“Yellowjackets” Episode 109 Recap: Let’s Have a Bacchanal

Welcome to the Yellowjackets 109 recap. Written by Ameni Rozsa & Sarah L. Thompson and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer — of Party Girl (1995) fame! — ”Doomcoming” is the penultimate episode of Yellowjackets’s first season. Don your antler crowns and pour yourselves a mugful of berry poison. We’re getting weird this week. Catch up on past recaps here. And throw your theories, questions, and reactions in the comments!


At its core, Yellowjackets is a survival story. It tracks trauma across two timelines. These characters have all been forced to make difficult, life-or-death choices, starting when they were just kids. They’ve built up survival skills, but there’s a paradox here: Those survival skills can also harm them. As adults, the Yellowjackets use lies, secrets, and manipulation to stay afloat. They slash and claw their way through life. They do everything they can to keep the world from finding out what really happened in those woods, because they have convinced themselves they’ll be seen as monsters. And not just kids who were lost. Who were doomed. They know how to survive, but they don’t know how to live anymore.

“Doomcoming” has the most exhilarating opening sequence of any episode so far. We pick up where adult Shauna left off last episode: at the door of Adam, who she recently has become convinced is the blackmailer after finding glitter in her closet. She barges in, and at first, he thinks she’s initiating sexual roleplay. He catches on when she starts rifling through his things and talking about her journals. This is real.

When Shauna finds a stack of magazines with Yellowjackets headlines in Adam’s cabinet, everything shifts. It’s a genuinely effective reveal, even for those of us who have long suspected Adam is hiding something. Shauna’s surprise is fully felt. She feels betrayed and bamboozled, and it immediately awakens something in her. Those survival instincts. She grabs a knife like it’s the easiest thing. She has done it before, after all. And here we get one of my favorite horror moments to date. As Shauna holds the knife in front of Adam, quick bursts of violent images pop in. Some of them are things we’ve seen, glimpses of the girl dragged through the snow in the pilot, of hands reaching for chunks of meat, of the plane going down, of the skeleton in the attic. They are, presumably, Shauna’s memories, so it’s safe to assume she had a direct hand in the slaying of the girl in the pilot.

But how much can we trust memory?

This sequence suggests a chasm in Shauna’s mind. Taissa, Shauna, and Nat have all been to some extent living doubled lives as adults, their teen selves still a part of them, their growth stymied by holding so much in about what happened in the woods.

We get a few flashes of things we definitely haven’t seen, like these:

A hand being tied in episode 109 of Yellowjackets

Shauna looking horrified in episode 109 of Yellowjackets

It’s easy to assume these are just bits and pieces of the sexual dynamic between Shauna and Adam. After all, we’ve had a few hints at their kinks. But that look on Shauna’s face is difficult to read. She looks afraid? Surprised? It’s difficult to discern. The flashes are jumbled and confusing, a blur of timelines, a blur of meaning. We’ve seen Shauna hallucinate Jackie. We know the images and scenes she conjures can’t always be trusted. How warped are these memories? They could be corroded by time, twisted by trauma. Shauna’s recalling a nightmare and living one, too.

But when she plunges the knife into Adam’s gut, it’s really happening. There’s the violence flashing around in her mind, and there’s the violence of this actual encounter, one that escalates and then ends so quickly. As she stabs him, adult Shauna becomes young Shauna, the two interchangeable. Young Shauna maneuvers the knife like we’ve seen her do so many times. Both Shaunas look shocked. And then, resolute. There’s a memory-flash of young Shauna turning with a knife in her hand, an image we see again, in context, later in the episode. Spliced in here, it looks almost like she’s looking over her shoulder for her adult self’s approval. Shauna is quite literally fractured here, her young and current selves protecting each other. But also…conspiratorial.

She really did it. She really killed him.

It’s all so disorienting and intense that it’s almost easy to ignore the fact that Adam’s explanation for why he had the magazines…could be true? It is entirely possible he found out about Shauna’s past, wanted to know more, and then did some research. It is entirely possible Adam was never a real threat. It has been easy to be suspicious of Adam, but could that be just because Yellowjackets has steeped us so thoroughly in the minds of the adult Yellowjackets that we, too, have become as distrustful as them about people, about reality? Adam popping up repeatedly in Shauna’s life is weird, sure, but isn’t such a crucial part of this show’s narrative that real life contains unexplainable things? Even things that might seem paranormal? That seem like a conspiracy? This show does a fantastic job of obscuring who is the victim, who is the threat. Everyone is almost a little bit of both.

It’s another great, subtle horror reveal much like the magazines in Adam’s drawer when Shauna opens her safe and finds the journals neatly stacked there like they never left. For a moment, I thought maybe she imagined them gone entirely. But then we learn the truth. It doesn’t take much prying from Shauna for Jeff to come clean. He was the blackmailer. The furniture shop wasn’t doing well, and he got a loan from some bad people. He never thought his wife would get tangled up in it at all. Oh and Bianca? Yeah, not his mistress. She’s one of the loan sharks (“Bianca scares the shit out of me,” Jeff says, which is such a hilariously honest confession). Jeff thought he was just trying to save his family. So he lied and kept this a secret. And even though his intentions were good, it blew up in his face. Secrets and lies have a tendency to fester and become infected wounds on this show.

From a narrative pacing perspective, I love all of this. There has been sufficient suspense to the mystery of who the blackmailer might be. And the mystery goes on. Because clearly Jeff had nothing to do with Travis’s murder. And Nat is still waiting on her former sponsor Suze to get the bank account info. But Yellowjackets doesn’t string us along too much with this Jeff reveal. Once it’s pretty clear it’s him, he confesses outright. It’s all about knowing when to withhold and when to reveal; so many shows — especially mysteries — fail at that dance. Yellowjackets is so fucking good at it.

Not only does Jeff waste no time confessing, but nor does Shauna. I love that she doesn’t even try to hide the fact that she has committed some lite murder. “I stabbed him, and now he’s dead,” she says matter-of-factly. In the process, she also reveals her affair with Adam, still under the assumption Jeff is cheating. But just like Shauna saw Adam as a threat and then immediately took action by killing him, Shauna’s assuming the worst of someone here. Again, Jeff wasn’t cheating. Jeff has been more loyal to her than she ever realized.

(Give Warren Kole an award for his delivery of “WHAT THERE’S NO BOOK CLUB?!”)

There’s a reveal beneath the reveal here, one that ultimately has a much greater impact on the narrative and its emotional stakes. Because yes, on a plot level, Jeff being the blackmailer doesn’t necessarily feel like a twist at all. The real twist, instead, is that he read the journals years ago. I mean imo, that’s a very rude and inappropriate thing to do to your partner, BUT invasion of privacy stuff aside, this is a genuine shock for Shauna, one that reframes the way she sees herself and her marriage. He knows everything about the woods. And it never changed a thing he thought about her. He never even let on that he knew. It’s a twist of the knife, really. She thought Jeff was cheating on her and, in turn, cheated on him. When really Jeff has known her darkest secrets all along and never stopped loving her. And now he’s also willing to take the fall for her for this, too. When Shauna laments that they’ve become people who lie and stay together despite those lies, Jeff says: “Secrets have always been a part of us.” It’s true. They began as an affair; they began as a betrayal of Jackie. They’ve just repeating the same patterns over and over.

There’s definitely something unnerving about how casual Shauna is about stabbing someone to death. It’s like nothing can faze her. When she learns it was really Jeff, there’s no big moment of guilt or panic over having possibly killed an innocent man. Instead, she just sorta seems…inconvenienced. Maybe this is another one of Shauna’s survival skills. She has to take the horror out of the horror. She has to shut off. She lies to the other Yellowjackets at the end of the episode, setting Adam’s apartment up to look like he really was the blackmailer so she can enlist their help (also give Tawny Cypress an award for her delivery of “I practice LAND USE, not murder cleanup” when Shauna asks Taissa to flex her lawyer muscles). Here’s Shauna, the famously bad liar who becomes eerily good at lying in the most extreme scenarios. She can’t come up with a convincing fake name, but she can frame a dead guy.

It is, of course, a massive betrayal on her part. She knows how badly Nat wants to find out the truth about Travis’s death, and she’s fucking with that. She’s saving herself and putting the two of them at risk in the process. We keep seeing the adult Yellowjackets repeating and reliving the mistakes of their pasts, so what does this say about Shauna’s entire arc? That she will always ultimately choose herself? That lying is an intractable part of herself? She’s unflinching in the face of violence, of mess. Why does Shauna always betray the people who care the most about her? Jackie, Jeff, Taissa and Nat. She has stabbed them all in the back.

This scene between Taissa/Shauna/Nat again taps into that strange, hard-to-define relationship between them. There’s acerbic comedy to it, for sure. They bicker with Shauna like siblings. Over murder! Taissa’s grossed out when Nat starts touching the dead body and, like, hasn’t she probably seen and done worse? She doesn’t shut it off like Shauna does. Hell, she doesn’t even eat meat. I think what makes the adult Yellowjackets such compelling characters is not the ways they are alike but the ways they’re different. Yes, they’re all wildly out of control. But in their own distinct ways. And more specifically in ways that connect back to the different traumas and different ways they navigated those traumas in the woods.

Misty has no idea how to connect with others in healthy ways, and that probably started before the woods (we did see her watching a drowning rat rather enthusiastically the morning before the flight), but the woods certainly amplified it. In fact, all of the Yellowjackets exhibited behaviors pre-woods that the woods that intensified. We saw Shauna lying to Jackie, seemingly simultaneously repulsed by and drawn to Jackie’s power and popularity. We saw Taissa so determined to win that she drove another teammate to break her leg. We saw Nat underage drinking. I don’t think the woods changed these characters so much as amplified them, forcing them into extreme conditions with extreme ripple effects.

Now, here’s Misty bonding with a woman she kidnapped. It is indeed the most extreme version of Misty’s ultimate fantasy: someone who has to be nice to her. Jessica Roberts is living it up by kidnapping standards, now freely moving around the murder-basement in a wheelchair and throwing back orange sodas and regaling Misty with work stories while Misty folds laundry. Like Nat and Misty’s scenes together, it’s like a weird, macabre buddy-comedy. “I’m so glad I kidnapped you before the reunion,” Misty says after Jessica Roberts gives her feedback on her lipstick choice for the impending high school reunion (which the finale will be set at!).

Back in the woods, nihilism has creeped in. Everyone’s beyond hungry. Everyone’s drained of hope in the wake of Laura Lee’s death. Akilah and Shauna scrounged up some bugs to cook up, and everyone chews them in horrible silence. Jackie doesn’t even see a point in eating. Mari whips out a jar of berries accidentally turned to booze, and that gives Jackie an idea: It’s the end of the world, so why not party? The girls brought dresses for awards day at nationals, and as Akilah adorably points out, it’d almost be homecoming back home. Homecoming. In and of itself a devastating concept in the context of their current situation. These girls don’t know if they’ll ever come home. So they plan a Doomcoming, coinciding with a full moon. What could possibly go wrong? The last time Jackie suggested an activity (the seance), it was fun! Until, of course, it wasn’t.

“Tomorrow night. We’ll drink rotten berries and celebrate our impending death,” Jackie announces. Sounds like a fun party!

I wrote last week that Jackie’s lack of purpose in the woods seems to be festering into something dangerous, and “Doomcoming” confirms that. She doesn’t believe in anything anymore. Not in friendship, not in love. She’s not even eating, refusing to see any point in life. If Jackie no longer believes in meaning and sees herself and others as empty husks who don’t matter, it means she likely doesn’t believe in consequences. She’s still toying with Shauna, not letting on that she knows, but saying things to stoke the coals of Shauna’s seering guilt. She tells Shauna she doesn’t want to die a virgin, and she sets her sights on Travis, something that was hinted at last week when she drove a wedge between him and Nat. Shauna’s upset. Jackie doesn’t see what the big deal is. She’s far from the team captain now. She’s a sole actor with no ties to anyone or anything.

Misty asks Jackie for boy advice as Jackie does her makeup. She has convinced Ben to take her to the dance, by manipulating him into doing so, naturally. “When a girl sets her mind to it, there’s nothing she can’t get from a man,” Jackie says, apparently quoting her mother. I feel like this…tells us a lot about Jackie. That her mom would say something like this to a young girl is pretty revealing! This is also the second time we’ve heard of Jackie’s mom’s pill-popping tendencies. This all does lineup pretty well with the version of Jackie’s mom we’ve met in the present. She’s delusional about her daughter, absurdly mean to Shauna. Her relationship advice for her teen daughter is basically “use your feminine wiles to manipulate men.” Yikes!

Jackie scares me, because Jackie is a person used to having control and power, and now she has none. “What if this is it Shauna?” she asks. What if all the mistakes they made were permanent? “What mistake did you make? Everybody loved you,” Shauna responds. Again, she doesn’t know Jackie knows her best friend and boyfriend have been lying to her. Of course Jackie feels like life is meaningless. First of all, they’re all starting to feel that way. Stranded in the woods with no way out. But Jackie’s reckoning with the cruelty of life is happening on an interpersonal level, too. I don’t think Jackie cares about Jeff’s betrayal nearly as much as she cares about Shauna’s (and that much is confirmed when she later says to Travis she’s pretty sure she never even liked Jeff). But Shauna broke Jackie’s heart. And having a broken heart as a teen feels like, well, the world fucking ending. For it to happen simultaneously within an actual apocalyptic scenario like the one they’re in in the woods? DEVASTATING. I fear Jackie, but I also feel for her. Again, this show obscures people’s motives and roles.

Who and what should we really be afraid of?

Watching this show, it’s impossible to forget about those scenes from the pilot. They pop into my head as a viewer from time to time, not unlike the way those flashes pop in for Shauna at the beginning of this episode. And all along, the suspense and tension as to how the girls get to that point has been clawing at me. In “Doomcoming,” we get the first real glimpse of that shift. I mean, sure, we’ve seen the group start to fracture. We’ve seen characters start to become desperate and start to lose their grip on reality. But in “Doomcoming,” that all gets ramped up a notch, especially visually. We see characters going feral. We see surreality seep in. We see blurred lines between what is real and what isn’t.

And it’s not just because of the berry booze, oh no. Misty really takes things to the next level when she inadvertently doses the entire team with shrooms. She’d intended for only Ben to take them — apparently, drugging someone is her interpretation of Jackie’s advice — but they end up in the stew everyone’s eating at the party. But before we get to the episode’s trippy descent into psychosexual horror, let’s start at the beginning of the party! Which is actually quite nice!

Much like the seance, it begins in a way that reiterates the characters’ youth and innocence. Strip away their environment and place them instead in a basement or school gymnasium, and it really could just be a high school dance! But there are little touches of weirdness that shift things into horror territory even before the shrooms sink in. Their animal regalia, for one. Reminiscent of the animal pelts and parts worn by characters in the pilot. The berry booze that makes them look like they’re drinking blood. But they manage to make the best of things. They have no music, so instead they all sing “Kiss From a Rose” together (I’m counting this as the show’s musical episode!!!!). They do a processional that includes Van and Taissa walking out together and then kissing in front of everyone! Everyone claps! Ben toasts to them for their bravery! It’s very sweet and gay! Taissa made masks for her and Van to wear, because Van has been feeling self-conscious about her face. Nat and Ben, who started bonding last episode, end up peeling away from the group to hang out in the woods and talk about boys. Again, it’s sweet. For once, no one is thinking about how hungry they are or how they’re just on the brink of death.

But it can’t last. The mushrooms kick in, and suddenly things go full Bacchanalia. Jackie whisks Travis away to have sex in the haunted attic. She hasn’t been eating, so she’s the only one who doesn’t succumb to the psychedelic effects of the drug. But back at the party, everyone’s losing it. Van can’t stop laughing. She says Taissa looks like a tree, and the others agree. The observation is both funny and chilling. We know Taissa has a tendency of ending up in trees with no memory of how she got there. Shauna feels the baby move. Lottie says something’s coming and then, ominously: “We won’t be hungry much longer.” They all realize Jackie and Travis are gone and decide to go find them, possessed with an idea that what they’re doing is wrong. “He doesn’t belong to her,” Lottie says.

This could mean something more mysterious and supernatural or this could all literally stem from Lottie and the others thinking Jackie is just being a bitch by hooking up with Travis given his history with Nat, that drama and conflict heightened by drugs, alcohol, starvation, and the tenuous grip on reality most of these girls currently have. They become bloodthirsty, running through the woods like a pack of wolves. In fact, when they hear an actual pack of wolves, they pause for a moment before making animal sounds of their own. Again, who is the real monster here? What should we be afraid of?

“What were you doing up there?” Mari asks, the girls descending into mob justice when they arrive at the cabin. They’re possessed by a thought. They think what Jackie and Travis are doing is wrong, and their reaction is outsized and unhinged. They turn on Jackie and claim Travis, kissing him in front of a very bewildered Jackie until Lottie locks her in the pantry.

Shauna, Mari, Akilah, and Lottie surround Travis. They kiss and grab him. And their movements become increasingly more violent. Again, reality bends. Shauna pulls off a piece of Travis’ skin, and it can’t really be happening. Their eyes widen and darken, and their teeth become more prominent. They start to look like wicked fairies. And when Travis asks them to stop, they don’t. He’s only able to free himself when he pushes them away and run. But when he runs, the girls see a stag to be hunted. They run through the woods again, their animal sounds which were before used as a method of protecting themselves against the wolves becoming more like a warning call now. And when they finally trap Travis, they string him up and prepare him like he’s the feast. Shauna takes the knife, and when she looks at Travis, she sees a stag’s head on his body.

She almost does it. She draws blood. But Jackie and Nat get there just in time to stop her. Lottie, wearing a foreboding antler crown that confirms she’s likely the shadowy figure from the pilot, laughs. “It’s in all of us, you know,” she warns. “Even him, even you.”

What is it? Again, Yellowjackets thrives in its ambivalence. Lottie’s words unnerve, and her visions suggest paranormal activity, and there’s no denying strange things have happened in these woods. But this descent into a violent, psychosexual, cult-like ritual is shockingly organic. Listen, shrooms AND moonshine on extremely empty stomachs? That can do a lot! But even more than the drugs and the alcohol, it makes sense that a certain wickedness, a certain madness might take over these girls.

Because while Jackie is the most overtly nihilist at the moment, they’re all giving up hope. Hope went boom with Laura Lee. The expedition before that failed, too. These characters are empty. Literally because they have no food to sustain them. And also philosophically. “Do we care?” Ben responds when Taissa asks if drinking the berry juice is safe. Everyone seems like a hollow shell. So it would be easy then to fill that hole. With something that might not have made sense in their before-lives but with something that offers purpose, order, and rules in their new lives of chaos. It’s the perfect breeding conditions for a cult. Maybe if they can find meaning, they can feel less helpless and more in control. Even if that meaning results in violence.

Under the influence of the shrooms, Ben declares that love is the reason for everything, that love is the solution to everything. He encourages Nat to go to Travis, saying that their love can save them all. And in a way, his words are a premonition. Nat does save Travis from being butchered. Misty overhears Ben’s soliloquy on love and misinterprets it as a confession of his love for her. He finally outright rejects her by shouting that he’s gay.

“Doomcoming” presents two paths. There’s love. There’s the love between Van and Taissa, who not only kiss in front of the whole group for the first time but also have a sex scene in the woods while the others are busy chasing Travis. There’s Ben saying love is the solution. And then there’s the other path, the one that says love doesn’t mean anything, the one Jackie represents in her unattached, free agent mentality. Death seems inevitable. Hope is gone. The characters’ insides are hollow. What’s going to fill the void? Love and peaceful cooperation with each other? Or a different kind of collaboration? A cultish one. One that instills rules that might be animalistic and violent but feels better than the emptiness.

I’ve written briefly on the religious motifs and images in the show, drawing connections between cannibalism and transubstantiation. I’ve touched on Greek mythology, calling Lottie the show’s Cassandra. And now “Doomcoming” is rife with Greek and Roman mythology. Wine, sex, violence, music, ritual. This is a Yellowjackets spin on a bacchanal. I went down a research rabbithole (can you tell how thoroughly this show has taken over my life?!) and came across this paper on representations of “knife-wielding maenads” — female devotees of Dionysus who were frequently depicted in art and on the stage as wild women who danced and drank a lot. Ummm!!! Knife! Wielding! Women! In a FRENZY! Sound familiar? There’s lots in there — and the sources in the footnotes — about sacrifice, fertility, violence, sex. All themes that have snaked their way through Yellowjackets, especially as the seams of reality start to unravel in the woods. I won’t turn this recap into a history lesson, but you’re encouraged to join me down this particular rabbithole as we head into finale week.


Last Buzz:

  • SPEAKING OF FINALE WEEK! Have you heard? I’m hosting a special watch-a-long party over Discord for A+ subscribers on Sunday, January 16 at 10pm eastern! Come hang out! I’m making special themed cocktails and snacks!
  • So I was WRONG about the blackmailer being Callie, but I was right about Jeff NOT having an affair!
  • I do love that RANDY keeps popping up. It turns out he knows about the blackmail, because as Jeff earnestly explains, he’s his best friend and he had to tell someone. I really love how much of a lil softy Jeff is.
  • This interview with the creators dropped a while ago, but it’s full of interesting things, especially the tease about other survivors. I know we’ve all assumed there are other Yellowjackets out there, but it’s still good to know the creators are actively thinking about — and taking their time with! — certain narrative reveals.
  • What is happening here? It’s one of the other flashes we get in that Shauna-stabs-Adam sequence that I didn’t recognize:

A person digging something up from the snow in episode 109 of Yellowjackets

  • So…Adam is indeed just a dude, right?! I feel like if he were Javi, Nat would maybe recognize him? That said, teen Shauna tells little Javi to run in that demon voice, and wouldn’t it be ironic if then all those years later she killed him “lol”
  • Okay, quit BRAGGING that YOU know who Adam really is, Melanie!!
  • Misty apparently has spilled her secrets to Jessica Roberts, who has been working Misty rather expertly. She promises Misty a ghostwriter and a massive book deal. But Nat also shows up on Misty’s doorstep asking for help with burying a body, and I think Misty is always going to choose the team over anyone else.
  • DID MISTY KILL BEN?

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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 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.

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85 Comments

  1. Amazing! Thank you so much — these recaps are the second-most important pop culture event of my week, just inches behind the actual episode of Yellowjackets!

    So much to say about this episode, but the thing I paused to talk to my wife about this week was… when Jessica Roberts mentions to Misty that she has connections to the publisher (editor?) of the “sex cult pyramid scheme” book, she meant NXIVM, right? Rekha Sharma’s BSG character Tory is the one who (***ancient history spoiler alert***) kills Cally Tyrol who was played by prominent NXIVM member Nicki Clyne. Was that a wink and nod? Was it nothing and just written before she was cast?! Does it MEAN something?!!!

  2. Javi definitely dies in those woods. If he made it out alive, why wasn’t he in Misty’s citizen detective binders? Or why hasn’t anyone mentioned talking to him to ask about Travis’s death?

    I suspect that after being told to RUN he trips and dies accidentally in the woods, and the group fractures along the lines of those who will eat his dead body and those who refuse.

    Great insight, though, that the show also puts its viewers in the paranoid mindset of its characters. It helps explain the wild theories. I think this show wouldn’t resonate so much if it didn’t come at a time when its viewers are all feeling a lil hollowed out themselves.

  3. – I can’t get over that Adam reveal. So, he’s just like a normal dude who has been at the wrong time at the wrong place?
    – LOL @ Jeff, who is now actually kinda wholesome? He just wants a normal life! Yeah, buddy, me too. I didn’t expect to like Jeff, but here we are.
    – I saw this statement on twitter and it has been living in my head, rent-free: “Sometimes I think adult Shauna and Jeff share one brain cell between the two of them.” – and it’s spot-on!
    – Speaking of Jeff, if he really did read all the journals already, why did he have to remove them from the safe? Was it even him who removed them?
    – I love the Ben/Nat friendship so much, I hope Ben survives until next season but I doubt it at this stage :/
    – Ben is the biggest Van/Taissa shipper and his coming-out was iconic.
    – Why did Jackie not eat any of the shroom-stew and didn’t even drink any of the berry moonshine? I could understand the stew because Shauna gave it to her, but not even drinking anything?
    – Akilah can apparently do magic, Van’s wounds are barely a thing now.
    – LOL @ Travis lasting about three thrusts and Jackie having an Orgasm. Plus did he even use a condom?!?
    – Also, the Travis scenes made me so oddly uncomfortable.
    – I’m soo looking forward to them sober up and having to deal with the aftermath.
    – Misty and Jessica are playing each other, I’m calling it now. No way Misty’s gonna let Jessica leave and vice-versa.

    • Coming out to his mom, dad, god, and his little furry forest friends cemented Ben as one of my favorite characters. One of my favorite lines (along with the book club and the entire exchange leading up to Nat admitting she needs Misty to get rid of a dead body). But yeah sadly I think Ben’s death is imminent if Misty didn’t already kill him.

      Also, Van’s face! Look, I’m glad she survived but a) she shouldn’t have and b) there would have been infection and c) how much time has passed because no way she’s that healed and it looks that good.

      There is a LOT I let this show get away with, but Van’s face made me roll my eyes. Also things like that buck plus whatever else they shot should have lasted longer, the amount of bedding in the cabin, no one having a serious GI illness yet, plus for a group of starving suburban teens desperate enough to eat bugs they sure have a lot of physical energy and facial fat left! But also glad the young actors are not being made to lose weight for an already unreal show.

      But not trying to hate on the show! I’m here for the psychological trauma drama and cannibalism, not a realistic survival story. And this episode was done SO well, the way the shots were lined up with the trees and Shauna/Jackie’s faces? And the entire shroom sequence.

      Poor Javi, I really doubt we see that kid alive again. But maybe I’m wrong! I didn’t think I’d end up liking Jeff or that Shauna would kill Adam either.

    • Yes why were the journals missing?? It doesn’t seem like Jeff would have needed them for any reason so I think it’s possible Callie still could have taken them to read them…

      Also Jackie’s “so that was sex” line perfectly delivered. Adding that to her ambivalence about Jeff makes me wonder if we have another baby gay on our hands

      • I hope Jackie is a baby gay, because that look she gave Shauna while she was leading Travis back to the house made me think she was trying to hurt Shauna, because she actually has feelings for Shauna. I mean I thought the first scene of the pilot that Shauna had feelings for Jackie, but when I think how Jackie has been acting towards Shauna with every episode, I can’t help but will Jackie to make out with Shauna hahaha.

      • I have so many questions about the story’s POV! I think it’s pretty clear that each individual adult survivor (and by implication their teen counterparts) are unreliable narrators in a lot of ways. There may not be a cohesive “character” behind the camera, but I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the shots and scenes in the show where no survivors that we’ve met were present, specifically the push in when “it” came through the window to possess Lottie that seemed to be from the spirit’s POV. I’m also wondering how we’re getting access to the scenes between Lottie/Laura Lee and Jackie/Travis. Gonna have to do some close analysis on my next rewatch…

    • I think Jackie has just given up, no point in eating if she doesn’t believe they’re going to survive. Not drinking though I think that’s cause she had a plan she wanted to be clear headed for.

    • I actually think Adam is involved with the blackmailer and his job was to follow Shauna. Hence the book in his apartment about the team. Her killing him will cause trouble in the next few seasons. Shauna should have looped Jeff in with her crew (we really need a name for adult Shauna, Tai, Nat + occasional Misty) instead of lying about it but that would be logical.

  4. I love that Van and Taissa were so down with the shroom wolf pack until the other girls started mounting Travis, and then they were like um, actually, let’s go have gay sex in the woods. Stay horny while the others get antler-y.

    Also the abject glee on Christina Ricci’s face after being told she’s needed to help cover up murder was *chef’s kiss*

  5. Kayla I’ve been looking forward to your recaps so much despite the fact that I’m too scared to watch the actual show. I read a bunch of the recaps last week while my partner was working late and it was dark and got SO freaked out, but couldn’t stop reading so I know watching the show is a little much for me! For some reason text is less scary than the audio visual experience? Anyways, I’m grateful to experience this show vicariously and maybe one day when it’s light outside and I have people around me I will watch it!

  6. So much to think about… that opening was such a surprise.

    – I don’t think this is the “end” of the Adam storyline. I don’t think he’s just a guy off the street either, per Callie’s point that he has no footprint. I think someone sent him to connect with Shauna. Eventually, that someone will find out that he’s no longer around.

    – I don’t think Javi is dead in the woods. My theory this week is Travis will take Javi and leave. Why stick around with the Murder Witches?

    – I also think Misty will always choose “pack family” over fame. I want Jessica Roberts to escape, but I have a hard time picturing her getting past Misty in the end.

    – I think Ben is still alive at the end of the episode. (I think whatever death that we’ll happen, we’ll see on camera.)

    – I ponder if folks go the eventual route of partial eating–like cutting off a leg, but keeping someone alive still. (ala that one house in the book, The Road.)

  7. Kayla first off thank you so much for these recaps – they’re the best ones online and I look forward to them almost as much as the show itself.

    There’s some nice symmetry between the way adult!Shauna keeps flickering back to teen!Shauna as she stabs Adam and the way Travis’s head flickers between being his actual head and a stag head – I’m not sure it means anything more than just narrative symmetry but it was a nice touch.

    Also Jackie’s fall from ultimate mean girl at the top of the episode to locked in a closet is wild but I think she’s at her most dangerous now. She doesn’t have anything to lose except her life & it seems like she’s resigned herself to that anyway so I think she’s going to do a lot of damage before she goes down.

    Neither Lottie nor Misty has ever done anything wrong and I love them.

    I’m pretty sure the look on Misty’s face as Jessica said “you all ate each other” sealed JR’s fate – I don’t think she’s long for this world.

    Speaking of Lottie – I got the impression that “he doesn’t belong to her” in regards to Travis means he belongs to the woods not necessarily Nat but who knows & I’m not even sure that makes sense with him definitely getting out.

    I’m guessing either Coach Ben or Javi eats it before the end of the season, possibly both? Definitely one of them.

    God damn I love this show!!!!

  8. There were lots of new faces at the beginning of the Doomcoming party. Girls I had never seen before. Sloppy writing or are we to believe there are still more girls alive than the 10 or so core cast? I think that’s important because where are these “extra” girls when a lot of the crazy stuff is happening?

    • This gives me major Lost vibes, where there were a lot more survivors than the core group we focused on, and we only learn their names when they are about to/have already died. I would hazard a guess that most of those no-name extras don’t make it out of the woods….

    • Oh gosh yes! I just watched a second time and there is a moment at the beginning when Taissa instructs Jessica Rogers to check in with the rest, which tells me there are more survivors than those we’ve met.

    • There was a comment made by production (can’t find it now, arg!) that COVID-19 regulations forced decisions about which Yellowjackets could be on set on a regular basis. I’m guessing the faces that popped up for the first time since the crash because of that. It’s strange they wouldn’t just cut those minor characters tho.

    • I know this is in the weeds, but I counted the people at the funeral (in the circle with the overhead shot) when they were burying the bodies at the wreck site, so I could try to remember the characters. There were 16 women then. Probably for budget reasons, they didn’t have all 16 on set for many of the episodes, but they are giving bigger roles to some of the characters not in the present scenes. With five seasons, they can keep developing these other women, only to kill them off later.

  9. Whew…what an episode and another great recap, Kayla! Some notes I made while watching the episode:

    – Glad they seem to have resolved the Adam storyline. I did think for a second when Nat and Tai showed up at Adam’s home that they wouldn’t see his body, because Shauna had been hallucinating him the whole time.

    – If it wasn’t for these recaps and comments, I don’t think I would come to know the term “wife guy”…which I kept saying over and over with every Jeff scene…oh Jeff! Great acting and great lines to break the tension too.

    – Random, but I was a bit distracted when Akilah walked in with her doomcoming dress, because I kept thinking it looks like the design on paper cups!

    akilah-cup

    – Interesting Misty had a medicinal plant guidebook while she went to grab her shrooms. I feel like the camera lingered on it long enough that it’s important? Also when I heard the velcro sound from Misty’s trapper keeper, it was another vehicle for time travel for me just like the songs they weave within each episode! I think this is one of many reasons this show is so enjoyable, because I grew up in the same era, heard the same songs, had the same angsty teen emotional moments, but thankfully didn’t have the same highly traumatic experiences…although I’ve had enough experience as a kid to linger in the subconscious of my adult self as we see with these characters.

    – The scenes with Tai and Van were SO SWEET and CUTE! I hope we see Adult Van at the reunion. Also had the same thought when Van’s scars were revealed that Akilah’s sewing skills and Sea Breeze/Old Spice used as a disinfectant seemed a bit unrealistic. But I honestly don’t care because I love Van so much.

    – Oh Ben! I love him so much and have prepared myself mentally that he will not survive as others have stated. But at least we got an amazing coming out scene from him! I don’t think Misty would go that far and actually KILL someone, but I am scared Misty will take the news rather badly and that maybe (in the preview for the finale) the group stumbles on his body. BUT it could be Javi because scary Teen Shauna told him to run and I don’t think he’d be able to survive out there solo.

    – Speaking of clips of the finale, there was a split second scene with Simone screaming in what looks like their basement? I’m thinking she finds poor Biscuit…or witnesses Tai doing whatever she does when she becomes the tree lady. I think maybe she’ll see Tai eating Biscuit, because they talk about her not eating meat as an adult that it seems like that’ll come up again?

    – many funny lines from this episode, but my fave is Shauna saying, “We can’t exactly Weekend at Bernie’s him out the door either.” The writing is so good on this show and I appreciate how they put in pop culture references (visually and in dialogue) without it feeling like they’re trying so hard to remind viewers what era they grew up in.

  10. The Adam question is hardly resolved. Travis’ murder and the postcards are still unaccounted for. It was only a guess that Adam was responsible for the cards, the blackmail, and Travis. So we still don’t know who he was, or what he may have been up to.

    Nine episodes in and it hasn’t even started to snow. I’m feeling like the story arc is being trashed to generate a second season.

    Do we ever get a count of crash survivors, short term, and wilderness survivors, long term? Our cannibal ritual in the pilot shows a fair-sized crowd, but we are excluded from knowing whether our four protagonists and Travis were the only survivors, or part of a larger group.

    • at the funeral scene we get a count of 18 people, plus coach ben offscreen, leading to 19 crash survivors. laura lee is now presumed dead, giving us 18 people. we don’t have a count of woods survivors beyond the five you named, which is pretty intentional imo.

      the snow is coming! they crashed in spring and it’s now early fall, so they’ve been out there for a good while. and the showrunners pitched this as a five season arc, so i believe they paced it with that in mind.

    • In the funeral scene at the crash site, there were 16 women standing in the circle. They haven’t had all the actors on set for every episode, but they can keep giving the others bigger roles to enhance the plot even if they are not represented in the present. Mari and Akilah have been a lot more active in the last few episodes.

      • Love these recaps, Kayla!

        I need to rewatch the funeral scene to get that count again because I’ve seen 16 and 18 in that circle (plus Ben). I counted at the time but that was before taking notes!

        I rewatched EP 5 recently and when the seance starts counted 13 ppl upstairs (4 are unnamed characters) and 4 ppl downstairs (Tai, Laura Lee, Javi, Ben) – which would be 17 total.
        There is some continuity with these characters – I saw the same 4 ppl at the Doomcoming but also saw a 5th.
        Now I’m not sure if the 5th was someone I missed at the seance or I just didn’t get a good look and it’s someone we know the name of.

        Really curious what the show will do with these characters because I don’t think they’ll be killed off without us knowing a little more about them, but also can’t see them surviving unless they become more central.
        Maybe they’ll be part of a splinter group that we don’t follow as much.

        Predictions:
        – my money is still on that 8 are killed before they’re rescued per the spirits revelation (7 more after LL)
        – someone (at least 1) will die in the finale
        – we’ll get another survivor reveal via the reunion but it might be at the last few seconds of the episode

    • Gotta admit – just rewatched this episode.

      1. It seems like Mari knows that the shrooms are shrooms.
      2. Misty has a team Yellowjackets photo to the left of her front door. Yep. Misty Fucking Quigly.

  11. Kayla – I enjoy your recaps as much as the series. And I love this series more than anything I’ve seen in a long time.

    I had the same question as Starry-eyed – if Jeff read the journals long ago, why were they just missing and replaced in current time? Who had them out this time?

  12. jeff wife guy sadecki really had some big moments! i love the reveal that he read the journals years ago, actually, because he was worried that shauna wouldn’t talk to him or anybody. presumably this means he knows a lot of the broad strokes of the woods time, although i would love to know how accurate the journals are! i can’t imagine shauna waking up shroom-hungover and immediately grabbing a pen

    poor travis. this boy already had issues with sex and intimacy and in a single night he had stoned, dubious consent sex and an attempted maenad murder orgy. that’s gonna fuck him up

    the shot of shauna digging in the snow…what if she’s finding javi’s body? he disappears the night of the bacchanal, freezes to death, and then they have to decide just how hungry they are

    lottie! lottie matthews! what the fuck! she just really went full-on unhinged! also, speaking of blurring lines- lottie loved laura lee but i think she also *loved* laura lee. very homoerotic to wear your dead friend’s dress as a way to honor her. also lottie as antler queen seems pretty confirmed, but a) is anything real and b) there could easily be multiple? ceremonial role that passes around to make them all guilty

    van and tai have my entire heart? i don’t even care that van has three lil lines of scarring instead of a rotting wolf-bite, i want her to be the immortal queer. i’m very on board with her surviving the woods but being so haunted/guilty over decisions that she or others made that she retreats from society (“you guys are good at going off the grid”) and reappears at the reunion

    is randy walsh the murderer? that’s only like 30% a joke! this man has been mentioned too much and appeared too often to be a throwaway character and rn i’m suspicious of everyone

    JR, girl, you overplayed your hand. misty will always choose the possibility of connection to her team over the reality of friendship right in front of her. i do love their dynamic though and would love outtakes from the work stories? misty taking notes on the top ten ways criminals get caught

    adam: just some dude? i’m still unconvinced! i think it’s safe to say he’s not adult javi because 1) javi is prooooobably gonna die soon and 2) the other two would have said something. it stretches disbelief to say none of them would recognize him. but! something is Up With That Man. i still like ‘secret third martinez brother’ just because it seems nothing on this show is accidental and the last name martin feels clue-like

    tell us shauna is mentally in the woods and traumatized without using the word trauma: her safe passcode is the flight number. she cannot lie! or deceive! unless it is literal life or death, apparently!

    misty’s trapper keeper of medicinal plants had me laughing but also what an ominous thing to hoard away from everyone else. some of those plants could probably have been quite helpful- antiseptic, abortofacient, fever reducer, etc – and she’s using them for light poisoning (award to steven krueger for ‘oh shit, misty poisoned me again’)

  13. – I do think we haven’t heard the last of Adam, just because his lack of online presence and some of his more stalker like behavior. Or maybe I’m just taken in by the show’s building paranoia!
    – I could really use a group photo. We never see anyone outside of the girls we have names for and the three guys except in background shots and it’s starting to frustrate me
    – The wolf motif is an interesting choice and I wonder where it leads (beyond the obvious pack mentality/hunting). The wolf attack that drives the expedition back to the cabin, the wolf howling that gives the girls a reason to really let loose and go feral but also turns them into a team again. Then there is the wolf that Javi carved, looking out the window where “it” came in during the seance.
    – Lottie. Oh Lottie, I love her and am fascinated to see her place in the group evolve. I’m really interested to see how they all reckon with the night when they’re faced with the morning and hangovers. She had Laura Lee’s stabilizing support just long enough to not believe that she’s crazy – and Laura Lee’s more dangerous interpretation of visions as divine instruction. Not to mention going off whatever meds her parents had her on cold turkey would be having some kind of impact on her (changing my meds always makes me feel like I’m loosing it). Plus, Eaton has done an amazing job of going from quiet, frightened girl to fully unhinged cult leader and I am here for it.
    – I think Van’s belief in Lottie and her own near death experience and whatever she experienced while tripping will be important. I think she’s one of the bastions of reason that other girls trust, maybe more than Tai because she isn’t adamantly insisting that there’s a logical reason. And her buy in will be important to bring Tai along.
    – The use of humor this episode was perfect. So many great lines and situations.
    – Misty has found her match in Jessica Roberts, but I’m afraid JR doesn’t realize just who she’s dealing with. Every time Misty is with one other character it’s like a dark, messed up buddy comedy and I love it. And it gives so much insight into Misty’s psyche.
    – Starting to love the idea that the cult they started is still out there, and Lottie rules it. I don’t actually think that’s true, but it is in my mind now.
    -okay I should probably focus on work now instead of this?

  14. ok so Misty is definitely playing Jessica, right? she’s letting Jessica think she’s calling the shots, and she’s playing along with the innocent, wide eyed “we were just kids” stuff, but her face is doing something else entirely that makes me think there’s no way Jessica is getting out of that basement alive unless she finds a way to escape.

    • I truly believe the show is working up toward a juxtapositions of Adult Misty killing Jessica and Teen Misty killing Ben much in the same way that we saw the Adult/Teen Shauna stabbings.

      The parallels are too many to be coincidental–both are in vulnerable positions of Misty’s own making (she cut off Ben’s leg rather than let him die, and she straight-up kidnapped Jessica), both have elaborately lied and formed false intimacy to keep Misty on their sides out of fear of her, and at last, both accidentally went too far in that false intimacy, but in opposite ways. Ben came out to Misty; Jessica presumed Misty would be willing to “come out” to her.

      In short, I figure we’re due for a Misty Mash-Up Murder of both Ben and Jessica, if not in this season’s finale, then in next season’s premiere.

  15. I feel like Jackie’s fall from grace is even more meaningful than we realize. Jackie didnt only have power over her life but over Shauna’s as well. She still thinks they were going to be together at Rutgarts. She builds a life in her head for the two of them.
    I rewatched the pilot in preparation for next weeks finale, and it so apparent? She tries to decide everything for Shauna while keeping her in her shadow. Who she dates, what she wears for the party.

    When the girls say that’s so Jackie when she takes Travis away it really makes one wonder what she did before to make them say that. Probably connected to her being captain, was it really leadership that got her the job? Or manipulation? She wasn’t involved with the whole Keep the freshman away plan. Why didnt the other girls trust their captain?

    Something big is coming and i cant wait

  16. Here’s my theory:

    The 4 we’ve seen as adults weren’t involved in the ritual cannibalism. True, we’ve seen that Misty was at the ritual, but maybe she was trying to infiltrate the group. We’ve seen that Misty will do anything for her team. Perhaps this was her way of trying to protect Shauna, Nat, and Taissa. It’s also interesting to me that these 4 have only been in contact with each other so far without any other survivors besides Travis being mentioned. We know that Travis didn’t believe and it doesn’t seem to me that Taissa believes in the supernatural as an adult. I believe at the ritual there were 7 + Misty. That’s 8 + Shauna, Nat, and Taissa puts the number at 11.

    They might not want to talk about any of it because once it’s mentioned then everyone will probably assume they participated as well. Plus, other things they may have done to survive would probably get out then too.
    Perhaps the postcard and Travis’ murder are linked as well. Perhaps those from the ritual did it. After all, Jeff only said he blackmailed Nat and Tai, right? Then why does Misty have a postcard too unless she sent them? But why didn’t Shauna get one? Is she being saved for last?

  17. Late to the conspiracy theories since I just watched the episode last night but some thoughts:

    1. I love the way this show plays with the supernatural vs reality. Lottie’s statement of “It’s in all of us” could absolutely be read as being possessed by a spirit, but it could also be a comment on how everyone has the capability to do terrible things! We all have the potential for violence, and for these girls that violence comes out given the right circumstances (ex Shauna feeling threatened and killing Adam)

    2. As much as I was a strong “Adam is grown up Javi” campaigner, I actually really think that Adam is just “some guy”. Yellowjackets is very much a show about how random things can completely change your life (ie the plane crash). Intentionality implies control; if terrible things are happening for a reason, then we can control them or stop them. Far more terrifying is the reality that sometimes things…just happen. The dude you killed wasn’t a monster, he was just a dude. So who’s the real monster then?

    3. My partner pointed out that of course Van brought a vest for her “dressed up” outfit. Love that classic 90s lesbian fashion!

    4. I doubt Ben is dead or will die by the end of the season. Knowing that the show was pitched as a 5 season arc makes me think that he’s going to stick around a little longer. But I could be wrong! I just think the slide into cannibal cult will be more gradual.

    5. Oh Jessica Roberts…something tells me she is not long for this world. Never make the mistake of underestimating Misty.

    6. I expect to be surprised by a surviving Yellowjacket we haven’t seen yet at the reunion. Who do we think it’ll be? Van? Mari? I remain tantalized by the offhand comment Jessica Roberts made early in the season about many of the Yellowjackets being “hard to find”, implying that some people got back and disappeared unlike Misty, Shauna, Nat, and Taissa who are varying levels of “public”.

    7. I kept thinking watching the episode “Man, Jackie really would made it so far in her life without ever encountering a significant problem if she hadn’t been on that plane.” She would have THRIVED in a sorority and probably become a slightly more successful version of her mother. But alas! She’s stuck playing mind games in the woods and increasingly losing control (or maybe she never had control?). She’s going to keep acting out and being hurtful as she feels that control slip away and I’m curious to see how far she’s willing to go, especially when matched up against Shauna’s clear willingness to lean fully into physical violence.

    • re: the vest, i also had that thought! like oh you tiny homosexual of course you didn’t pack a dress

      i really love your point about randomness? of course we want to find patterns and meaning behind everything but sometimes a dude is just a dude

    • “Intentionality implies control; if terrible things are happening for a reason, then we can control them or stop them. Far more terrifying is the reality that sometimes things…just happen. The dude you killed wasn’t a monster, he was just a dude. So who’s the real monster then?”

      This is so incredibly good. I would nominate for a Pulitzer but that’s outside of my control…just like life & many terrible things that happen.

      @queergirl I nominate it for a comment award, if you do comment awards for potential Yellowjackets spoilers.

  18. I wonder how often Taissa and Jessica communicated for her to not have heard from her and think nothing of it. Jessica and Misty’s interactions are honestly so hilarious, it’s clear they’re playing each other.

    Considering they told her about the body, I wonder if she’ll tell them about Jessica although the “book deal” would definitely make her hesitant.

  19. This was the best piece of lit crit writing on yellowjackets episode 9. Amazing and thoughtful analysis. Thank you.

    There are some unanswered issues that have been floating around in my mind:

    – If Jeff read the journals years ago, why where they gone for a day? Was it Callie? Or was it a plot device to allow the subsequent conversation between Jeff and Shauna?

    – Is Randy a leak? He was at the same hotel as Nat. How much does he know?

    – Doesn’t Shauna essentially say that they will be compelled to cover up each other’s crimes forever, because once the police get involved in any of their actions, they risk exposure for them and their families? Their lives will be over in Shauna’s estimation.

    – Misty has to kill Jessica, because she’s committed a felony by kidnapping her.

    – Both Shauna and Tai have spoken about the necessity for consequences for one’s actions.

    – What is it that Nat was right about, per Travis? Why do they ignore his last message?

  20. As always, great comments and an absolutely Pulitzer-worthy recap.

    A thing I keep thinking about, days later, is what is in Shauna’s journals. Everything? Some things?

    Because if WifeGuy(TM) read them years ago, then he knows the fate of their first fetus, and I have to think he’d have thoughts about that, and that they’d talk about it…unless they already did, years ago, but that seems unlikely.

    Perhaps Shauna will miscarry and she told him that at some point? But I thought this was an interesting detail on the reveal/conceal scale.

    And re: Van’s vest, I wore several vests from 1993-1998, including an *embroidered* one featuring “peoples of the world.” RIP my straightness, RIP the 90s

    • My very real worry that we were going to have to watch these younger actors, like, roast and eat Shauna’s baby is somewhat allayed by the fact that Jeff’s read the journals, because I think he could conceivably read about a miscarriage or stillbirth without immediately confronting Shauna given how traumatic that would have been. How he personally dealt with that grief would be interesting to know, but I have to imagine that even a man willing to go to jail to cover his wife’s murderous crime (we watch so much Dateline, Shauna!) might still balk at cannibalizing his own offspring.

    • Another great recap!

      I just have to say, how the hell does Van’s face look so…fine? After the wolf attack, you could see through her face! There were whole chunks of flesh missing! Was it Akilah who sewed her back up? Give that girl the surgeon of the century award, cause dang, all Van has is a tiny scribbly scar. It’s completely unbelievable and so far my biggest gripe with this show. Van should be completely disfigured.

  21. Another great recap!

    I just have to say, how the hell does Van’s face look so…fine? After the wolf attack, you could see through her face! There were whole chunks of flesh missing! Was it Akilah who sewed her back up? Give that girl the surgeon of the century award, cause dang, all Van has is a tiny scribbly scar. It’s completely unbelievable and so far my biggest gripe with this show. Van should be completely disfigured.

  22. I feel even more confident than I did when I commented a couple weeks ago that Van is going to be the one revealed at the reunion. Someone already commented, it could easily be the last few seconds of the finale. And because it won’t be the same actress, all they would need is the red hair and scarring on her cheek to provide a dramatic reveal. That would remove the need for corny/forced exposition.

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