Yellowjackets – No Compass Review

The commoners call it finding nature. The religious call it getting closer to God. The Australian Aborigines call it a walkabout. No matter how you split the syntax, the wilderness is a system modern society just isn’t built for, even if you venture willfully into it. In the seventh episode of Yellowjackets (Showtime) titled “No Compass”, you’ll see that that goes double if the wild calls you.

Picking up precisely where we left off, a bewildered Taissa (Tawny Cypress) gathers herself in the cornflower blue moonlight and washes up inside. It turns out, scrubbing away dirt and blood isn’t enough to cleanse a past of iniquity that still stains the mind.

Back in the woods, the others try talking down headstrong Tai (Jasmin Savoy Brown) about the rash decision to head south. Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) asks Lottie (Courtney Eaton) about her opinion, as some of the squad places slightly more stock in her since the seance. Being aware of how the rest view her has her sheepishly coming up empty.

Taissa is deadset on her journey, so Akilah (Keeya King) convinces her to take some provisions and though Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) holds steadfast on keeping the rifle, she’s allowed one of the axes and the cockpit’s compass along with a flare gun. Van (Liv Hewson) is adamantly against all of this, but Jackie (Ella Purnell) isn’t holding her back… even if that means nothing but death exists out there.

Laura Lee is flummoxed as to why Lottie didn’t speak up about her vision, but homegirl knows the score. It would’ve fallen on deaf ears. Surveying the fricasseed buck, Lottie extracts a bone that didn’t blacken.

In preparation for her trek, Taissa goes into fight mode, chopping her locks for something more manageable, nearly symbolic of letting go of the excess baggage. Van demands to accompany her, not because she wants to but because she has to. She wants to make a life with Tai on the “outside” and feels inertia is akin to a slow death. She believes in Tai as does Mari (Alexa Barajas) and Akilah, who are game.

Travis (Kevin Alves) plans to go, with the group being bereft of man, but Natalie insists he stay. Without her only beacon of hope, she may do something she’s not alive to regret.

With the girls getting set to head out, Mari’s in possession of the compass, and Van’s handed something of more import: the bone Lottie pulled. She tells Van that the bone will keep her safe as well as telling of a dream involving red smoke and a river of blood.

From what I gather, the fried deer signifies a burnt offering; possibly a Saint. The bones of saints are housed in reliquaries, considered to ward off the bad. What was the last episode called?…

In the cabin, Misty (Sammi Hanratty) is driven wild watching Coach Scott (Steven Krueger) smile talking to Taissa, thus prompting her to make the pack five. Promising she’ll come back for Ben, she hugs him with an air of cringe that’s usually reserved for Larry David joints.

Last embraces are shared before half the team mounts up.

Presently, Natalie (Juliette Lewis) takes the last of a drag nervously as Taissa and Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) pull up. There’s no time for chatter, with Nat providing the $50k, Shauna providing the bag and tracker, and Tai providing the Rover in which Natalie will make the drop.

At the cabin, Jackie confronts Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) about holding out on her and being secretive with Tai behind her back. No amount of feigned stoicism on Shauna’s part can preclude her from giving up the ghost to doe-eyed bestie, save for the true identity of the father, claiming it was Randy. Jackie being Jackie is shocked, but at the moment very supportive.

At the drop-off, Natalie proceeds to take the bag and the risk, placing it in the clothing donation bin, keeping her eyes about her. Awaiting her arrival, Tai and Shauna have a bit of time to catch up. Shauna finds out that Tai funded Natalie’s first stint in rehab because though they have families, whether rewarded by fate or some other outside force, Natalie has nobody and even less with Travis gone.

Who shows up to the party, however, moments after that admission but Natalie herself- bottle of booze in hand. She claims to have bought it off of a clerk at a gas station, but something tells me it’s not the whole story. Now they have a bit of time to all play catch-up!

Along their path, Tai rolls her eyes at the totemic gesture from Lottie around Van’s neck, even when confronted about the fact she predicted two school events around prom court and scandal.

Before Misty (Christina Ricci) can fully enjoy surveilling a semi-nude, sleeping Kevyn Tan (Alex Wyndham), one of her guests has other plans of making themselves heard.

Slightly soused, Shauna’s impatience shows. With small talk in order, Taissa won’t divulge much of her home life, nor the campaign trail, much less what happened to her hand. Sparking up spirits, Natalie spills the beans on her and Kevyn. The giddiness flits away, as the GPS pings. Now, “it is go time.”

With all the girls at the lake, Natalie attempts to initiate Travis, but something’s not jibing. Now, one could chalk these nerves up to his sheer inexperience, especially trying to get a condom on- or it could be something else. I find it of particular interest when he prefers Natalie not to talk romantically, but even that can’t save his lack of ‘gusto’.

He gives up and heads out, leaving poor, glassy-eyed Natalie to her lonesome. Hey, I thought Eros and Thanatos were bosom buddies!

Elsewhere, Jackie attempts to cull a true heart-to-heart with Shauna, unburdened by the ears of others on fire. Some curiosities are assuaged, while others are not, like the night of actual conception. The only truth to Shauna’s credit is not being sure of what the future holds. At least one of the two is being honest with themselves!

While Van regales the group, rehashing a movie she’d just watched, reality creeps back in with the call of the wild in the distance. Taissa asserts that they’ll be fine and proposes a plan to keep watch for added protection before Van can momentarily set their mind at ease going back into the plot of…

While You Were Sleeping playing on her TV set, Misty keeps an eye on her captive, Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma), who doesn’t seem phased by the theatrics. In fact, Jessica seems to be playing fair, informing Misty that Taissa hired her to see if any survivors flipped, spoiling her chances for State Senate. She also knows that Travis wasn’t murdered, but her game of leverage simply won’t work with the erstwhile Equipment Manager/Team Cheerleader.

In the attic, Shauna catches Javi (Luciano Leroux) snooping through her backpack. He claims to want the knife for an “art project” and though at this juncture in the middle of nowhere where any intent is on the table, Shauna relents it.

With her diary as well as her secret contained therein out in the semi-open, Shauna takes the precaution to store it on a support beam.

As the trio comes across the warehouse where the bins are dropped off, Nat believes the driver is in on it, and without hesitation, holds him at gunpoint until the true culprit takes the bag and books it. With Tai tossing the keys to Shauna to pull around the front and Natalie along with Tai on pursuit, the chase is on.

With the Prodigy’s “Firestarter” serving as the blood pumping track, it’s like good ole’ times, with Tai commanding Nat to ‘take the wing‘. The thing is, even with a perfect tackle on Tai’s part, an elbow to the nose is still just that.

With Shauna coming around the bend, Natalie gets one chance as she watches him escape in a car for a shot, but Taissa catches up, deflecting her aim and possibly one hell of a sentence, with the bullet ricocheting.

Natalie swears she wasn’t aiming to kill, reminding the girls they’ve committed worse. Shauna, for one, has had enough of them getting lumped into her pity party but they’re down 50 grand and can’t be sure if they just spill out of spite. Natalie makes an impassioned plea that what they’re doing is bigger than skeletons in the closet and calls them both out as being as unstable as she. And just like that… Natalie goes it herself. Sound familiar?

The decamped Taissa and company come across a river auburn in color. Misty concludes this may be due to mineral deposits and though Taissa isn’t convinced after being reminded of Lottie’s omens, the compass Mari’s holding going bananas has others wanting to regroup. Tai grows increasingly surly as the group grows increasingly worried, especially since according to the soothsayer, the woods don’t want them to leave. With reticence, the quintet carries on.

As Shauna approaches her house who is waiting in the wings but Adam (Peter Gadiot). After the night’s frivolities, the last thing she craves is a lay, but homeboy holds the fucking mirror up to her when she calls him a fraud. What ensues may be adrenaline, truth, or a volatile mixture of both, but cavorting with napalm is in Shauna’s DNA.

While Shauna’s hitting the sheets in one capacity, Natalie is in the other, returning Kevyn’s Glock to its holster before retiring to a bit of cuddling. It turns out none of these girls fully left the beast or vice versa.

At camp, the next night, Taissa takes the first watch as the others bed down.

In her basement, Misty now attempts her hand at leverage, threatening to ship Jessica’s father a whole box of chocolates laced with fentanyl, compliments of his own thoughtful daughter.

Blessed are the overlook’d, for they will salt the earth.

Jessica was with Travis before his demise. Her story tracks, even going back to buying him a bottle of whiskey to loosen his tongue, though he wouldn’t squawk. This leads to his bank account being closed after his death- info only Jessica has the resources to.

At least one is more calculated in her approach because Shauna sure as fuck isn’t. She and Adam have slept in with Jeff (Warren Kole) freshly home. Her teenaged tactics barely work, suggesting he hide in the closet. Silly as it seems, it works!

Her teammate isn’t faring better, as Kevyn notices his holster not being buttoned, leading him to find a missing bullet in the chamber. Confronting Natalie is cringeworthy, as she probably tells the truth about robbing a liquor store while lying about how the cartridge was spent. What’s even more painful is how she dismisses a top-notch guy to save her own fucking bottom.

Before Shauna beds down, she finds that Javi did actually did whittle out something: a premonition. Her diary is also gone from the plank and into the hands of a very betrayed Jackie. So much for the support, beam.

Let’s add one more log onto this fire, as the faint howling of wolves wakes up Taissa, perched in a tree. You read that correctly.

With the amulet around her neck and a flare gun in her hand, she leaps down only to find her squad trying to fend off two wolves. Van is getting rend asunder, and the flare gun isn’t saving anybody, so the ax is her only hope.

She hammers it into the lupine before scrambling to her beloved, finding the result being an amateur in the pros. The rest look in abject horror, but Tai’s words: “…the woods don’t give a shit about us.” Listening now?

Using your hands isn’t dirty unless you make it so. This isn’t soccer.

Though a slow burn, this episode was where a localized flame gives to a forest fire. Given the ongoing mystery, a small part of me wonders if Javi has anything to do with this all. We’ve seen Travis treat him like shit when none of the girls did. I’m still left in the dark without an answer, but fire can fend wolves and the dark… until it dies.

Robert Kijowski
Robert J. Kijowski is a screenwriter who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He enjoys the company of strangers in a theatre but adores the camaraderie of friends watching Netflix. He also loves to talk- a lot. This can be read through his recaps and reviews on the Workprint or heard through his weekly movie podcast, After the Credits. His presence can be felt through Facebook, Spotify or Ouija. Don’t use the latter though- he almost always ghosts people.

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