This post contains spoilers for the first episode of “Yellowjackets” season 2.
The wait is over, winter has come, and “Yellowjackets” is back for a second season! Travis and Nat are still hunting for food, but now with the added perk of being “blessed” by Lottie before each venture into the wilderness. She puts ashes in their hands, smudges smoke around them, offers a bit of bloodletting, and some non-descript tea. Is Lottie actually supernatural or just dabbling in “teen girl discovers vague witchcraft 101?” The jury is still out, but she does draw the mysterious symbol in the fogged-up windows, so regardless of what anyone else believes, Lottie is all-in on the dead man’s cabin superstitions.
In a shocking development, the episode does a brief flash forward to 1998, after the rescue. It seems that after the team was found, Lottie completely shut down. She stares off in silence as her parents can be heard asking a doctor “Can you fix her?” That so-called “fixing” comes in the form of electroshock therapy. It’s archaic and barbaric, but here’s your reminder that electroshock is still used today as a form of psychological treatment.
Lottie is later institutionalized but eventually becomes a wellness coach aka a cult leader. Everyone wears a lavender shade, while Lottie shines brightly in burnt orange. “We wanna blame the world for our pain, the parent who didn’t support us, the lover who didn’t love us back, but the truth is we are the ones making ourselves sick and the rest of it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, right? Because it isn’t real. It isn’t real,” she tells her followers. Flashback to teen Lottie getting on the rescue plane, screaming her face off.
“YELLOWJACKETS” IS BACK, BABY! BUZZ BUZZ!
What’s Going On With Shauna In The Present Timeline?
Shauna is being interrogated by a mysterious voice about Adam’s murder. Surprise, it’s Misty with a voice changer because she’s a damn Ghostface killer in the making. She’s using her citizen’s detective skills to prepare Shauna for talking to the cops. “The only thing you say to the police is I want my lawyer,” she says. You know, this is actually good advice, Misty! She asks if Shauna has gotten rid of everything that could connect her to Adam, which she lies about, because she hasn’t.
Adam’s driver’s license, keys, and a drawing he did of her are still in her safe. GIRL. HOW DO YOU STILL HAVE EVIDENCE?! Okay, it’s a good thing actually, because in looking at his keyring, Shauna now knows he has an art studio. She calls up Jeff because they clearly have a new mission, and he’s corny as ever. He’s selling six-piece furniture sets like chicken nuggets, and it’s not even liquidated! Good for you, Jeff. The pair later shows up to Adam’s art studio and find … an entire wall gallery of paintings of Shauna looking GORGEOUS. Reminder: if anyone has an issue with Melanie Lynskey, I’ll personally meet you in the streets.
Jeff understandably feels super weird about this … until Shauna confesses that while she was always scared of Jeff cheating on her, it also turned her on, and she likes it. Polyamory would do wonders for these two, I swear. Anyway, Jeff bends her over Adam’s work table and rails her to “#1 Crush” by Garbage, a great song for doin’ it.
What’s Going On With Callie?
Callie is still being her angsty teenage self, now with the added perk of knowing her mom cheated on her dad and more than likely murdered her lover. One of her best moments is early on when she interrogates Shauna about her affair, only to explode with “you’re so selfish!” after she confesses that Jeff already knows about Adam. Callie is channeling some serious Lindsay Lohan “you’re ruining my life!” energy from “Freaky Friday.” 10/10, no notes.
While Shauna is destroying the portraits with paint thinner and Jeff is rocking out to “Last Resort” by Papa Roach while imagining himself boning his wife, Callie continues to rightfully be suspicious. Shauna ends up burning all of Adam’s belongings in the grill, and she’s visibly devastated. Our girl really did like Adam. Jeff comes up, still sweaty from his Papa Roach jam session, with a plate of hot dogs so it wouldn’t look suspicious that they’re just lighting fires in the grill. Top-tier wife guy, that one. Toward the end of the episode, Callie discovers the ashes and remains of Adam’s license that burned everything but his face. I hate it when that happens!
Mom and dad are going to have some serious questions to answer next week, and for once, Callie is absolutely justified in being a total brat about things. Her mom killed a man and her dad is helping her cover her tracks. Wild to think that eating people for survival isn’t even the wildest thing Shauna has done in her life.
Catching Up With Senator Taissa Turner
Taissa and Nat were supposed to show up to help Misty teach Shauna how to talk to the cops, but she was too busy adopting an adorable dog named Steve from a woman who phone-banked for her campaign. You know, because she f***ing sleepwalk-sacrificed her old dog Biscuit on an altar and now needs a new one.
Taissa shows up at school to pick up Sammy and show him the new puppy and her wife Simone is PISSED. She’s seen the altar but Taissa doesn’t remember it. She tells her to resign and get help or else she’s going to go to the public, which is also good advice! Last season saw Taissa eating dirt, hiding in the tree outside of her son’s room, and vandalizing her own home. She’s going through it, and if she doesn’t get things under control soon, things are only going to get worse.
Taissa goes home and discovers the altar, which is the sign she needed that something is very, very wrong with her and she can’t keep denying it. Her scary-ass, dirt-eating sleepwalking terror is happening again. It didn’t go away once the Yellowjackets were rescued, it simply went into hibernation. If I had to place a bet, all of the pressure of being in the public eye during her campaign is kicking the stress response back up like the world’s worst symptom of PTSD. The 1996 timeline shows a lot of Van taking care of Taissa in the cabin, so I think this resurgence of the sleepwalking behavior is going to be what leads us to see Adult Van in the current timeline.
Misty And Nat Are Still A Team, Whether Nat Knows It Or Not
When we last saw Nat, she was being dragged out of the motel by Lottie’s wellness commune cult members. This puts Misty on a mission, interrogating the motel owner that values discretion above all else. After a few key Misty Quigley-Style Threats™, he tells her that she left cash for the room and left in the middle of the night. Misty is not satisfied, so she breaks into the room to find it looking very normal. She’s devastated that Nat could have left without her on purpose … but then notices the door frame and hinges were repaired. Citizen’s Detective skills strike again!
Speaking of, Misty has been downvoting Elijah Wood for being smart enough to suspect Shauna on the Citizen’s Detective forum regarding Adam’s murder. How do I know it’s Elijah Wood? Because I could point out that voiceover reading the posts on the screen faster than I could some of my own family members.
As for Nat, well, she’s being held to a bed with psych hold restraints at Lottie’s commune where she meets Lisa (Nicole Maines!) who is tending to her. They’re all wearing necklaces with the wilderness symbol on them, so already, this is baaaaaad. Lisa is way too trusting of Nat, who eventually stabs her with a fork to escape her confines and track down Lottie. This place is like a rich kid’s summer camp but they do some real weirdo s*** like burying a man nude in the dirt as some ceremonial act. She finally comes face to face with Lottie, who is way too calm for my comfort level, and who says, “I have a message for you from Travis.”
In case you forgot, Travis is hella dead, so Lottie gives us our first cliffhanger until next week!
What Happened To Jackie’s Corpse In 1996?
Two months have passed since we last visited 1996 to see the death of Jackie after she froze to death. Well, if you were worried that we missed some sort of burial, have no fear, because Jackie’s frozen corpse is hanging out in a shack with the rest of the bear meat the girls have been living off of, and Shauna is pretending as if nothing has changed. She’s sitting in the shack playing MASH in a notebook with a Jackie hallucination, but as we already know, she’s nothing more than an ice-cold queen bee-sicle. As if that wasn’t weird enough, the whole team is aware of it. Half the gals think she’s gone “full Norman Bates” and the rest are giving her space to grieve.
She’s grieving alright, in the unhealthiest way possible. She has double-sided conversations with Jackie, telling her about why she started sleeping with Jeff, with Jackie calling her out on her lies. Remember, Shauna is crafting both sides of this discussion, so even in her state of mourning, she knows that she’d have lied when telling Jackie about what happened and that her bestie would have called her out. “Holy s***, you kissed him,” she hallucinates Jackie saying, only to physically fight with her and knock the corpse over, Jackie losing an ear in the process. Shauna tries to put it back but when that fails, she decides to keep it in her pocket.
CHEKHOV’S JACKIE’S EAR!
Travis Is Also Not Grieving Well
Nat and Travis continue their daily hunts for food, which double as search and rescue for Javi. Travis is terrified every dead/frozen animal they find is his little brother, who has been missing now since the Doomcoming party. He hasn’t accepted the possibility that he’s dead, or is outright refusing to. Nat is being really great about this, but she knows damn well Travis is in denial. Coach Ben and Nat have been building a map of the wilderness, and they also both know deep down that Javi is dead. Travis has panic attacks thinking about Javi in the wilderness, and during a particularly big one, Lottie calms him down.
There’s a continued “touch” motif going on with Lottie that first started during the flash forward to her institutionalization. If she touches people on their chests, they calm down. Is Lottie magic, or is this just mindfulness in action? Lottie successfully gets Travis to relax, which also gives him a boner. Lest we forget, many of the girls tried to use Travis like a sex slave during the Doomcoming mushroom poisoning, but he was having plenty of sober, consensual sex with Nat. However, he seems to have been struggling with her in that department as of late, which makes his erection toward Lottie concerning to her. “Your brother is alive, I know he is,” she tells Travis.
Nat takes Lottie aside to rightfully tell her not to give him false hope because it only makes things worse, but Lottie replies, “There’s no such thing as false hope, just hope.” Man, it’s gonna be real awkward if Javi shows up later this season wearing a bunch of rabbit skin or something.
Misty Makes A Friend And Taissa Can’t Stop Biting Van
Misty is still being excluded by the group as a whole, often saddling her with tedious tasks like fetching fresh water in the cold. She’s also not allowed to cook after the entire group tripped balls on mushrooms she intended to use on Coach Ben. Fortunately, she seems to have found an ally with Crystal, a girl we … didn’t really see at all last season! Crystal also gets treated like an outsider, because she’s got a thing for musicals and everyone finds her constant singing and humming very annoying. Lest we forget, these Yellowjackets are athletes. They’ve got no time, patience, or appreciation for theater kids. I guess we’re about to learn where Misty’s love of musicals comes from.
Taissa’s sleepwalking is escalating after Jackie’s death, and she unknowingly tries to bite Van in her sleep. This seems to be a thing that keeps happening, with Taissa a danger to herself and others at night, and Van willingly trapping herself with her to keep watch, even if it means she has some scrapes, cuts, or bite marks. Van is signing herself up for some very intense difficulties and is being very cool and empathetic about this, even though this is something they’re both clearly not ready for. But in a cute moment, Van writes “I heart you” in her own lip blood on Taissa’s arm, her way of finally saying “I love you” for the first time.
Ugh, I love them so much and I’m going to be so sad when we finally see how bad it inevitably gets to force them apart.
Chekhov’s Jackie’s Ear
Alright. The moment we’ve all been waiting for finally happens. With food running low and Shauna struggling with the reality that Jackie is gone, she does the unimaginable … and she eats Jackie’s ear. As if that wasn’t wild enough, Shauna eats the ear while Tori Amos’ “Cornflake Girl” plays, quite possibly the most perfect needle drop for this monumental moment. For those unaware, the song is a reference to how in a box of breakfast cereal, there are plenty of cornflakes but the raisins are a lot harder to find. Raisin girls are the good friends you make that will always be loyal, while cornflake girls are the ones who will hurt you even if you’re close.
There’s so much to unpack with that song serving as the soundtrack to Shauna’s consumption of her best friend, and I stand by my assessment last season that Shauna and Jackie’s relationship is one of the most authentic portrayals of a co-dependent friendship (and also that she would continue updating their friendship notebook out of guilt). Shauna eating Jackie’s ear is the spark that will set the cannibal fervor ablaze, it’s only a matter of how long it will take for the rest of the team to join in on the people-eating party. And yet, it’s still a fitting, poetic end for Jackie. If they don’t eat her, they’ll die. Once again proving that without their captain, the team is nothing. Even in death, she’s still the most important person on the team. Way to play the long game, Jackie.Note: the image above is from season 1. Look at that foreshadowing!
Buzzworthy Moments And Additional Thoughts
Look, it’s not that I had any doubts that “Yellowjackets” season 2 was going to be good, but I’ll admit that I’m breathing a little easier that the season premiere came out swinging this hard. Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, you will forever have my sword. This episode was also directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, who is the brilliant director behind not only the “Doomcoming” episode but also the Parker Posey film, “Party Girl.” This show gets a lot of credit for bringing back treasured ’90s actors, but it’s a delight to see Daisy back in a “Yellowjackets” director’s chair.
- Misty describes Nat as “Brunette. Stunning. Looks like she’d stab you.” This is perfect because Nat uh, definitely stabs Lisa later in the episode.
- Callie has an eye-rolling critique of her dad’s “normative gender roles” when he offers to grill up a veggie burger for him, and he responds “maybe old-fashioned dad s** is my love language.” They keep making me love Jeff because this is the best way I’ve ever heard someone describe my wife’s love language. Who needs flowers when you have someone who will grill you up some grub?
- This introduction of Crystal is making me realize that Misty would have thrived as a theater kid and I am so sad she’s only realizing her calling now that she’s stranded in the wilderness. She’d have been the perfect stage manager. Can you imagine how well-suited she’d have been with a headset and a call sheet? My god.
- I’m so excited to see Adult Van but already exhausted for her knowing she’s probably going to have to once again take care of Taissa. The girl already had her face half eaten by wolves, she deserves a damn break!
Catch you next week, “Yellowjackets” hive!
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