'Yellowjackets' is back with more drama for Melanie Lynskey and company

Melanie Lynskey can't detail them, but she says she's as excited about the developments in Season 2 of "Yellowjackets" as she was about Season 1.

The actress had a big journey on the award circuit for the freshman round of the drama series, and its second year begins Friday, March 24, on Showtime's streaming and on-demand channels (with the new episodes then starting on the linear Showtime on Sunday, March 26). Lynskey earned honors from multiple critics organizations, plus a Gracie Award and a Primetime Emmy nomination for her first-year portrayal of Shauna, one of the then-teen soccer players who survived a mid-1990s plane crash. While they're still trying to piece their respective lives back together, the sometimes-vicious turns of their shared past keep that a challenge.

Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) faces some hard truths in "Yellowjackets," which returns Friday, March 24, on Showtime's streaming and On Demand channels. Courtesy of Showtime

"The thing I love about my character is that she's continually surprising," Lynskey notes. "Is she a terrible person? Is she a wonderful person? I think the truth is that she's somewhere in between."

As with the first season of "Yellowjackets," two sets of actresses stay in sync while playing the same characters at different ages. Lynskey, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci and Tawny Cypress comprise the older quartet, with Sophie Nelisse, Sophie Thatcher, Sammi Hanratty and Jasmin Savoy Brown as their younger counterparts, respectively.

Lynskey reasons that for all of them, "The stakes feel kind of high after the first season got so much acclaim. Every time I feel nervous, though, I stop and think of how the writers must be feeling - trying to create another story that's as compelling as the first one, which they absolutely did."

With Lauren Ambrose and Simone Kessell added to the regular cast of "Yellowjackets" for Season 2, and Elijah Wood as a season-long guest star, Lynskey is expectedly pleased that her spouse, Jason Ritter, also makes a guest appearance. "I came back to work afterward," she recalls, "and everybody was like, 'Your husband is the nicest person!' And it's true. He's just so easygoing and sweet to everyone."

Misty (Samantha Hanratty) faces many challenges in season 2 of "Yellowjackets" on Showtime. Courtesy of Showtime

Lynskey also earned considerable notice and acclaim for her recent guest turn on HBO's "The Last of Us." The part was written with her in mind, and she marvels that "to get that opportunity without even having to audition, I was so fortunate."

"Yellowjackets" already has a Season 3 renewal, and Lynskey - who maintains, "I've never had this kind of job security before" - is grateful that the show has come along in her career when it has. "It's been interesting also becoming a parent in this time," she reflects. "My daughter (with Ritter) is 4, so the most exciting times in my personal and professional lives have coincided. It's been pretty incredible."

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