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‘Yellowjackets’: Melanie Lynskey and Warren Kole on a Fragile Marriage in Season 2


[This story contains spoilers from the third episode of Yellowjackets season two, “DIGESTIF.”]

There is a moment in the last episode of Yellow jackets when Jeff (Warren Kole) asks Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) a question he doesn’t want an answer to.

“How the hell did the van get back?”

The third installment of the popular Showtime series followed several story threads for the adult characters following the shocking cannibal feast in the past timeline. That moment when the crash survivors ate their dead teammate Jackie in hopes of surviving a harsh winter in the wilderness is one of the many sources of trauma the adult characters live with in the current timeline of the show, and no more. so then grown up Shauna.

The season two episode “DIGESTIF” (which refers to needing help digesting a large meal), was written by Rich Monahan, Sarah L. Thompson, and Ameni Rozsa and directed by Jeffrey W. Byrd. As the hour catches up with adult Shauna, the trauma she so deftly repressed bubbles to the surface.

First, she confronts a car thief who tries to steal their family’s minivan at gunpoint, much to husband Jeff’s horror. But it isn’t until she chases the car to get it back that a vision of her younger self appears again.

Pointing a gun at the man who has her car, she tells him that her hand is shaking because of how bad she is want to to shoot him. “Have you ever peeled the skin off a human corpse?” she asks. “It’s not as easy as you might think. It’s really stuck with us, skin. You just need to roll back the edges of it so you have enough traction to actually pull. Which again is not easy. People are always so sweaty when you kill them. Like greasy. There’s that look people get when they realize they’re going to die. It’s that one.”

Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) in “DIGESTIF”

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

The scene is chilling, as it strikes differently now that viewers have seen what Shauna and the team are capable of doing in the wilderness. But what’s even more chilling is how quickly she brushes it off – with one of Shauna’s signature quirky shrugs – when Jeff later asks how she got the minivan back. Jeff’s question remains rhetorical and the audience assumes that Jeff takes whatever Shauna says (verbally or in body language) for granted and accepts her anyway.

“They’re in this strange position where she finally realizes he loves her unconditionally,” Lynskey tells WebMD The Hollywood Reporter of her curiosity Yellow jackets wedding. “The fact that he reads the diaries, that he knows everything, I find it so shocking for her to say, ‘Wait a minute, someone can know everything about me and still love me?'”

The first season revealed that Jeff was reading Shauna’s diaries from her time in the wilderness, and seeing what happened to the Jackie party underscores how important that is. Especially with the added layer that Shauna and Jeff’s teenage affair, behind Jackie’s back, was a major source of the brewing finale fight that drove Jackie to sleep in the cold and freeze to death at night.

“Shauna is just that girl for him, and he can’t resist her,” explains Kole THR about what motivates Jeff to be so unconditional. She’s absolutely irresistible. He is madly in love with her. He is loyal, to death, to this woman. And they’ve been partners in crime from the start. The moment she returns, they share a sense of guilt. When they’re at Jackie’s house for this annual birthday in season one – this annual self-flagellation they’ve imposed on themselves as atonement for their sins, maybe for Jackie’s death – there’s common ground. He knows how exceptional she is; he knows he is lucky. And it comforts him to know that she is his wife. So he will accept those magazines.

(L-R): Melanie Lynskey as Shauna and Warren Kole as Jeff Sadecki in YELLOWJACKETS

Shauna (Lynskey) with Jeff (Warren Kole) after their minivan is stolen

Colin Bentley/SHOWTIME

But Shauna and Jeff do things differently. As Lynskey says, “Shauna is so far behind in processing. Things happen to her and she puts them away for later. Meanwhile, Jeff is only beginning to surface from Shauna’s trauma, which is still lingering 25 years after the plane crash. She has already given up on her affair with and murder of Adam (Peter Gadiot), which is why she pushes her husband away as he tries to get her involved about it.

“I think there was a moment at the end of last season where she started to feel what it means to understand that he knows all that. [from reading the journals] and she said, “I can’t feel the feelings around all that yet,” says Lynskey. “She’s just struggling with that and then he says, ‘But wait a minute, I have some questions about the affair.’ It’s like, “Oh, God. You had a moment and I still apologize and feel guilty and worthless about it.” But he’s trying to deal with him getting more information about how scary and dangerous she is and she also has a new respect for him because he’s done crazy things and she realizes he’s not that boring and this is fun So they really get to know each other a little bit.

Despite the guilt she feels about what happened to Adam, the fact that she and Jeff have this big secret actually brings her back to the young person she was in the wilderness – a place that has hindered many of the adult survivors, who struggle to feel as alive as they were as teenagers in the wild.

“She has a lot of guilt about killing Adam. But there’s also something about the risk and the almost getting caught and all the craziness that’s so intoxicating to her and she’s like, ‘Oh wait a minute, this is me. Suddenly I know myself again. I look in the mirror and I’m like, there she is,” Lynskey says of recognizing her younger self, who is played by Sophie Nélisse in the 1996 timeline. “So Shauna just pushes it, she pushes the boundaries.” It’s interesting where it ends up at the end of the season. It’s a little bit of a departure from that because so much is happening differently, but she’s definitely pushing it for a while.

Warren Kole as Jeff Sadecki in YELLOW JACKETS

Jeff (Kole), here in the third episode of season two, helped Shauna cover up Adam’s murder in season one after it was revealed that he was the one blackmailing the survivors of the Yellowjacket.

Colin Bentley/SHOWTIME

And no matter how far she pushes it, Kole says Jeff (who is now an accomplice to Adam’s murder) can just about drive it.

“He’s not the most complicated guy, yet he’s being asked to handle a very complicated situation, both emotionally and intellectually,” says Kole as local police begin to investigate Adam’s murder. “So he might back down a little bit, to a less mature version of himself and occasionally throw a tantrum. But I’d like to think his actions speak loudly because he doesn’t run; he’s trying, damn it! For better or for worse.”

He then offers up this tease about where the ride in their minivan will turn in season two: “As Shauna continues to reconstruct in this manifestation he’d only read about in these diaries of her own – the more savage, dark impulse Shauna – he’s optimistic , but it is fragile. And he’s really put to the test as it continues to descend into a very dark, violent place.

Yellow jackets releases new episodes weekly on Fridays for Showtime subscribers and airs on cable Sundays at 9 p.m. Stay tuned THR‘s Yellow jackets season two coverage and interviews.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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