The TV tradition of opening credits may be dying out in some corners, but it is alive and well on “Yellowjackets” (unlike many characters who survive the show’s initial plane crash).
The Showtime drama updated its title sequence for Season 2, with glimpses of upcoming episodes and new cast members Simone Kessell and Lauren Ambrose. Many shots remain the same; stock footage of teen athletes and parties, the antler queen silhouette, and of course the iconic shot of Jackie (Ella Purnell) drawing her finger across her throat — but the replacements and additions will give “Yellowjackets” fans plenty to pore over.
For starters, there’s this note — which quickly cuts to a queen from a deck of cards that someone appears to be lighting on fire. That all happens while Lauren Ambrose’s name is on screen, followed by figure in a reddish dress (adult Lottie??) carrying a large hunting knife.
It’s not the only knife by a long shot; another comes up after footage of adult Taissa staring menacingly at her reflection in the mirror — an allusion to her sleepwalking alter ego? Either that or she’s just in a terrible mood and taking it out at the vanity table.
Everything is interspersed with closeups of eyes, hair, and nails (the only parts of a person that you can’t eat??), and of shadowy figures clutching their heads and ostensibly feeling out of control. Only one of these appears to be definite footage from the show, of Kessell grabbing her head and showing that adult Lottie isn’t as peaceful in the present as she wants us to think.
Many shots are from the premiere episode itself, including the map Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and Coach Scott (Steven Kreuger) are working on and the animal masks that turn out to be Lottie’s followers. But Season 1’s credits had secrets right down to the finale, like the faceless man in the back of Jackie’s death hallucination. If there’s a Season 2 equivalent, it’s this:
Who is the hook-nosed figure and why do they seem so…smarmy? Where did they get cigarettes if this is the ’90s, and if it’s the present day they better kick that habit!
Another fixture of these credits is the mysterious symbol from the woods, seen on the necklaces of Lottie’s followers in Episode 1, and carved into a tree in a scene that hasn’t happened yet. At one point, it appears laid out in string over many pieces of paper. There’s also a heart, recalling Lottie’ bear sacrifice to the wilderness and Taissa’s (Tawny Cypress) basement altar (R.I.P. Biscuit). The theme of blood sacrifice is strong, as we saw with Lottie’s protective tea in the first episode, and the credits feature a close up of deliberately slicing open their palm — and whatever this is:
Interestingly, the later section of the title sequence switches aspect ratio in parts, which immediately makes you question the significance of those moments. There are full-screen shots of Ambrose and Juliette Lewis, but also regular 4:3 shots of them and the other adult Yellowjackets, which means this is not simply a difference in time period. At least one of the wider shots is of someone unidentifiable — maybe one of those unimportant interstitials, or maybe someone crucial:
Animal imagery also pops up throughout, with the masks but also with a tied-up farm animal and what looks like a wolf close up (please be from Season 1, please be from Season 1). Everything is covered in snow in case people missed the winter memo.
Regrettably, the Man With No Eyes features prominently toward the end, this time in the wilderness (and in 16:9). There’s also a shot of the Yellowjackets looking like they’re about to go to war — but are they the right ages? This sure looks like Jasmin Savoy Brown and Melanie Lynskey, who should not be sharing a scene together unless it’s a hallucination (and to be fair, Season 2 loves those) — but the next shot is definitely Sophie Nélisse.
Coach Scott gets a sweet, lovely close up, which is just devastating because nothing in this show is ever sweet or lovely and he is most certainly doomed. He appears to be bedridden (injury?!) and smiling like a dying grandparent telling the family that they’ve lived a full life and are proud of everyone. However, Coach is at least present in the image of everyone standing in a circle and looking down at something or someone — so he’ll make it to whatever horrible milestone that is. Worth noting: That shot is mirrored in the first episode where Lottie’s followers gather around the man they’re burying alive. Not great!
Finally, we have clips of the teen Yellowjackets unraveling where their hunger is concerned. I do not know what Nat is eating here but what’s the over/under that it’s actual food? Put it down, Nat!
And then there’s Misty (Samantha Hanratty), dear Misty, who is technically not eating because she is licking, licking blood off her hands that is also spattered on her face and all around her mouth. She appears to be enjoying the hell out of whatever (whoever??) this is.
New episodes of “Yellowjackets” premiere Fridays on streaming and Sundays on-air.