Yellowjackets is the next Lost. Let’s hope it’s not a letdown

Yellowjackets, the brand-new thriller on Showtime, begins with the noise of a worried gasp. The cam bounces along with a girl in a nightgown going through the woods; she’s barefoot, despite the fact that there’s snow on the ground. Whispers echo behind her, then screams and spooky bird calls. The lady keeps running – for her life, it appears – till she stumbles into a deep pit loaded with spikes. The cam pans over her remains; her pursuer looks down on her from above, their face covered by a fabric mask, their shoulders curtained in animal skins and a ratty soccer Tee shirts.

Then, we get a time dive. A high school ladies’ soccer group got stranded in the wilderness after their personal flight crash-landed; just a couple of made it through, and now they’re grownups, still haunted however attempting to lead “normal” lives. Quickly we get another flashback to the wilderness, where masked ladies bind the naked remains of a butchered lady and prepare her like meat. With this opening, Yellowjackets has actually only simply started to expose the secret of the unusual woods where these ladies got stranded, and from here, each episode will increase the stakes with even more exposes and mind-bending cliffhangers.

Since I began seeing Yellowjackets on Showtime, my mind has actually been taken control of with crazy, desperate speculation about what will occur in the next episode. My good friends have actually been calling it “the next Lost,” and just like Lost, seeing this program has actually made my brain degenerate into checking out fan theories after every episode and arguing with my sweetheart over character inspirations.

The issue is, I can’t deal with another Lost. I’ve been down that roadway previously, and I don’t wish to go there once again. However the other issue is, it’s currently far too late. Yellowjackets has its sweet little stingers in me, and it didn’t take long; the gory, chilling opening episode got me good, and I’ve been down for the count ever since.

Taissa (Tawny Cypress) and Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) sit together at a diner, talking about what happened to them after they survived the plane crash on Yellowjackets

Image: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME

Lost currently broke my heart years ago with this exact type of shit. I remember the excitement I felt at the end of the first season of Lost, when the main characters opened up that mysterious hatch. It seemed like anything could happen! And there were so many other great moments on that show. (The polar bears! Not Penny’s boat! “We have to go back!”) Remember the speculation, the vindication whenever you managed to predict something correctly, the ongoing sensation that anything could happen? But then … remember how it felt to watch the last season and realize that it just wasn’t that deep?

Since then, I try not to get invested in puzzle box mysteries. After all, if you don’t get invested, you can’t be disappointed when the reveals don’t go anywhere. I didn’t get my heart broken when Battlestar Galactica and True Detective took weird turns. I didn’t like Westworld – not even season 1 – because I got the sense I was being fucked with on purpose. Cliffhanger? I don’t know her! Not anymore.

But now, with Yellowjackets, I’ve returned to my worst impulses. I search “Yellowjackets” on Twitter and Reddit as soon as I’ve completed an episode, checking multiple times a week to see if anybody’s noticed any details that seem promising. I send texts to friends to hear whether they’re caught up on the show so we can trade theories; one of my friends knows a recreational pilot who gave us his own theories about what really happened to the plane at the end of “Flight of the Bumblebee” (the most recent episode at the time of writing). Let’s just say, based on his insights, I’m more convinced than ever that Yellowjackets is supernatural.

Since Yellowjackets airs on Showtime, it’s not as popular as Game of Thrones or Lost, but I’m not the only one who’s become captivated by this show’s unfolding mystery. And that’s really as it should be, because I need more people to participate in fan theories and slake my thirst for mystery-solving.

Allie (Pearl Amanda Dickson) and Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) playing soccer in Yellowjackets

Image: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME

I don’t know whether Yellowjackets will resolve anything this season in a satisfying way, let alone in future seasons. But at least the show has more to offer than just the puzzle box. Its ensemble cast, both the teenagers and their adult counterparts, have magnetic chemistry with one another. So I’m not just sticking around to find out about the wilderness cult; I’m also here for the stacked cast playing various anti-heroines tearing one another into pieces to survive. Christina Ricci’s terrifying turn as the villainous Misty – as well as her teenage version, played by Samantha Hanratty – gets me deliciously stressed every week. Then there’s Nat, played by Sophie Thatcher (the teen) and Juliette Lewis (the adult); she keeps making terrible choices, but given her tragic life history, it makes sense (and makes for harried watching). Tawny Cypress and Jasmin Savoy Brown as adult and teenaged Taissa, respectively, both swing effortlessly between solemn and unhinged.

The high I feel about Yellowjackets right now may not last. But for the first time in ages, it feels earned, and I just want more people to talk to me about precisely how excellent it feels. More people need to follow Yellowjackets actress Melanie Lynskey on Twitter, where she openly engages with fan theories and keeps us all guessing (and losing our damn minds). More people need to DM me about the glitter at the bottom of Shauna’s closet, and where it really came from. And why is Callie going on sleepovers almost every night? Doesn’t that appear suspicious to anyone?!

Do you see what I mean? It’s hopeless. I’m doomed. I am a cautionary tale. You might also join me.

Yellowjackets season 1 is now airing on Showtime, with brand-new episodes every Saturday.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.