“Yellowjackets” is returning to push the boundaries of what being “Just a Girl” really means

Days ago, Florence Welch dropped a teaser video on Instagram in which the musician from Florence + the Machine lingered over a clothes rack full of her signature sequined and lacy, flowy Stevie Nicks (or Daisy Jones)-like dresses before choosing one of the last items on the rack. A letterman-style jacket with “Yellowjackets” emblazoned on the back. Guitars and keyboards crashed as Welch turned a smile to the camera.

Her coy caption reads, “So happy I got picked for the team this year,” accented with a blood drop emoji.  

On Thursday, the trailer for the highly anticipated second season of Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” dropped like that emoji. It’s just as wild and bloody, and Welch provides the soundtrack. Viewers got to hear the rest of the song from that first social media teaser: a cover of No Doubt’s hit “Just a Girl” from their third studio album “Tragic Kingdom.” It’s moody, it’s haunting and its 28-year-old lyrics seem primed for just this moment. 

“Yellowjackets” ended its first season with a stunning revelation, which has made the wait for its return difficult. One of the high school girls from the 1996 soccer team whose plane crashed somewhere over remote Canada, is unexpectedly still alive in the present. That would be Lottie (Courtney Eaton as the teenager, Simone Kessell as the adult) who’s grown up to be running some kind of group whose monochrome-clad members may have kidnapped Natalie (Juliette Lewis). Lottie always had a presence.

In the trailer, we see her as an adult in serene robes. The structure which works so well in the show, alternating between the events of 1996 and 2021, is sped up to the extreme, and we have the girls struggling in the wilderness, isolated, bloody, cold and desperate — and also struggling to adjust to “reality.” We also get the first glimpse of what may have been their lives shortly after rescue (or escape): the press hounding them, cameras flashing, questions flying, a crime scene. We get Melanie Lynskey with a gun, and Elijah Wood and Christina Ricci bantering in what will surely be a pairing for the ages. And we get adult Lottie as a source of . . . something. “Lottie can help us,” an adult Van (a perfectly cast Lauren Ambrose) says as she strokes fellow survivor Taissa’s (Tawny Cypress) hair.

Through the trailer, a dark song plays, faint piano with Welch’s vocals at the forefront. The slowed-down version of No Doubt’s hit is difficult to place at first. Written by Gwen Stefani and her brother Eric, the song was about her frustrations at being a young woman in the world, including difficulties with her overprotective parents. As Stefani told People, “My parents were quite strict with me, and I was living at home, even into my 20s. And I would have to come home and knock my parents’ door . . . ‘I’m driving home. I’s like one in the morning, and if something did happen to me, I’m vulnerable because I’m a girl.’ And you start to think, ‘Wow, maybe people actually look at me different because I am a female.'”

The song was a 1995 smash, which means the girls of the soccer team would have heard it, probably would have known it by heart as I did. But lyrics like “I’m just a girl living in captivity” aren’t a metaphor for the Yellowjackets. They take on new, darker meaning with the remote and winter isolation the girls are experiencing.   

The lyrics and pacing for the song as it plays over the action echoes the frustrations that the young women must be feeling given society’s and then their situation’s limitations. 

The moment I step outside
So many reasons for me to run and hide
‘Cause I’m just a girl living in captivity
The rule of thumb makes me worry so
Oh I’m just a girl
What’s my destiny?
What I’ve succumbed to is making me numb
Oh I’m just a girl
My apologies. What I’ve become is so burdensome
Oh I’m just a girl, oh lucky me
Tweedle-dum there’s no comparison
I’ve had it up to here
I’m just a girl in the world

It all builds to a crescendo with a montage of screams, peaking with the ultimate breaking point: “I’ve had it up to here.” This song is a warning. And a promise.

Welch’s strong cover disguises the song — just like extreme circumstances, including trauma and starvation, also change the girls. Or maybe too: bring out aspects that were already in there, buried — the primal violence, the anger at the world and what it’s done to them, how it’s left them. But the Yellowjackets are just girls, like the song says. At the end of the day, they’re children thrust into an unthinkable situation. 

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In one of the most eerie scenes of the trailer for Season 2, the encroaching shadow of the now-infamous antler queen headdress spreads over a present-day floor. It’s coming. It’s always been here. “What I’ve become is so burdensome,” Welch sings. Maybe we all have an antler queen inside us.

“Yellowjackets” returns Friday, March 24 on streaming and Sunday, March 26 on Showtime. Watch the trailer for Season 2 via YouTube below:

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