“Yellowjackets” Episode 108 Recap: Emotional Time Travel

Hello and welcome to the Yellowjackets 108 recap! Buckle in! “Flight of the Bumblebee” — directed by Ariel Kleiman and written by Cameron Brent Johnson and Liz Phang — is a whirlwind of en episode. There are just two! more! left! Watch the ep if you haven’t already; catch up on past recaps; and get into the comments section with your wildest theories. Let’s dig in!

In the woods, people find their purpose. Back in the pilot, Nat tells her rehab group this is why it was hard to come out on the other side. After being rescued, she no longer had a purpose. In the woods, she had a clear role. The hunter. She provided food for the group. She fulfilled her purpose. Shauna has a purpose, too. She slits throats. She makes her hands useful. In the present, as a mother and wife, she does domestic work like cooking, cleaning, ironing. She makes her hands useful, but her family would never see it that way.

In “Flight of the Bumblebee,” Laura Lee announces she has a purpose. For her, that purpose has a divine urgency to it. Her faith drives her. She asks God for a sign, and when a bird lands near her and then flies away, she interprets it as a sign she’s meant to fly. She has been studying the plane manual. Her grandfather flew planes. The gas tank is full. It almost seems too good to be true. A miracle, really. And she’s not afraid of death, because she has escaped it before. The episode begins with a flashback to her time at Camp Mary Magdalene, when she dove into the shallow end (why girl!), bumped her head, and was resuscitated by a muscly teen boy whose cross necklace swings above her in the sun. Laura Lee has been saved, and she thinks it’s her turn to save.

Everyone has a purpose. Or at least feels like they have to have one. A purpose suggests control. If everyone has a role to play, then maybe they can get through it. But any semblance of control in the woods is a trick. They can organize and delegate all they want, but there’s only so much they can truly control. Really, none of these characters should have a purpose in the woods, because none of them are here on purpose. They’re just fucking kids. They shouldn’t be here; they shouldn’t have to go through any of this. The episode opens with Taissa, Akilah, Misty, and Mari lighting a funeral pyre on which to burn Van’s body. But none of them adequately checked to make sure she was actually, you know, dead. She gasps awake, and Taissa rolls her out of the fire. They almost burned her alive. Because while these characters do have survival skills, they’re no experts in any of this shit. Because they’re kids!!!!!

And what about the characters with no purpose at all? Like Jackie. Before the woods, she was the team captain. She was used to calling shots, breaking up fights, getting the girls to listen to her. Here, she’s worthless. And yet. She’s seeming more and more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Perhaps this is rooted in my own personal fear of mean teen girls, but I think Jackie could be dangerous. Last episode, we saw her reading Shauna’s diary and learning the truth about Shauna/Jeff. This week, I expected another confrontation like the one last week where she told Shauna to spill whatever she was hiding. Instead, Jackie surprised — and unnerved me! — by saying nothing at all. In fact, she’s laying her Shauna love on thick, playing some sort of long game like a cat with a mouse. I’ve used multiple animal metaphors here, because there is indeed something animalistic and feral happening here. Jackie’s chilly attitude is way more threatening than if she were to confront Shauna head-on.

But its not just her playing it cool with Shauna that unsettles. Jackie’s commitment to slut-shaming and deriding Nat would be fucked-up even in the normal context of high school. In the woods, it’s just downright evil. Nat and Travis have lingering connection problems after their failed attempt at sex, and Jackie widens the wedge between them when she tells Travis about Nat and Bobby Farleigh, the older guy Nat had hooked up with. Jackie calls Nat’s standards trash and scoffs at the fact that Nat missed practice to hook up with Bobby in his truck, not at all considering Nat’s feelings in all of this. When Nat told Travis about the two guys she hooked up with, she mentioned there being a bad experience with an older guy at a show, and she probably meant this situation with Bobby. But no one cares about Nat here! Jackie just wants to be mean for no fucking reason, and Travis reacts like a jealous and immature teen boy (all because Bobby was who gave him his unwanted Flex nickname in middle school).

Again, it’s fascinating to watch how high school drama needles its way into the woods. Because again, they’re just fucking kids. The woods have forced them to do things they never imagined, but the woods can’t turn them into adults. They’re still going to have all the same hormones, emotions, and feelings. Jackie’s commitment to being a mean high school girl makes her one of the woods’ many terrors. We don’t know what these characters are capable of in terms of their strength, resilience, and ability to navigate an impossible situation. We also don’t know what they’re capable of in terms of violence and harm. Or, well, we have a small glimpse into what some of them might be capable of. Images from the pilot consistently linger in the background of the narrative. The high school-level stakes drama and the wilderness survival conflicts are not separate threads; they’re all tangled up in each other. These are young people who haven’t even really figured out who they are yet. And now they’re supposed to work together to survive? It’s bedlam!

Even Ben is probably only in his mid-twenties. An adult, sure. But not someone who has lived much more life than the teens. He has never even come out. And in fact, when Nat says she knows he’s gay, he puts up walls immediately. The two share a nice friendship moment by the water. For all the shit the other girls give Nat about being a mess, she really is the most grown up of them, forced to be mature and independent because the adults in her life have failed her. It makes sense that she and Ben might bond. It makes sense that Nat perceives his queerness before anyone else. She’s good at reading people and attuned to outsiderness. She asks Ben for advice about Travis, and she asks him about his own personal life. Apparently, Ben had a boyfriend named Paul who’s a writer in the city. Cute!!!!! But Ben immediately asks Nat to keep quiet. “If any of this gets out…” he starts, and she promises him her silence. It’s indeed a reminder that Ben’s young himself. Here they are stranded in the Canadian wilderness, and somehow staying in the closet is still one of his biggest concerns.

The emotions of “Flight of the Bumblebee” are all over the place — in the best way. It gives stakes to all the chaotic action of the episode. Nat and Ben’s interaction is sweet and earnest. But it’s followed by Travis confronting Nat about Bobby, Travis’ emotions blown way out of proportion. He has an anger problem. And Nat puts up her walls the same way we’ve seen her do as an adult. She makes fun of Travis, hurting him so he can’t hurt her. The whiplash between tender earnestness and brutal discomfort in this episode makes for quite the ride.

I do have a small bone to pick about the glitter-in-the-closet reveal. When Shauna finds the glitter, we’re shown two flashbacks to scenes from the previous episode: one of Taissa saying they should look for an asshole covered in glitter and one of Shauna stuffing Adam in the closet. It’s not the biggest deal, but that’s just more narrative handholding than this show usually does? Yellowjackets is usually so intentional about the way it uses flashbacks as a device that I was just taken out of the moment a bit here. I think it’s the first time a flashback has merely regurgitated rather than adding new information or deeper context to something.

Okay, that complaint aside, this glitter reveal is obviously intended to make us think Adam is behind the blackmailing. In fact, throughout the episode, we learn Adam has been lying. Callie finds his ID in the house, calling her mother out for it but also revealing that he has no social media or internet presence at all. So IN A WAY, I was correct many recaps ago when I posited Adam doesn’t exist. He at least doesn’t exist in the sense that he doesn’t have a digital footprint, but you know, after seeing the weird warehouse-turned-apartment he lives in (were those LOCKERS?), I can kind of see him being the kind of guy who doesn’t believe in social media or whatever. And when Shauna does some lite citizen detective work and learns he didn’t go to Pratt, he folds pretty easily when she throws that information at him. He says he only told her he went to Pratt to impress her. And he answers all the biographical questions she asks. Is it really Adam who is doing the blackmailing? Is he not the blackmailer but still hiding something? Is he JUST A DUDE who is simply into Shauna but she doesn’t trust him because none of these survivors have basic coping skills or the ability to trust anyone after the woods????? I lean toward the latter! Adam could really just be a dude. I don’t entirely know how to interpret his suggestion that they get away for the weekend at a cabin in the Poconos. Like so many things on Yellowjackets, it could go a bunch of different ways: He could be intentionally trying to evoke memories of her past because he has nefarious ulterior motives. Or he could have no idea that a cabin in the woods would be triggering for in the first place because, again, he’s just a dude! With no ulterior motives to speak of!

Someone shed glitter in Shauna’s closet. And someone read her diaries. It could have been Adam or it could have been someone in her family. Jeff does buy her a very nice dress for the upcoming high school reunion (which we’ll get to see unfold in the finale), and I doubt he’s making designer dress money at the furniture store. But I also am still clinging to my theory that Callie and her boyfriend could be behind the blackmailing. Callie is seemingly always “at her friend Ilana’s.” This is also the second time Callie has stressed how easy it is for people to find out who the Yellowjackets survivors are. She says something about people being able to Google Shauna in the Halloween episode, and now she says Adam could just be trying to sleep with her in order to sell a story. Could Callie’s concerns actually be a subtle reveal that she has been doing some Googling of her own and found Misty/Taissa/Nat? Jackie reading Shauna’s diaries; Callie reading Shauna’s diaries. There’s a messed-up parallel feeling to it, no?

Speaking of parallels, Taissa/Shauna as adults mirror Taissa/Shauna as teens in illuminating, devastating ways. When the group finds Taissa and Van in the woods, they get Van back and perform surgery on her face. Lit by the fireplace, Akilah putting her Girl Scouts skills to use with a needle and thread, they sew up Van’s wounds while she squirms and screams in pain. Nat has to hold her down. It’s brutal and absurd, another reiteration that their circumstances are completely bonkers and uncontrollable. These are their realities now. Stitching up their friend’s face after a vicious wolf attack. It almost doesn’t feel real, and that’s a recurring feeling on the show. Is something supernatural actually occurring or are their circumstances just so traumatic and intense that it feels otherworldly? I love when Yellowjackets dances in that ambiguity.

Taissa opens up to just one person about her sleepwalking: her atticmate Shauna. These two have a special bond. In the pilot, it didn’t seem like they were particularly close, but in the woods, they’ve become attached. Taissa was the first to know about Shauna’s pregnancy. And now Shauna knows about Taissa’s sleepwalking, a strange and mysterious secret not even Taissa knows how to explain. In a way, both of their bodies are doing things outside of their control. They also both carry immense guilt for hurting people they love. Shauna’s still lying to Jackie, who’s stoking her guilt by pretending not to know anything but also saying needling things like “it’s really not the time to be keeping a secret.” Taissa blames herself for Van’s fate.

An interlude: I keep seeing the theory floated that wolves did not attack Van but that rather this was an extension of Taissa’s sleepwalking and that Taissa was actually attacking Van. Folks have pointed out that the wolves indeed disappear entirely after Taissa hacks something up with her axe. We never see a wolf’s body, and we also don’t know how the other wolves were warded off when the group’s torch method did not seem to be working. It’s an interesting theory, but I don’t think I buy into it! I think Van would have more than just her face injury if Taissa had been striking with an axe. Also, wouldn’t the other girls say something if they’d seen Taissa hacking up Van in a fugue state? Or, if the others were just part of Taissa’s hallucinations, wouldn’t they at least have questions about the attack when the real versions of them awoke? While I do think there was something surreal about that wolf attack, I don’t think it’s as simple as a Taissa hallucination.

That said, we do see Taissa repeating patterns. She thinks she’s a threat to Simone and Sammy the same way she thinks she’s a threat to Van. But what came first? Is Taissa really the threat against the people she loves or is that just a narrative she has told herself and absorbed? At what point does calling herself dangerous — the way she does with Simone in the present while asking her to go stay with her mother — merely sweep the issue under the rug instead of addressing the underlying causes of her sleepwalking? Simone wants to help her, but Taissa thinks she can’t be helped.

In the present, Taissa and Shauna reach back to their old connection. Taissa shows up at Shauna’s house, and they pretend they haven’t seen each other recently. They go on a walk, and Taissa says she has been sleepwalking again. Shauna is perhaps the only person who could understand. Shauna suggests Taissa spend the night, and the two have a sleepover that’s simultaneously cute and sad. It’s cute to see them gossiping like young girls. They’re giggly about Shauna’s affair with Adam. But there’s sadness here, too. Watching them revert to these teen girl roles is further evidence of their arrested development, of the time they lost. Taissa loves that Shauna feels “it” with Adam and offers up that Simone doesn’t make her feel “it” anymore, explaining that what they have is stable and safe. A lot of how these characters view and behave in relationships is influenced by their time in the woods. Stable and safe feels good to Taissa. But this whole notion of feeling “it,” I don’t know…it feels like a teenage romanticization of romance.

Shauna asks if Taissa ever thinks about what their lives would have been like if the woods had never happened and then basically writes a fanfiction about her own imagined life at Brown, writing short stories to woo rivals, meeting a mime while studying abroad in France. When it’s Taissa’s turn to share her fantasy, she just says details about the actual life she has lived. “You did do all those things,” Shauna says, confused. “Yeah, but if I’m being honest, not a single one of those things felt real,” Taissa says.

What is real and what isn’t in Taissa’s life has been an ongoing question. She hallucinates wolves. She hallucinates an eyeless man. But here, that uncertainty is given real-world stakes and context. Taissa sleepwalks, but she also feels like she has been sleepwalking through life. “I don’t know what’s happening to me,” she says as a teen to Shauna in the attic. As an adult, she explains her sleepwalking as a symptom of trauma to Simone, saying that she thinks the stress of the campaign has brought it back. But I think she’s still that teen confused and afraid of what’s going on inside her, unsure what is and isn’t real.

“Flight of the Bumblebees” really is a perfect blend of the show at its most feral and most intimate. The characters share pain and trauma, but they also care deeply about each other. Shauna takes care of Taissa in a way that transcends fixed relationship dynamics. It doesn’t feel like friendship, motherhood, or romance but rather some amalgamation of all of the above. In the past and present, Shauna protects Taissa from the thing she fears the most (herself).

They don’t always care for each other in the…right ways though. Misty and Jessica Roberts are interrupted by the owl spy cam live feed when Nat’s drug dealer shows up at her motel room. Misty rushes to Nat’s and busts in just in time, inhaling over $300 of coke so Nat won’t do it herself (“A. I will Venmo you” — give Christina Ricci an award for this line reading alone!). If you haven’t already, I highly recommend rewatching the long, action-packed shot that starts with Nat about to do the drugs and ends with Misty and her flailing at each other. Ricci and Juliette Lewis are dream scene partners. The thing is: Misty really believes what she’s doing is right. When she says she has been watching Nat to protect her, I believe that’s what she really thinks she’s doing! She says she was willing to die for Nat to keep her from relapsing. This is Misty’s definition of love and care. It’s always life-or-death. It’s always a manipulation. We keep seeing the adult Yellowjackets repeat their pasts. The way Misty smothers and obsesses over Ben is the way she smothers and obsesses over Nat. She risked her life on the expedition because she thought it would endear Ben to her. She likes to feel important and needed.

As an adult, Misty is…not entirely wrong when she says she’s the only friend Nat has, even if her approach to friendship is overbearing and toxic. It’s one of those instances where Yellowjackets avoids black-and-white relationship dynamics in favor of something more complicated. Just like there’s love between adult Taissa and Shauna, I think Misty really does love Nat. She just has a fucked-up way of showing it.

Yellowjackets does like to toy with expectations. When Misty comes home to her basement prisoner, Jessica Roberts has Caligula in a chokehold. JR threatens the bird, and at first, Misty plays it cool. But then Misty hurls objects at JR’s head until she lets go of the bird and apologizes to her baby boy. As she descends the staircase, the music swells. It seems almost certain that Misty is going to kill or at least seriously hurt Jessica Roberts in retaliation. Instead…she cries and says she has just had “one of those days” and makes them something to eat. In some ways, it’s more disturbing than if she had just lashed out. Misty and Jessica Roberts have a strange, sometimes comical dynamic. Misty is always forcing people to be close to her — even the people she kidnaps and ties to a bed! If anything, Jessica Roberts threatening Caligula almost brings them closer. Because Misty’s used to other girls being mean to her. She’s used to rejection.

And speaking of fucked-up love, the juxtaposition of Nat dealing with an angry Travis in the past and adult Nat still struggling with Travis’ death is really quite devastating. As teens, Nat and Travis are hot and cold with each other. They’re not good for each other. But again, it’s complicated. Nat is having a full-on breakdown in the present, relapsing and feeling out of control and alone. After Misty reveals to her that Travis’ bank account was closed after he died, she tries to get more info from the bank but can’t because she isn’t family. Nat instead tracks down her former sponsor Suze, who she apparently has a tumultuous past with (“I promise I won’t assault you again,” Nat says, and later, Suze declares: “I wish I’d never fucking met you”). Suze works at a bank, and Nat blackmails her into helping her get more info about Travis’ account. Nat reveals that she and Travis made promises to one another to never take their own lives. Nat and Travis weren’t good for each other. Nat and Travis cared deeply about one another. Both can be true, of course. And Yellowjackets loves to live in those contradictions and ambivalences.

So Laura Lee takes flight. She says it’s her purpose. And, for a moment, she’s airborne. For a moment, there’s hope. But then her teddy catches fire and the plane goes boom, fulfilling another one of Lottie’s prophecy-visions (she saw Laura Lee ablaze during her baptism). Hope literally explodes here. It’s the first death since the initial crash. Every escape plan keeps failing. Laura Lee’s faith in her mission, in her purpose — just like Taissa’s conviction in her expedition — is an empty promise. They might feel like they have a purpose, like they have agency. But the woods are in control.

I love that Laura Lee mentions Back To The Future, because there is a time travel aspect to this show but like…emotional time travel. Isn’t that exactly what adult Shauna and Taissa are doing in that bed together? Not only repeating the past but also reimagining their own pasts? Isn’t that what adult Nat is doing every time she thinks about Travis? Emotional time travel. It’s more than just remembering. It’s reliving and repeating. The Yellowjackets perpetually living out the same patterns. Trapped in the past just like they were trapped in the woods. Struggling to find their purpose.

Last Buzz

  • Someone mentioned in the comments last week that they were pretty sure Laura Lee’s bear is seen in Jackie’s room in the pilot. I went back and took screenshots, and it turns out that while both bears are missing an eye, they are not actually the same. I think this is just another iteration of the missing eye(s) motif we’ve seen on the show.
    A photo of a teddy bear missing an eye on a shelf with soccer medals from the "Yellowjackets" pilot

    Jackie’s room in the pilot

    Hands holding a teddy bear missing an eye from the "Yellowjackets" episode "F Sharp"

    Laura Lee’s bear right before Coach Martinez’s blood drips on it in “F Sharp”

  • Ben immediately jumped up in my rankings of favorite characters the second I found out he’s gay.
  • Make Christina Ricci’s Emmy reel just an endless loop of her saying “Caligula, you’re being rude.”
  • JK, make Christina Ricci’s Emmy reel just an endless loop of her saying “A. I will Venmo you.”
  • Jackie pressuring Shauna to tell the entire group she’s pregnant just really freaks me out!!!! Jackie is so manipulative! She scares me!!!!!
  • What does this mean, Melanie Lynskey!!!!
  • I love the detail of Suze stealing cookies from the meeting. This show is good at bursts of character development in little weird everyday behaviors.
  • On that note, Shauna continues to be bad at the small lies. Listening to her on the phone with Pratt is hilarious. But meanwhile, as a teen she’s still big-time lying to Jackie and also hiding an affair in the present. She can lie about the big stuff but not the small, and I think that tells us a lot about her.
  • And now, of course, the official playlist (which blessedly includes all the showtunes).

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. 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 810 articles for us.


  1. The Ben scene where he is truly concerned with others finding out about his being gay illustrates how the laws protecting LGBT rights and social norms have changed in the last 25 years. In 1996, he could have lost his teaching job and his profession in my states and of course gay marriage was not legal. When Obama ran in 2008, he did not support gay marriage initially.

    Did anyone see the wheel chair at Misty’s table in the basement? Is it possible that she kept Coach Ben there for a while?

    And Adam and Shauna had sex before he went to the closet. Wouldn’t the glitter be in other places first? It could be from Jeff. But who had the safe’s combination?

    There could be a different trope with Adam — the friend of Havi who listened to his stories and wanted to meet Shauna after hearing about her kindness to Havi.

    • I assumed the wheelchair was so that she could potentially have Jessica (or whomever) with legs and arms handcuffed to the chair but still seated at the table.

      I also think Ben is not long in this show. As Kayla points out in the last recap – and which was reenforced for me in the scene in this episode when Laura Lee announces her plan – he represents the last semblance of adult control/authority. He has to go for them to go all in.

    • I agree about Adam leaving glitter all over, that would be too obvious. The safe, unless it’s a fancy one you can buy a strong magnet online that’ll pull the lock open, so definitely within Callie’s net-savvy capability…

    • The late 90s early 2000s homophobia is exactly what I thought of when Ben asked Nat not to share. I lived through all of that closeted in high school and it wasn’t tons of fun. Funnily enough, it was people like Laura Lee who were the primary drivers of said homophobia.

  2. Kayla I love your use of the term “Emotional time travel”.
    My favorite part of the Misty/Nat squabble was when Misty clamps her hand over Nat’s mouth and says “Don’t breathe it in!” It’s so funny in the moment, but after reading your recap I’m also realizing that she is literally smothering Nat in her attempt to protect her.

  3. ok a few weeks ago my girlfriend and I watched this terrible 80s movie Color of Night, where Bruce Willis’ character’s love interest meets him by a planned car accident, and is also posing as her deceased brother?? So she’s been on the “Adam is Javi” (or something similar) train, because of the way Adam and Shauna met.

    So after the last ep we went back and watched eps 1-3 to see if we could catch anything, AND JACKIE MENTIONS THIS MOVIE IN EP 2! Around the campfire she confesses “I go downstairs when everyone is asleep to watch Color of Night and pause it on Bruce Willis’s wang!”

    I don’t know if I believe the Adam is Javi theory, especially after Melanie’s tweet, but maybe something along these lines. The way all of the little easter eggs have planned out, it doesn’t feel coincidental.

    Also, yes, the way that the writers have managed to make all of the characters so lived in, it’s so impressive. I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!

    • oh whoa this does seem like solid evidence for the Adam Is Javi theory. or at least that Adam is not being truthful about his identity. but idk his lies so far don’t really seem connected to the yellowjackets? like she catches him in that pratt lie but i do kinda believe he was just lying to impress. AM I NAIVE

      • yeah i’m not sold on adam is javi but *something* feels off about him. But I don’t want there to be! Maybe he is a red herring. But the mention of Color of Night does feel like there will be _some_ instance of hidden/mistaken identity. (You gotta watch that movie, its WILD.)

      • I’m pretty skeptical of the Adam is Javi theory, but rewatching episode 3 when they’re drinking at the hotel, he asks her “Why are you here, Shauna?” “Um, I’m confirming a suspicion.” “And once you do, will it make you happier?” “No.” Then he looks at her and says “You’re beautiful when you’re honest.”, which feels like a WEIRD thing to say to someone you’ve just met? Like that’s such a specific compliment and it makes me feel like she’s met him before, even if he’s someone completely different.

  4. Wow another brilliant recap, Kayla – thank you!! That opening scene with the fire was SO STRESSFUL. But then Van’s first comment, “R-really? Fire?” immediately broke then tension and made me temporarily forget she almost got burned alive. Brilliant line and brilliantly delivered by Liv Hewson.

    I found myself saying “Aw cute” and then immediately followed by “oh no!!” a lot this episode! I loved all of Christina Ricci’s scenes – from comedic moments with Nat to the downright heart wrenching with Caligula and JR. I also love Ben now, knowing that he’s a closeted gay and that he was able to bond with Nat. So cute and I wanted to give him a giant hug. If he gets killed off, I will be devastated and disappointed to have a queer character die – the traumatic injuries are hard enough! Also how cute is it that Laura Lee’s bear is named Leonard and yet what a sad sad sad way to die!!

    Melanie Lynskey’s tweet has me SPINNING. If he’s not Javi…do they have another sibling? I’d have to go back and rewatch the first episode but was there another kid? Or is it possible that Travis and Jackie had a kid because I got a weird feeling when Jackie was looking at him while he was checking the fishing nets and when he fought with Nat. Maybe Adam is their kid?

    • the “aw cute ——-> oh NO” pipeline is this show in a nutshell.

      i feel like melanie’s tweet COULD be a red herring/her messing with us?? she doesn’t say existing theories are WRONG per se?? but also i’ve never fully bought into the adam as javi theory!

    • If Adam was telling the truth about graduating in 2004 (seems plausible because that would make him the actor’s actual age,
      35 – well apparently 36 as of yesterday), then he’s only 8 years younger than Shauna and Jackie. So he would have been 10 in 1996, which I think also makes him too young to be Javi. Unless, of course, he was lying.

    • I don’t remember seeing a third kid, but I am pretty sure Travis implied Coach Martinez had been having an affair. Don’t know if the timeline works, but maybe Adam is Travis and Javi’s half-brother?

  5. Callie finds Adam’s ID…so if he’s faking his name he’s running a sophisticated operation, at least. I don’t think he’s “just a dude” because he seems so sure of some specific personality she’s hiding, that he wants to bring out. Those scenes in particular make me find it hard to believe he’s not intimately related to the crash, because it’s the closest to uncontrolled we’ve seen him. If all of their meetings (and the cabin in the woods) are pure coincidence it starts to feel more plot-contrived than this show has so far.

  6. So, ALL MY THEORIES HAVE BEEN WRONG. Lottie is definitely not the girl from the pilot. Misty isn’t behind all the blackmail thing. They go to hunt each other because they are starving not because they are bored. Still, no one likes Jackie, is she the first to go?

    Yesterday I woke up at 3 am, couldn’t sleep, saw 3 eps in a row, and suddenly I thought: is Adam Shauna’s baby from the woods? iugh. I really hope he is Javi.

    In a vulture interview, Juliette Lewis got really angry talking about how her character “devolve” like she was in a worst shape than her teen counterpart but I really don’t see it that way. Shauna is really fucked up. Her adult self have not guilt, don’t show remorse and she is capable of be as manipulative as teen Jackie. Question: her diaries were stolen? And Taissa, well, Taissa.
    They all “devolve”. If anything, Nat is the only one dealing with the consequences of their actions, in the worst way. So, Juliette if you read this don’t be angry. Your character is the best.

    From the next week preview they all seem intoxicated and hallucinating, I wonder what the hell they took and if it had to do with the cannibalism.

    Thanks Kayla, this recaps are the best.

    • I too thought that maybe Adam is Shauna’s first baby, but the actor doesn’t look like what I think would be Shauna and Jeff’s kid. So I really hope the last few episodes don’t go off the deep end and that ends up being true because yiiiikes.

  7. I don’t think Adam is “just some dude” – the only affair feels too contrived and bizarre, particularly in light of everything else going on – but I’m also not convinced that he’s the one behind the blackmail. Particularly after the show offered up those two flashbacks from last episode on a platter, which as you note Kayla is so out of character for how tightly executed the narrative here usually is. I suspect it’s a red herring.

    But I also don’t have a good alternate theory. In the post-Halloween party confrontation scene, Callie seems genuinely empathic. I’m skeptical it’s her. I think her comments about Googling etc. are meant to signal the ways in which she’s more attuned to the contemporary moment, and Shauna is a little out of touch and/or living in the past in a way.

    I also 100% think something is going on with Jeff, but I can’t figure out what. I agree it doesn’t seem like an affair, but I’m also not convinced about the blackmail – although it would make sense if the glitter somehow came from him, given the shared closet?

    I love how smart the writing and pacing of this show is, the way that so deftly Jackie is reveals as being far more menacing than we may previously have thought. Sort of in the same way Misty at first seems the ‘obvious’ villain, but Shauna’s capacities are revealed slowly, as are some of the sad, out-of-touch, or desperate desires that drive Misty’s bananas actions. (Kayla I 100% agree on the dynamic between Misty and Nat.)

    I had a similar thought re: the wolves and whether Taissa was the one attacking Van, but I agree there’s no way that practically adds up. But I do wonder about a supernatural element. How else would the Bear just catch fire, basically spontaneously combusting? I knew there was no way the airplane escape would be successful, but that caught me off guard and if anything seemed to be among the most overt evidence in favor of supernatural force (which would also account for the plane tank being full.)

    These recaps are phenomenal, Kayla. I look forward to them so much – actually as much as I look forward to the show itself!

    I realized after seeing the teaser for next week (I know wonder if Jackie is going to be the force instigating the cannibalism?! That necklace in the pilot was a tool of distraction all along?) that as much as I eagerly await each new episode, the suspense and ambiguity is the most satisfying part of the viewing experience. (I am so glad this is not a series that drops all at once! Can you imagine binging this?)

    As smart as the writers are, I feel like the reveal of all these interlocking mysteries can’t possibly be as satisfying as the build-up.

    • I don’t think Callie would be the blackmailer before the “mutually assured destruction” chat, but that could definitely put the idea in her head (secrets, manipulation and the state of her college fund…). When did it first begin again??

    • I also wondered if maybe the out-of-character (for the show) flashbacks were red herrings, showing us what Shauna is remembering amd the pieces she is putting together but not what is actually true. Because yeah, they did seem way too obvious and heavy-handed.

      Re: Shauna living in the past – I think this every time I see her ’90s-style kitchen! It’s probably also intended to indicate that they don’t have a lot of money and it’s another way her life hasn’t turned out like she expected (to paraphrase Jessica Roberts), but I like that it’s also frozen in time. This is a contrast to Taissa’s kitchen/home, which are EXTREMELY modern/contemporary in a status-symbol way, because she is professionally successful and did everything she planned to in life.

      Also!! Re: the poor teddy bear, my girlfriend thought the spontaneous combustion indicated something supernatural was happening but I think the fire could have started under/inside the plane and spread up through the seat. When they took off I said “wouldn’t the inside of the plane be clogged with plants too?” (meaning the engine and mechanical parts). That said, I don’t know how planes work and maybe they did clear out the moving parts, but I’m thinking maybe plant growth inside the plane caught fire and spread up through the seat??

      And SUPER agree about being glad this show airs weekly! The discussion and recaps are the best part!!

      • I think you’re right! There was a different visual tone, for one. It’s her recollection…and maybe it seems heavy-handed but really it’s hiding in plain sight, with the real safe-cracker (Taissa) lampshading her own incrimination??

    • I definitely agree with your comment about Callie — their conversation right after Shauna caught her at the Halloween party honestly felt very sweet? It made me feel like Callie does genuinely care for her mother, and that their antagonistic relationship is really more about typical friction between moms and their teen daughters.

  8. It’s true that Jackie is super dangerous, and just realising her power. The way she followed Travis to witness it was a sign of more to come, and going back to her seance idea — I don’t think she’ll ever be a ‘believer’, but will definitely use the fears of others, tell them what they want to hear so she has power over them and they see her fearlessness as strength as opposed to unbelief.

    Taissa is obviously a skeptic, Shauna is going to be skeptical of Jackie, Nat’s not going to put up with any bullshit…Lottie is surely going to go deep after losing her anchor of faith while having the reality of her visions reinforced, while the girls who saw Van get attacked are surely susceptible, and Jackie is sure to play on that. Misty doesn’t seem to have the capacity to envision a higher power than herself so I suspect she might go along with the superstition at first to stay “in”, but won’t really buy into it. And I think Jackie could instigate whatever weird fertility magic sacrifice madness is happening, as the end result of an attempt to turn the girls against Shauna when she’s skeptical.

    But who dopes them?? I went back to the scene where Misty almost eats something poisonous and aside from Akilah there’s no sign anyone has the slightest clue about either useful or poisonous plants.

      • I was thinking about that — I reckon she went back and found the same thing she’d been told not to eat. Dosing everyone so they trip, though, that would involve either sophistication or a *lot* of luck in not killing them/just making everyone feel like crap (which could also kill them, in the state they’re in).

        Could Nat recognize mushrooms?? I believe fall is a good time to find them…I don’t think she’d dose everyone, but she could definitely let it slip that they exist.

  9. – OK, so who else thinks that sleep-walking adult Tai might have nibbled a bit on Biscuit? I don’t think he’s alive anymore and I think Tai also already assumes as much.
    – While I’m so glad that Tai said something about that sleepwalking to Simone, I’m sad that the conclusion of that talk was that Simone and Sammy should move out for a bit.
    – Shauna and Tai so fucking sweet and precious.
    – Jackie being so passive-aggressive really grinds my gears. GIRL IF YOU GOT SOME ISSUES, USE YOUR MOUTH – we ain’t mind-readers.
    – But also, when they were talking about needing medical care and mentioning Val and Shauna, it was funny that Coach and his (missing) leg were ignored?
    – Points to everyone who had Coach Ben being gay on their Bingo cards. I assumed as much after the condom talk with Travis but then I thought I might be projecting…But oh well, I am nicely surprised!
    – I might like Callie. She raises so many valid points about Adam. Also, if he told the truth about Class of ‘04, graduated 17 years ago, he would be about 35? But tbh I just hope we get to the bottom of this Adam backstory SOON. He’s irritating me.
    – My money’s still on Jeff being the blackmailer. The new dress he got for Shauna looked expensive and pinged all my alarms. He would also know the safe code.
    – The card deck without the queens. What a random thing to mention…?
    – Also that windshield on the plane? Was no-one gonna cleaning that? If the plane wouldn’t have ignited, then she would have crashed because she didn’t see shit.

    And last if not least, don’t make the same mistake as I did and watch the trailer for next week. They’ve about spoiled everything (except, maybe the backstory on f*cking Adam? so over him).

    • That damn windshield, I think I reacted more strongly to that than anything else XD

      I think if Jeff read Shauna’s diary he’d see too much trauma, and too much of *her*, the young her he remembers, to be able to blackmail her. He doesn’t come off as cold or manipulative, just emotionally unequipped. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s cheating on her, granted, but he definitely feels like shit about it if he is.

      I do like Callie, but she’s definitely still learning how to adult, and she’s learning from her secretive mother…

      • Think it could be the Antler Queen’s death. Didn’t Taissa mention something about Nat saving her and Shauna a few episodes back? She’s already killed quite a few deer, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the cannibals in the pilot didn’t use firearms.

      • ok “4 queens” maybe a nod to the 4 adult main characters? maybe they all end up being the “leader/antler queen” at some point? do 4 people go missing? do THOSE 4 go missing and get rescued? do all but those 4 get rescued at some point? i do find it hard to believe that if there are 2 groups of survivors they’ve never reconnected in the 25 years. at _some_ capacity.

  10. Ahh, too many thoughts!

    Misty *definitely* thinks she’s being a good friend. I think that came over most clearly (aside from her glorious introduction to the world of hard drugs) after Jessica pulls the Caligula gambit — Misty has an emotional reaction, but it doesn’t make her turn on Jessica. She still needs to be liked and understood. She will do whatever fucked up thing she thinks she has to in pursuit of that, and will not respect anyone’s agency, but not in a cold and calculating way. She is Committed To Friendship, like a real life Elmyra…..oh god, she is totally Elmyra, how terrifying. I wonder if we’ll see anything of *her* 90’s family dynamic down the line?

    Shauna is so adorably hilariously bad at lying, I think I’m in love. I wonder if the consequences of lying to Jackie have given her a complex? It seems like we’re going to see a sharper side of her as things progress, but I suspect it’s not a Jekyl turn like we’ve started seeing with some of the others. I think she’s going to be strong when she needs to instead of regressing, but never own that because of her guilt. I kinda want a secret survivor Jackie just so she can get some closure!

  11. Of course, Misty’s a bit late to stop Nat from relapsing. A poly-addicted mess who’s guzzling booze and acting out has already relapsed.

    Still mystified about just how that big house gets built and stocked in the middle of nowhere. How did Attic Man get all the hardware, window glass, etc. out there? Saw all the lumber? Plus building a landing strip before landing his plane?

      • If Nat is in NA, drinking is technically okay as long as she abstains from drugs. It’s pretty clear that she’s drinking very alcoholically, but that’s exactly the kind of loophole I think Nat would exploit in order to build a narrative about her life that she/others can accept.

        • Actually no. NA’s literature is adamant that ‘alcohol is a drug.’ There’s a long and tragic history of people getting off of ‘big league’ drugs and then crashing in flames on alcohol.

    • As someone who was born and grew up in the…literal part of the Canadian wilderness they are crashed in, there are MANY weirdo shacks of various construction in places you would never dream would have them. Generations of gold panners, miners, trappers, frontiers-people of all stripes have made their way to those woods and tried to live there. A friend of my dad’s once found a man cross-legged and frozen to death on a mountain path and it turned out he’d been there for 212 years. It is a super strange place, believe me.

    • As someone who was born and grew up in the literal place they are crashed in (ie: the Canadian rockies, as mentioned in ep 1), and who spent a childhood roaming the wilderness, there are MANY such houses in the woods. Generations of gold panners, miners, trappers, homesteaders, frontier-types of various stripes have built places like this across the West. I helped my dad build cabins not dissimilar to the one depicted throughout my childhood. I helped strapped glass window panes onto horses to pull them up mountainsides. Believe me: The type of person who wants to live in a place like that finds a way. It’s the most believable thing to me in this series.

        • Would that mean they were already off course before they crashed? I thought someone mentioned they were heading for Seattle but maybe I remembered that wrong and also I know absolutely nothing about flight routes so maybe that is the way!

          • In the pilot, there’s a moment where the pilot of the plane announces that they’re detouring north to avoid bad weather

  12. i have so many thoughts but first! this is 80% me loving jane widdop’s acting, but i feel like laura lee might not be dead! all the flashbacks to pre-crash are deeply layered and symbolic and foreshadow-y, and on the surface (water pun) jesus camp drowning is about her relationship to god. but! i also think there’s something to the symbolism of water as a means of temporary death. laura lee *could* have gotten the door open and bailed out into the enormous lake, and the plane was far enough off/shedding debris and smoke enough that the girls couldn’t see

    the lottie lee shippers officially converted me this episode, lottie running into the water and silently screaming just absolutely destroyed me

    re: leonard’s fiery death. gasoline doesn’t like. stay good for ten years or however long the plane was there. just bc the tank was full doesn’t mean it was useable! plus, small planes require as much maintenance and preflight checks as large ones- if they couldn’t wipe the grime off the windshield i feel fairly skeptical that laura lee checked fuel lines, brake lines, electrical systems, etc. one raccoon chomping on a wire could start a fire like that

    adam MARTIN feels like it can’t possibly be a coincidence. i think he’s a bit too young to be javi martinez, but maybe there was another brother, or coach had a lovechild (his wife was mad and he was having family problems…). that could make javi the butt doctor with the anus book which is high comedy

    christina ricci emmy when? misty felt every stage of grief at once when JR had caligula! also, i think JR felt genuinely remorseful seeing misty’s reaction? maybe part of the ‘rekha sharma has chemistry with everyone’

    jackie is going full regina george and it is going to get MESSY. someone pointed out that shauna’s journal likely had other secrets as well- it’s where she puts her private thoughts and impulsive feelings! who among us didn’t write ‘omg my best friend was being such a bitch today’ in the moment and feel bad about it later, but not erase it? jackie is going to take that personally

    immortal van! misty misread ‘bury your gays’ as ‘burn your gays’ and went from there. personally i would like van to live forever and keep surviving increasingly improbable situations

    i was genuinely not expecting adult tai to tell simone anything about her sleepwalking/fugue states! i think she wants to be as honest as she can with her wife, even as so much of her past is off-limits because of woods trauma, and it was nice to see her willing to be vulnerable with simone

    • Yes! If LL is just gone it feels like…a waste of the character, her plot, and the foreshadowing? Like, her dying makes sense for the rest of the girls having to react to that (especially Lottie), but not for her herself.

      Where are the Lottie Lee shippers? Aside from these recaps I found a FB discussion group but it feels uncomfortably heterosexual.

    • Yes, Caitlyn re: Laura Lee’s pre-crash flashback! I was thinking she should bail out as I think she would have a good chance of surviving…unless she hits a shallow patch in the water like she did in the pool hah! It seems like you could see her jumping out before the chaos with the explosion, but you have a good point that they might not have noticed with the debris etc. I do wonder though with Lottie’s vision of Laura Lee during her baptism, her face going all black what else that could mean other than death. But who knows with the twists and turns that this show has. I usually get annoyed with other shows that do this, but this show has kept me intrigued and happily going down the many rabbit hole-theories with all these characters. I could see a scenario happening (now that season 2 is confirmed) where people we assumed died (but no body) actually survived and come back.

  13. First, I thought Lottie was the the girl in the pit, then I thought she was the antler queen, I don’t know what I’ll think next episode. I fucking love this show.

    I still think she might be the antler queen but they’re just making it obvious and this show is rarely obvious

  14. I actually am not in the camp that Ben will die soon. They seem to be VERY careful when it comes to including actors in the opening title sequence–the only “teen”/flashback actors credited in the sequence are Jackie and the ones who we know for a fact survive (Misty, Nat, Shauna, Tai). Teen Travis isn’t even listed in the opening, and though I know the actor who plays Ben is more known than most the others, I doubt they’d put him in the opening sequence if he weren’t here to stay at least a little longer. Especially since they waited a couple episodes to even drop the intro, as if trying to keep the audience in suspense as to who may or may not be “important.”

    • I’m in the same camp, I don’t think he’s going to die soon and after this episode I’m starting to wonder if he’ll make it out after all.

      As the last adult I figured at first, he was going to have to go for them to dive into the Antler Queen cult but now I’m thinking Laura Lee might have planted the idea of ‘so what if you’re an adult, you literally can’t stop me’ into their heads.

      Also he’s probably mid to late twenties, and we know they’re there for almost two years, at least some of the girls are likely to be “adults” by the time they get out of the woods. So maybe that he’s the last adult isn’t as important as we’re thinking it is.

    • ALSO I’m not buying into the Adam is Javi and/or related to Travis theory because Travis died pretty recently? And I’m thinking if Adam is somehow related to Travis, then he’d have disappeared at or around the time of Travis’s death, either because he was mourning Travis or because he was murdering Travis. So I’m on team Adam is A Red Herring.

  15. Thanks for responding to my comment about the teddy bears!! You’re right, different bears but both missing an eye.

    I have a theory that the queens in the deck of cards were used in a ritual for a previous antler queen, from when the french canadian hunter guy lived there. I think the yellowjackets found the deck of cards in the cabin.

    If Adam was the blackmailer, I don’t think he took the journals. Because he would have already gotten the money at that point, he wouldn’t need the info in the journals to complete his goal.

    RE: the preview for next week- I think the ceremony starts as a little wedding for Tai and Van (cute!). I also absolutely think Van’s face covering is the beginning of the full-face coverings we see in the cannibal ritual during episode one. Also they are doing something sexual to Travis during the drug-induced mayhem and i’m intrigued but also I feel bad for travis. For some reason I’m more morally opposed to nonconsensual sexual contact than cannibalism… maybe because one feels more relatable than the other

  16. My wild Adam theory now is that he’s a part of a cult centred on the yellowjackets.

    I think we’ve all been mislead with the blackmailer/postcards plot and that Adam is actually a part of the who killed Travis plot and that the postcards are linked to who killed Travis and not the blackmailer.

    Why do I think the blackmailer plot is independent from the postcard plot? Because only Nat and Taissa get the blackmailer text while Nat, Taissa, and Misty all get the postcards. It seems kind of weird that the postcard culprit would send the postcards at all if they only planned to blackmail two of them. And the postcards are almost cheerful, wish you were here! while the text message is very upfront about being blackmail.

    We’ve been assuming that because the blackmailer knows about the symbol that they must have sent the postcards, but whoever killed Travis also knows about the symbol. So either one person is responsible for all of it or there are multiple conspiracies and multiple people involved in them.

    Right now the running candidates for the blackmailer are Jeff, Callie, or Adam. I really highly doubt that Jeff or Callie ritualistically killed Travis. So if Jeff and/or Callie aren’t Travis’s murderer but are the blackmailer that means there are at least two separate groups of people who know about the symbol and used it.

    So what if Adam is responsible for all three? Well the thing is, I think we can rule out Adam as the blackmailer because the glitter in the closet being from Adam doesn’t make sense. There’s no way he could lose his ID card in the living room but not leave glitter all over the place.

    However, Callie brought up a good point about Adam, he doesn’t exist on the internet, which is really suspicious these days. And after Shauna digs a bit (her lies are so bad and yet everyone keeps falling for them) she also finds that Adam doesn’t exist. You know who cuts off all ties from the outside world, love-bombs emotionally vulnerable people, and tries to get them to come away with them for isolated getaway weekends? Cult recruiters.

    We know that Travis was ritualistically killed in a manner that Nat and Misty recognized as being a part of whatever cannibalistic cult they invented in the woods. Maybe there’s a modern yellowjackets cult tracking down survivors and asking them to join, and if you’re a non-believer like Travis apparently was, you’re sacrificed.

    Maybe Shauna is getting the extra attention, not just a postcard, because the yellowjackets cult thinks she was the Antler Queen and Adam has been dispatched to recruit her specifically.

    • OMG OMG I love this. WHAT IF LOTTIE, who I am personally thinking is antler queen, (with the girl killed in the opening sequence being Mari, which is why we haven’t had her episode yet, because hers will come likely alongside her death and the reveal IMO) survives the woods, too, only she CONTINUES HER CULT and Adam is one of her followers, sent to bring Shauna back? He started off so hands-off, now he’s started trying to get her to “blow up her life” and basically run away with him. Wow, your comment made my brain just RUN. Thank you for that.

      • As soon as Callie confronted Shauna in the kitchen with the whole “mom he doesn’t exist on the internet” i was like okay he doesn’t get the benifit of the doubt any more he’s up to something. Beyond it being super suspicious that a guy trying to make it as an artist doesn’t have an online footprint, you’re telling me there isn’t even a single online review of the shop he works at that mentions an Adam? Not one?

        And then later he basically gives Shauna the ‘trust me, i am definitely not a serial killer *wink wink*’ invite to his cabin. Even if he isn’t recruiting for a cult he’s just a straight up creeper at this point.

        And Shauna was going to do it too, if she hadn’t seen the glitter.

        Which *shakes head* Shauna i am rooting for you as the antler queen but you are dumb as a brick sometimes.

    • Something that’s been bothering me- when teen Shauna and Jeff hook up in the car in season 1 she threatens him that if he comes inside her she will train up the baby to eventually come after him and kill him (something like that). At the time it struck me as an overly specific and wordy thing to say in the heat of passion but since she DID get pregnant I guess it was a deliberate foreshadowing thing. I don’t think ADAM is her forest baby but I think that prophecy is going to come true eventually. Somehow.

  17. Something I’ve been chewing on since I watched is the significance of the word “it” as Taissa and Shauna used it in their conversation.

    Certainly it could just be their term for that rush of energy that comes with a new relationship, but I keep tying it back to Lottie’s comments about “it” not wanting the hunter to leave and how “it” needs blood.

    Taissa says that “it” winds up being destructive for herself and her sexual partners. Adam convinces Shauna to have sex in her home by appealing to some deep-seated destructive part of her nature. Pair that with Taissa’s comments about her impressive post-rescue life not feeling “real,” I think “it” is a feeling that grounds them in the extremes of their time in the woods.

    After experiencing the things they did, and possibly enjoying some of the more brutal, primal aspects of that time, there’s just not enough “it” to sustain them anymore, even when they know it’s destabilizing…

  18. Kayla, I have absolutely loved reading your recaps! Extremely thoughtful analysis. You strike an incredible balance between living within the world of the show, exploring its characters and mysteries, and commenting on the show as a piece of media, celebrating its storytelling techniques and performances.

    I agree with a ton of your thoughts on this episode. Particularly about Misty’s inherent positive intent. To me, the biggest signifier here is the fact that she was willing to sacrifice her hidden camera in order to “save” Nat. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to spy on Nat anymore, but she decided it was worth it anyway. A more insidious villain with a larger plan wouldn’t have been willing to give up that hidden access.

    As for Ben’s coming out, firstly, I simply love that this show doesn’t want to give us a kind, honest straight man that we can trust. Truth in the media!! I agree with Joe’s comment above that his biggest fear about coming out, in the immediate at least, is Misty’s wrath. You’ve already noted that he is probably the first to catch on to how dangerous she is.

    I also don’t think we got a boyfriend mention, complete with a first name and occupation, for nothing. Paul the writer will appear, perhaps not in this season, but at some point. Writing in general has already been a Chekov’s gun of this series multiple times via Shauna’s journals. Perhaps he’s the reason they eventually get rescued? That could be an interesting story to explore as that time draws closer, we haven’t gotten any clues yet as to how they’re finally found 19 months after the crash.

    Laura Lee. So, Caitlin pointed out above that Laura Lee might not be dead, mirroring her miraculous survival from drowning years prior. It seems dubious to me, especially since we already got the Van death fake out the episode prior, but it’s possible. I do think it’s interesting to introduce a character with such pure and untested faith, something that would be ripe to explore as the show continues, and cut it off at the bud. But of course, she is a fitting martyr. Without her loving and God-fearing presence, it’s easier to imagine the girls descending into madness.

    Let me zoom out to some grander theorizing for a bit. Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson have discussed publicly their plans for a full five seasons, which means the girls simply cannot be dropping right and left. I’m a little fuzzy on the total number of survivors we’re at so far (the funeral scene from the crash site shows 18 living people, but who knows if this is everyone or if there have been offscreen deaths), but in terms of named characters, we’ve got:

    Confirmed survivors: Shauna, Nat, Taissa, Misty, Travis
    Fate Unknown: Van, Lottie, Akilah, Mari, Javi, Coach Ben
    Presumed (but not confirmed) dead: Laura Lee, Jackie

    I think at least some of the “fate unknown” category are going to be alive at the end of the whole ordeal, which means only so many can die in the woods, and that has to stretch over the course of 5 seasons, unless the later seasons completely move on from the woods timeline.

    My money is on Jackie being alive, or at least making it out of the woods, if for no other reason than for the sake of Shauna’s ultimate reckoning. Adult Jackie seeing her BFF and her ex married with a teenage daughter seems to good to pass up, narratively, in my opinion. Plus there’s the post-1996 movies in Jackie’s journal, which I learned from all you lovely commenters a couple weeks ago!

    As for Lottie, if she really is the antler queen, the big bad, I think she at least has to make it to the final season. I’m wondering when, in the proposed 5 season story, the 90s storyline will catch up to the tribal sacrifice we saw in the pilot. If it’s not till season 5, there are at least 8 of them alive at that point.

    I unfortunately think Ben’s departure is probably necessary for the jackets to go full antler tribe, so I’m just hoping he gets to be gay on screen (at least in a flashback) before that happens.

    I don’t know what to make of Adam anymore, but I think it’s safe to say he’s not just some guy. Before Melanie Lynskey’s tweet, I would have said he’s Javi and we were all looking too hard at it. But she really threw us all for a loop there!! (She’s a queen on Twitter in general, so everyone should follow her if you don’t already). I like the idea of a third Martinez brother like Caitlin mentioned. I don’t think he killed Travis and I don’t think he’s the blackmailer, but…mayyybe he’s behind the postcards? Could all three be separate? Next week is going to reveal a lot of this story I assume.

    I think in the finale, at the high school reunion, we will see at least one new survivor we haven’t met so far. Any guesses on who it will be? If Jackie’s alive I think they’ll save that reveal for later, so my money would be on Van. Mari and Akilah are too low stakes, at least for now, and Lottie is too mysterious and potentially pivotal to the plot. Javi (assuming he’s alive, but not Adam) would have graduated a different year and Ben probably wouldn’t work at the school anymore, so if they’re alive, they wouldn’t be there.

    Finally, somehow I missed the part of the episode about the deck of cards with no queens. Four missing queens!? This thought sent my brain went down a symbolism rabbit hole, please bear with me. The suits of the modern 52-card deck are based on the tarot suits, which are in turn related to the four elements. Jumping from there to astrology (I’m queer, sue me) it was easy to map the four main survivors based on how they exemplify each element, particularly in their negative impulses, which this show is all about:

    Spades = Swords/air (Cold, intellectual, duplicitous Shauna)
    Clubs = Wands/fire (Passionate, volatile, destructive Nat)
    Diamonds = Coins/earth (Hard-working, ambitious, ruthless Taissa)
    Hearts = Cups/water (Intuitive, needy, manipulative Misty)

    Also we’ve already seen Shauna adept with her knife, Nat with a gun, Misty (whose name is literally…Misty) with liquid poison, and Taissa…eating dirt? Using money to solve her problems? Idk. It’s past midnight and I should sleep now and stop rambling. But. Thank you again, Kayla, for stimulating this discussion! Can’t wait to keep reading!

  19. I don’t know there’s just so much going on that I don’t know what to believe.With 2 more episodes left. I also was counting of how many people are left. I agree with comment that was made of who actually survives additionally from the main five (Shauna,Ty,Nat,Misty,Travis). If the writers are hoping for full 5 seasons umm more people have to be alive.

    Adult Shauna is being stupid and never thought to look Adam up really. Also I like the theory of Adam being in a cult for yellowjackets and him trying to recruit Shauna. When he invited her to the cabin in the woods everything in me was screaming Noooo!!!

    Ty describing her life and then Shauna being like wait that is your life. Was so true when you said of her like sleepwalking but then her actually sleepwalking through life is poignant. It’s just so much trauma and Ty story is still mysterious because we don’t know if it’s a super natural thing going on or actual sleepwalking which she told her wife.

    I was just on Instagram and somebody was responding to me and not understanding my comment about Jackie being manipulative. I felt such validation reading this recap and other peoples comments. understanding that Jackie was completely being a mean girl and her dynamic has completely switched finding out the information from Shauna’s journals.

    Also if Lottie becomes the antler queen. what a quick turn of events to sacrifice her! I don’t believe she’s the antler queen. I say maybe Jackie is.

    I am obsessed with the show and so thankful for these recaps. I love reading everybody’s theories and just so happy I found my people who adore and obsessed with the show like I am!!

    • This what I’ve been thinking too, not Jackie’s son per se, but IF Jackie is still alive (even though her parents think she’s dead) then Adam could be her current BF or friend and could be luring Shauna into a devastating trap. Jackie is known to sift through journals, and Adam can certainly be the glitter guy. Jackie should know that Shauna and Jeff don’t have blackmail money, so she wouldn’t get a postcard. And Jackie would definitely be angry with Shauna for marrying Jeff. If the woods Era is repeating in the now, it makes sense Jackie is messing with those who in her mind hurt her the most.

  20. These recaps are so good, and so are the comments. I almost fell over laughing at the Misty/Nat, “I’ll venmo you scene.” I also liked the Shauna/Taissa sleepover, it was nice to watch them interact as friends, and talk. I’m glad Tai told Simone about the sleepwalking, and I hope she didn’t take a bite out of biscuit. Eek.
    It also makes sense that Ben would want to keep the fact that he’s gay quiet. People were more closeted then, in a way that seems unrealistic today, but I understand Tai, and Ben wanting to keep their queerness to themselves even in this situation. I’m guessing Laura Lee is dead, although it would be interesting if she turned up again, and I can’t help but think good for her, she died trying to get out.

  21. I watched episodes 1-7 (and read all the recaps and comments for those eps!) over the last three days and it’s safe to say it has taken over my brain and now I have to wait until Thursday for this one! (I’m in the UK)

    I guess I will fill the time staring at a map trying to figure out where they might have crashed, running through all the possible outcomes of Shauna’s pregnancy and trying to talk to my friend who has seen ep 8 without getting spoilers.

    Anyone else find themselves having a little scream *after* an episode has finished? Just to release the tension?

  22. OK i have two kind of wild theories that probably arent it but…

    1) Jeff took the diaries out of the safe BUT IS NOT involved in the blackmail. He is more emotionally attuned to his wife than people give him credit for, and using that info to try to be there for her/support her somehow. Remember couple’s therapy? He seems invested – maybe wants to understand her better – something like that.

    2) Taissa sent JR to make sure nobody was going to SPILL during her campaign, remember? Then Travis ends up dead? Maybe dissociated Tai killed Travis after he decided he did want to tell his part of the story to the public. Tai is all about control, and stopping anyone who gets in the way of her goals whatever the cost (like the JV soccer girl in the pilot).

    • Ooo!! Good point about Tai. I’ve been kind of suspicious if Tai had something to do with it or not. I have a feeling Travis would have always been open to talking to the press but maybe was never approached in the “right” way. You know what I mean?

  23. After reading the twit my theory is that Adam was hired by Jackie’s parents to find out the truth of their daughter’s death. I think they found out that Jeff and Shauna were ogether before the crash and suspect that Shauna played a role or at least did not help Jackie to survive. Also Shauna is bad at lying so she may have made some inconsitencies when forced to retell about their lives in the wild. So Adam had probably read Jackie’s diaries and heard about Shauna from them that’s why he was able to be Shauna’s dream boy similar to the one from her fancfiction life. He was quite persistent to get to know Shauna. Alhough, in typical plot he would develop feelings towards Shauna, in Yellowjackets I dont know. He might get killed, get eaten or marry Shauna?

  24. I think Tai is the one who stole the journals, maybe in a fugue state? Cause, remember: the blackmailer isn’t the only one who got glittered on, the other ‘jackets did too.

  25. I am loving everyone’s theories and don’t have anything to add on that end. But I would like to point out the dark humor in Laura Lee suggesting that the initial plane crash happened as punishment for her swearing in her head, and then she swears again when she announces she’s going to fly Jacque’s plane and it explodes.

  26. Okay honestly confused as to how Jackie keeps getting painted as the mean girl. Like sure, easy bait since she’s team captain and rich and has the blonde boyfriend and is a brat but both Shauna and Taissa have been cruel more often to Nat. In fact, both teen and adult versions of Shauna scream villain and it’s really sad to see how Jackie genuinely tried to care for Shauna only ever to have Shauna mumble a syllable, give a half-smile, or even snap at her. She’s absolutely banking on her faked role as the popular girl’s best friend to try and stay low profile in screwing others over and I think that’s going to be a theme that really plays out in the next season…

    • Jackie has been picking at shauna since we met her, since before we saw shauna sleeping with jeff. Just like we see jackie’s mom doing to shauna at that brunch. i don’t think she’s an easy target just by virtue of being rich and popular, she picked up that attitude from her mom. Jackie is just consistently rude and condescending to shauna but playing it off as being “real” with her. shauna and jackie are caught up in a really toxic friendship that is actually pretty empty and fueled by some sort of mutual resentment neither of them is fully aware of or able to confront, and being trapped in the woods is forcing them to face it. I think shauna’s been waiting to get away from jackie for a while and school was her ticket out of being jackie’s play thing. this cat and mouse game is going to escalate and I think that jackie really has the potential to get very scary.

  27. The flashback to Adam being in the closet with the safe is a total red herring. If his ID fell out in the living room then no doubt glitter would have fallen out in bed at least. And a small safe in the closet is pretty dang common, it’s not like he’d be standing in there and think “ah, that’s probably where she keeps her teen diaries” vs. their social security cards, a gun, whatever. And when does she suppose he would have broken into her house to get back into the closet? Or figured out the passcode? No, I’m all in on this being Callie but I actually don’t think it’s for a villainous reason but some other reason where she’s trying to help protect her mom in some way

  28. Okay one more comment to say that my theory is that the Antler Queen + her subjects scene is not comprised *entirely of our girls. Someones/somethings with opposable thumbs carved that symbol into the trees, opened the cabin door and climbed the ladder to carve it into the floorboards before or after they tied up Dead Guy and removed his fingers. And a previous episode also referenced that there were other survivors out there, we just happen to be seeing the handful who stayed in or around their hometown. So 8 people in the AQ+S scene and so far we know 6 got out (Shauna/Taissa/Misty/Nat/Travis/Jackie), which would leave only 2 survivors to come out but not stay home which seems unlikely.

    Potentially related: I’m not sure about this particular Van getting torn up scenario, but in general I think that the wolves Taissa hallucinates are meant to stand in for people (or, again, “people”)

    Not related but I need to hear theories: The lists of fave songs/fave movies/Must See movies in Jackie’s diary… has to be telling us something. It’s not stuff like Mmbop and Sweet Home Alabama, it’s movies with titles like “Primal Fear” (which, btw, is one of the home-recorded VHS tapes in Misty’s basement/dungeon) and “Fear” and “Killing Me Softly”. A weird thing is that her list of Top 10 Tunes has “Because You Loved Me” listed twice. We know she definitely made it out of the forest and stuck around town for a few years based on when diff songs/movies came out, but it seems she’s trying to tell us something in these lists

    • I saw a theory on twitter that the cut symbols resemble different “hobo code” sings — ways people who lived on the road would tell other people if they were in a friendly area or not, and the way the symbols added up was basically “real real bad energy, do not enter, stay, or pass through.” Teenagers getting delusional with hunger and isolation I can see ascribing their own meanings to those, and Nat’s comment that “Travis didn’t believe in that shit” says to me they built something around that code that led them to crowning an Antler Queen.

      As for the Antler Queen, I am 100% prepared to be wrong because I usually am, but I’m starting to wonder if Shauna’s pregnancy elevates her position somehow; either people ration food for her because she’s pregnant and needs more, or the pregnancy results in a miscarriage or stillbirth but then seems to result in some kind of miraculous help (please do not let it be that they eat the baby, I do not want to watch these actors pretend to eat a baby), she becomes someone they cater to (no pun intended). She’s a terrible liar but there’s a way she speaks to Tai and Nat (“I thought I told you to take care of this”) occasionally that is real in-charge vibes. Or the Antler Queen distinguishes herself by capturing others (there are 7 locks of hair on her dress, which is 7 possible teammates they’ve already trapped and roasted). I’m not sure I believe there are non-Yellowjacket-affiliates in the woods with them; those carvings are symbols they are taking on for themselves like everything else in the cabin.

  29. Adam is not some random dude. Check out his back tattoo.
    (And to all the theorizing that Adam is Shauna’s child or Jackie’s child: Adam is TOO OLD to be a child of ANY of the crash survivors.) He is not, however, too old to be Javi. He may or may not be Javi, but he’s definitely not ~25yrs old or younger.

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