“Yellowjackets” Episode 202 Recap: Pleasures of the Flesh

Welcome to the Yellowjackets 202 recap, where we will be talking all things “Edible Complex” (someone is having a LOT of fun with the episode titles this season). The episode was written by Jonathan Lisco and directed by Ben Semanoff. Catch up on past recaps, and as always, please join me in the comments for discussion, citizen detective work, and jokes!

We’ve all been waiting to see what might be done with Jackie’s body. It has felt inevitable that she would be eaten, but how, under what circumstances? Shauna got the party started last week when she bit into a chewy bit of detached ear. She got a taste for flesh; would others so easily follow suit? Would Shauna start stretching the bear meat by subsidizing it with Jackie jerky? In one of its scariest episodes to date, Yellowjackets gives us some answers.

But first: Things really escalate between Teen Shauna and Dead Jackie in the meat shed post-ear snack. They taunt each other in the episode’s opening scene, Shauna’s hunger and mortification about what she did likely making both her and Jackie’s ghost especially irritable, as Jackie’s ghost is really just an extension of Shauna’s inner monologue. Shauna attempts to lie to Jackie — so really, attempts to lie to herself — about what really happened to the ear. It feels like an impossible thing to admit to.

Jackie asks Shauna to braid her hair — to cover the missing ear, of course. She does. It’s a scene we see a lot in film and television, young girl besties braiding each other’s hair, an instant signal of intimacy and maybe a little homoeroticism with just the slightest whiff of pain play. I used to give the most popular cheerleader in middle school the best assignments for yearbook class (anyone who knows me will be 0% surprised to learn I was editor in chief of my middle school yearbook) in exchange for her French-braiding my hair in pigtails at the end of every school day. There’s a brief moment during the hair braiding where the two reminisce on the last time they did this together, at freshman homecoming. Even though we know Shauna is just remembering this by herself, alone in this shed, the way they’re sitting so close and laughing with their faces pressed together, it’s almost possible to forget none of it is real. The line between reality and fantasy is flexible throughout the episode.

Shauna and Jackie laugh in Yellowjackets 202

“remember when I was alive and not haunting you?” “haha, yeah, good times tbt”

I’ve seen a lot of fans theorize that perhaps Jackie and Shauna would have had something more than friendship going on if not for the compulsory heterosexuality bearing down on them, and I’m inclined to believe that. Regardless, a lot of times ultra-tethered best friendship between teen girls is almost indistinguishable from dating or obsessive crushing, even when sex isn’t involved. But when it comes to Jackie and Shauna, there is a physical component to their relationship. Jackie’s corpse convinces Shauna to put makeup on her — another way it’s socially acceptable and easy for young girls to have an excuse to touch each other’s faces, lips, etc. Jackie tells Shauna Jeff only had sex with her because Jackie made Shauna into someone else by doing her makeup, telling her how to dress. (Again, this would just be Shauna’s subconscious/deep-rooted insecurities telling her this, not actual Jackie who is dead.) “You only had sex with him because you wanted to imagine being me,” Jackie says. And maybe part of that is possible or maybe Shauna having sex with Jeff is the closest thing to having sex with Jackie. And you can’t tell me that eating Jackie’s ear doesn’t have an undercurrent of physical intimacy to it either.

Speaking of, the braiding and makeup sesh quickly takes a devilish turn when Jackie offers up a piece of her flesh to Shauna. “You’re hungry,” Jackie says, holding a knife to her arm. Shauna says Mari’s making stew. “That’s not what you’re hungry for,” Jackie adds, and it must be said that Ella Purnell is really nailing the horror performance this year in a way she didn’t really get to do last season, but hey, playing the imagined ghost of a dead girl interlocutor against the living girl who’s imagining her is going to indeed require some edge. She’s definitely rising to the occasion. She cuts a chunk of her arm away, despite Shauna’s protests, and then says, quietly and emphatically, “You’re the one holding the knife.”

It’s really perfect fractured-reality horror. We know as viewers that Shauna is the one cutting into Jackie, but it’s still affecting to see it revealed to Shauna as we cut to her and indeed see her holding the knife, her butcher talents newly applied to her dead best friend’s forearm.

Some teen girls are angsty because they’re talking to their dead best friend in a shed in the wilderness, and some teen girls are angsty because they’re pretty sure their parents are murderers. Shauna’s daughter Callie is choosing to intentionally fracture her reality by hitting the vape. “What if I wanna vape until my head falls off?” she asks her boyfriend dramatically. She’s mad that her parents are liars, that they only care about themselves, that she no longer has any real way to manipulate either of them into getting what she wants. She moodily breaks up with her boyfriend, and the poor guy just wanted to eat some pancakes with her!

Shauna is trying with Callie. She asks her to go to the mall, to go on a walk, anything for them to spend time together, she’s growing up fast. Callie wants nothing to do with her, because she refuses to accept that having a mom who has impulsive affairs and also impulsively murders as something Cool and Hot and instead sees it as Boring and Bad (I’m jk).

Later, when Kevin Tan shows up on Shauna’s doorstep, Callie eavesdrops as Kevin interrogates her mother. It’s casual, at first, Kevin asking if Shauna knows of Adam Martin, a local artist who has been missing. She feigns ignorance until he shows her a picture and she says, oh yes, she does remember him, because they got in a fender bender together. The tension ramps up when Kevin notes that there are records of a lot of texts between the two of them. Callie swoops in and says it’s time to go to the mall, effectively saving Shauna from things getting worse. But once he’s gone, Callie asks her mother why she lied to the police, and Shauna says cops are sexist in this town and would never have believed it was just an affair. “So you lied to be feminist?” Callie asks, with perfect delivery. No, Shauna corrects, she did it so that everyone in town doesn’t find out she cheated on Jeff. She says she’s protecting him. Which is a little bit true, but Shauna’s also just protecting herself. “Callie? Cals?” she says just as Callie is about to do one of her stompy teenage exits. Callie turns, perhaps hoping that her mother will finally say something she can believe or something that indicates she’s thinking about her in all of this. “At least go out the back in case he’s still out there.”

Shauna holds a spatula over a burger patty

the only reason I’m including this screencap is because this whole scene I kept shouting WHY???? @ Shauna spending so much time shaping a burger patty with a spatula. I think Shauna really only excels at cooking when it’s uhhhh let’s go with…gamier.

Shauna is failing at parenthood and at murder cover-up these days. It must be said that she and Jeff are wildly bad at being inconspicuous. Shauna, for all her other questionable qualities, has never been good at lying. We saw this time after time in season one (who can forget that call to Pratt?!). Shauna and Jeff had sex in a potential crime scene. They’re not good at this! Mainly because they’re more focused on repairing their marriage than on covering up the murder, and it’s creating domestic chaos to the point where their teen daughter’s angst might become their undoing. Callie goes to a bar with her friend and ends up flirting with a much older man, who not only has questionable midday drink choices (Fireball?!) but who is also an undercover cop. He’s Kevin’s new partner, and he’s extremely not supposed to be undercover or buying alcohol for a high school girl, but he pretty easily gets it out of Callie that Shauna was indeed having an affair. It’s sad, because Callie’s initial motive is just trying to rebel against her parents by engaging in risky behavior but then she genuinely feels a point of connection with this guy about family shit. Little does she know he’s just some stupid cop who’s fucking with her to get to her mother, a fact Callie would surely hate.

The sleepwalking is getting more dangerous for Taissa in both timelines. Van wakes up to find Teen Tai missing, somehow cutting free of her rope. When she tracks her down, Tai is walking urgently through the freezing woods, following something. It’s the return of the eyeless man, one of several terrifying images that briefly pops up in the episode. We see him from behind at first, and then he turns. WHO THE FUCK IS THE EYELESS MAN AND WHAT DOES HE REPRESENT?

The eyeless man technically predates the plane crash. We learned back in season one that Taissa’s grandmother perhaps envisioned an eyeless man when she was on her death bed, hauntingly screaming “don’t take my eyes!” during an episode Tiny Taissa was there to witness. I do think it’s possible that the trauma of the plane crash has made Teen Taissa start seeing a version of what was easily her earliest major fright. I myself have had some of my childhood recurring nightmares resurface during stressful times as an adult. Running for public office often entails a lot of sleep deprivation and skipping meals due to hectic schedules, and it’s possible the campaign activated the part of Taissa’s subconscious tethered to her time in the wilderness, thereby resurrecting the eyeless man in her adulthood (by my memory, we’ve only seen Adult Tai see him once, when she was supposed to be announcing she was quitting the campaign but instead didn’t in season one).

That’s my attempt at trying to logically explain what might be inexplicable. Van thinks Tai should talk to Lottie about what’s going on, and we see a continuation of the conflict between them at the end of last season: Van is a believer, and Tai is not. This’ll likely be their undoing as a couple, but it makes sense that they’re both making compromises in what they do or don’t believe when it comes to Lottie’s visions and rituals, because I think the thought of having to go through all this without the other is the scariest option.

The divides between Teen Lottie’s followers and her skeptics are deepening. Nat watches from the cabin as Travis talks to Lottie, getting closer to her. When they head out to hunt, Travis notes that Nat missed the blessing. “That tea is just a symbol,” Travis says, adding “Everyone has their role.” He could be right. Lottie’s blood tea and her rituals do seem to serve a purpose for some of them, Van included. It’s something to latch onto. But as with a lot of religion, this could be a dangerous loyalty that’s forming between Lottie and the others. If Travis and Van place Lottie on too high of a pedestal, things will slip quickly into cult power structures. And my guess is that they’re going to need to act more like a collective than a cult if they’re going to get out of here intact. But, as we well know, the ones who do get out of the wilderness eventually are indeed not totally intact.

On that note, Adult Taissa is unraveling, her symptoms worsening. She chugs endless Nespressos in an attempt to stay awake, but we know this isn’t sustainable and, if anything, is just going to again bring her closer to that headspace of being back in the wilderness, being exhausted and overstressed and out of control. That’s a surefire recipe to actually conjure the eyeless man, not banish him. I’m convinced what Taissa needs is sleep. A sequence of her throwing back espressos, working out, and generally trying to punch her way out of this ends with her exhausted in front of a mirror, her reflection moving on its own to stare her down. Again, this episode is scary as hell! That moment is so subtle but so good, just the tiniest fracture to reality that sends a shiver down the spine.

Taissa's reflection glares at her in the mirror

“I’m the Swan Queen, you’re the one who never left the corps!”

Another haunting image comes later, after Sammy shows up at Taissa’s house claiming to have walked all the way from school. Taissa calls Simone right away to let her know he’s there, but when Simone shows up, Sammy’s gone, his bedroom window open. They search for him, but as they’re driving, they get a call from his school saying they need to come pick him up. He has been there all day. The scenes between Taissa and Sammy from earlier in the episode play again in montage, this time without Sammy there. It’s another example of how just the slightest shift can unnerve, much like the moment in the mirror. Sometimes, horror takes the form of a presence, a monster, a loud sound, a disturbance, a man without eyes. Sometimes, horror takes the form of absence. What isn’t there can disturb as viscerally as what is. Sammy’s absence in these repeated scenes is so evocative, so destabilizing. This show constantly fucks with the realities and perceptions of its characters, and this episode does it strikingly well.

Shortly after the reveal that Sammy was never with her, something shifts in Taissa. It’s quick, subtle. But before we can get a grasp on what exactly is happening — Has she fallen asleep at the wheel and become her possessed self? Is she just sleep deprived and not paying attention? — a truck slams into their car on Simone’s side. Now, I’ve gone back and watched this moment a few times, and to me it does indeed look like Taissa is possessed and purposefully got hit by the truck. She seems to notice the oncoming vehicle, accelerate, and then smirk, as if to say oh you think something’s wrong with me? Well I’ll show you just how wrong. It definitely seems like something much more disquieting than just exhaustion-derived inattention is happening here. It seems like whoever or whatever is possessing Taissa wants to hurt Simone.

Taissa looks stern while driving a car

“maybe I would be less UPSET if our million dollar townhouse had BETTER LIGHTING”

Over on the commune, Adult Lottie and Adult Nat’s plotline also delivers an incredible horror sequence. In a bit of exposition, we learn that the last Nat heard of Lottie, she was still institutionalized. This might explain why no one suspected Lottie of sending the postcards in season one, but it still seems a stretch she wouldn’t be mentioned at all — all in service of the finale mic drop of “who the fuck is Lottie Matthews.” In any case, perhaps Shauna, Nat, and Taissa all wrote Lottie off in their minds the second she was taken to a psych ward, an unfortunately all too real thing people do to their mentally unwell friends!

Lottie explains to Nat that what she witnessed in the woods at the end of last episode wasn’t some demonic ritual of burying a man alive but rather a therapeutic treatment, one of many offered at the commune, where Lottie also specifies everyone is wearing heliotrope, not purple. Indeed, Lottie seems to be detached from reality in the sense that she’s a wealthy and powerful cult leader masquerading as a healer. Nat clocks her Rolex. When Lisa (Nicole Maines!) approaches Lottie with a smoothie, she’s deferential, eager to please. Lottie rejects the smoothie on the basis of it containing maca root. Simone Kessell nails these comedic flourishes, but for now I’m having a little bit of difficult reconciling this version of Lottie with the past.

Adult Lottie says "I smell butterscotch" standing next to Nat and Lisa in Yellowjackets 202

Lottie says she sent her people to keep an eye on Nat after Travis died, worried something might happen to her. Later in the episode, Lottie tells Nat that Travis called her on the night he died. Is it possible Lottie is still having visions that foretell death, the way she did as a teen with Laura Lee (and Van, who didn’t die completely but was unconscious for some time after the wolf attack). She doesn’t indicate if so, but given Nat’s continued skepticism of her, I doubt she’d tell Nat the reason her people kicked down that door and the reason she knew Travis was in trouble was actually because she had one of her visions.

In any case, according to Lottie, Travis told her the wilderness had come back to haunt him and that the only way to defeat it would be to find out what it wants. He was convinced the only way to do that was to have a near-death experience. Lottie says she talked him down from this but that she fell asleep. When she woke up, he was gone, had left instructions for how to get into his bank account and the note for Nat from last season that said TELL NAT SHE WAS RIGHT. Lottie tracked Travis down at the barn, finding him rigged by his neck to the crane. His plan was to just lose consciousness for a few seconds. Lottie tells him she’ll help, taking the remote. But after he raises himself, the buttons get stuck. She can’t get him down.

“Travis fucking died because the buttons got stuck?” Nat says.

She adds: “I know there’s something you’re not telling me.”

And indeed, we see the full extent of the terror of that night, the ghost Lottie leaves out in her retelling to Nat. As Travis is suspended in the air, lifeless, someone stumbles barefoot toward them. It’s Laura Lee, in her nightgown, clutching her teddy bear Leonard. Lottie is frozen in horror, and this version of Laura Lee opens her mouth in a scream, her face crumbling, the sound emanating from her inhuman and indelible. It reminds me of the moment from The Haunting of Hill House when Hugh’s mouth stretches open too long and releases a droning sound. It’s classic haunting horror, something familiar and perhaps even comforting distorted with monstrous details. The past doesn’t just come back to haunt Lottie here, but to hurt her.

the ghost of Laura Lee howls in Yellowjackets 202


“Every time that you try to save someone, bad shit happens,” Nat says. I have to imagine we have yet to see the full extent of that play out in the past timeline.

Teen Nat also tries to take matters into her own hands when she feels Teen Lottie is leading people astray. She’s frustrated with Lottie for giving Travis hope about Javi, whose likelihood of survival is so very slim. So when Nat and Travis go their separate ways during a hunt, Nat pulls out the shorts she stole out of Javi’s suitcase earlier, cuts her own leg so she can mark them with blood, tears them, and holds them up for Travis to see when they reunite. When they return to the cabin, Lottie says she can still feel that Javi is alive, but Nat shuts her down. She believes she’s doing what’s ultimately best for Travis, giving him some semblance of closure, when in reality there might not ever be real closure. We might not ever see Javi’s body.

But meanwhile, a lantern has gone missing, and someone, as Tai eloquently puts it “took a shit in the pee bucket” (I do love that we’re continuing to explore some of the grosser realities of wilderness survival). Is Javi somehow managing to live among them but unseen? And I don’t mean that in a supernatural way, though a part of me does indeed have Haunting of Hill House on the brain thanks to that Laura Lee demon-ghost moment, and the episode where young Nell disappears in plain sight comes to mind. Is there a cellar or some other space the group isn’t aware of that Javi could be holing up in? Could he have seen what happened at the Doomcoming-gone-wrong last season even though Shauna told him to run and it made him too scared of the girls to show his face around them? How devastating it would be for Travis if Javi has been right under his nose all this time. If Javi does manage to survive, then it’s going to absolutely fuck up his relationship with Nat.

For now though, the release of knowing Javi’s fate — as devastating as it might be — does unlock something between Travis and Nat again. The two have sex in the cabin, but as we dip into Travis’ perspective, things quickly take a turn for the strange and surreal. He keeps imagining Nat as Lottie and then Lottie as a second presence alongside Nat. Bursts of images puncture their sex, pockets of light also erupt through, much like Travis’ vision last episode of the hollowed-out tree trunk. Do Travis and Lottie have some sort of psychic connection? While it begins tenderly and Nat seems oblivious to any corporeal or psychic intervention, it’s difficult not to place this sex scene in conversation with the scene from “Doomcoming” in which the girls all swirl around Travis seductively and then quickly devolve into violence, hunting him. The eerie, quick movement of a body in a nightgown departing the room at the end of the sequence ranks among the many skin-crawling frights in the episode, brief and quiet as it may be.

Teen Lottie stands behind Teen Nat in Yeellowjackets

“hey, me and my mind’s eye telepathically saw you from across the cabin and really dig your vibe. can we buy you a blood tea?”

And now it is time for us to sink our teeth into the most grisly parts of this intense, horror-packed episode. There is the issue of Jackie’s body, still frozen like a snapshot in the clothes she wore when she died. Now, she’s also made up with braids and lip gloss. The girls have been moving in a wide berth around Shauna, letting her have her imagined conversations with Jackie, giving her space. But when Tai discovers Jackie’s body, she freaks out.

“And you’ve been posing her, right? Adjusting her limbs like some fucked up doll?” Tai hurls at Shauna, whose embarrassment, guilt, and devastation here is so difficult to watch. Lottie attempts to defend Shauna: “She was her best friend, Tai.” But Taissa says it has to stop, for the good of Shauna and for the good of the baby, prompting Shauna to scream: “Like any of you know what’s good for the baby.” She’s right. No one out here knows the first fucking thing about pregnancy, about childbirth. Shauna is alone in this experience, and when she clings to the memory of Jackie, she’s clinging to not just that formative friendship but to do a time when she did not have something growing inside her.

The ground is frozen solid, so Taissa proposes they cremate Jackie. The girls assemble a pyre. When Jackie’s placed upon it, Akilah wonders if they should keep her clothes. The thought of stripping Jackie naked feels gauche, but they could use her jacket. Shauna swoops in to shut it down though; no one is taking Jackie’s clothes. “Now you’re her protector?” Mari asks. “Too little too late.” It’s a low blow, but Mari is the resident mean girl in the woods.

In truth, Shauna only doesn’t want them to remove Jackie’s clothes because then they’ll see she cleaved a piece of Jackie’s arm, a gash that Lottie notices but says nothing about, removing Jackie’s necklace and placing it around Shauna’s neck. And so the necklace moves once more. It’s an important artifact, because we know that the girl hunted in the series’ opening scene was wearing it.

Shauna lights the pyre after a brief eulogy: “Jackie, I’ll never have another friend like you. I just don’t even know where you end and I begin. I’m sorry, and I love you.”

While Nat and Travis have sex, Jackie is burning. But some unseen force extinguishes the candles around them, and then we’re outside, high in the air, in the perspective of some sort of other invisible force, a strong wind perhaps, or something more mystical. We’ve seen this point of view before, in season one when a gust of wind blew into the attic and extinguished the flames during the seance, something seemingly entering Lottie. This time, the gust knocks over a bunch of frozen branches and snow, falling onto Jackie’s body. Suddenly, she isn’t being burned; she’s being barbecued, the flames beneath her becoming coals.

A really great piece about the recurring themes of Greek and Roman myths and literature came out this week, and I highly recommend giving it a read, especially as it relates to this episode’s final scene. In it, Sakhi Thirani breaks down the images and sequences that evoke Dionysian rites throughout season one. In my recap of “Doomcoming” last season, I wrote a bit about the girls’ resemblance of maenads, the wild women who performed erotic and wicked rituals to worship Dionysus, and this piece delves into that much further. It’s a great read, one that connects the show’s internal and external expressions of horror and brutality.

In addition to a tongue-in-cheek play on Greek mythology in this episode’s title — “Edible Complex” — this final sequence is overt in its evocations of ancient literature and religious rites. Everyone wakes up to the smell of Jackie’s cooking corpse. They wanted outside. Shauna approaches first, the others looking at her, as if for a cue. “She wants us to,” Shauna says.

We dip then into a fantasy sequence of everyone sitting at an elaborate table, preparing for a feast. Everyone is adorned in white tunics, in gold crowns. Their chalices overflow with wine. When Shauna reaches for a juicy strawberry, it’s the cue everyone has been looking for. Everyone eats ravenously, peeling flesh from bone in the reality-based scenes, and stuffing their faces with fruit and roasted meat in the fantasy scenes, which are spliced together to great effect. It means we don’t have to sit inside of the horror of the cannibalism the whole time, the fantasy offering reprieve but also, in some ways, an even more macabre way of ingesting this scene. Again, there’s that fractured reality, that sense that for as lavish and lovely as the Greek feast looks, it’s deceptively wicked. In a particularly gruesome aerial shot, we see them all picking at the body and know well that there will be nothing of Jackie left.

Coach Ben ends up being our audience surrogate here, not only not participating in the act but also fearful of it. He backs away slowly. He missed the bacchanalian chaos of Doomcoming night; he hasn’t yet seen the girls at their wildest. He slams the door on the horror, but it’s not like he can ever unsee it — neither can we.

Something that that piece on Greek mythology x Yellowjackets captures so well is the fact that a lot of behavior on the show is uncategorizable and difficult to make sense of. Thirani writes of the show: “It discomforts viewers through its intense intertextual layers and defiance of the rigid parameters that typically prevail in remakes. Here, the remake is of a Greek myth whose very essence centers on rule-breaking and abandon.” The splicing together of reality and fantasy, the invoking of a Greek feast of glutton and indulgence discomforts indeed. And while structured and coherent in its storytelling, Yellowjackets doesn’t follow strict rules. Do the girls eat Jackie in a moment of intense hunger and desperation? I don’t really think so. It isn’t that simple; it isn’t that logical. There’s hive mind at play, the team looking to Shauna in this moment, her status as pregnant almost giving her this maternal role. According to her, they eat Jackie because Jackie wants them to.

The teen versions of Shauna, Lottie, Nat, and Taissa are all hypercritical of each other’s methods and beliefs in the woods, but they’re also all cut from the same cloth, all trying to make some semblance of order where there is none, acting impulsively and erratically as they try to make sense of the senseless. Nat’s dismissive of Lottie, but can she really claim her decision to fabricate Javi’s death scene is a superior choice? Taissa won’t let Van talk to Lottie, to the detriment of her relationship. Shauna listens to the phantom final gasp of her dead best friend, all in her imagination, and convinces an entire group to eat a body without much thought for what it really means. This core four all have a different idea of how to survive, but can any of them really claim to have all the answers?

Eating Jackie doesn’t seem like an act of survival; it seems like an act of debauchery. After all, they’re not just eating her; they’re feasting on her. The only adult present — the only vestige of an old order — exists on the outside of this, every bit as hungry as they are but terrified to his core of what he’s seeing.

Last Buzz:

  • It sure does add quite the new layer to the fact that Adult Shauna spends every one of Jackie’s birthdays dining with Jackie’s parents, knowing Shauna once dined on their daughter!!!!!!
  • Adult Nat at some point seems to be recalling a memory or a nightmare. We see from her point of view as someone presses an oxygen mask to her face. Any ideas what this could be? The rescue?
  • Elijah Wood makes his first appearance! He plays PuttingTheSickInForensics from Misty’s Citizen Detective forums, and he’s very displeased that she keeps downvoting his Adam Martin theories but also wants to help her in her mission to find Nat. He sends her an invisible ink letter suggesting that they interview a guest at the motel posing as the FBI. It’s fun to watch Misty so rattled by his presence in the episode, because Misty is usually the one in control of such situations.
  • Was it just a red herring that Adam didn’t have any digital footprint in season one? I even thought it could be at the time. But I’m surprised it hasn’t come up again given how quickly the missing persons case is moving. Who reported him missing in the first place?
  • I’m pretty sure Misty and Crystal are doing Princess Bride reenactments while fighting with sticks in the background of a scene in the woods. That tracks.
  • I love the kittens as Misty’s laptop background. She loves animals! There’s something so unsettling about the blend of some of her more childlike qualities with her more murderous qualities.
  • “Are you guys having a spa day without me or something?” Adult Misty asks after trying to get ahold of Tai and Shauna for the millionth time. Give Christina Ricci awards for her incredible line readings.
  • If you are the genius A+ Member who made that very good art of Jeff in the A+ Discord this week, can you let me know in the comments if I have permission to share it in the next recap? I will of course credit you! I just love it so much.
  • The official Yellowjackets playlist is back! What was your favorite musical cue this episode?

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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 814 articles for us.


  1. Excellent recap as always, Kayla!

    I just watched the episode this morning and I’m still thinking about it at work this morning, as one does 😅

    I am so curious how this Travis/Natalie/Lottie tension will play out in the 90s timeline (and present!) with the revelation that Lottie was present for and contributed to Travis’s death. Did not see Lottie’s present day involvement coming at all and want to know more about that relationship in the 2020s timeline.

    I was simultaneously horrified and entranced by how the eating of Jackie was shot. I was so freaking unsettled by BOTH the bacchanal feast shots and the “raw” shots of everyone just eating Jackie. It was so absurdly well done.

    This was just such an excellent episode. I’m excited to read everyone’s thoughts and takes!

    • truly every time i think this show has hit its peak, it delivers something like that feasting scene that just KNOCKS ME OFF MY FEET!!!!!!!! i was stunned. as disturbing as it is, I keep rewatching it haha.

      and YEAH if Travis called Lottie when he was spiraling, it’s implied that they’ve kept in touch, right? what’s going on there!

      • I also can’t get a full read on Adult Lottie. I’m suspect of the ways in which she might be twisting the truth (as when she tells Nat Travis told her not to call Nat because Nat would “only make things worse), and trying to reconcile her adult self with Teen Lottie, as you said, Kayla – because Teen Lottie fully believes in what she’s saying I think.

        • I know! I’m getting some serious manipulation vibes from adult Lottie that don’t quite match up with what I have seen from teen Lottie so far! Simone Kessell is giving us a great performance, but it definitely makes all of this more complicated to try to get a read on.

          • Simone is REALLY nailing some of the comedic parts of that performance, and it’s super interesting, because I think the closest we’ve seen Teen Lottie be to funny is before the crash when she was seemingly just a rich popular girl

      • I agree with the assertion that Lottie is still having visions of people’s demise and that’s why she showed up at Travis’s place and why the timing of Nat’s kidnapping was right on time.

        I’ll expand on this in my own comment but… what the hell was Nat right about? He sure seemed to believe in the woo woo shit from Lottie’s retelling.

  2. I’m really curious to see how this sense of “the Wilderness” as a kind of force plays out over the course of this season (and beyond), in part because one of the things that can be both the most comforting/freeing AND the most terrifying about nature is its indifference to us as individual people.

    Kayla, I do agree the way the final scene is presented heightens this bacchanalian dynamic in a way that is not just about starvations, but also – it is both, right? They are starving. How long have they been living on melted snow with a few herbs and some shaved dried meat, for like 12 (?) people? Shauna gives them permission to transgress this social code, leading to the frenzy, and they needed that permission or release.

    I do love the decision to have Coach Ben as the incarnate stand-in of the social order, and also the irrationality of Shauna refusing to let them repurpose Jackie’s jacket (which would be the practical thing to do!) and yet leading them in eating her – in some strange way, this invokes how we hold onto a sense of morality and care and sociality even in extreme situations where these kinds of divisions are maybe not logical any longer.

    In this vein, these wintery setting and heightened precarity of these last two episodes have had me thinking about flight 571, the Andes crash in 1972. I highly recommend the fabulous and compassionate discussion by Blair Braverman on the You’re Wrong About podcast of this real story of extreme survival of a sports team. Blair and Sarah Marshall discuss how that story got branded as “cannibalism, people are awful” when really it’s a story of all the ways people cling to their humanity and care even in the most extreme of conditions.

    I don’t have any theories beyond that, just a lot of excitement to see how this unfolds, and intense feelings about this show and wanted to say how glad I am to be able to come read your thoughts Kayla, and dive into the comment section, after watching solo!

    • Also yeah, to be clear, I am not judging them at all for eating Jackie. I think they should have done it a long time ago! But I do think they’re acting on MORE than just starvation but also that those other factors are indeed deeply human, primal. They’re scared, confused, alone, grieving, desperate for order, etc. And they’re even more adrift than Coach Ben, because well, they’re kids who have never had to survive on their own (Ben arguably has some survival instincts baked in him from navigating a heteropatriarchal world and sports as a closeted gay man), so I think the implication is that he isn’t so readily able to partake in this ritual. Because yeah, it really does seem like they’re ritualizing it, which I think also comes from a place of survival/humanity. I think they can think of it less as “we’re eating our friend” and more as “this is what has to be done to survive” if there’s a level of disconnect (the fantasy sequence) as well as “order” (looking to Shauna for permission).

      Anyway, that was rambly! But yeah I agree that they’re still operating from a place of starvation, and I truly don’t fault them for eating her, especially now that the bear has run out.

        • Ok cool yeah I wanted to be a bit more specific in a way I didn’t get all the way into in the recap for the sake of word count haha (which is why I end up always writing entire recap sequels in these comments) lol but I’m really glad you got this convo started on what the cannibalism really signifies for them psychologically!

    • it’s been so interesting watching this show after listening to that episode of YWA and reading one of the books written by one of the survivors! Also thinking of Blair’s novel and what it means to survive.

      Also @kaylakumari I love that you included the screengrab w/Shauna & the hamburger? I’ve never seen someone make a hamburger like that or fiddle with one for so long. That lady’s into raw meat

      • omgggggg right? remember when Teen Shauna in the woods almost licked the raw bear meat’s blood? (i think that was because she had an iron deficiency from the pregnancy but whew Shauna does have a pattern of liking raw ear/meat/etc)

  3. This was such a terrifying and amazing episode. I find it interesting that adult Taissa is so scary and dark while young Taissa is often one of the more sympathetic and rational characters. Similarly, young Lottie seems to genuinely want to help people, yet adult Lottie seems somewhat in on the grift.

    The Jackie parts were truly distributing and I was shocked they went that far this early in the season. You’re right, it didn’t seem like they were starving to the point of animal instinct at this point, it seemed like they chose to feast. I was surprised also that everyone joined in. Except for Coach!!! Oh, poor Coach.

    • I’m into the fact that they went there so early in the season! I thought they were really gonna drag it out.

      And yeah it’s really interesting trying to square the younger versions with the older versions. I’m always looking for seeds in their teenage behavior that indicate what they might grow into. I have the most questions about Lottie’s arc for now.

  4. Me *giving Shauna therapy*: So, Mrs. Sadecki. Is there anything you want to tell me?
    Shauna: I was eating my best friend because I loved her so much, and I couldn’t admit that I wanted to be with her.
    Me: Was she beautiful?
    Shauna: So beautiful.
    Me: So she was a legit…snack?

    From now on I will be referring to her as Snackie Jackie.

  5. Speaking of Greek myth, I’ve been hung up on Adult Lottie specifying “heliotrope” as the garment color of her devotees. Obviously it’s a character-defining moment, but it felt like there was more to it.

    After going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, I found the heliotrope flower associations *interesting* in the context of the show.

    Symbolic of “eternal devotion” derived from the Greek tragedy of Clytie, who ends up buried alive as a result of her jealousy re: unrequited love for Helios (sun god) who subsequently transforms her into a flower that “always follows the sun.” See: the color of Adult Lottie’s cult-couture dress!

    Also — heliotrope gem = bloodstone (“the martyr’s stone”), said to provide the wearer with all sorts of powers, including divination/prophecy. The reddish iron oxides in the stone are also more visible when in water (“river of blood” anyone?).

    And also also— heliotrope is a hepatotoxin…. 🧐

  6. And now that I’m rewatching this episode, I think that Nat’s memory when she lies down in Lottie’s cult cabin could be from a medical emergency as an adult (might be an overdose, given that we know she has struggled with addiction?).

    The room that we see looks too modern/clean to be the cabin in the woods, and there is someone in the background behind the two EMTs. It could be adult Travis?

    • I also thought that it was maybe an overdose or perhaps an earlier suicide attempt. If Travis was in the background that would make sense since it seemed to be a flashback triggered by her conversation with Lottie. So it seems like its connected to Travis somehow!

      OR! Maybe it was a near death experience and she had some sort of vision or experience that she’s been trying to deny? In the trailer she’s the one that says Lottie can help them and we see her seeming to have some sort of hypnotic session with Lottie so their relationship might still be antagonistic but something seems like it’s going to shift between them.

  7. aaaaand i think we are into the territory where i’m reading recaps first then watching the episodes! my yj buddy (hivemate?) is like ‘you’re the one who introduced me to this and now you’re too scared?’ and i’m like yes tell me when tall man no eyes is gone

    i don’t even know if i have theories at this point or if it’s more hopes! thoughts:

    -javi is either not dead or lived long enough to provide some kind of evidence that disproves nat’s story
    -if simone is in the hospital after the t-boning, does that mean tai gets sammy full time?
    -related, the captions indicate that tai revved the engine into the intersection and you can see that the truck that hit them had a green light!
    -so elijah wood was definitely stalking misty before this right? maybe because of a previous victim?
    -kevyn is back! i kinda liked him just as another jeff-like perspective of someone who was close in the Before and saw some of the After
    -where is adult van! is she real? or is she a full on hallucination?
    -something about the smoothie interaction with nicole maines (lisa? i forget her character’s name) and Charlotte feels foreshadowy. maybe the ingredients relate to woods time?
    -where is lottie’s cult? could it be…the canadian wilderness?
    -why is nat’s go to escape from cult a train? maybe the tunnels are old railroad tunnels not mining tunnels?
    -truly going to have nightmares about both ghost laura lee (hi jane widdop we missed you) and snackie’s demise
    -adult travis was yet another excellent bid by the casting department!
    -someone tell travis and nat that the things on the cabin walls are snowshoes and they don’t have to burn half their calories wading through the snow

    • omg I was truly shocked how much adult travis sounded like teen travis!!!!

      also, wow ok so confirmed Taissa got them hit on purpose. something very annoying is that my advanced press screeners do NOT come with subtitles! so i’m often not able to watch with subtitles until after my recap on like my third watch of the episode haha. but I always catch new things on those watches! streamers should really start including subtitles on screeners, especially for accessibility reasons!

    • My guess for the location of Lottie’s cult is either somewhere in the Poconos (PA) or upstate NY. I would assume it’s within reasonable driving distance of Nat’s place in NJ (i.e. hours, not days), and there are plenty of lakes in the woods in those areas.

    • i was struck by the casting of adult travis too, amazing! i thought travis’s voice on the phone when nat calls him in s1 had to have been the teen actor and now, idk.

    • and yes agree re: javi – either that he’s somehow not dead or just that nat’s faking that scene gets exposed. i did not catch the snowshoes, wow. they’re resourceful enough that it doesn’t make sense they haven’t figured that one out.

  8. Okay one, thank you Kayla for the Black Swan reference and also for the fantastic as always recap. Which I will continue to read before watching because I cannot handle the eyeless man. Bacchanalian cannibal feasts? Fine. Eyeless man? Nope. Knowing what’s coming ruins the suspense a little but it doesn’t ruin my night’s sleep. And unlike Tai, I understand the necessity of sleep!

    I really like that adult Lottie definitely gives manipulative vibes and am excited to see how that comes about. I feel like this is a show we can trust to actually make that a believable shift. But also, as a kid that really wanted to believe weird shit that grew into an adult that jokes about just how manipulative of a cult leader I could be — maybe the into spiritualism teenager to manipulative cult leader pipeline is a thing!

    But more seriously, we’re also getting a lot of hints that some decision of hers went terribly wrong and she came out of the woods not speaking and seemingly not interacting with the world. But then we saw her institutionalized and using her ‘power’ again, and I wonder if there was some element at first of needing to get back to the powerful position that she held but then to keep that power required manipulation and growing up brought cynicism.

    I love the parallelism of Tai and Lottie both in ‘leadership’ positions in the woods, and both with some connection to something beyond them, and them as adults as a cult leader and a politician. Both roles that could start from a place of idealism and genuine care/charisma and then become cutthroat and manipulative. Also really interesting to have them at opposition in the woods when it seems like whatever may or may not be out there is using the two of them the most out of everyone!

    Back to Lottie. I don’t know if I think any of that Travis sequence was real? Laura Lee’s ghost seems real enough, but I wonder about the rest. Lottie saying Travis didn’t want Nat there because she would make it worse was so clearly hurtful and manipulative that I have trouble believing it. I don’t have trouble believing that Lottie pressed the buttons, whether she intentionally murdered Travis or not. Her cult does seem to be into near death experiences as “therapy”.

    It will be interesting to see where they go with the wind/spirit/whatever point of view. I like that it adds an element of asking what did they bring with them, and what found them? And did it really, or are we simply seeing their teenage interpretation and need for a reason/justification for their behavior?

    I need some back story on the symbol soon. It was fine being a mysterious harbinger of Bad Things for the first season but it’s going to get annoying and less mysterious if they don’t start telling us a little more. It definitely evokes alchemical symbols — and might actually be made of them entirely. Another Greco-Roman motif. Besides the philosophers stone and lead into gold alchemists were really into the concept of purifying elements, transmuting “base” elements into “noble” elements. Which brings so many wilderness/civilization/human/animal dichotomies to mind. Also interesting, Hermes was the god associated with Alchemy which led to Hermetic philosophy. And Hermeticism says that there is a single, true wisdom but it’s ancient and humans lost it back in the primordial slime. And the Egyptian deity Thoth was maybe where the Greeks got Hermes from in the first place? He had a human body and bird head and I want to say was part of the spirits progress from the land of the living to the land of the dying? Which seems relevant! I’m not an expert in any of that, so if anyone is and has anything to correct or add please come talk mythology, alchemy, teen girls and cannibalism with me.

    Random notes:
    I love that Misty is cleaning her bird cage with a UV light
    Very excited to read the article on Greek and Roman mythology tie in
    RIP frozen friend meat shed — for now…

    • Thank you for this deep dive on multiple levels! And haha I truly love providing this service of recaps people can read before watching! I hope my slightly unconventional approach to recapping where I don’t move in perfectly chronological order preserves SOME suspense in the viewing experience!

      I do wanna know more about the symbol as well. And I am truly fascinated to watch Lottie’s arc play out. I def take her story about Travis with a grain of salt. But I also hope Lottie isn’t full-on villain, because I really did feel in season 1 that the show was making an effort to subvert or interrogate the trope of associating mental instability with evil. I think Teen Taissa even said something to the effect of “if this were a horror movie, she’d be the villain,” and Van pushed back on it iirc.

      • Yes, I would be disappointed if she was fully a villain! But I hope she becomes an even more complicated character. I like that in the woods, where their very existence is deeply destabilized, she’s become a stabilizing force when her parents and the medical establishment labeled her as unstable.
        And to continue the ancient esoterica train of thought, her place as a Sibyl in both the past and adult storylines with the more primal version seeming to truly believe and the more “modern” seeming to perhaps still truly believe but also use it as a form of power/control is fun to consider in terms of debates about whether the Delphic oracles were real or not, were they pure smoke and mirrors, in a drugged state, controlled by others, easily bribed. Oversimplifying but those debates seem to fall into a pre-modern belief was pure if based on pageantry vs they were as cynical and power hungry as current political and religious institutions when the middle or a combination of the two is so much more fascinating!

    • i love these thoughts.
      among various discussions about the symbol on yj subreddit last season, i read this very interesting post that touched on the symbol (the poster identified as a lesbian so maybe they’re here somewhere or can come here).

  9. okay so obviously this episode was very huge and they ate Jackie, but unfortunately my first thought was “cult leader Lottie is so Mommi” (or, as the kids say, so mother).

    thirsting over Simone Kessell is my primary contribution to this discourse at this time

  10. I have to believe that the shot of Elijah Wood’s character’s partly-bare lower legs as he wheels his mom into the nursing home is a very intentional homage to Misty’s season one admission that her turn-ons include “muscular calves,” and I laughed out loud.

  11. My partner thinks that Ben is next on the menu and knows it. He’s at a physical disadvantage, he’s an outsider as a non-teen-girl, and teen girls are a terrifying force even when they’re not feral, bacchanalian cannibals.

    I don’t buy adult Lotties’s story about Travis’s death. Wasn’t she holding the controller the whole time? She could have just left with it (unless it was connected)? I might have those details wrong as I haven’t rewatched, but either way I don’t buy it. The whole theme of the episode is that nothing is what it seems (even the note to Misty in invisible ink).

  12. Re: nat’s little flashback while in bed at the cult. definitely a drug OD with a younger travis in the background and paramedics with oxygen.

    i also think travis’ note to nat is wrt javi being dead but confirmation not arriving till the future timeline just before travis’ death (which lottie absolutely did not do accidentally)

    the postcards — what if they’re sent by sleepdemon taissa?

    • Totally agreed on the first point. I think we’re seeing what Nat and Travis’s relationship looked like a bit in that moment.

      The only way I can see Lottie not *intentionally* killing Travis at this point is maybe if she was having the Laura Lee vision and was unaware of what she was doing with the remote. Lottie’s story as told in this episode just doesn’t add up.

      • Why would Travis give her his bank account info when he was still alive and apparently only “wanted to have a NEAR death experience”?
      • How did Travis think he was going to bring himself down when he fell unconscious while alone in the barn?

      I genuinely love the mental image of SleepDemonTai on a laptop designing these postcards on some website! I still think about the postcards a lot and this is a wild theory and I love it.

        • Ignore the “hi.” Commenting on my phone is apparently hard for the second week in a row 😂

          I’m now left spending too much time considering how dishonest Travis and Lottie are with Natalie after they leave the woods. I’m pretty intrinsically trust Nat, even as an adult, when compared to any of the other adults we’ve been introduced to thus far. I am assuming that at some point after Natalie and Travis’s on again off/again toxic relationship, Travis got involved or reinvolved in the cult and then left at some point (hence Natalie being right, maybe?)

          All I know is I don’t trust Lottie (at all) or Travis (much) in the adult timeline.

        • I have a feeling that there is some major piece(s) of what transpires in the Lottie / Travis / Javi / Nat dynamic and especially Travis’ death (I am also suspect of Lottie’s recounting) that we haven’t seen yet, and there will be some unexpected twist(s).

          It feels too straightforward (or almost like a tease) to have it simply be a matter of Javi’s death and Travis being more involved with the cult than we’re yet aware/Nat believed.

  13. God the whole time they were building the pyre, like when they stopped at cooking fire level, Sadie and I were just yelling at the screen that it was gonna roast her not cremate her! There’s a reason people stack wood on TOP of the body, too! Anyway, then we get a snow-steam added to it. That was so much.

    I think one of the moments that sticks with me the most is in the scene with Travis and Lottie where she turns to Laura Lee and you see behind her, in the background, that the buttons aren’t just stuck, leaving Travis at ground level, but that the crane is pulling him higher. This episode was an absolute master class in having glimpses of horror going on in the background!

    • This! I’m all-in on there being some sort of supernatural evil that routinely keeps them from being able to save themselves — the plane’s black box beaconing for hours in but no response, not being able to hike out of the woods, Theodore bursting into flames… I fully believe that the buttons ~didn’t work~ and instead ~malfunctioned~ to pull Travis higher and higher.

  14. hi i <3 these recaps; just popping by to say this teevee show + that greek myth JSTOR article unearthed a long lost memory that a million years ago, i was actually in an entire Sarah Lawrence dance major production of the Bacchae (405 BCE)?

    everyone in our show was queer and confused about it, had backstage Drama, wore legwarmers everyday everywhere irregardless of occasion/weather, and was operating with a medium-key early aughts NYC-adjacent style dance-studies eating disorder; the show had a very awkwee amount of audience participation, including making the audience follow us for a full dionysian parade through campus from one site to another. and we definitely picked a random dude from the audience every night and killed and ate him?! theatrically?! also we made someone's nice mom cry. sorry to that mom

    1) can't believe how thoroughly i memoryholed this til now
    2) is yellowjackets a remake slash sequel to this play from 405 BCE(2004 AD)
    3) do i still have any of those legwarmers

  15. Thanks so much for your recaps Kayla, they’re so well done (pardon the pun)

    A few stray thoughts:

    I think Ben is up next, he’ll at least be shunned for not participating and that will escalate to them ‘freezing him out’. Or maybe he’ll pull back from the group in disgust. I’d be sorry to see him go but feels inevitable.

    Also Lottie is an unreliable narrator, I don’t believe her story of Travis’ death. How did he end up like 7 feet off the ground, it doesn’t make sense

    As someone else mentioned, when we first saw the cult campgrounds last week, I assumed they were in THEIR woods. Last week they had Nat wrap fabric around a tree (to indicate what she has mapped), I kept expecting to see a callback of the fabric on a bigger tree (why else show that detail)

    Shauna shaping that hamburger patty was almost creepier than their feast, such an odd detail, curious if it was in script, I feel like it was Melanie’s creation

    Tai definitely caused the accident, you can see her switch/disassociate as she revved the engine. I also think she pooped in the pee bucket. We know she can get out of her restraints with Van

    Where is Lauren Ambrose already??

  16. These recaps are so great!

    I think teen Lottie is dosing the ceremonial tea with shrooms, which is causing Travis to have his Lottie related visions. Maybe he eventually realizes this and that’s the reason he stops believing, as Nat states in season one.

  17. After all the theorizing about how they would come to eat Jackie and how would the discussion go, would Shauna just secretly swap it out for bear meat, wow it was so fitting that it happened this way!! (And the bacchanalia themes make me think of The Secret History, which I love so much). I guess this what clearly what was coming but I love when shows give you all these seeds of possibilities of what could be and then ultimately give you the actuality that is the most satisfying and fitting within it’s universe (like TWL too). Poor Coach Ben I really love him. It’s like how as attuned and involved a grown up can be with a group of kids, they can never truly enter into the dynamic and even perceive the realities that are clear to the kids within. I want to be like, if he can just participate with them he’d be less at risk but it’s impossible. I agree that of course, this was influenced by their starvation, however, it was so much more than that (and significant that they ate in a way that was completely impractical survival-wise). I love the evolution of the character of the woods and how they shot that mini avalanche. I can’t help but think of the juxtaposition with Uruguayan Flight 571 in which everyone gave their permission for their flesh to be eaten by the group if they were to die and Shauna’s comment that Jackie wants them to (though she said she and not Jackie, and I wondered if she could have meant the baby though it wasn’t supposed to seem like that). With what’s to come seemingly being hunting and feasting versus rationing the meat of the naturally deceased, it’s a cool twist on the genre.

    Unpacking more about Shauna and Jackie made me think that Shauna marrying Jeff really was this inevitable, arrested development way of preserving Jackie / her relationship with Jackie and I can’t decide if it’s totally depressing because I still kind of dig them and I dig Jeff (blackmail aside).

    It looked to me like they are subtly showing Taissa falling asleep driving when she switched the way she blinks/closes her eyes and then it cuts back to the house, and then to her opening her eyes. First I thought she just got possessed in a wakened state but then the visuals that she falls asleep are there.

    Did Misty definitely poop in their chamber pot? She looks and acts SO shady when they’re discovering the source of the smell. What is she up to?

    Are thoughts about the preview fair game? I’m omitting them in case not.

      • thank you and thank you for the amazing recaps! i was wondering what people thought of nat getting back to the plane because my immediate thought was that there might be some javi-related clue but then we see her encounter the game (and then i remembered that the plane is only a few miles hike from the cabin so they would have / should have looked for javi taking shelter there like immediately, plus even if lottie was mistaken about there only being soda, they would have picked through everything already, so i guess i worked this out for myself since). it just got me thinking of any possible circumstances under which javi could have survived on his own but i really have nothing. i kind of suspect that there will be some more javi-related data that enters the picture, and more about what the visions suggest about what happened, but lean toward the theory that his fate will never be fully known/revealed – at least, not to the characters, outside of the visions. like, we’ll get more to rule on what we think about the visions and nat vs lottie and how the interpretations of characters evolve though they’ll never KNOW know – but maybe if we’re lucky they’ll show the audience someday where that night took him. anyway truly rambling at this point.

        • yeah i really like the idea of his fate never being known. that feels real! and the scariest mysteries are always the unsolvable ones. something will obvs happen to undercut Nat’s decision to plant the shorts because there’s so much potential for tension/conflict there. but it’d be cool if it was just something subtle. like they really do find his clothes he was actually wearing or travis notices the suitcase was tampered with or something

          • yes, agreed that she’s not simply going to get away with that staging. and the fact that travis (and by extension, all of them) was up until his death still haunted and trying to figure something out about the messages of wilderness would seem to center around the perpetual mystery of javi. interesting how he’s become crucial to the story only in his absence – i mean it’s great storytelling but i was so sad for him to actually run away and leave their vicinity and go missing like it’s super depressing. now i’m thinking of how many of the yj are constantly SERIOUSLY fucking things up. misty, lottie, the “bad” taissa, and fucking shauna.

  18. Also omg Shauna is such a terrible criminal. Doesn’t she know that the police can eventually get their actual text messages not just the phone records? I thought Callie was going to inform her. Nothing that she’s saying is helping and then she botches her “I want my lawyer” request too.

    • Alright… what the hell is Nat right about?

      I agree with most folks that Lottie as a narrator cannot be fully trusted. I do however think she still has visions of danger which is why she showed up at Travis’s and Nat’s moments of duress.

      The flashes from imagined Jackie to dead Jackie was so disturbingly good. Teen Shauna’s performance in this episode was exceptional imo. Bouncing from friendship to realizing she’s painting a dead girl’s face. She played the shame and guilt super well.

      Someone had mentioned to me that they thought adult Tai’s eyes change to red when she’s her other self. Not sure I noticed that being a thing.

      Yes to Tai intentionally getting into the wreck and I do believe it is other Tai.

      Okay, for my WILD theory- I wonder if some of the Tai business is directly related to Van. When did Tai start sleep walking? (I don’t remember). I know we saw what was either reality or a vision of Lottie’s seeing her eating dirt in the middle of the night. What if adult Van has been the one fucking around with everyone including doing the alter in the basement? Could Van be the bad one? I know it’s far fetched but just a theory.

      Also! Why didn’t Lottie predict Tai almost jumping off a cliff? Do her visions not always happen but just sometimes?

      Sammy was WAY TOO chipper to have been real Sammy. That creeped me out too. Very horror theme- the kid isn’t actually the kid and has different mannerisms.

      I also hope they don’t go the direction of totally supernatural. The thing I have been most impressed with in this series is how you would almost think things are supernatural but really, trauma can just really alter one’s reality.

      I like the idea that Lottie is microdosing the tea drinkers.

      I think Tai is shitting in the pee bucket. She said whoever did it needed to take it out. She ended up taking it out. Sleepy time Tai isn’t about that snowy shit life.

      I think Mari is the girl in the pilot episode that is running.

      Callie, Callie, Cals. I dislike her so much but also get that her life is wildly fucked up at the moment.

      This was long but I just always have so many thoughts.

      • oh you’re so right, it could be tai shitting in the chamber pot and not remembering, though she’d likely need to have escaped her bonds to van another time, and the way misty looks around is sus so i’m open to either. i noticed taissa’s eyes look red too but it seemed to me in this season’s pilot that they just looked red even when she was plain tai and i was definitely confused by it. i also think it’s mari’s character in the pilot (even though we know it’s an extra in the scene) because it’s the only physical match with the exception mayyybee of one of the jv girls but it’s sort of a stretch. i think it’s taissa’s alter-ego who sammy refers to as the bad one, but i suppose there could be a twist. i’ve wondered if sammy’s kind of innate understanding of taissa could eventually elicit more empathy from simone, somehow.

      • fully agree re:not wanting them to go full supernatural! i have a lot of fun coming up with explanations for some of the weirdness and their behaviors, as I attempted to do with the eyeless man here!

        i like where you’re going with this Van conspiracy theory! there’s definitely something major we haven’t unlocked yet about the sleepwalking. what if Van and Tai tethering themselves together is actually doing more harm than good?!

  19. always come right here after watching to read the recap!! (and have to hold myself off from reading it sooner)

    some random thoughts:
    -what if Shauna lit the pyre at cooking height on purpose??? or like not totally on purpose but not *not* on purpose?
    -actually now that we know how it happens, I think the mix of accidental-but-not-accidental cannibalism of Jackie is exactly how it had to happen. This whole time I’ve also been thinking it would either be Shauna making a decision to feed her to the team without them knowing, or the team talking / arguing about whether or not they will cross that line. But how it happened in this episode now seems like the only way it could have happened. An exact mix of accident, what could be considered supernatural or the wilderness, and also decision. Like, the plausible deniability to themselves of “this just happened so we might as well / we can’t NOT now” but also the undeniability of Shauna making the decision and them all following. AHHHHHHHH.

    • I think they just really didn’t know how to build a pyre lol. But I also do think Shauna probably had some subconscious hunger for Jackie’s flesh the whole time they were building it.

      And yeah, totally agree that it makes sense that THIS was how Jackie was eaten.

  20. I’ve been giving this necklace some thought. Obviously, Shauna has it now but we saw that random woman wearing it in the premiere. So, what if, Lottie (and I blame Lottie for all weird things, at least for now, until someone else emerges) says the woods told her who to choose as the hunted with the necklace. It’ll happen when the girls and Coach and Travis are sleeping. The person wakes up and becomes the hunted. The girls cannot just kill. Too easy. So they trap, they hunt, they trick, until their prey dies, and then they take the necklace off, feast and do it again once the meat runs out. The necklace means something. I’m thinking because Shauna said, “She wants us to,” meaning Jackie wants them to eat her, so Lottie makes the necklace the “sacrifice” symbol.

    • yeah, i was thinking similarly, that lottie ascribes ritual significance to the necklace, and that maybe it gets passed to the mark. which is kind of what jackie was all throughout her time in the woods (and then she goes and loses her virginity, a risky move in this genre).

    • yeah as the last remnant of the first person they consume, it makes sense that the necklace would have a lot of meaning attached to it! in any case, i think the necklace is BAD LUCK and am nervous about what it means that Shauna is now wearing it.

  21. I think we’ve come to a point where those of you clinging to the “everything has a rational explanation” theory are just going to have to shrug and admit that this is a supernatural mystery.

    I’m pretty psyched about that, myself.

    • Hope not. That would make it unoriginal and meh. Psychological mind-screwing at least justifies all their roundabouts in interviews and behind-the-scenes stuff. Some supernatural, fine, but all? No, this isn’t Penny Dreadful.

    • I dunno I think they’re still walking that tightrope of ambiguity! we’re to the point where clearly the teens (and some adults) believe it’s supernatural but you can still explain everything through science/coincidence plus the fact that they believe it’s some mystic woods force

  22. I accidentally put my thoughts in a reply- here they are.

    Alright… what the hell is Nat right about?

    I agree with most folks that Lottie as a narrator cannot be fully trusted. I do however think she still has visions of danger which is why she showed up at Travis’s and Nat’s moments of duress.

    The flashes from imagined Jackie to dead Jackie was so disturbingly good. Teen Shauna’s performance in this episode was exceptional imo. Bouncing from friendship to realizing she’s painting a dead girl’s face. She played the shame and guilt super well.

    Someone had mentioned to me that they thought adult Tai’s eyes change to red when she’s her other self. Not sure I noticed that being a thing.

    Yes to Tai intentionally getting into the wreck and I do believe it is other Tai.

    Okay, for my WILD theory- I wonder if some of the Tai business is directly related to Van. When did Tai start sleep walking? (I don’t remember). I know we saw what was either reality or a vision of Lottie’s seeing her eating dirt in the middle of the night. What if adult Van has been the one fucking around with everyone including doing the alter in the basement? Could Van be the bad one? I know it’s far fetched but just a theory.

    Also! Why didn’t Lottie predict Tai almost jumping off a cliff? Do her visions not always happen but just sometimes?

    Sammy was WAY TOO chipper to have been real Sammy. That creeped me out too. Very horror theme- the kid isn’t actually the kid and has different mannerisms.

    I also hope they don’t go the direction of totally supernatural. The thing I have been most impressed with in this series is how you would almost think things are supernatural but really, trauma can just really alter one’s reality.

    I like the idea that Lottie is microdosing the tea drinkers.

    I think Tai is shitting in the pee bucket. She said whoever did it needed to take it out. She ended up taking it out. Sleepy time Tai isn’t about that snowy shit life.

    I think Mari is the girl in the pilot episode that is running.

    Callie, Callie, Cals. I dislike her so much but also get that her life is wildly fucked up at the moment.

    This was long but I just always have so many thoughts.

    • my current wild theory on what Nat was right about: they never find Javi out there. Everyone assumes he’s dead; Lottie insists he’s still alive. Travis has accepted that he’s probably dead but still–he never fully gives up hope, you know? Lottie got in his head. When he calls Lottie, it’s because he saw Javi. Dead Javi. Young Javi. So Nat was right.

      unlikely and one I actually hope they don’t go for but! still a theory I have.

  23. Ok, demonTai thoughts:

    1. teen Van asks after saving teen Tai how Tai had cut through their tether that night. Which means…teen demonTai has a weapon stashed somewhere? A weapon teen Tai doesn’t know about? That feel like some checkov’s demon weapon vibes that will come back to haunt us.

    2. I feel like the altar reveal last season was especially interesting as it showed us for the first time that demonTai was capable of premeditation. Before we had just seen it coming out reactively to protect her (like during her press conference, or grabbing the amulet +flare gun and then hiding up a tree when she presumably heard wolves) or at least impulsively (eating dirt, sitting in her “bad one” tree, breaking Manny in e3). Setting up an altar and killing, beheading,+ behearting a beloved pet with the (implied) goal of swaying an election is very different future planning type behavior. This all leaves me to wonder, did demonTai create the illusion of Sammy with the *goal* of getting Symone in a situation where she could be gotten rid of? Like, instead of demonTai causing the accident impulsively in reaction to Symone’s threat to take Sammy in that moment, could demonTai have orchestrated the whole situation in response to Symone’s threat to take Sammy in e1?

    3. Why was the door chained when Symone got to the house? Was it just a hint that Sammy couldn’t have come in, or did she chain it after calling Symone because she was going to do something she didn’t want Symone to walk in on?

    4. I have also noticed demonTai’s eyes turning just a hint reddish when she arrives. I’ve only seen it w adult demonTai, not sure if that’s because it’s just an easier effect to make happen with Tawny Cypress (since she has naturally hazel/grey eyes and is wearing contacts to make her eyes brown to match JSB) or if it’s just that we’ve only seen teen demonTai’s eyes once, when Lotte caught her eating dirt, and it was just a very dark shot.

    • I had heard the eye color thing too. I tried to watch for it in my second watch through of this episode. I didn’t remember her eyes being red in the dirt eating scene but now I want to go back and watch that.

      I felt like this episode, her eyes were reddish the entire time. So did we even see the real Tai this en-tai-er episode? (sorry, had to). She is the most interesting character to me right now by far.

      I like someone’s comment about Tai and Lottie both being in positions of power and how that will continue to play out in both timelines. They are both persuasive and you can see that they are both looked upon to help make decisions in the teen timeline.

  24. One other question… when Nat and Travis split up, Nat says “meet back at the mossy tree in the clearing.” We know the clearing from doomcoming episode was at least a bit of a jaunt away from the cabin with the running scene, they didn’t just hop right back onto the porch.

    Is this the same tree? Lottie, Van, and Misty all participated in the ritual that Lottie performed in the last ep of season one. There is obviously significance in the tree now that it’s been discussed/incorporated into both of the first two episodes. I’d love to hear more theories on the tree. :)

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