What’s Happening With ‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2?

Despite rising ratings and social buzz, the horror drama’s sophomore season is in danger of disappearing in the deluge of spring TV.

Has the ‘Yellowjackets’ buzz gone cold? Showtime’s acclaimed drama about a high school football team turned cannibals after a catastrophic plane crash is halfway through its second season and boasts a passionate fan base, impressive numbers and positive reviews — but that’s not the whole story.

The Season 2 episode debuts alongside “Succession” and “Barry,” a two-week HBO juggernaut in their final, exceptional seasons, and within days of “Ted Lasso” — its natural opposite. There’s a delay between streaming and cable premiere of “Yellowjackets,” and it’s no longer the shiny, new kid on the block.

The “Yellowjackets” still have a lot of fans. In April, Parrot Analytics found that demand for “Yellowjackets” on Twitter was 43 times higher than the average TV show, with 99 percent of shows in the market, up 58.3 percent over 30 days. According to Showtime, the season 2 premiere saw a 65 percent increase in streaming viewership and five times the social media conversation compared to the season 1 premiere. Network stats are fuzzy – which social media and which demographics? — but not fabricated.

He has a thriving Reddit with more than 86,000 “citizen investigators,” placing it in the top 5 percent of the site’s communities. A quick scan of r/yellowjackets shows that there is a heavily invested fan base, but are these fans as heartily fed as the Yellowjackets were after Jackie (Ella Purnell) was cremated?

Season 1 debuted in November 2021, against “The Wheel of Time,” “Hawkeye,” “The Sex Lives of College Girls” and Showtime’s own “Dexter New Blood.” (IndieWire was most excited about “Yellowjackets.”) Critics remain enthusiastic — Metacritic scores for seasons 1 and 2 are tied at 78, while Rotten Tomatoes puts them at 100% and 96%, respectively .

Still, the “Yellowjackets” S2 faces a much tougher road ahead. Despite its continued critical approval on Rotten Tomatoes, user reviews are less enthusiastic: where S1 achieved an audience score of 80 percent, S2 dropped to 68 percent. The discrepancy may be due to the fact that the critics have the opportunity to quickly and consecutively look at 1-6. episode, while the rest of the audience has to wait week after week for what will surely seem like a drawn-out storyline.

Two teenage girls sit and talk by the frosty windows of a log cabin in the woods;  still from it "Yellow jackets"

Samantha Hanratty as Teen Misty and Nuha Jes Izman as Teen Crystal in ‘Yellowjackets’

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Not only does the “Yellowjackets” face a deluge of spring TV, but any buzz has a harder time spreading. Showtime changed the show’s premiere strategy to encourage streaming subscriptions; new episodes air Thursday nights on the app (or any streamer with a Showtime extension) and on Sundays for premium cable subscribers—coinciding, as it happens, with the “succession.” After Season 2, Episode 5, the series skips a week, spreading the nine-episode season over 10 weeks.

This two-day delay can cause confusion among viewers, not only about when to watch it, but also when to freely talk or post about the show. Spoilers abound after the new episode premieres, and those waiting for a critical mass before Season 2 hits can avoid it entirely for now.

Elsewhere, new viewers interested in Season 2 marketing can catch up on Season 1 before diving in. With Twitter’s “For You” timeline and the exodus of users affecting everyone’s news feeds, the social media app is in a more precarious position than it has been. In the winter of 2021/2022.

And then there’s the show itself. This is a season that maintains quality but moves slowly. The cast and writing are still sharp, but five episodes in we haven’t gotten much progress on Taissa’s (Jasmin Savoy Brown/Tawny Cypress) sleepwalking, Lottie (Simone Kessell) and the “purple people,” or where Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) is on a murder investigation. . New addition Walter (Elijah Wood) is an enigma, while Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) is, um… eliminated.

Season 1 of “Yellowjackets” saw a significant increase in ratings in the back half as new users signed up to Showtime to catch the finale in time. This could happen again with Season 2; the show can be enjoyed by the late-spring binge of viewers after the episode 9 finale — which rails against “succession.” series finale, the same night “Barry” ends and the same week that the audience says goodbye that “Ted Lasso” and “The Wonderful Mrs. Maisel.

Twitter remains mired in uncertainty, TikTok may be on the verge of being banned, and Instagram is still an eclectic mix of promo reels and vacation photos from friends. The seemingly disparate response to Season 2 of “Yellowjackets” reflects less the popularity of the show and more the way audiences and algorithms interact in the streaming era. The buzz is there, but like the show itself, it’s deeper than meets the surface.

New episodes of “Yellowjackets” air Fridays on streaming and Sundays on air.

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