Yellowjackets season 2, episode 2 recap: Come outside, dinner’s served
In the second episode of Yellowjackets season 2, we discover that snacking on a frozen ear is just the beginning of the horrors in Showtime’s carnivorous coming-of-age tale.
Warning: This article contains spoilers regarding the second episode of Yellowjackets season 2. Do not read ahead unless you have watched the episode.
Say what you will about the era of disposable TV we’re living in right now, but I’ve been unable to think of few things over the past week other than the stellar season premiere of Yellowjackets season 2, one of my favourite shows in recent memory. What with our first teen taking a bite of human flesh, purple-clad cultists burying a naked man alive, and Natalie continuing her gloriously sweary streak (“I want you to say less Lottie. A lot F**KING LESS” – a line that’s now on a constant feedback loop in my mind) – I’m happy to report that Showtime’s sinister coming-of-age tale is as compulsive as ever.
If you thought Yellowjackets was going to tantalise you with morsels of weirdness all season long, though, worry not: in episode two, Edible Complex, the story grows so deliciously dark that it makes the premiere look like an appetiser. As usual, there are dozens of unique storylines going on this season across the dual timelines, and while each character has their own captivatingly specific brand of trauma, none of our survivors are serving drama quite like Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) right now, whose past murderous antics are coming back to haunt her when Kevyn Tan (Alex Wyndham) turns up at the door asking questions about Adam, and proceeds to inform her that he’s aware of “quite a few” text messages between them. As she’s stumbling across her answers, she’s saved in the nick of time by Callie (Sarah Desjardins), who gets her Mum out of trouble by nagging her about a pretend shopping trip. Shauna is forced to concoct more lies, though, when Callie asks her why she lied to the police; and since she’s still got a charred piece of Adam’s driver’s license stashed in her pocket for safe keeping, she’s effectively a whistleblower waiting in the wings. While Callie has the realisation that her parents are self-centred arseholes (true), are too focused on their own sh*t to notice that she’s gone (true), and that everything she thought was real is a funhouse of mirrors (quite possibly true) she’s not as smart as she likes to believe, because she chats up a guy in the local dive bar who turns out to be undercover police officer working with Kevin. She then offers up information about her Mum’s affair, incriminating Shauna even further.
Meanwhile, Tai (Tawny Cypress) is spiralling into her own personal hell, desperately chugging espressos to ensure that she doesn’t fall asleep, and in turn, sleepwalking. Nevertheless, she’s delighted when Sammy rocks up to the house unexpectedly having walked home from school. When her now-estranged wife Simone (Rukiya Bernard) arrives to collect him, though, he’s nowhere to be found, and they find his bedroom window wide open. When the pair take off in the car to search for him, Simone gets a call from the school informing her that Sammy has been sitting in the principal’s office for two hours – meaning Tai has imagined the whole thing. Just as Simone tells her wife that she needs to seek urgent help, Tai delivers a devilish glare that gives new meaning to the phrase ‘if looks could kill’, before they’re involved in a serious car accident. Now, Taissa might be sleep deprived, but she genuinely looks possessed in this moment. Whatever’s happening to her, she was right to warm Simone that she could get dangerous.
There’s a new development in Misty’s (Christina Ricci) life, as a mysterious character (Elijah Wood) turns up at her workplace to check his mother into the care facility, asking a hell of a lot of questions for a regular civilian. Not only does he give Misty a creepy smile, but when she opens the fridge, there’s a letter on top of her lunchbox with her name on it. It’s blank, but Misty’s a switched-on citizen detective, and she soon deduces that it’s written in invisible ink. The note appears to be from the Redditor she’s been trying to downvote over the Adam theories, who implies that they can help Misty on her hunt for Natalie – all she has to do is RSVP on the “citizen detective board of her choosing”.
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As for Natalie (Juliette Lewis), she’s on quite the ride herself. Having been kidnapped by Lottie’s creepy cult – and subsequently staged a great escape – she’s now decided to hang around at Lottie’s commune to find out exactly what happened to Travis (Andres Soto). First things first, though, Lottie informs Nat that she doesn’t run a cult, but rather an “intentional community, turning suffering into strength so we can live as our best selves”, which is definitely one way to rebrand burying a man alive. And as she recounts the events of the night Travis died, we get the feeling that she’s orating the obituary she wants to hear, not the reality of what happened. She tells Nat that on the night Travis died, he called her and said the “wilderness had come back to haunt him”. When she showed up to his ranch, he’d arranged candles in the shape of the creepy symbol and had rigged a chain to a crane in order to hang himself until he passed out so he could discover what the “wilderness” wanted from him. Although she reluctantly agreed to help him, as soon as he fell unconscious the remote control for the crane stopped working, leaving him hanging high in the air. But here’s the rub: as Travis was suffocating, Lottie was distracted by terrifying visions of Laura Lee (Jane Widdop), one piece of information that she omits, because she knows that Nat will rightfully declare that she’s still traumatised. In any case, Nat isn’t buying the story, and vows to put an end to Lottie’s “f**king bullshit”.
In the ‘96 timeline, Shauna is now seven months pregnant and literally starving. Having committed the first act of cannibalism in the season premiere – an attempt to make Jackie a part of her for the rest of her life so much as it was a means to stave off hunger – we find our mother-to-be continuing her tête-à-têtes with her dead bestie in the meat shed. The team are understandably growing ever more concerned by her behaviour, and they’ve completely right, as Shauna has now been ‘persuaded’ by Jackie’s frozen corpse into braiding her hair, doing her makeup – and carving a slice off her arm.
The course of young love isn’t running smoothly for teen Van (Liv Hewson) and Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), either, despite having declared their love for each other in blood. Tai is continuing to go walkabout in her sleep, and when she take a nocturnal trip into the forest one night, pushing past snowy branches like a terrifying version of Narnia, she appears to be following the man with no eyes, and there’s an ominous symbol on a tree nearby too. Is she hallucinating or are there other sentient beings in the wilderness? We need to know soon, because trippy visions are all well and good until they become boring. In any case, this one comes to a close when Van leads her away from a mountain edge and back to the safety of the cabin, and proceeds to royally frustrate Tai by suggesting she seek counsel from Lottie for her sleepwalking. Naturally, Tai is less than impressed by her girlfriend’s reverence, and so too is she by the factions that are beginning to form between the believers and non-believers of Lottie’s clairvoyance.
Tai isn’t the only one annoyed by Lottie’s emerging status as a spiritual leader. As Lottie works overtime to secure faith in her bizarre rituals, the ever-pragmatic Nat is p*ssed off by her deepening connection with Travis, who she thinks is being manipulated. When they set off on their daily hunt/search expedition for Javi, she snaps and asks Travis why he’s not annoyed that they’re out hunting every day while the Antler Queen is is making friends with the spirits of “each and every f**king pine needle”. Unmoved by Nat’s frustration, he simply says that “everyone has their role” and that the team are “gonna need more than just food if we’re gonna make it through this winter”, which confirms that the Yellowjackets are getting a taste for spiritual sustenance as much as they’ll soon have for human flesh. Nat’s had enough of giving Travis false hope, though – and when they split up to hunt, she takes a scrap of Javi’s jacket and stains it with her own blood in order to convince Travis to move on. I’m also gunning for Javi’s story to move on – beside a patch of melted snow beneath a tree, we’ve no indication that he’s alive since the depravity of the Yellowjackets’ Doomcoming celebration.
The battle between faith and reason come to a head when Tai discovers Jackie’s ghastly corpse in the meat shed, which has now had a full ’90s makeover complete with blue eyeshadow and pink lipstick. She wastes no time in confronting Shauna, before declaring to the group that they’re going to cremate Jackie before the sun sets that evening – in front of the cabin, no less. When the time comes to light the funeral pyre, Shauna gets emotional, confessing that she doesn’t know where Jackie ends and she begins. It’s a heart-wrenching send-off, but it’s not the end of our dearly departed. During the night, a gust of wind (or maybe a supernatural force) displaces a heap of snow onto Jackie’s pyre, extinguishing the flames and leaving the coals glowing beneath her body. The Yellowjackets wake to the smell of gently barbecued human in their backyard – food! – and stumble outside to find that Jackie’s body hasn’t been cremated, but cooked. Delirious from hunger, an extremely pregnant Shauna makes the first move on the roasted corpse, announcing that “she wants us to.” She doesn’t need to tell the team twice, who rip into the last remains of Jackie Taylor while the show gives fantasy cutaways to a Greco-Roman bacchanal, letting us know that the team are having some kind of mass hallucination. It’s a moment of unflinching horror that shows how they’ll do whatever it takes to survive – all except a sickened coach Ben (Steven Krueger), who hobbles back into the cabin to watch the feeding frenzy from inside. Is he next on the menu?
The series is available to watch in the US and UK on streaming platform Paramount+.
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