There are some TV moments so perfect they’re practically destined to become memes.
Succession had Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) rapping. Euphoria had the “Bitch, you better be joking” line delivered in classic deadpan style by Maddy (Alexa Demie). The White Lotus had Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) hysterically shooting her way out of a boat cabin with her eyes screwed shut.
Now, despite only being one episode in to its new season, Yellowjackets already has its own contender. And it involves everybody’s favourite book club-believer(Opens in a new tab), Jeff.
‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2 review: Our favorite messed-up cannibals return — with even more bite
What’s been going on with Jeff in Yellowjackets?
Jeff (Warren Kole), who is married to Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) in the present day, has had a bit of a rocky time of things so far.
In Season 1, his furniture store nearly went out of business, he was forced to take out a loan with some bad people in an attempt to save it, and he discovered his wife had been having a passionate affair instead of going to book club each week.
On the other hand, it’s difficult to feel too much sympathy for him. In an attempt to drum up some much-needed money to pay off his debts, Jeff attempted to blackmail Shauna’s friends and fellow crash survivors in the first season. This little scheme inadvertently led to Shauna murdering her lover Adam (Peter Gadiot), whose real identity and motivation is still a series of question marks — but he definitely wasn’t responsible for blackmailing the surviving Yellowjackets.
All of which takes us up to the first episode of the second season, which sees Jeff accompanying Shauna to Adam’s art studio in order to destroy any lingering evidence of their affair. At this point, Jeff has made the decision to stick with Shauna and help her get away with the murder, but his feelings are clearly still a bit all over the place — as is evidenced by the brief but excellent scene that features him sitting in the car on his own after they’ve returned from setting fire to Adam’s studio.
Jeff + Papa Roach = Emmy time.
The scene starts with Jeff sitting in the car, on his own, in his dimly lit garage. He looks troubled as he flashes back to having sex with Shauna in Adam’s art studio, which was packed with paintings and illustrations of Shauna. After a few moments, he sighs and selects a song from his phone, then leans his head forwards against the steering wheel.
For a few seconds, there’s only silence. And then…
CUT MY LIFE INTO PIECES. THIS IS MY LAST RESORT.
I actually laughed out loud when I heard those opening lyrics to Papa Roach’s “Last Resort,” a 2000 nu metal track that pretty much all millennials will recognize. It’s such a perfectly angsty choice, especially for a former jock turned preppy dad like Jeff.
What makes the moment even better is the way Jeff reacts to the song, nodding ever so slightly to the lyrics before banging the steering wheel to the drumbeat, then literally punching the seat next to him and the roof of his car as the song kicks into gear.
I timed it, and the scene is only 37 seconds long. But it’s 37 seconds of television perfection.
Warren Kole got a little carried away while filming this scene.
Apparently, Warren Kole had a good time filming the scene, too. He told Mashable that he loved reading it in the script because it gives a glimpse into how Jeff is privately coping with everything.
“They had to start taping things back up after the first take.”
“He’s a man who’s got traditional suburban ideals, and he’s lived the life, and he’s pretty normal, and he’s being confronted with a very intense scenario,” Kole said. “His wife isn’t satisfied with him; not only did she seek affection with another man, she is murderous, so she’s reconstituting into this savage that he knew she was in the woods. This is a lot for a guy like Jeff to process, so he’s doing his best, maybe regressing a little bit in terms of his behaviour and how mature he’s going to be about it, but I think it’s just him trying to clear the smoke out of his own head.”
To make the scene even more impressive, Kole revealed that he’d never actually heard the Papa Roach song before.
“I listened to it like 50 times and just got a feel for it. It’s got a great introduction, some drums there — I figured that’d be a good thing to hone in on, and just start in a place of, he probably uses this song to vent, maybe even celebrate in his past, but it quickly turns into this tantrum where the drum becomes him beating the car to shreds. They had to start taping things back up after the first take. The mirror had fallen and the carpeting was ripped up. Yeah, I went for it.”
He sure did. Just give him the Emmy already.
Yellowjackets Season 2 premieres March 24 on Showtime’s website and app, with new episodes released weekly on Fridays(Opens in a new tab). Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET, starting March 26.