapsulates the uneasiness of rapid change for the characters in both Yellow jackets And sex education, and that odd sense of current nostalgia for growing up faster than you have to. A perfect choice of music.
Yellow jackets Season 2 premieres on March 24th on Showtime’s website and app, with new episodes releasing weekly on Fridays(opens in a new tab). Episodes will also air every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET on Showtime starting March 26.
https://mashable.com/article/yellowjackets-season-2-sharon-van-etten-seventeen ‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2 opens with Sharon Van Etten’s perfect song “Seventeen”