‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2: The Genius Of Lauren Ambrose as Adult Van
Season 2 of Yellowjackets has arrived, and we couldn’t be happier. The creators of the cannibalistic drama announced a major bombshell while the series was on hiatus following an immensely successful season one. The character of Van, aka Vanessa Palmer, portrayed by Liv Hewson will be back as an adult and Lauren Ambrose would play her. She would join the esteemed ranks of Christina Ricci, Tawny Cypress, Melanie Lynskey, Simone Kessell, and Juliette Lewis. The latest episode of season two, “Old Wounds,” finally introduces us to the adult Van in the final moments of episode four. But what does Van’s appearance signify for the plot, and how does the character’s legacy carry on through Ambrose?
After four emotionally charged, brutally vicious, and dare I say, delectable episodes (after all, the ladies ate and left no crumbs), our favorite survivors are divided. Misty continues to look for Natalie (Juliette Lewis) with Walter (Elijah Wood), Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) tries to avoid prosecution after committing murder, Natalie finds herself at Lottie’s resort (Simone Kessell), and Taissa (Tawny Cypress) travels to meet Van, seeking help and understanding. The introduction of the adult Van is already a work of art in and of itself. Her video business, appropriately named “While You Were Streaming,” also serves as Van’s residence. Ambrose’s character wakes up to the sounds of 4 Non-Blondes’ “What’s Going On” and eats an already half-eaten pastry and what looks like a Mountain Dew for breakfast. It’s exactly what a teenage Van would do.
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Despite the plane crash and its aftermath, adult and adolescent Van are still very similar in certain ways. While the scarring on her face carries a reminder of the past, it’s now pretty faded and only adds character. Van is truly an iconic queer with unpaid bills piling up and a rainbow doormat. I can easily see her becoming another great LGBTQ+ role model. After all, who doesn’t want to own an old-school video store that rents VHS tapes and VHS recorders? Vanessa is certainly a well-known movie addict in her area, with excellent taste and a desire to educate “baby gays” about LGBTQ+ cinema. For example, she recommends Watermelon Woman to a customer and wants feedback afterward.
She’s also a devoted horror lover, evident due to the Scream poster in her apartment upstairs. Van is a genuine nerd and a woman after many of our horror hearts. Ambrose’s character is so well-casted and acted that the audience can easily see Hewson’s teenage Vanessa reflected in her. That’s especially true in episode five titled “Two Truths and a Lie,” directed by Ben Semanoff, when Cypress’ Tai arrives in town and asks for her support.
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We’ve all been waiting for Van’s reunion with Taissa since learning that Servant and Six Feet Under actress will play the adult Van in Yellowjackets. “You haven’t changed,” Tai points out right away after they go upstairs. “It’s happening again, isn’t it? Sleepwalking?” Van, in turn, inquires. Even after so many years and not seeing each other for what feels like an eternity, Van knows Tai well enough to know that she’s lost and hurting. Vanessa is the only person who can understand and relate because she was there for Taissa when the sleepwalking started.
We can all agree that Ambrose is the ideal Van in terms of who she is, how she dresses, and what her interests are. Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson have bestowed upon us another terrific, intelligent, well-crafted LGTBQ+ character, who relates to not only the community but also all the film and horror fans out there. I couldn’t be happier with this representation! Not only that, but she’s a dead ringer for Hewson’s teenage Van. Ambrose appears to be the same witty, sarcastic woman she was before and during the team’s time in the wilderness. It’s as if the events had no permanent, devastating impact on her path to adulthood. Her demeanor is diametrically opposed to Taissa, who is losing her hold on reality. As a result, Van becomes her solitary supporter and the only person who understands her deepest secrets.
Yellowjackets‘ action only speeds up after this week’s “Two Truths and One Lie,” inundating the audience with more incoming questions and even fewer answers. One thing is certain: Ambrose only adds more uniqueness, freshness, and enthusiasm to the already excellent series. The legacy of this character is certainly safe and sound.
Every week, fans and the average audience, including myself, await each episode with bated breath. Without question, the show’s crew consistently delivers something mind-blowing within the narrative and pours their hearts and souls into each episode of Yellowjackets. Lauren Ambrose’s casting as an adult Vanessa only proves it further. Hello, and welcome to the hive, Lauren!