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Showtime's Yellowjackets Is A Modern Heir To Lost

If you're looking for a weekly survival horror mystery to sink your teeth into, look no further than Showtime's bloody, brutal Yellowjackets.


Back in the mid-'00s, before streaming services began to dominate the television landscape, households around the world would tune in week-to-week for ABC's Lost--a survival mystery that ran for six years and dominated the pop culture landscape for most of them. It wasn't that Lost itself was a particularly novel premise on its surface--a plane crash left a handful of survivors stranded on a mysterious island where they were forced to govern themselves and outlast the elements--it was everything else. The show's supernatural, oftentimes conspiratorial spins capture imaginations and spurred legions of dedicated fans (several years before social media was as ubiquitous as it is now) into frenzies of wild speculation and theorizing.

The point being that participating in the frenzy around Lost in the mid aughts was a unique experience--one that hasn't been replicated by modern event TV. Shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld have certainly come close, but medieval fantasy and sci-fi dystopias don't quite have the same pull or flavor as a good old fashioned "is there a monster in the woods with them?" survival story.

Thankfully, if you're a former Lost fan--or just someone who is feeling the lack of a good, week-to-week mystery story to sink your teeth into--Showtime's Yellowjackets might be the answer you've been waiting for.

It's easy to see where the connections can be made right off the bat. Yellowjackets is the story of a girls' soccer team who, on their way to a competition in a chartered jet, crashland in the Canadian wilderness in the mid-'90s. The surviving team members are then forced to survive for 19 months, regressing into violence and cannibalism before they're rescued.

Where Yellowjackets makes a hard pivot from your archetypal Lord Of The Flies scenario (and heads squarely into Lost territory) is in its storytelling. Rather than tell a straightforward narrative about teenagers turning on one another in the woods, the show features dueling timelines--one, focused on the girls in the '90s in the woods, the other focused on 2021 where (some of) the survivors have made it to adulthood and are trying to navigate their lives. This firmly changes the stakes of both situations--the story isn't about who lives or who dies out in the woods, it's about what actually happened out there.

Immediately, the girls start to see strange symbols carved in trees in the woods (matching an ominous postcard arriving in the adult survivor's mailboxes in the present day.) Some of the surviving teens begin speaking about how "it doesn't want them to leave," referring to some unknown entity or force in the woods around them. Animal mutilations are shrugged off as wolf attacks, though no wolves are seen or heard. Names like "the woman in the trees" and "the man with no eyes" are tossed around in both timelines, implying that whatever was out there with them in the forest may not be done with them. Oh, and there's a murder mystery happening on top of it all that may or may not be related.

The show is rife with questions that--with only four episodes released and a weekly premiere schedule that stretches into January--aren't going to be definitively answered anytime soon. This leaves plenty of time for all the speculation and theorizing you can cram into your week between episodes--you know, if you're looking to relive some of that mid-'00s glory, or depending on who you are and who you were back when Lost was airing, to experience it for the first time.

Episodes of Yellowjackets arrive on Showtime every Sunday.

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