“Yellowjackets” Episode 107 Recap: While Taissa Was Sleeping

Grab a flare gun and some glitter — it’s time for the Yellowjackets 107 recap. We’re talking all things “No Compass” (directed by Eva Sørhaug and written by Katherine Kearns), so if you haven’t seen it yet, get on it! Catch up on past recaps and be sure to peep the comments section if fan theories are your thing! And don’t forget to bring your latest theories and curiosities to the comments this week! Reading through them and replying is the highlight of my week!


“No Compass” doesn’t let us cut away. Yellowjackets in general needles into discomfort, into tension, into disturbance. It leaves just enough to the imagination so as not to veer into gratuitous territory. But it doesn’t cut away when shit gets uncomfortable. In its most distressing moments, Yellowjackets leans a little closer, takes it a little further. Every episode has at least one but usually several images that stay with me long after watching.

“No Compass” drops us right back into Taissa, standing in a tree in front of her home, her hands and mouth covered in dirt. Last week, this felt like a significant plot twist. But shock value doesn’t last. It’s a quick sensation and then it’s gone. The most effective plot twists are the ones that imbue meaning beyond the surprise itself, and that’s exactly what happens here when we see this reveal through. The shock has worn off, and instead we’re left with dread. Because Taissa in this tree, covered in dirt, with no recollection of how she got here is a horror on so many levels. Is she the threat that has been looming over her family all season? Why is she unraveling? And why is it happening again?

Folks in the comments last week suggested Taissa is experiencing pica. Severe nutrient deficiencies like extreme anemia can lead to pica, which could explain why teen Taissa has been eating dirt, but it can also be linked to stress, PTSD, and other mental health diagnoses. Simone mentioned a couple episodes back that Taissa has been losing weight. She’s under immense stress. It’s once again entirely possible that everything happening with both teen Taissa and adult Taissa has an explanation rooted in reality. Teen Taissa would prefer it that way. “There’s a solution for everything. An explanation for everything,” she insists when weird stuff starts happening in the woods. She’s the resident skeptic. Sure, there could be a logical explanation for everything that’s happening. Or there could still be a supernatural influence. Something that’s heightening real horrors into something more. In some ways, the possibility of that interplay between normal and the paranormal frightens much more than if it were just one or the other.

Not only is adult Taissa covered in dirt, but she also has a large bite mark on her hand. The episode’s opening sequence is a haunting one, Taissa frantically cleaning her hands and the wound. It’s got “out, damned spot!” vibes except that in this case, we know the wound is real, because Shauna points it out later. Who bit Taissa? And why does it seem like it was out of self-defense? Given the episode’s vicious ending and the fact that Taissa keeps hallucinating wolves, it could be her family dog Biscuit’s doing. Or the answer could be worse; they could be the markings of human teeth.

There isn’t time for even Taissa to consider the answers to these questions as it’s go-time for her, Nat, and Shauna to trap their blackmailer. Nat shows up with the money (which she got from selling her car), and Shauna says the stack of cash is “disappointing by heist movie standards.” She also says she bought the tracking device they stuff into the bag of cash off Amazon. It’s all very funny — a suburban Jersey caper! Their little midnight mission is, while absolutely still high stakes and dangerous, very fun and goofy, because there’s no glamorous sheen to it at all. Typical movie moments, like putting a tracking device in the cash bag and doing a car chase are thrown off course by reality (before beginning the car chase, they have to quickly switch drivers because Shauna drank too much from the celebratory bottle Nat got for them). This is exactly what it would look like for these three specific women to pull off a mission like this. Nat’s impulsive and erratic. Shauna’s the team mom, driving the getaway minivan but also trying to get these two to engage in a little small talk during the stakeout and rolling her eyes at Taissa’s vague teen-like answers. Taissa is level headed but almost to a fault, not as quick to adapt to chaos as Nat. This isn’t some flashy heist and stakeout. It’s three adult women doing their best.

Their interactions with each other continue to convey the strangeness of their relationships. Not really friends, not really enemies, they’re like siblings or cousins reluctantly thrown together. Embedded in their dialogue are little bursts of the past. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her,” Taissa tells Shauna while they wait in the van for Nat to return from making the money drop. Is she talking about Nat’s usefulness as the hunter of the group? Did Nat save them in some capacity when it came to the cannibalism in the woods? There’s definitely some sort of plot connection to be made here, but it’s almost an emotionally revealing moment. Taissa pays for Nat’s rehab, because she feels she owes her that care. Taissa says she feels like it’s only fate that gave her Simone and Sammy and gave Shauna Jeff and Callie. She says they didn’t do anything to deserve their families. And on the other side of that, it means Nat didn’t do anything to deserve being alone.

Nat and Taissa end up chasing the masked man who grabs the money bag, tapping into their old soccer skills quite deftly. The guy gets away but not before Nat almost shoots him, Taissa diverting the gun at the last second. The past comes back again: Shauna says she felt like they were about to be arrested for murder, and Nat replies “like we haven’t done a lot worse.” While previous episodes have all featured flashbacks-within-flashbacks (as in flashbacks and glimpses of the past before the woods), this episode doesn’t use that device, and I think it’s because “No Compass” already blurs the lines of temporality so urgently and frequently in these interactions between the adult Yellowjackets. There’s so much there. So much history. They share intimate connections and also pain. Shauna is dismissive of Nat, asking if she’s going to go around knocking on doors with a flamethrower to find the masked man. And it hurts Nat’s feelings.

They were just maybe getting to an okay place, a place of the past when they were all teen girls who were friends. Nat had just opened up about sleeping with Kevyn. She seems genuinely excited when she says it, and for a moment, they do seem like teen girls again talking about boys. But that fantasy is pierced when Shauna says the fact that he has kids sounds complicated. Nat’s face falls. Shauna and Taissa just don’t take her seriously. Then when Shauna makes that flamethrower joke, it all falls apart for real. Juliette Lewis delivers a gutting monologue. Nat says she knows Taissa and Shauna are just as fucked up as she is. They’re just better at hiding it. “You’re not healthy; you’re not stable,” she shouts at them. And she is, of course, very correct. Taissa and Shauna have families, but do their families really see them? Ironically, the two spend so much time talking about how Nat has no one, but Nat might be the only person who really, truly understands them.

Before we move on from this Suburban Jersey Caper/Comedy of Errors, it’s theory corner time! Who is the blackmailer? When Shauna gets home at 4 a.m., Adam is there waiting for her. If he’s the culprit, this could be his attempt at crafting an alibi. But I just don’t think it’s him! In fact, I increasingly think Adam is a red herring altogether. I don’t think he’s Javi grown up. I don’t think he’s a figment of Shauna’s imagination. I kind of think he’s just some overly romantic dude who’s into Shauna. I still think the abstract way they talk to each other is very strange. But I also think it might just be a symptom of the fantasy of the affair.

Adam says he waited in front of her house because he didn’t see any cars, meaning Jeff and Callie are both gone. And I think that makes both Jeff and Callie suspects, and I’m leaning Callie! A big part of this show’s premise is that teen girls are capable of much more than people expect. I don’t think it was Callie in the mask running away from Nat and Taissa, but it could be her boyfriend, who we haven’t seen since the pilot. Callie and Shauna do not like each other. Callie could have easily broken into Shauna’s vault, read her diaries, and used that info to draw the symbol and blackmail the others. When Jeff gets home early in the morning, Shauna has to hide Adam in the closet (she tries to get him to go out the window, but it’s rusted shut, which is another instance of a typical movie moment skewed by reality). It’s suspicious that Jeff was gone all night at the store and that the first thing he wants to do is shower. Did Jeff spend his night running away from two former varsity soccer players? Or is he really just cheating on Shauna? (I personally think the answer is neither, because Jeff has wife guy energy and I’m not sure he’s capable of pulling off a blackmail scheme! But he’s definitely up to Something.)

Nat breaks my heart in this episode. As for adult Nat: After Taissa and Shauna shoot her down, she returns to Kevyn, who yells at her when he realizes there’s a bullet missing from his gun. He accuses her of being high. She’s lying to him, sure, but the way he so quickly turns on her instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt is a brutal whiplash from the way she was just talking about him in the car. It’s also how she’s used to being treated by men. And then Nat does what I think might be a pattern of hers: She hurts his feelings to protect her own, making fun of his high school crush on her and saying they were only ever just fucking, nothing more.

Teen Nat breaks my heart, too. She’s very into Travis to the point of asking him not to leave with the Taissa-led team going on an expedition. He says he’ll stay right away. And then when the two have the cabin to themselves, they start hooking up and it’s…a disaster. I mean, not like a complete horror show of a time. Just awkward and uncomfortable and, well, a very realistic portrayal of teen sex. It calls back that scene of Jackie being badly fingered in the pilot. But whereas that was just kind of funny, this is harder to watch. It’s another one of those moments where Yellowjackets doesn’t cut away. It’s also another one of those moments where Yellowjackets is nakedly honest about hormones and emotions but especially bodies. Travis asks Nat not to talk dirty, because he seems to think she’s putting on some sort of performance, but Nat’s just doing and saying exactly what she wants to say and do. They’re out of sync. And who knows why Travis can’t get it up. He has just suffered an immensely traumatic experience; they’re both under constant stress; they’re also both hungry and tired. It’s not optimal conditions for hot sex or even sex at all. But Travis freaks out and runs away from the situation, and it’s once again easy to see the beginning of a destructive dynamic forming between them.

In the woods, food is running out. Winter approaches, and Nat and Travis haven’t killed a deer since the one infested with bugs. Taissa has an idea: She wants to search the woods. For a town, for another person, for any way out. She’s sick of waiting around. The group is like “this sounds like a bad idea, Tai,” but if there’s one thing teen Taissa Turner is going to do in this episode, it’s Not Listen To Her Friends. Or her girlfriend. Van’s skeptical of the expedition, too.

It is a queer rite of passage to dramatically cut your own hair, and Taissa gives an angsty self-cut for the ages!!!!!! It’s urgent and raw, a transformation from Taissa the ruthless soccer player to Taissa the ruthless survivalist. “That’s pretty hot, actually,” Van says. She also says she’s coming. She gives a great monologue about how she has only been to New York City once when she was seven-years-old and how all she wanted was a soft pretzel and a carriage ride through Central Park but all she got was a performance of Cats (okay who is the Andrew Lloyd Webber fanatic in the writers room!). She wants to go back. With Taissa. She wants them to have soft pretzels together and go on a carriage ride. It’s sweet and a sort of low-stakes, whimsical reason to want to survive, which really just makes it another reminder of how young these girls are. They really were just kids when this happened to them. They’d barely lived any life. A soft pretzel and a carriage ride in Central Park was seven-year-old Van’s childlike dream of a New York adventure, and she isn’t that far removed from that age, from that wide-eyed innocence. Maybe the woods is making them all age too quickly but also making them revert. After all, when we see them as adults, they sometimes still seem like teens.

So, Van’s going with Taissa. And so are Akilah and Mari. Nat won’t let them take the gun, but the group agrees they can have a flare gun and an axe. At the last minute, Misty decides to join after spying on Ben through a window and seeing him teaching Taissa about something. She thinks taking this risk will deepen her bond with him. It’s not unlike the way adult Misty thinks kidnapping Jessica Roberts is an act of love and sacrifice for her “friends.” (Adult Misty listening to “The Music Of The Night” while spying on Kevyn in Nat’s bed and Jessica Roberts screams in the background is just simply art!) Before the faction heads out, Lottie gifts Van a piece of bone from the diseased deer. They burned the deer, but the bone remains untouched. She also tells Van she dreamed of a river of blood and a cloud of red smoke. Van being one of the only people to ask Lottie if she’s okay last episode becomes meaningful here. Lottie feels like she can trust Van and like Van trusts her. Van accepts the bone and Lottie’s warning without questioning her. But Lottie continues to be this show’s Cassandra, with Taissa as the harsh cynic who keeps dismissing her visions.

While the expedition threatens to fracture the team, the friendship between Jackie and Shauna fractures, too. Jackie confronts Shauna and knows she’s hiding something. She brings up the time Shauna lied when her parents were getting divorced and she apparently told Jackie her dad had become the president of Hello Kitty to explain away his absence. Shauna’s bad lies are such a delightful character trait. Albeit probably frustrating from a best friend’s standpoint. “When did you stop wanting me to be your best friend?” Jackie asks Shauna, and it’s another gently devastating moment where the big teen emotions come crashing into the life-or-death circumstances of their new realities. Do they have other things to worry about like not starving? Sure! But that doesn’t mean all the other feelings and conflicts just shut off. If anything, Jackie’s hurt feelings are amplified by their circumstances. These characters are maybe coming to terms with their mortality, and she doesn’t want to lose her best friend at the end of the world. For once, Shauna tells a convincing lie. She admits she’s pregnant and says it’s Randy’s.

Jackie almost catches her in the lie later when Shauna’s timeline about when it happened doesn’t completely line up. And it must make her suspicious enough to go snooping. At episode’s end, she’s reading Shauna’s diary while sobbing by the campfire. Shauna’s secrets are about to come out, likely furthering the fractures in the group. But also: Did Javi have something to do with Jackie finding the diary? Shauna finds her diary on the floor of the attic after Javi rifles through her bag looking for her hunting knife so he can work on an art project (which ends up being a small carved wolf that initially looks like a protective token but then seems like an omen). So she then hides it in the rafters. Did someone tip Jackie off that it was in the rafters and what secrets were in it? Or does she just know Shauna well enough to know where she would have hidden it?

It’s expedition time! At first, things go okay. Akilah’s a former girl scout after all. Mari…well I don’t know exactly what Mari brings to the table, but I inexplicably like her. Taissa’s a confident leader (though sometimes to a fault). And Van’s the resident jokester. While they sit around a fire on their first night, Van recounts the entire plot of While You Were Sleeping to entertain the others. We cut to the present where Misty is merrily watching While You Were Sleeping on a tiny television in the basement where she’s tied up Jessica Roberts. She says she thinks Jessica killed Travis, and Jessica says Travis was definitely murdered but not by her. She eventually reveals Travis’s bank account was emptied after his death. Misty is having…a lot of fun holding her hostage, quite literally saying “this is fun” before slapping Jessica Roberts across the face. And the fact that she’s watching While You Were Sleeping is another indication that Misty looks back on the time in the woods not as a trauma but as a bonding experience, as a nice time to reminisce about. She felt she had purpose in the woods, and she feels she has purpose here and now trying to extract information from Jessica Roberts.

Things go okay until they don’t. The expedition group comes across a river of blood. Or, at least, a river with reddish water. In any case, it looks a lot like what Lottie described. Ever-skeptical Taissa tries to explain it away as iron deposits. And then Van’s compass starts spinning nonsensically, she says it’s because of the iron, too. Mari and Van both recall the way Lottie said the woods didn’t want the hunter to leave when they found the plane. Taissa thinks this is outrageous. But as I posited last week: Could Taissa’s insistence that the woods are not trapping them be…the influence of the woods trying to trap them?! In the present, we’ve seen adult Taissa as the very threat she’s trying to fight against.

After all, “while you were sleeping” takes on a whole new meaning at the end of this episode. After volunteering to take the first watch, Taissa wakes up in a tree, Van’s protective necklace around her own neck, the flare gun clutched to her chest. Below, Mari, Akilah, and Misty attempt to ward off a pack of wolves with torches. Taissa descends and finds Van being attacked by a wolf. She shoots the flare gun, which looks like the cloud of red smoke from Lottie’s dream. It doesn’t do much other than just make it easier to see the wolf biting Van. So Taissa gets the axe and hacks the wolf to bits. Van is dead.

OR IS SHE. Okay, yes, we see her lifeless body. But I’m not fully buying it. Especially because of this: In the pilot, the person who stands over the trap that kills the running girl is wearing Van’s shirt. I had already been starting to think this person was Van based on body type and the red Converse alone. But now we see the shirt in this episode. And the mask the character is wearing could double as a bandage. I’m just saying I’m not accepting Van is dead until the show tells me she is more explicitly.

Yellowjackets 101 screencap of a masked person wearing fur standing over a snow bank

Yellowjackets 101

Yellowjackets 101 screencap of a masked person wearing fur standing with trees behind them

Yellowjackets 101

Yellowjackets 107 screencap of Van wearing a t-shirt that says co-ed naked and a soccer ball on it

Yellowjackets 107

But regardless of whether Van survives or not, it’s safe to say that Taissa’s sleepwalking is a serious problem. Again, it’s perfectly plausible that there’s no supernatural influence here. She could just be sleepwalking from stress and disorientation. The fact that she’s also doing it in the present supports that — between the campaign, the blackmail, her family life spinning out of control, she’s under a lot of stress. But there are still little pockets of the paranormal at play. The bone necklace does seem to have some protective power. The compass and the red river supposedly have real world explanations, but what can’t be explained is how Lottie knew about them before they happened. There’s a wildness to these woods we’ve only just started to glimpse.

Last Buzz:

  • I feel like this show is so good at tiny details that do a lot. Like when Shauna asks Nat how she found a gas station to sell her liquor at 2am and Nat replies she bought it off the clerk and asks how she thinks they get through late-night shifts. We get denotations of place here (liquor can’t be sold past 10pm in Jersey) as well as class (Nat sympathizes with and understands the lived reality of a late-night gas station clerk better than Shauna and Taissa would).
  • Whilst spinning her lies, Shauna tells Jackie she had too much Malibu and milk the night she hooked up with Randy, and the visceral reaction I had to the mere idea of “Malibu and milk” was more severe than any of my reactions to the physical violence in this episode because truly WHAT.
  • At this point, I feel like regardless of what the answers end up being, the threads of who killed Travis and who is blackmailing the group have to be separate. An overarching conspiracy feels like too much.
  • I once again have to point out that Rekha Sharma has chemistry with everyone and just a very flirty energy, so if I start shipping Jessica Roberts and Misty Quigley NO I DIDN’T.
  • I like that Van uses the fact that Lottie predicted prom queen last year as evidence she might be clairvoyant.
  • Okay, the While You Were Sleeping moment and then the title’s double meaning of like “while you were sleeping” in an ominous way as it pertains to Taissa’s sleepwalking has me thinking about how significant and intentional the pop culture references in the show are, which is why I do think it cannot be a mistake that we see movie titles that were released after the group got out of the woods in Jackie’s journal last episode. Several theories have been posited, but keep them coming!
  • According to the promo for next week’s episode, Laura Lee is gonna try to FLY?! Good for her.


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Kayla

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Miami. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 342 articles for us.

82 Comments

  1. Omg Van as the person at the edge of the pit!? Maybe! Or maybe they wear the clothes of their fallen teammates?

    Also *next week’s promo spoiler* I saw Shauna finding glitter in someone’s clothes in the promo, so it has to be someone whose clothes she has access to. And we know she does the laundry for her household!

    Finally, do you think Taissa was the one who broke Sammy’s doll? 🥺

    Thank you for yet another delightful recap, Kayla!

    • I def think Taissa gouged the eyes out that doll!!! Or maybe the eyeless man did?? But idk if he’s a corporeal monster so much as a projection or apparition or something.

      Also I did consider the possibility someone is wearing Van’s clothes but idk! That looks like Van! Holding onto hope (that she survived—I’m not necessarily rooting for her to be so involved in the cannibalism LOL)

    • That’s interesting, I assumed the glitter was from the closet where Adam was hiding!! But the Callie spin is VERY interesting, because like Kayla said, we know she snoops (because she wore Jackie’s uniform) and could have found the journal. She might have a slightly disturbed fascination with what happened to her mom; I’m sure it affected how other kids treated her growing up. I love this theory and shall be sprinting with it tyvm.

      • I also thought that the glitter was in the closet Adam was hiding in… HOWEVER, I went back and saw when Shauna opens the closet where Adam is hiding, it’s actually surprisingly small and not the kind of closet you would be inside. In the sneak peek of the next episode, wherever she’s looking at the clothes is in a big open space.

  2. Other observations:
    – Tai’s haircut was a choice, but it had a kinda GI Jane moment to it.
    – I was so afraid during the car scene that Shauna would drink and drive. Glad that was sorted out. I hate when they show people drinking and then driving.
    – I knew something was going to happen to Van after that New York talk.
    – I also do think that the old spice lotion will probably come in handy pretty soon, why else would they bring it up.
    – I’m so over Adam and I enjoyed that reading of him by Shauna so much.
    – I also enjoyed “Firestarter” during the chase scene, such a classic.
    – Then I also asked myself why Shauna still sleeps in the attic. I’ve understood it when Tai was still there but now, all alone?!?
    – Nat man…I’ve got no words, my heart hurts for her.

  3. Thanks for another great recap, Kayla!! Especially appreciate the screencap of the first episode showing Van’s outfit – whoaaa!!

    This show is so good with the twists and turns creating a lot of possible theories. Other shows that have done this usually annoy me, but I am really enjoying it with this show and these recaps/comments.

    Also, I am all-aboard with Misty hooking up with Jessica…mostly because I’d love to see Christina Ricci in some queer scenes! 😍

    Random observations:

    1. Not sure if there’s any meaning but I noticed that teen Shauna and adult Shauna both were wearing shirts with butterflies. Teen Shauna’s shirt had “lueur d’espoir” which according to google translates to “glimmer of hope”…

    2. In the trailer for the next episode we see Shauna in the closet and then cut to glitter on fingers…curious as Adam was in the closet and Jeff left his clothes outside as Shauna made an excuse that the hamper was downstairs or whatever. I would think she would notice the glitter beforehand but who knows…hopefully all of us when we watch the next episode lol.

    3. Sophie Thatcher (teen Natalie) sounds soooo much like Juliette Lewis, which is yet another reason to love this show…what a great cast!!

    4. Van’s campfire storytelling of the While You Were Sleeping plot was so cute and funny!!!

    5. I think the bite on Taissa’s hand could be from Sammy since he’s had interactions with her. Either that or she bit her own hand because they look like human teethmarks, but might be too big to be a kid’s mouth.

    6. If it is Lottie that fell in the trap in the first episode, how interesting and maybe fitting that Van would be the one standing over her body since they seem to have a connection if Lottie told Van her predictions prior to them being stranded in the woods.

    7. I felt for so sad for Nat and Jackie this episode…who were both hurt by Shauna!

    8. I love the soundtrack of these episodes but I love love loved hearing The Prodigy’s “Firestarter” during that fun chase scene!

    • ooo good butterfly catch. I’ve been super into the repeated animal/insect/creature imagery. butteries are a clear metaphor for transformation…i do feel like we’ve been seeing teen Shauna transform into more of a leader role, subsuming Jackie

    • I love these recaps so MUCH! They add so much depth to the viewing.

      One small detail I haven’t seen brought up yet is – Jessica confirms that Travis was murdered and that his bank account was emptied right after his death. And THEN Nat showed up with the 50K cash. She is playing the grieving person, but things between them seemed extremely toxic….is possible that she could she be somehow involved in his death in an unexpected way? Could she be blackmailing them all from the inside?

      I was originally convinced that Adam was the blackmailer, or a PI, bc it just seems too convenient that he’s always around. But the thought of Callie being involved in the heist is a twist I hadn’t considered…..

  4. I just rewatched the first episode, because Yellowjackets is my life, and one thing I’ve noticed is how the characters do not seem to learn from their mistakes, and how clues are planted as to how the characters will behave in the woods and upon their return:

    1. Taissa wants to win states so badly, that she devises a plan to take out the weakest link. Despite objections from her teammates, she goes ahead with it anyway, and ends up seriously injuring Allie. She does the same thing in this episode: She is completely headstrong in thinking that she is correct in leaving, and even though she receives concerns before they leave and along the way, she continues, and then the group is attacked by wolves and Van becomes seriously injured. During the campaign, it seemed that she was going to listen to her loved ones and back out, but she couldn’t let go of her ego in the end. (I personally do not find Taissa level-headed. I think that she shows her denial differently, and that her “leadership skills” are born of the panic from wanting to be in control.)

    2. When Allie is injured, Shauna, Lottie, Laura Lee, and Nat run to help her. Misty also helps, but is pushed away. Jackie watches them, shocked, illustrating from the jump how she is not good in a crisis. Taissa also watches, perhaps unable to comprehend the damage she has caused.

    3. Shauna hides her journal in the attic rafters thinking no one will find it, and as an adult she also hides her journal in the closet thinking no one will find it.

    4. When Coach Ben gives a pep talk to the team during their final practice, Misty stands uncomfortably close to him. She has never cared about personal space, and Ben as Dreamy Pretend Boyfriend has been A Thing for a while.

    Random Observations:

    – In the first episode, Shauna’s childhood bedroom is shown to be in the attic.(It’s not insulated, which is horrifying but makes for fun set design.) This might be too subtle, but I think she sleeps in the attic in the cabin because it reminds her of home.

    – Rewatching knowing what I know now, I really appreciate how intentional everything is, and I think that Shauna’s “divorce is expensive” monologue and “these are a best seller on Amazon” about the tracking devices are going to come back somehow.

    – I hope Van survives, because I want to see how the attack changes her. I think it will be much more compelling than simply killing her off. The show is basically a study in horrific things that can happen that are not necessarily death.

    – In the first episode, Jackie says that she needs to get home before curfew, because “you know how my parents are.” After the events of the last week’s episode, I cackled.

    – They have no idea how much gas is in the plane, and if the plane has really been there for ten years or so, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of it is evaporated. Fingers crossed for Laura Lee’s flight, but it doesn’t look good! And that’s not even landing the thing!

    – I really appreciate how close the show holds its cards, but it’s not so pleased with itself that it tries to out-clever the viewer. The clues have been planted for weeks that something was going to happen with Van and wolves, and the showrunners have let us sit with it, anticipating it, knowing that the horror is not in the jump scare, but in the dread of waiting for the terrible thing to happen.

  5. In terms of pop culture references, Misty keeps listening to Phantom, and Van ends up with half her face ripped off. If that is her in the trailer with a bandage over half her face? That’s well played.

    (Phantom also has a song about ‘little Lotte’, who reads dark stories of the north, and hears an Angel in her head)

  6. Nat is becoming my favorite of the grown characters. Her telling Shauna and Taissa off was so good and so tragic. This along with how Travis treats her in the 90s… God, I want Nat to be okay. She deserves so much more and my hatred for Travis grows. It’s also so tragic to see that the one person she clings to treats her like shit (and continued to into adulthood? I mean, who just disappears from someone’s life like that? On the other hand, addiction does make that a bit more complicated). And then the scene with Kevyn, Nat’s walls closed in. Both actresses for Nat are just amazing.

    I really hope Jessica lives and wouldn’t mind her and Misty teaming up. Those scenes are hilarious but also so creepy. (Totally into a Villaneve ship dynamic too)

    I’m afraid for Lottie. I don’t think Tai is going to treat her well when they get back, but it’s gonna be fun to watch.

    Teen Taissa is another tragic figure for me, she’s so desperate for control and seeing her teen self against her adult self… She is a mess in designer clothing. Like Nat said, her and Shauna are living on the edge, they just lie about it easier.

    I’m guessing that Callie’s bf was the guy they chased in the thrift store. Callie is definitely up to something and I’m kind of excited to see how Shauna deals with that. And Jeff is too stupid to pull off blackmail, but I do think he’s probably doing a tell all about being married to a Yellowjacket survivor.

  7. Another random thought, when they first started their journey, Van and Taissa were briefly talking about horror movie deaths. I appreciated Taissa’s response “Why because I’m Black?” to Van saying Taissa would be the first to die, because I (a queer POC) sadly get anxious and think while watching a show/film with thriller/crime themes that if there’s a group with POC or queer people that they’d be the ones to get killed or seriously injured. This time it was Van…a queer redhead, which made me think of (Justice for) Barb from Stranger Things.

  8. unfounded hot take but! i think van and lottie were close pre-plane crash, possibly best friends, and further think that lottie Knows tai and van were a thing! just to add some tension to everything

    i’m on team van is alive bc a) liv hewson b) they didn’t say she was dead and c) you can get a lot more trauma mileage out of a grievous injury, possible recovery, and then slow descent into death! just look at the grey’s anatomy plane crash

    what if callie and adam are in cahoots? in the club scene she seemed to almost recognize him and he shows up so conveniently to distract shauna: the hotel, the club, after the botched money drop. that, or adam has an amazon prime account himself and has been tracking her. he did repair her van, after all

    the misty/coach ben goodbye scene is possibly the funniest scene to come out of this show INCLUDING ‘i don’t know, i suck at french too!’ this man is so viscerally uncomfortable and the rest of the team is so aware of it!

    love that lottie has true dreams tbh? that’s a thing that i don’t necessarily interpret as supernatural even, but you can bet the team is going to

    honestly v excited for laura lee the pilot. i hope we get some flashbacks to her pre-crash life- that was something i missed this episode!

    • I am also on Team Van Being Alive. For the same reasons! ugh, I am going to be so upset if Van is dead. Liv Hewson is probably my favorite actor on this show, their comedic timing is everything and I just appreciate everything they do!

    • yeah i do suppose there’s still the possibility that absolutely nothing supernatural is happening. i do think lottie’s dreams have been a little too spot on to just be coincidences though? but idk! i like the idea of mostly explainable stuff with some touches of more surreal stuff

  9. I’m very worried about Laura Lee flying that plane. When she was like, baptizing Lottie, she brought Lottie up out of the water and Lottie had a vision of a big explosion behind LL. I don’t know how much I believe there’s something supernatural in the woods, but I definitely believe in Lottie.

  10. My biggest question about this show so far is, where in New Jersey are they? I am from new jersey and there are only one or two people with almost believable New Jersey accents. So where are they supposed to be from?

    • I guessed it was somewhere suburban/north Jersey like Maplewood or East Rutherford – Callie talks about taking Uber into the city, which must be NYC. Also Adam mentions having gone to Pratt (in Brooklyn).

    • I thought they were in Monmouth County, the creators are from Belmar, and Middletown. They mention route 9 a couple times. During the Nat and Misty roadtrip, Misty mentions liking pumpernickel from “the Bagelry,” and there is an actual store, The Corner Bagelry of Belmar. Although there’s also a Bagelry in Cedar Knolls. I live in NJ, and would totally do a Yellowjackets bagel/food tour if they were showing real places.

  11. Ok first, thank you Kayla (and commenters) I am obsessed with these recaps.

    After this wild episode I’m going back to the pilot because I’ve definitely missed things. I’ve seen you mention adult Shauna masturbating in her daughters room to her boyfriend, but I think she’s really masturbating to the “idea of a normal teenage experience.” Remember her asking someone to buy her liquor despite being able to buy it herself. (Sorry if this has been mentioned, I haven’t read every comment!)

  12. I’m in camp: Van is alive because plot wise, why else have Misty go with them? She’s the one that’s been cool with body horror from the get go. So Misty seeing Van’s teeth on the outside of her face is probably just going to be like, oh cool another chance to get everyone to like me.

    Also, I can see how this would cement Misty into part of the “in” group. Up until this point none of the team really interacts with Misty, she’s just sort of hanging around on the edges despite the group having literally no way of escaping her. But if she starts spending time with Van under the guise of first aid maybe Van vouches for her, socially speaking. Plus, Taissa would be more likely to put up with her weird obsessiveness if she saved Van.

    Another plot line I could see happening if Van survived is Ben encouraging Misty to take care of/hang out with Van in order to put a stop to Misty’s ‘secret boyfriend’ fantasy. Which I think will backfire wildly. Right now he’s more or less in charge by virtue of being the only adult in the room. Once things start to get harder I think he’s going to regret not playing into Misty’s fantasy because if he’s not in charge, can’t hunt, and isn’t Misty’s secret boyfriend than what is he? He doesn’t really seem to contribute to the group on a daily bases, like I don’t think we seem him doing any chores around the cabin? He’s just sort of vaguely supervising most of the time, occasionally putting his foot down when it comes to gun safety and safe sex.

    • I kinda think Ben’s days are numbered for the sheer reason that he’s the only adult. He has somewhat been the voice of reason here and I think for them to get to the feral point we see them eventually get to, the last “parental figure” has to go.

  13. I kinda think that VAn could actually be alive in the present as one of the metioned but yet unnamed survivors.
    Also think that the deer antlers girl is Lottie but then who was running? One of the unnamed and raraely seen girls? At the burial sight there are 19 people standing (+ Ben ying somewhere else) but I cannot name more than 12.

  14. ok on the glitter that shauna finds, she looks to be in a closet so it could definitely be jeff or someone working with callie, but it could also be ben cause he was hiding in the closet and would presumably have come straight from the pick up. (i just really don’t trust adam, i’ll talk about that later)

    i wonder how taissa is gonna explain how upset she is about van’s death. by now most people already know she’s not as much of a bitch as they thought she was but she’s still the unaffected, “i don’t give a shit” one of the group. also she’s definitely going to blame herself for this, i wonder how that’ll play out.

    and in the promo, we see taissa frantically begging simone to leave because she’s scared she’s gonna hurt her so i think something is gonna happen, like maybe she’ll do something in her sleep again or maybe sammy will say something.

    back to adam because i really don’t trust him, i think that literally every interaction between them was heavily planned by him, and he’s probably behind the blackmailing. not the postcards tho. he has this obsession with shauna cause of the whole yellowjacket thing, maybe he went to school with them or saw it on the news.

    also taissa’s franticness in the promo would make a lot of sense if she blames her self for van’s death. she doesn’t want to be responsible for hurting / killing someone she loves

    • I agree about there being something really suspicious with Adam. Someone else in the comments here mentioned that he could have put a tracking device in her car when he fixed it. ALSO did Shauna ever tell him where she lives? I don’t think she did! And yet he is there!

      FINALLY, when they meet in the first episode, Shauna says over and over again that he basically break checked her. I think Adam was following her from the front and intentionally caused an accident so they could meet, and that he’s been watching her for some time.

    • Could Adam be working with Misty?? After the last episode it really seems like he’s specifically trying to bring out a side of her he knows is there, bring her “back to the woods”. That could also lean into the Javi theory. I can’t see him being part of the blackmail, especially with this in mind.

  15. Long time reader, first time commenter. I’m an obsessive fan and love Kayla’s recaps and everyone’s theories!!
    Also I have noticed something that I haven’t heard anyone else talking about. You know the one-eyed teddy bear that Laura lee finds in a suitcase and hugs, before coach martinez’ blood drips on it? The same one eyed bear is in Jackie’s room during the fraught sex scene with Jeff at the beginning of episode one!!! But what does it mean?!?

  16. i’m not fully on board with the something supernatural is going on thing. i think that there’s a bunch of not okay people put in a really stressful / traumatic situation. but then again we have lottie and her dreams and her being a medium for whatever is in the woods.

    maybe it’s a combination of both

  17. Jasmin Savoy Brown told a story on her instagram yesterday about how she had a hand in Taissa’s haircutting scene and how it ties into Taissa’s identity and transformation; it’s in her highlights now (the one called YJ stories) if anyone else is a nerd like me and loves BTS stories like that.

  18. the synopsis for ep 8 is

    “While in triage after a vicious attack, the Yellowjackets are left to suss out the best of their worst ideas; Shauna dabbles in some light cyber stalking.”

    so van doesn’t die on the spot but also we’re not even sure she’ll be able to survive the recovery. i don’t know exactly what supplies they have with them but they do have misty so i don’t know if they’ll turn back.

  19. First thought: I cannot believe Ben has made it this long! I thought for sure he was a goner by now, but it’s interesting to consider how young he is as well; he’s no more equipped than the girls and by this point is pretty much the most helpless of all of them, which is a nice role reversal from most horror.

    I love Van and Lottie so much, so I’m rooting for them to be Cannibal Queens together (what a sentence), though I have a sinking feeling that may in fact be Lottie in the first episode. How would she end up with that necklace, though? It may be a ceremonial object (like someone here theorized a few weeks ago) but she certainly doesn’t seem close to Shauna or Jackie as of right now.

    Finally, shoutout to second AD Blair Dykes for their incredible name.

  20. Jeff is definitely a Wife Guy; my theory is that he is setting up an anniversary surprise for Shauna. At the brunch with Jackie’s parents, they mentioned that Jeff and Shauna have a big anniversary coming up; given how little Jackie’s mom wanted to talk about Shauna, it seemed like that wasn’t just a throwaway detail.

    Shauna likely missed her prom, so perhaps Jeff is working late nights transforming the furniture store warehouse into a replica of their high school prom, and the blonde woman at the hotel was a party planner? Or he was booking a fancy hotel suite for the anniversary.

    A replica prom for a traumatized Shauna is exactly the out of touch Wife Guy move that Jeff would do, especially since it seems like the majority of their passion happened when they were teens, and he might think this is a way to recapture that.

  21. Loving these recaps and commentary! This show has kept me company while quarantining with COVID over the holidays so I’m excited to see other folks talking about it ☺️

    A small detail that I noticed: when Misty is in the basement watching While You Were Sleeping, there is a copy of the movie Misery on the TV. Earlier on, I thought that Misty has the vibes of Kathy Bates in Misery towards Ben (being so obsessively in love with someone that you are caring for that you are willing to hurt them). Not sure if it is foreshadowing or just a small wink to viewers.

    • Oh, nice catch! With the axe… and although it really was helping the coach at the time… just being fixated on him after, and actually poisoning him to recreate the sickness, I guess so she could nurse him back to health… and her becoming a nurse later. I bet it gets further developed. This show really is amazing for how each character kind of keeps living out their mistakes and survival strategies.

  22. I’m sure someone has mentioned this before but I can’t stop thinking about how in one of the earlier episodes Van was stuck in the plane and we assumed she was about to be consumed in the oncoming fire (when Jackie pulled Shauna away) but she escaped, and then later she was in front of the plane propellers and again, it was implied she would be killed in a pretty gruesome way, but she survived. Is there something about Van that she will keep tilting on the edge of death, but survive?

  23. My take-away from Van’s apparent death:

    There were no wolves.

    They disappear as soon as Taissa’s violent swinging ends, and we see Van’s face gashed open. I’m thinking whatever the ‘influence’ in the woods is, it’s going to lead the girls to harm each other and not (be able to?) make overt attacks of its own. They all ‘experienced’ the wolves, but the only physical damage looked much more like a blade wound than teeth and claws.

      • It’d certainly add a whole lot of weight to the “I’m afraid I’m going to hurt you” we saw in the episode 8 preview! I can’t wait to see the other girls’ perspective on the wolf attack. Was it a group delusion? How did Taissa end up in a tree with the deer charm??

        I’m eager for more pieces of the puzzle, but I also really hope they string this ambiguity along as far as they can. They’re really bringing us into the uncertain headspace the girls would have, and not just throwing in twists for the plot’s sake, it’s so compelling!

  24. Finally caught up and chiming in to say I also think the blackmailer is Callie (potentially +bf) – instead of just snatching the easily-grabbed money out of the bag they kept it and threw all the stuff out of it (and I went back – the bag doesn’t appear to be left behind with the rest of the stuff).

    I also agree that I think Van lives, but I do think the wolves were real – the number of swings Taissa did seems like it’d damage a person a lot more than that (and I hope she makes it! I love Van!). If the wolves were real I suppose they finally have meat now – and could this be something that inspires the rituals in part? Switching the prey/predator dynamic back?

  25. I used to be a bank teller, and I always complain that shows and movies use way too much paper money for the amounts they are talking about. The “That’s $50,000?” moment in this episode was a balm to my long-wounded soul

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