“Yellowjackets” Episode 207 Recap: Finally, All the Adult Yellowjackets Are in One Place

This is your Yellowjackets 207 recap, where we’re diving into “Burial,” written by Rich Monahan and directed by Liz Phang. Catch up on past recaps, continue to support the writers strike, and buckle in for another long recap about this delightfully disturbing television program!

Following last week’s knockout of an episodeYellowjackets is back with the equally brutal “Burial.” It’s the first episode where we get to see all of the surviving adult Yellowjackets (that we know of) in one place, and they’re all doing various levels of BAD, mental and physical health-wise. But before we get into that, let’s open with the opening.

“Burial” opens on sweeping shots of the wilderness, covered in endless snow. “Something in the Way” by Nirvana plays — “underneath the bridge / tarp has sprung a leak / and the animals I’ve trapped / have all become my pets / and I’m living off of grass / and the drippings from my ceiling” — and we move into the cabin, where everyone is in a deep, dark depression. Quite literally dark: a blizzard dampens any sunlight that might creep into the space. Shauna won’t drink water no matter how hard Tai tries to convince her. She clutches a fury bundle, and it almost looks like a child clinging to a beloved stuffed bear, but we know it isn’t that at all. She’s holding her stillborn baby.

Lottie notices that the blizzard has finally stopped. It seems they’ve all been stuck indoors since the birth. They get the door open, and snow spills in, along with a small sliver of light. Spirits are up…for everyone except Shauna. Tai suggests softly that perhaps a walk might do her some good, but Shauna doesn’t move, doesn’t speak.

She won’t join the others, but she does have something she needs to do. As everyone else works to dig in the snow, she finds a quiet spot on her own, places the bundle on the ground and, because she can’t bury him in the frozen, snow-covered earth, uses stones to erect a small, makeshift tomb. “It’s you and me against the whole world,” she says, an echo of her words in the sequence from last episode that turned out not be reality. Many commenters speculated it wasn’t even just a nightmare but rather Shauna moving some sort of spectral plane after briefly dying, sort of like how Jackie saw everyone plus the dead guy in the cabin as she died in the cold. I’m leaning toward this interpretation, too, that Shauna wasn’t just unconscious after her rough labor but also dead for a moment. Later, we see just how much blood she lost, the blanket beneath her soaked with it as Van and Tai help clean up. The sight of it brings back Shauna’s “memories” of seeing everyone eating her baby, which we know did not actually happen but which nonetheless of course feels real to Shauna, even if she did hold his body in her arms. She can’t bury the paranoia, the grief, the overwhelming sense that something awful was done to her, to her baby. She throws it in the fire. But you can’t burn away those feelings either.

Shauna saying "it's you and me against the whole world."

Over at Camp Lottie, it’s one big not-so-happy reunion for the adult Yellowjackets. “I’m sorry, have you two joined a cult since we last saw you?” Tai asks Nat and Lottie, who calmly explain that actually this is an intentional community full of intentions, okay?! Van looks very much unconvinced. Nat opens up and shares how she was about to kill herself and that her walls are finally starting to come down here. “We brought some really dark shit back with us from that place, so maybe now we can actually start dealing with it,” she says. I used to think Nat was sort of just playing Lottie’s game in order to get information out of her or the upperhand — and I do think that’s what even Nat thought she was doing at the beginning. But I don’t think so anymore. I think something shifted during the EMDR session. I believe Natalie when she says she’s experiencing genuine healing here (though, I admittedly think that has more to do with Lisa than with Lottie). Again, Van doesn’t look convinced.

We pop back over to the past where we can see some of those shifts happening in Van, how she went from firmly believing in Lottie’s rituals to very clearly, as an adult, being wary of it all. Tai and Van are digging in the snow together, and Tai starts crying. Losing the baby was traumatic for everyone, and Shauna most of all of course, but there really was some extra special bond that formed between Tai and Shauna, almost like Tai was fulfilling the role of a partner during this process. It wasn’t necessarily romantic, but it was just as intimate as romance. She’s grieving something that feels very specific but also very confusing.

Van, now, is the practical one, a role reversal for the teen versions of these characters. She points out that even if the baby did live, it wouldn’t change the fact that his mother is starving, that they’re all starving. “I just think it’s time we woke up,” she says, and Tai bristles, says that doesn’t sound like her. Van responds:

“I kept surviving all this shit that should have killed me, and I you know, I figured it meant something. You know like maybe it meant that I had some kind of purpose in all of this, but uh yeah, I’m not fucking seeing it Tai.”

Of course Van wants to see her pattern of almost dying and then NOT dying as something more than luck. If it’s just luck, if it’s just chance, then their chances of survival are also contingent upon fucking LUCK, something that cannot be controlled, cannot be predicted. If she survived because of some greater force, it means there’s control. It means she has a role to play, an objective to satisfy. Tai says she has done so much for her, helped her see, helped her sleep, saved her life. “I need you, Van,” she says. “I need you, too,” Van replies. “But I need to know why the fuck I’m still here.” We can see her grip on Lottie’s beliefs start to slip.

Van in the snow in Yellowjackets 207

Speaking of Lottie’s beliefs, apparently it is a tradition upon arrival at her intentional community to pick something from a menu of treatments — for which there are no descriptions. It’s a little convenient that there are exactly as many treatments offered as there are new Yellowjackets on the compound, but perhaps the wilderness planned it that way. The options are self-care, guidance, forage, and renewal. Adult Van reiterates that none of this is for her, and she says she’s glad Nat is alive and Lottie is back from Switzerland. Lottie is surprised by this statement. She says that was like a decade ago, and now it’s Van who’s surprised.

There does seem to be some sort of disconnect between the rest of the Yellowjackets and Lottie as to where she has been for the past decade. We saw earlier this season that Lottie refused to eat and speak when she first got out of the wilderness, prompting her parents to force her into electroshock therapy and also an institution in Switzerland. She’s a teen in these scenes, and yet it seems the other Yellowjackets think wherever Lottie went, whatever she experienced 25 years ago has been what she has just always been. I can’t tell if this is just a result of their own mental health assumptions and stigmas — which are indeed pervasive — or if there’s something else at play. Why have they been so disconnected from Lottie? Even Tai who hired a private investigator to keep tabs on all the survivors seems to have missed this one. Even MISTY missed this. Did Lottie’s parents basically disappear her when they placed her in an institution and tell others she was locked away forever? I can definitely see that based on what we’ve seen of her father so far. Was it just easier for them all to accept Lottie was gone forever because of something she awakens in each of them? The beginnings of which we can see as they start to go through their therapy treatments.

Lottie asks Shauna which she’d like first, and with a perfect line reading from Melanie Lynskey, she replies: “Um, yeah, all my rational instincts are just kind of screaming?” She goes with self-care. Misty takes guidance, Tai takes renewal, and that leaves skeptical Van with forage. They’re all asked to text the number of a landline on the grounds to someone on the outside as an emergency contact and then must give.up their phones, the first thing Van does willingly, because of course she hates cellphones, she wants to live like it’s 1995 forever.

Shauna follows the directions to her self-care treatment and is perplexed to find herself in a barn full of livestock rather than in a spa with a massage therapist. A man hands her a goat. Or, he tries to hand her a goat, but Shauna refuses to take said goat in a great bit of physical comedy from Lynskey. The man explains that self-care means taking care of the goat for the rest of the day, and if she refuses the treatment then she’ll have to spend the day mucking out the barn instead. Shauna is very concerned about what “babysit this goat” really means. She’s convinced Lottie’s going to have her spend all day with the goat, get attached, and then have to slit its throat at the end. Of course this is where her mind goes; once the butcher, always the butcher. The goat’s name, by the way, is Bruce. Bruce officially joins a few others — Nugget the pocket mouse, Steve the replacement dog, and Gilly the goldfish — on my Protect the Animals of Yellowjackets watchlist. Caligula is not on this list, because Caligula can fend for himself.

At the cabin, Ben watches the others work outside, but his mind glitches, interrupted by the ringing of a telephone and by the TV static lines that indicate he’s slipping into his fantasy space with Paul. But now, any lines between reality and this fantasy space have been eradicated completely. Paul punctures through Ben’s reality and appears to him in the cabin. He’s on the phone, and he says to someone on it “look, he isn’t ready.” I think it’s safe to say death is literally calling for Ben. We’ve seen Jackie — and likely Shauna — slipping through the seams of reality on the precipice of death, and I think that’s what we’re starting to see here with Ben, too. He has sunk into a depression that feels not unlike dying. The lines of his reality are glitching and staticky. Paul has punctured through, a manifestation of all of Ben’s regret, of the ache of queer loneliness in the closet, of lost love and a lost sense of self.

Paul says they have to go. “What matters now is that you aren’t welcome here anymore,” Paul says. Ben asks what he did. “You didn’t do anything. It’s just time. It’s just time. I love you. We all love you, Ben.” I think this scene would come off as corny or maybe even obtuse if it weren’t for the stellar performance François Arnaud brings to it. He sells the hell out of it, and the scene becomes genuinely moving. Ben follows Paul outside and shouts “PAULLLLL” to the wilderness. Again, a set of antlers are behind him, and correct me if I’m off in my antler identification skills, but I believe these are moose antlers again, no? Which would mean the second time the show is drawing a direct comparison between the frozen moose in the lake and Ben, which makes me very worried about Ben’s fate.

And we almost get a tragic fate here.

But before we get to that, first, the drama of the search for Crystal, who shall not be found.

While everyone’s out digging in the snow, Misty overhears the other JV girls talking about her. At first, it’s the exact kind of stuff she likes to hear, Akilah praising her for handling Shauna’s delivery so bravely. But then mean girl Mari (who I love) shifts the tone and wonders if Misty might be even more psychotic than they already thought. Why isn’t she looking for her missing bestie? Mari points out she poisoned Ben when she was in love with him, so maybe she also did something bad to Crystal. Misty, of course, hates to hear this, and if I were Mari, I would not say anything negative about Misty even if I thought she wasn’t nearby! An upset Misty is a scary Misty!

Ben is in the cabin shaving his face. But it doesn’t feel like this is signaling a lift out of his depressive state. It seems like he’s preparing for something. Misty gathers everyone and puts on a big show about how she knows they’re all sad they lost the baby but that Crystal could be out there, and they need to look for her. Ben jumps in to say she’s right: If Javi survived for a few months, then perhaps Crystal could survive a few days. We still don’t know how the hell Javi survived, but we do know that wherever/however it happened, Crystal was not so fortunate.

JV Melissa wonders if the wilderness took Crystal like it took the baby, and it’s floated that maybe there was a trade. Maybe the wilderness took the baby in exchange for the blizzard stopping. Lottie jumps in to say it doesn’t work that way. The wilderness, she claims, gave them exactly what they wanted by saving Shauna. I knew this would be how Lottie justified the efficacy of the group’s prayers and offerings. The group’s speculation on what the wilderness is or is not doing only highlights that the wilderness isn’t doing shit but also that it’s easy — and soothing! — to ascribe meaning and ritualism to any set of circumstances. There isn’t something supernatural happening here, but there are characters who think there’s something supernatural here, and that’s just as significant of a force as something actually supernatural. Everyone joins hands for a little round of “we hear the wilderness and it hears us,” which I maintain is just a nice little mindfulness exercise Lottie accidentally created.

A hilarious interlude follows in which Gen and Melissa talk around cannibalism, saying it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if they found Crystal dead and that “it would be disrespectful to the wilderness to waste it.” There’s a delightful ongoing thread on Twitter about the comedy of Yellowjackets, and I hope to see this conversation make its way into it, because it’s so fucking funny. Misty, somehow always a fly on the wall, does not think it’s so funny! She storms out of the cabin.

Misty puts on an acting performance using the skills Crystal taught her as she cries and screams for her friend, who she knows very well is dead. She convinces the other JV girls she isn’t in the right headspace for all this, and they tell her to just go back to the cabin. Misty splits off to go to the last place she saw Crystal, sprawled and dead. “I’m not gonna let them eat you, Kristen,” she says to herself. So Misty doesn’t want anyone to eat her bestie. I don’t think this is necessarily coming from a place of protectiveness over Crystal but rather a sense of ownership. The subtext, to me, is that if anyone is going to consume Crystal, it’s her best friend.

Misty descends the cliff to look for Crystal, but troublingly, her body is nowhere to be found. It’s unclear, but it seems as if the body has possibly been moved? Either that or she’s just beneath a LOT of snow. When Misty gives up and climbs back to the top, she finds Ben walking to the cliff’s edge. She shouts for him to stop. “I’m not gonna keep losing everything,” Ben says. Then, he asks Misty if she could just push him off. A wildly unfair ask to make, especially of a TEEN GIRL who was once in love with him, but he doesn’t mean it cruelly. It’s what he truly wants, and Misty just happens to be there.

Misty then runs through a gamut of strategies to get him not to kill himself. She says they need his strength. She says if he kills himself then they’ll eat him, and she’ll particularly enjoy his “high calorie butt meat.” She says that when they get saved, she’ll tell the whole world about their love story, no actually, she’ll tell them worse. She’ll tell them he impregnated Shauna and then tried to impregnate all of them. She plays her final card, the one that’s meant to undo him: “I will tell the whole world that you’re gay,” she screams.

“Do it,” Ben says. “Tell them.”

This isn’t a weapon that can be used against him anymore. If anything, it wasn’t until Ben lost so much of himself and his life that he could finally accept this huge part of who he is. He became most secure of his queerness in the wilderness, and he isn’t contemplating suicide because he’s gay. He’s contemplating suicide because he genuinely doesn’t see a future for himself — regardless of his queerness. He’s starving; he’s the adult, but he has no real power over this group. In fact, his adulthood makes him more isolated than the others. There is no one else to talk to his own age, so instead he has taken to talking to his boyfriend in his imagination. He couldn’t help Shauna. He doesn’t have Paul, and he blames himself for not being able to show up fully for Paul. His depression and his suicidal thoughts aren’t a product of being closeted or of accepting his queerness, and yet his queerness is still inextricable from this moment. The fact that Misty thinks she can use it against him is so telling — of the time, of Ben’s lived experiences as a closeted teacher and coach. But he doesn’t grant her that power.

It isn’t until Misty tries a new tactic — perhaps others will think she’s genuine here, but I think it could be yet another masterful Misty manipulation — and breaks down crying, saying she can’t have another death on her hands, that she tried the best she could with Shauna’s baby and still failed, that Ben steps back. I don’t think it ultimately matters if Misty is being truthful or putting on a performance here, because what matters is that Ben believes it. Now I wonder if Misty is going to somehow use this against him, surveilling him the way she did in season one and call it placing him on suicide watch. Misty is at her peak power when she feels she is being useful, when she feels she is protecting or saving others. The fucked up thing is that she’s willing to sabotage them so they need that saving in the first place, a la destroying the emergency transmitter box, which we shall return to in a bit.

During the search for Crystal, Lottie pulls Tai aside and tells the others to give them a minute. Lottie suggests that maybe she could tap into whatever made Tai find Javi to now find Crystal, but Tai says it won’t work. She isn’t sleepwalking anymore, which means Other Tai is gone, and she’s the one who knew where Javi was. “She’s not gone,” Lottie says. “And that’s a good thing, Tai.” We then jump into the present timeline, where Tai is busy with her therapy treatment, which apparently is just painting a rather large building with a rather small brush. She gives up on the task and grabs Lottie. She tells her she’s sleepwalking again and that she needs help. Here, Lottie echoes a bit of her younger self’s sentiments, saying that Other Tai had a connection with the wilderness and her own wisdom. Tai says Other Tai wants to hurt her family, and Lottie responds that that might not be what she actually wants; she might just not want to be repressed.

It’s difficult not to apply a queer reading to these conversations between Lottie and Tai in both timelines, and yet I also am having some difficult parsing out exactly what that queer reading means. Certainly queer people understand this tension between selves and the intense side effects of sexual repression — side effects that can be psychological as well as physical! Other Tai doesn’t perfectly represent Tai’s queerness though, as Tai is very out as an adult and now pretty much fully out as a teen, too. But I actually like that the metaphor is more complicated than a straightforward 1:1 possession as allegory for queer repression. Because even if she’s technically out, Tai does repress a lot of things. All the Yellowjackets do, but Tai’s specific brand of repression has been that she always does what she thinks she’s supposed to do versus what she actually wants to do. This is articulated so clearly in the season one episode where she has that sleepover with Shauna and confessed that she no longer feels “it” with Simone and also that none of the by-the-book events of her life post-wilderness feel real to her. I’m interested in the fact that a queer character is contending with repression and the push and pull of desire but in a way where her queerness itself is not the thing demonized and made into a monstrous identity. I think I ultimately agree with Lottie that it’s possible Other Tai isn’t entirely evil, but I think even when Lottie is well intentioned, she also has a tendency to accidentally push people in the wrong direction.

While the others look for Crystal, Shauna seeks some alone time in the meat shed. She looks at the corner where Jackie’s frozen corpse once rested, and she begs for her best friend to return to her. Even though she knows these conversations were never real, she needs one. But Shauna’s mind does not conjure Jackie, likely because there’s some semblance of closure to the ritual of consuming Jackie’s body. We do know that in adulthood, Shauna does start seeing Jackie again, but the fact that she doesn’t show up in this moment is so indicative of just how alone and cracked apart Shauna feels. Even her delusions can’t be there for her.

In the adult timeline, Shauna is still struggling with Bruce. Misty, trying to evade her own therapy treatment of locking herself in a sensory deprivation water tank, comes across Shauna in the woods. Shauna tied up Bruce, but he chewed through the rope. Misty offers to help look for him and even has a pocket snack to bait him with, because she has been hoarding food just in case the cult starts imposing caloric restriction as a means of control. In her own little Misty way, it’s kinda sweet how quickly she jumps to helping Shauna, even asking if the goat has a name. But…it is indeed in her own little Misty way, because she also says she’s surprised Shauna is so disturbed by the thought of slaughtering a goat when she was so quick to get stabby with her boyfriend. Shauna doesn’t like this, and Misty says she was just “joshing” her. Of course Misty thinks this is fodder for playful bonding. But Shauna says she isn’t like her, doesn’t treat killing like a joke. It may be true that Shauna doesn’t joke around about murder, but her attempts to distance herself from Misty doesn’t really hold up given her moment at the chop shop in “Digestif.” Misty says it seems like Shauna isn’t even grateful for her helping out with Adam, and Shauna says she’s grateful, “I really am very grateful that your hobby seems to be figuring out how to be the perfect serial killer.”

Again, it’s not entirely fair for Shauna to judge Misty, who fires back: “Well, you’re not that innocent either.” “I know that, Misty,” Shauna says. “Don’t you think I know that?” I think the adult Yellowjackets often fall into the trap of comparing themselves to each other and trying to decide who’s more fucked up. But that, my friends, is a race to the fucking bottom.

Misty is collected by an acolyte to return to her treatment, and Shauna makes her way back to the barn, where she begs goat man to help her out with Bruce. She thinks he might be sick from eating rope, but she’s only going off what she knows from cartoons. It is, admittedly, kind of funny watching Shauna flailing in the face of handling an animal when we’ve seen how deft she is at slaughtering animals. She knows how to butcher them exquisitely but not how to care for them. How’s that for a parenting metaphor?

“The kid’s care is entwined with your own,” goat man says, using “kid” of course to mean baby goat. But Shauna nonetheless bristles at the invocation of a motherly role. Callie’s care is entwined with her own.

Shauna spots Lottie and goes to her. Through tears, she says she isn’t going to kill this goat. Lottie says that isn’t what’s happening at all, that Shauna will in no way be asked to kill Bruce. Shauna’s reaction is heartbreaking. “Wait really? I really don’t? Oh Bruce,” she says, still crying, her voice sweet.

Shauna crying on a goat

But, she says, she isn’t crying about Bruce, not really. “I don’t really know what’s happening right now,” Shauna admits, her emotions firing wildly. She opens up to Lottie just like Tai did. She says she has kept Callie at arm’s length out of fear she would die or maybe out of a fear she was never even real to begin with. She tries to tell herself she’s okay and that she is safe to just call her her own, to be her mom. But it’s difficult. “I think something’s broken, Lottie. I just can’t do it.” Shauna’s complicated feelings toward motherhood of course make sense due to the devastating stillbirth she experienced as a teenager. And there’s more than just that, too. Shauna lost so much in the woods: her best friend’s trust and love and then her best friend for good. Callie is now the age or perhaps even past the age she was when Shauna’s life was interrupted and unmade. To be close to Callie would be a vulnerability, would mean she could lose her. It’s easier, then, to push her away, to ignore her, to play the role of the nagging mother who doesn’t even really know where her daughter is most of the time. She’d probably prefer to just tie Callie to a post so nothing could happen to her, forgetting, of course, that rope doesn’t hold forever. Callie would surely find a way to break free just like Bruce.

And now, for Misty’s therapy treatment. The water tank portal to musical theater land. Misty reluctantly gets in the tank at Lisa’s insistence. The lights go off. A strange sci-fi-horror-esque light scans her body. At first, she just sees flashes of disturbing underwater imagery, screaming dolphins and alarming fish and whatnot. But then things get progressively weirder all at once. A neon animated bird flutters across the screen before turning into an anthropomorphized costumed Caligula. It looks like someone in Cats but, instead, a bird. Elijah Wood as Walter in a top hat and brandishing a cane sings a little ditty alongside Caligula. In close-up, we see Misty smiling and bopping along to the song, animations swirling around her including one of the axe she used to chop off Ben’s leg and of the emergency transmitter box. Listen, I love a musical number, especially one that pops up in an unexpected place like here. That said, I do have to agree with my friend who said she wished the song was like 23% catchier.

The surreality does not stop there, oh no! Misty goes “backstage” to meet the man playing her pet bird, and it’s none other than the icon John Cameron Mitchell. Misty asks him for advice. “Caligula, when people look at me, do they just see someone desperate for love? Just some murderer?” I do love that she asks those specific questions in that specific order.

Misty surrounded by a dancing Caligula, animated axe, animated emergency transmitted box

John Cameron Mitchell as Caligula insists everyone counts on Misty, that she always gets the ball over the goal line. “You are not a murderer, Misty,” he says. “You’re a closer.” This delights dear Misty, who really is just saying all of this to herself in this musical theater fugue state, which no is still not over! She next does a number with Walter where he taps out in morse code what I assume is something to the effect of “I love you,” but if anyone knows morse code, feel free to provide a direct translation in the comments! Misty thanks John Cameron Mitchell as Caligula and emerges from the tank, looking genuinely refreshed. She rushes to the sole landline on property and leaves a message for Walter, saying he was right “about the thing,” effectively confessing to having a role in Adam’s murder to this man who I do no think she can trust! This might seem out of character for Misty who is usually so careful about such matters, but I don’t think it is.

Again, the Yellowjackets are all repressed in some way. Misty is stunted by a youthful attachment to things like obsessive crushes and friendships. She mentally inflates her friendship with Nat, just like she now mentally inflates her connection with Walter. Again, I think this makes sense in the context of her experiences in the wilderness. Misty already had a tendency to become overly attached to and obsess over others. Then when she made her first real, genuine close friendship, that person died. Of course those tendencies became not only heightened but also locked in, something that cannot be outgrown.

Later, after night has fallen and everyone has completed their therapy treatments, Tai approaches a candlelit altar and takes off her wedding ring to place it there. “I don’t see how marrying that rock’s gonna solve any of your problems,” Van says. She’s sitting, drinking from the bottle of booze she “foraged” from her truck instead of doing whatever the hell the forage treatment was. Tai joins her, and the two kiss each other, for real this time, all passionate and desperate like they’re trying to pull something out of each other. Taissa stops and immediately starts apologizing. “Of course I have thought about it,” she confesses, but she isn’t ready, she doesn’t know what’s going on. Van stops her and says she can’t wait for her, literally, because she has cancer and maybe only a few months to live.

Van and Tai looking at each other as adults outside in the dark in Yellowjackets 207

I saw some people predict this in the comments last week, and I know it’ll be a divisive development. I’m willing to see it through. I’m intrigued by the narrative significance of someone who has escaped death over and over now having terminal cancer. Lottie and Nat keep talking about having some abstract darkness inside them, but here’s Van saying there’s actually something inside her body trying to kill her. No metaphors, no abstractions. This scene between Tawny Cypress and Lauren Ambrose is really fucking good, the two of them capturing all the discomfort and confusion of the reveal. You can tell Van didn’t want to say anything at all; you can tell Taissa feels betrayed she wouldn’t. Van is kind of right and kind of wrong when she says “we don’t know each other.” Also, it must be said that Ambrose and Liv Hewson are…merging?! Their physical performances are just so in-line for each other. They might be mirroring the best of all the pairs. It’s thrilling to watch.

While these two are grappling with this, Lottie’s in her office with her psychiatrist — OR IS SHE. Lottie says she feels this is what “it” wants, it presumably being the wilderness. She says it wants for them to be together. “I feel it in my body,” she says. “It’s like, it’s like something that’s deep and primal. I haven’t felt that in years, and it feels wonderful. And yet, I also feel fucking terrified.”

The psychiatrist posits that perhaps the reunion strikes a primal cord because when Lottie was last with these women, she was free, she was her truest most authentic self. This is, I think, untrue. Lottie was not free in the wilderness; none of them were. She was just as lost as the rest of them, even if others decided to put her on a pedestal for her perceived powers. I think this is Lottie’s mental illness speaking, forcing her to conflate her illness with her identity. But I also struggle to have a strong grasp on Lottie’s relationship with her mental illness and with medication. How much agency did she have in her own medical decisions in her youth? Not a lot, it seemed. So maybe it is somewhat true that she was an authentic version of herself when she went off her meds in the wilderness, assuming she never wanted or needed to be on them in the first place. But if she did need to be on them, then yeah, it sounds like she’s confusing herself here. I can’t quite parse out which one it is, but I lean toward the interpretation that she was not her most authentic self in the wilderness but that she is regressing to a point of wanting to have supernatural and divine explanations for her problems and for events like the coming together of the Yellowjackets again.

“We hurt each other,” Lottie says. “People died.” The psychiatrist asks if there is anything of value in this life that doesn’t come with loss or risk or consequence. Finally, a reveal. The psychiatrist indeed is not real and instead morphs suddenly into the Antler Queen, who says: “Does a hunt that has no violence feed anyone?” Haunting words, to be sure. And they’re uttered by voices layered on top of each other, further supporting the theory that the Antler Queen could be all of the characters and not one specific individual. Unnerved, Lottie hears someone calling her name and looks around to see she’s in the room all by herself.

Now we get to the final segment of the episode, which manages to be simultaneously super fun and super fucked up, the two timelines wildly disparate in terms of tone and yet stitched together to dazzling effect. It’s like a microcosm of this show: comedy, horror, violence, and revelry all smashed together.

First, we stay fixed in the adult timeline. Nat has gathered the others to see how their treatments went, but Misty, Shauna, Tai, and Van are all tipsy, passing around a bottle of tequila. Even Misty is partaking, and she doesn’t usually like tequila! (Never forget when she called shots of tequila “shooters” in season one.) “Natalie Scatorccio is telling us not to fuck around?” Shauna asks, incredulous. She wants everyone to just hang out a bit. Van offers the bottle to Nat, but she declines. The Yellowjackets really are never respectful of her sobriety, are they? Tai can’t complain about paying her rehab and then be complicit to her drinking, but whatever! Toxic dynamics are kind of the adult Yellowjackets’ things.

Lottie is wandering the grounds, still in shock from her turns-out-it’s-not-real therapy session. She’s lured into the lodge where the others are laughing, drinking, and listening to Florence + the Machine. You know, booze and Florence, basically a surefire way to ensure a cavalcade of emotions. Lottie attempts to tell them to all go home, but it’s too late for that! They’re having fun now! Even Van, who’s like, just think of it as group therapy Lottie, but better because there’s alcohol. And sure enough, even ultra serious cult mommi Lottie cannot resist. She whips out a CRATE? of alcohol, and they all start doing shots. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t point out…it’s pretty hot! Everyone is dancing and snuggling and getting loose together.

Lottie and Nat snuggling while taking shots in Yellowjackets 207

scroll down to Last Buzz for lottie/nat thoughts btw

Later, they all sit on the floor, and it really does seem like a sleepover. Nat asks Misty about Walter, if he’s her boyfriend. Misty says they met online, but they haven’t defined the relationship yet. “When you know, you know,” Misty adds, prompting Van to say “does he know?” Frazzled, Misty throws out there that Nat slept with Kevyn Tan, and Shauna complains that she wants new gossip, not something she already knows. Lottie asks what that was like, and Nat says he wasn’t goth when they fucked, adding that she should ask Misty because she watched. There’s a bit of confusion and intrigue over that among the group, but then Misty pivots by asking “that first summer, do you guys remember–”

Van interrupts her. That first summer? The one in the wilderness? That’s how she words it? She wants to reminisce about the worst time in their lives? That’s Misty for you, always confusing circumstances and stakes. To her, that really was like their first summer together. It was a time of camaraderie and community building.

Now Nat has a question for real. “How much do you guys remember?” she asks. “I remember. It’s just, some things are hazier.”

“Yeah. Like they’ve just been stuffed somewhere deep down,” Tai answers. “If I’m repressing things I don’t know about, I am very okay with never figuring it out,” Shauna says. Lottie points out that even if certain memories are repressed, they have a way of manifesting in other ways beyond recollections, like compulsive behavior, addiction, disease. “We’re all deeply familiar with the terrible parts,” Van interjects, breaking off from the group. Tai follows.

This is something I’ve been wondering for a while now: How much do they remember? This conversation makes it clear that it’s perhaps less than we may think. They all agreed not to talk to the press, to their families about what really happened, but I think there are parts they can’t talk about. Because they don’t remember. Because it was so traumatic out there and they were delirious from starvation and isolation that the memories aren’t like pictures they can revisit but strange and nebulous blobs they sometimes find themselves sinking into. Mental quicksand.

Off to the side, Tai tells Van she knows a specialist at Johns Hopkins, but Van dodges this by saying she loves the song that’s playing. She turns it up. It’s “Lightning Crashes” by Live And now, we get that Yellowjackets microcosm, that spliced sequence that’s part-violent-release, part-celebratory-release.

In the cabin, Shauna hears Misty humming, and it reminds her of the horror sequence leading up to her seeing the others devour her baby. In the lodge, the adult Yellowjackets notice its snowing and run outside. In the cabin, Shauna shouts “you killed my fucking baby.”

She accuses them of eating her baby, and they try to grab her, and Tai says she’s acting crazy, and Shauna bites Van’s arm to break free. She punches Misty. Lottie steps in, and Shauna punches her. Lottie tells Travis, calmly, to take Javi to the bedroom. She places her hands behind her back. “Shauna, I know there’s a lot of pain right now, but let it out. Shauna, we need you to let it out,” Lottie says, and Shauna hits her again. She pummels her. She beats the shit out of Lottie, kicks her, punches her, just absolutely annihilates her. The rest of the characters watch on in horrified silence.

This brutal beatdown is intercut with the adult Yellowjackets dancing in the snow around a fire. They swirl, and they laugh. The camera cuts back and forth between the younger versions of themselves and their adults selves. We see Shauna as an adult handing a bottle to Lottie, and then we see Teen Shauna battering Lottie. The contrast is so sharp that it’s almost like these aren’t the same people at all, and in a way, that’s true.

Shauna beats Lottie until she physically cannot anymore. Lottie is lifeless next to her, unrecognizable, her face a bloodied, burst plum. Shauna urges her to get up, and at first she doesn’t move. Then she gasps for breath. Shauna walks away, and the others finally start moving. “What the fuck?” Nat says as they all rush Lottie. It’s like they were frozen and have now been unpaused.

Outside, Shauna plunges her bloodied knuckles into the snow to freeze her wounds.

Back at Camp Lottie, the fireside dance and revelry is interrupted by someone saying there’s an urgent call for Shauna. Jeff tells her Adam Martin’s remains have been discovered.

Much like I urged y’all to rewatch last week’s episode after the reveal that Shauna’s baby was dead, I urge you to rewatch this episode and study Shauna and Lottie’s interactions knowing that Shauna beat Lottie to near-death when they were teens. It’s striking not because you’ll catch a subtle tension between them but rather because there are almost no indications of this tension between them as adults. It is like it’s locked away in a vault. If they’re barely able to access this traumatic memory, then what else are they repressing? The adult versions of the characters are practically as much in the dark as we are about everything that happened out there. All the back and forth between close shots of each of the Yellowjackets faces during the cabin beatdown and then to them as adults is some of the best work in terms of moving between the two timelines we’ve seen so far. It’s beyond dissonant; it’s tonal anarchy. And I think that’s what the adult Yellowjackets are feeling acutely, displaced in time and space here at the compound, reckoning with anarchic and anachronistic emotions. In coming together, they’re breaking open.

Last Buzz:

  • Y’all…you can call the number to the landline at Lottie’s compound. I won’t spoil the experience for you, just try it for yourself: 607-478-1033. I am admittedly an extreme sucker for these kinds of things! It’s so fun!
  • This is definitely a different version of the theme song, but according to the subtitles, it’s still sung by the original artists.
  • Christina Ricci’s delivery of that unhinged voicemail for Walter…awards.
  • Tawny wears the hell out of that field coat, and now I want one.
  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but that was the first Nirvana needledrop of the series, yeah?
  • The music is always good, but this might be the best episode as far as soundtrack goes.
  • Now, I haven’t been delving too much into the shipping culture that has developed around this show in these recaps, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t, ahem, engaged with such things during my off hours. And even though I don’t usually include that stuff in these recaps, I mean, I do have EYES. I understand the appeal of adults Lottie/Nat, that’s for sure. And I feel like we were EATING in this ep! So much chemistry radiating between those two once Lottie gave in and decided to party! Neck nuzzling? Eye fucking? Sure, sure, they’re two old friends with a complicated past on a healing journey together, but who says that can’t also lead to…something else? Again, I have eyes.
  • Ok why was my first thought upon seeing goat man “Shauna’s gonna fuck him” ????? I’m not even sure if that man is straight, I think I just want Shauna to have indiscriminate sex with a rando again. Sorry, Jeff, love you Jeff!
  • Speaking of Jeff, even though he’s only in the episode for the briefest moment, Warren Kole gets a ton of comedic mileage out of Jeff trying to talk about Adam’s remains being discovered casually so as not to tip off any cops that might be listening into his calls.
  • I literally cannot get over the fact that mere moments before we see Teen Shauna beat Lottie’s ass, we get this sweet and kinda flirty moment of them together as adults:
    Shauna and Lottie cheersing each other as adults in Yellojackets 207
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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 868 articles for us.


  1. I just want to say how damn thoughtful these recaps are. Hands down the best on the internet, Kayla. Thank you for putting the energy and time into these!

    omg the music in this episode is hands down the best full episode. “Live” is beyond perfect, the first Nirvana drop being “Something in the Way” was also perfect as they’re snowed in. All around just excellent.

    The Misty/Ben scene was incredible. I felt like I could actually feel Misty’s calculation and desperation to keep Ben from jumping as she was talking. After all, if they find Ben AND Kristen down there, Misty becomes a clear suspect instead of a suspected one.

    I read the line “I can’t have another death on my hands” is Misty indirectly speaking to what she did to Kristen because she needed to get it out and not as intentional manipulation like the rest of her exchange with Ben. Maybe not consciously genuine, but more of a breakdown after acting in front of Ben, Mari and Akilah, and the entire group at large.

  2. – Let’s circle back around to when Lottie says that the Wilderness gave them what they wanted. Do you remember last episode when Lottie said they should express what they want to the Wilderness? What happened? Mari said that she didn’t want Shauna to die.
    – For one bright moment I thought that we would get Jackie and Shauna back together again. One bright moment.
    – Lottie ate Shauna’s pain. I don’t think that’ll be the last time that she does that.
    – I think that Lottie did die…again. That’ll probably be a recurring thing in the Wilderness. Dying and coming back. So that’s Lottie twice, Van once, and Shauna once.

    • After seeing Shauna throwing punches in the preview and people connecting it to the vision at Travis’s death, that Lottie saw her own face, I thought similarly, the beat down would bring Lottie to the brink of death or dip her toes in it & induce wilderness / Antler Queen / “the god of that place” communing which eventually leads to Travis thinking dying momentarily would help him to confront “the darkness”.

      • Ooh I hadn’t thought about that connection to Travis’ death. It makes the ‘haunting’/vision of Laura Lee all the more sinister/unclear to me in that case.

        The idea of being at the brink of death and then coming back also feels very apt for the titular mascot/persona. It’s not like a bee that dies after it stings. It can keep stinging, and stinging, and stinging…

  3. yeah so I’m pretty bummed after this one!

    I’ve been transfixed by Lauren’s Van: love at first sight for this actor I adore playing the sweetest character on the show. the love, longing and chemistry between her and Tawny’s Tai is so vast and monumental.

    so that kiss we’ve been building up to was everything. there was joy and connection and intimacy and it was so beautiful. and then it was snatched away from us in minutes. I’ve been upset about it all night, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not exactly the cancer diagnosis itself, which I’ll get to, but that it had to overshadow such a beautiful moment between these two characters. like, how many times have we been here before? it’s not even bury your gays, it’s just…unfair. can we not have even one episode of happiness, or something like it, before the bad thing happens?

    the cancer thing, I knew was a theory and I hated it then and I still hate it now! first of all, it’s corny and lazy and lame. cancer is such a soapy bomb to drop when writers can’t think of anything more interesting to do to a character.

    and second of all, while I know this isn’t a show that has happy endings or has good things happen to its characters at all, it punched me in the gut in a way that I didn’t expect. it made me stop in my tracks and totally numb to the rest of the episode. I guess it’s muscle memory? we’ve been let down by TV writers so many times, about how they don’t do their queer female characters justice, can’t give them a moment of peace.

    they aren’t going to kill off Lauren Ambrose after a five episode arc, surely? I want to believe they won’t. I’ve read some stuff on Twitter that has soothed me (a sentence I never thought I’d say), written by fans who also feel hurt and let down but have hope that this will be the catalyst for the adults going back to the idea of sacrifice to save a life.

    I don’t believe any of that, like you, but I’m hoping Van does let Tai care for her and accept her offer to see the doctor she knows. people do sometimes ‘miraculously’ recover from stage four cancer, to the bewilderment of doctors. so this might be the beginning of the present mimicking the past, and seeing how this divides the characters. I hope with my whole heart this is what happens.

    • I also keep forgetting that the adult timeline of this season has taken place over ONE WEEK. so plenty of time for them to figure this thing out. it’s also hysterical how little time has passed when you consider that Shauna killed Adam, got the gals to help her do murder cleanup, they went to their high school reunion all in a matter of…a couple of days? and since then it has been ONE. WEEK. Natalie has been at the cult for ONE WEEK. Misty has been there for 48 hours. lmao

      • I have to keep reminding myself of the timeline too! It is amazing how much they are both putting into every episode, and also putting into such a short period of time in the timeline.

    • I have a very different take on the cancer reveal, which I find totally devastating at a character level (and personal – I adore Ambrose inhabiting this role!), but it did not strike me as lazy or corny.

      Maybe just because I’ve experienced a lot of awful losses, but the fact that Van DID struggle and fight and survive through so much in her youth, only to have to confront terminal cancer in her early 40s, IS realistic. To me, this is like an infusion of realism into this show that is always on the knife edge of the hallucinatory / supernatural / mental illness / the inexplicable. Like, we still don’t know exactly what happened with Travis and that lift vehicle – there is a mystery. And Van having cancer is no more of a mystery, even if it is a common medical condition to the point of banality.

      And as Kayla mentioned, the cancer diagnosis also resonates with some of the core themes YJ explores – do we have agency? Is there some other force? As well as the more implicit themes of the show, like: how do we make meaning (and can we? should we?) out of inexplicable things that happen?

      I don’t want Van to die. I want way more moments of intimacy and hunger and connection like we saw between her and Taissa. But there is a painful clarity and straightforwardness to the cancer that balances some of the stratosphere of the plot.

      • it’s not that it’s not realistic, but I don’t really watch this show for realism! and it’s cruel to kill off one of the two lesbians on the show when they’ve only just reunited and are still clearly so deeply in love.

        and especially as they made a whole song and dance about casting adult Van. like, okay? why would you do that if you’re just going to give her five episodes and then kill her? so I hope that is not the case! I will reserve full judgment until the end of the season.

        • I just place Yellowjackets squarely in the genre of horror and don’t think it’s like sadistic of the writers to do this storyline, but I totally understand why it’s upsetting for a lot of folks

        • With how the adult timeline is moving, maybe it will take the majority of the series for them to move through the few months Van said she has left (she just said months, yeah? so could be 3 or 10 or even over a year). I see both sides of this debate. Regardless I hope that we still have her for all/most of the 5 season arc even if she does ultimately die of cancer.

    • I really appreciate hearing that other people are upset by the cancer stuff too. And your callout about how lazy it is from a writing perspective.

      I’m a cancer “survivor”, and all I can say is – it was triggering not just because surprise cancer storylines just are, but also because juxtaposing that with teen Van’s “why did I survive if it means nothing” brought up so damn much survivor’s guilt. They also handled Tai’s awful reactions in a pretty realistic way that made me think someone on the writing team has experience with this.

      What I hate about it is that I only see it possibly going in a few directions that I utterly hate: Van’s cancer as a manifestation of trauma or evil from the woods (Lottie went that way unknowingly in this episode); Van somehow sacrificing herself for others because her life is “over” anyway, or some kind of magic healing. All of those echo so many cancer tropes that patients are so often and so rudely exposed to in real life.

      I don’t want to have to stop watching my favorite show, but my initial reaction to the reveal was “shoot another show I just can’t hang with anymore!”

      • Thank you for your comment, Jen, particularly in a response that is so vulnerable. I can completely see your perspective on this storyline.

        My response didn’t account for what they’re going to do with this reveal in terms of trying to make meaning of it potentially – and I agree that most of the ways that might play out are deeply problematic or even harmful. I agree that narratives about disease happening ‘for a reason,’ or magical thinking around healing (who recovers and why), and guilt, and all that, is so profoundly loaded. I’ve been in your position with media in relation to other medical conditions and I’m empathetic to how deeply alienating it can be to see those narratives play out in media, in a way that creates or reenforced deeply harmful narratives about illness/loss/recovery out in the ‘real’ world.

        I trust the writers/showrunners of YJ more than most (yes, I’m looking at you, Gen Q attempting to address addiction!) but that trust may very well turn out to be misplaced, although I hope not, and I hope you’re able to keep watching.

  4. Hoping on for the first time to say that I second Olive’s comment: best recaps by far. Incredibly thoughtful and nuanced and incredible recall. (“Shooters,” lolz.)

    I’ve also spent time wondering how much they really remember. I’ve always thought they remember much more than they claim. That’s one of the problems for the adult characters: they remember. Not everything, but a lot. Or, at least, enough. They tell themselves and each other that they don’t because of their guilt and likely their wish that they truly didn’t. They’re trying to repress their memories, but they’re there. Have they changed with time the way all memories do, and been molded around each characters’ experience of that time and experiences since then? Of course/sure. But still.

    I may be wrong — as noted they were starving and delirious and experiencing trauma after trauma as teenagers. And this episode, like others in the second season, def suggests the story is saying the adult characters don’t truly remember, or remember everything, we’re seeing the teens experience. I dunno. Typing this out, I am now starting to disagree with my take! (Does this happen when you’re recapping?? I imagine it does.)

    Point is, great recaps.

    • Thank you!!! And yes I do think it’s possible some characters remember more than they’re letting on. I think it’s possible Nat has genuinely lost a lot of memories due to her addiction. Shauna might remember more especially since she was documenting as she went, in her journals. That moment where they’re all asking who remembers what May have been a bit of a trust exercise…like waiting to see if anyone would say something first. I’m sure Shauna is hoping Lottie doesn’t really remember her almost killing her!

    • I tend to think that Shauna and Misty both remember everything that we’ve seen in the wilderness so far, though maybe not some of the darker and more disconnected from reality stuff that is still coming. Shauna also has the diaries, but I agree with what I think you’ve said before that the diaries likely don’t contain *everything* everything. It’s hard to imagine her documenting what she’s gone through in the past two episodes with any kind of clarity.

      I really think Misty might remember everything, though— the reveal of her face during the antler queen scene shown in ep1 suggests she’s still lucid and pretty much herself at that point!

  5. Lottie said she’d been out of the institution for around 10 years. The Yellowjackets were rescued 19 months after the crash, so that’s around 13 years that Lottie was institutionalized. After, say, ten years the other survivors probably figured all possible treatments and medications must have been tried and so if Lottie still wasn’t well enough to be released, she never would be. So they stopped keeping tabs on her specifically.

  6. Kayla, as ever, this recap (I hesitate to call it that because it’s really a full critical essay!) is so so good!

    I found that final sequence harder to watch than any of the previous violent set pieces. Sheesh. Having it intercut so expertly with the sexy intimacy of the adult YJ was so brilliant – I feel like it shouldn’t have worked, but it worked SO well.

    I suspect that Lottie’s battered state incites/paves the way for what will cohere as the Antler Queen, and whatever system/game they devise for the hunt with the playing cards… I almost wonder now if she isn’t ever the queen at all.

    The chemistry between adult Lottie and Nat in this episode is intense, and that kiss between Van and Taissa… you said it so well, Kayla. It was so intense and desperate, and even though it was hot, it also was so sad to me. (As an aside, I am curious to learn how their relationship ended, as it seems fairly clear that Tai left and Van has kind of been living in the past.)

    Lottie as “well intentioned but with a tendency to push people in the wrong direction” = cult leader 101? I totally agree, and I also loved the reveal with her therapist – that they let us see her (as if to reassure us she was real), only to have it crumble.

    • Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I HATE when scenes of brutal violence are cut with happy/nonviolent/sometimes even sexy scenes. I don’t think it’s masterful or cinematic at all. I know it’s for “contrast” blah blah but I think it just romanticizes violence. Like that somehow it was “necessary” for Shauna to assault Lottie within an inch of her life. (It also makes it harder for those of us who are uber-sensitive to violence to look away, because I didn’t want to miss the adult bits spliced in in case something consequential happened.)

      I could imagine several better alternatives, like all the teen Yellowjackets joining bereaved Shauna in yelling into the void or something, or even making some DIY punching bag for Shauna to take her anger out on. I mean, I wasn’t emotionally mature at 17 either, but yikes.

      Maybe I’m just biased because this episode solidified my hate for Shauna, both teen and adult. Teen Shauna is selfish and violent. Adult Shauna is selfish and stupid. (C’mon, “I want my lawyer” was even on a cookie! All she had to do was SAY IT!)

      • I appreciate your perspective. On rewatch, I also tried to skip through the violence of the final scene because I couldn’t face seeing it again. That said, in this particular instance I don’t personally see the splicing of 1996/present timelines to be romanticizing violence (although I understand why others see it that way), but rather as demonstrating how this violence, complicity (they all just stood there frozen), and multiplicity marks all of them –– not only in the “oblivion” of the Wilderness, as adult Van put it in, but also in the “oblivion” that seems to still mark all of their now “normal,” safe adult lives.

        While I think Sophie Nelisse and Melanie Lynskey are both doing phenomenal work, I also find Shauna the most disturbing of the characters, in part because she is indeed selfish and violent, and in a way that seems more self-aware, to some degree (as opposed to, say, Misty); and that she is able to also inhabit the meek, bystander, nonthreatening persona. Also, I feel like I have a better sense of what motivates Misty’s violent or detrimental decisions (eg., destroying the plane’s emergency signal). With Shauna, the motivation often feels far more nebulous, which I think is unsettling.

  7. Have to say I wasn’t really feeling this episode until the last 15-20 minutes or so. Probably would have been my least favourite if not for those last 15-20.

    I think the lack of tension between Shauna and Lottie as adults might not necessarily be because they’ve forgotten the beating, but more because the purpose of the beating was to be cleansing for both of them. I think my opinion on it is really gonna depend on what happens in the next episode or even the rest of the season.

    I didn’t really see Van’s cancer diagnosis coming but I was definitely like, “Oh, well then eat as much candy for breakfast as you like, Van!”

    • Re: Shauna and Lottie’s dynamic, people might be forgetting that the two of them spent another year together in the woods before being rescued. Most likely they worked it out between themselves. But it certainly doesn’t have the same immediacy for them that it does for us, since we had the beating intercut directly with scenes of the grown women and we haven’t seen the rest of the time in the woods. A lot more happened between the beating and the rescue, for sure.

      • Yeah they were out there 18 months and this is only the first winter so it’s been what, 6 months tops since they crashed? There’s still 10 more months of stuff happening (plus 25 years of no contact)

  8. i thought it was so telling that misty’s inner caligula affirms her with “you always get the ball over the goal line” when, iirc, misty was never an active player for the yellowjackets – more than anything she just wants to be seen as a part of the team, the mvp, the clutch

    • Haha yes I had this thought too! I’m pretty sure she was only team manager. But I wonder if she thinks her care for the other players and like cheering them on is what helped THEM get the ball over the goal line

  9. Gorgeous recap. Love how you discussed Lottie’s mental illness and the concept of her feeling more free.

    I wonder if AQ might be a collective delusion, their goddess they all worship, not an actual physical person dressed up.

    Because in the pilot, there are 8 total people, right? But we only know of 7 survivors in present day, unless I’m missing someone or someone else was rescued as well that we don’t know about.

  10. I can’t get over the music this episode, like the opening to something in the way and then lightning crashes (which will forever bring me back to the OA but still so so good and well-utilized). Feels like time for me to start walking around listening to the YJ soundtrack, I think wonderwall gets honorable inclusion and like the pilot starts with smashing pumpkins followed by liz phair, yay 90s.

  11. Just popping in to say I noticed not one but two antler chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of the compound building where our gals were boozing and dancing at the end. The shots are quick, but they’re there!

  12. WAIT!……I noticed something. When Lottie is talking to the false therapist she says, “Even more of them are here now.” She DOESN’T say, “They’re all here now.” There’s somebody else.

    Mari survived.

  13. A couple of things:
    1. Nat has already ‘relapsed’ by going on a major bender in her motel room. Misty doesn’t seem to grasp this and only panics when white powder is introduced…which Nat only sought after getting plowed on booze.
    2. How much do they remember accurately, fully? Hit me hard. I ‘remembered’ my own high school trauma…sort of, for decades, only to have it blow up on me after 38 years. So yeah, each of them has a memory made up of how they’ve previously thought and spoken about it, almost certainly including a LOT of jumbling time-lines, and de-emphasized specifics. That they came to some sort of consensus ‘version’ for the rest of the world adds another layer of error.

  14. I love your Yellowjackets recaps, Kayla, and this is no exception. I started reading them after episode 107 because I was devastated thinking they’d killed off Van and needed to process it. Now I’m devastated about Van again and leaving my first comment.

    We just got Adult Van — I don’t want to lose her. But I’m somewhat comforted by your analysis, and I’m willing to trust the writers a little longer and see where this goes. I hope to all the gods of the wilderness that Van doesn’t die, but, having had a little time to process it, I’m starting to feel intrigued about what it’s going to mean for her to be here with the other survivors at this point in time.

    I tend to agree that Shauna wasn’t just dreaming last episode but was on that same spectral plane as Jackie was when she died. And I’m a little worried that Ben’s entering that space in his fantasy sequences too. I got chills when Paul said “we all love you” because it immediately took me back to “we all love you, Jackie” in Jackie’s death dream.

  15. A couple of thoughts I had after rewatching:

    1. When Nat asks how much they remember, Lottie says something like, “When the body is an ecstatic state it has trouble holding onto memory” which is CERTAINLY AN INTERESTING WORD CHOICE.

    2. While Taissa may be out, something that really struck me about this episode: HER CLOTHES. But also, HOW COMFORTABLE SHE SEEMED IN THEM. They’re technically Van’s clothes, but they are MUCH butcher than what Adult Tai usually wears. And let’s not forget that one of the first things she did out in those woods was cut off her hair, but it’s as long as it was before in the present timeline. Yes, Tai gets to live as an out lesbian, but like, the most socially acceptable kind – still very femme, very gender conforming. So maybe that’s what’s she been suppressing. Cuz like, she was full lipstick femme for that political campaign, it was probably not entirely her choice, and maybe THAT’S the trigger for her.

    3. They either took turns as the antler queen or the antler queen is a collective delusion.

    • IDK that I agree about Tai, like she absolutely looks great in Van’s clothes, and they do look super comfy, but the pre-crash flashbacks showed her style as being fairly femme of centre vs how Van dressed and presented herself. and the way she dressed for the high school reunion had a perfect low-key power femme vibes.

      and that’s OK! some of us like to wear lipstick and dangly earrings and such, and it has nothing to do with appealing to men or society! I’m not exactly high femme but I feel great when I pop on a red lip. and I absolutely gravitate to adult Van’s…everything. like that is a DYKE and I’m in love with her

      anyway, I like that they’re both into different ways of expressing themselves, but also that they’re currently wearing each other’s clothes because that is cute as hell

    • That’s an interesting take on Tai’s renewed sleepwalking! I definitely also noticed the clothes this ep but mostly because she looked so damn good in them haha. But yeah, it’s definitely interesting to think about how she chooses to present to the world. The social exchange of looking a certain way for society at large in order to get something in return from that society (even if she is an out lesbian). And while that might be part of it, i do think the stress of running for office and hiring a PI to dig up the past is probably mostly what did it. But i am into this theory!

    • No, no, how is it that no-one in these so far delightful recaps has recoiled at the violence meted out to Lottie?? Ffs,yes she haunted Shauna’s pregnancy and I get Shauna’s alienation (see my first offering here on that subject, last ep recap) but her beating has haunted me all day.
      Dammit, who amongst us has willingly suffered such brutality? And the others watch?? Frozen, maybe, but this scene is rooted in a very male concept of having it out. I really don’t understand why this is skated over in these otherwise so sensitive analyses.

      • This is a weird gendered analysis that lacks all nuance. That’s why we haven’t brought it up. It’s not there in the text – the text of the show is full of violence women do to women.

        • Hm, I agree totally that the show is about the violence women can do to other women – of course – but in my frame such violence is usually more subtle than physically brutal. Maybe I need to get out more. Interested in your hostility to ‘gendered analyses’, tho, Jencendiary.

          • I’m not interested in having my perspective Monday Morning Quarterbacked by some rando purporting themselves to be a doctor on the internet.

            And the whole thesis of the show is that violence isn’t gendered – it could be any one of us perpetrating or being victimized, depending on the circumstance. This UWU wombyn peaceful shit is frankly infantilizing.

  16. I’m also intrigued by the idea of how much the adult Yellowjackets remember and at what point they may have stopped remembering — especially because it makes me think of the moment when Shauna realized Jeff had read her journals & asked if he still loved her after all that. (Which of course our precious wife guy does, but.)

    My question is, did Shauna actually record everything in those journals, or did she stop at some point? DOES Jeff know everything? This doesn’t feel like a question we’re ever going to get an answer to, but it makes that moment sadder to me in retrospect, wondering.

      • Oh that’s a good point. But the baby wasn’t the only thing I was wondering about, it was more a general curiosity about whether there was a point when she stopped writing. But maybe there wasn’t!

      • Well, we don’t know if the paternity of wilderness baby was explicitly in Shauna’s journal or if Jackie (correctly) extrapolated. Shauna told Jackie she was pregnant, and Jackie read in the journal Shauna fucked Jeff, but since it was the same journal we saw her writing in pre-crash, anything she wrote about Jeff could have been pre-crash. It’s possible Shauna didn’t write about the pregnancy at all, so while Jackie put two and two together, Jeff still may not know the pregnancy happened.

  17. Ok so i feel like i need to preface my theory by saying that i did not rewatch season 1 before starting season 2 so i might be forgetting something that would unravel my hypothesis, but! There’s been no mention of the baby in the present timeline to date to my recollection. Neither Shauna nor Jeff nor any of the other adult Yellowjackets have talked about it. There have been times this season where it seemed like they’ve /approached/ talking about wilderness baby, but haven’t. And not even in like a toeing the line of a painful memory thing but rather like they’re on a clear path to that conversation and then inexplicably swerve away from it without realizing. If that makes sense. A few episodes ago, Jeff how he and Shauna need to be a team because they only have one kid and they need to protect her, and it didn’t seem like there was a trace of awkwardness from either him or Shauna in that moment. And now in this episode we have the dichotomy of Shauna in the past dealing with the fallout of the still birth and the Shauna in the present finally being able to confess her fear of being a failure of a mother, of having to watch her daughter die. And this is the closest yet we’ve gotten to the adults talking about the wilderness baby (again, only to my faulty recollection), but then they still don’t actually mention it! Shauna confesses this insecurity to Lottie, who she is most out of connection with back in the wilderness. And during that whole conversation i was desperately trying to read and interpret Lottie’s reaction, simply waiting for her to mention wilderness baby, but she doesn’t. And then when Nat asks everyone what they remember from their time in the wilderness, and Shauna’s mention of not wanting to remember anything she’s repressed from that time, it made me wonder if maybe losing the baby is one of those things Shauna has repressed/forgotten. And that’s why Jeff so smoothly said they only have one kid, without any qualifier, why Lottie gave generic comfort words to Shauna (even though, to me, it really looked like she wanted to say something else). I probably wouldn’t be thinking about this so obsessively if Nat hadn’t asked that question and Shauna hadn’t given that answer. But like, tl;dr: did Shauna’s trauma partially manifest as her forgetting being pregnant/losing the baby in the wilderness? Did the others also forget or are they humoring her? Again, i could be way off base if I’m forgetting something that happened in season 1, which is highly likely! But that could also explain the discrepancies in personality and interpersonal relationships that we’ve seen between the teens and the adults: they’ve forgotten some stuff! But also, it’s been 25 years, people change and time heals and whatnot so who knows. Anyway yeah, Nat asked what everyone remembered and Shauna said what’s forgotten can stay forgotten and my brain went brrrrrr!

    • For Shauna, the journals complicate things because we see Teen Shauna writing about her pregnancy in her journals and we know that Adult Jeff read the journals. He knows about wilderness baby, even if only secondhand.

    • I really like this idea, I think you’re right! I have also noticed the way they set themselves up to talk about the baby and then veer away without it seeming deliberate – it is always weird and this is a good explanation!

    • I just have to say , the Nirvana choice in the opening was beyond perfect . Something about that song is so beautifully creepy . It hits a nerve, and coming off of last episode it was perfectly executed…

  18. On the topic of what they remember, it also tracks that they would have crystalline memories – almost like snapshots – of certain moments, but that a great deal of the time would be more hazy. This certainly is consistent with what is known about how many people metabolize trauma, loss, and grief, and how it fogs the mind and clouds or skews memory. Add in starvation and all their other physical duress…

    On a different note: do others think the Queen playing card with her eyes scratched out relates directly to the Man with No Eyes?

    • last thing! I just rewatched the pilot for the first time, and in the opening moments as the unknown girl is running through the forest, the carvings on the trees are not the symbol, but eyes. maybe everyone else is already aware of this, but I had completely forgotten!

    • No, no, how is it that no-one in these so far delightful recaps has recoiled at the violence meted out to Lottie?? Ffs,yes she haunted Shauna’s pregnancy and I get Shauna’s alienation (see my first offering here on that subject, last ep recap) but her beating has haunted me all day.
      Dammit, who amongst us has willingly suffered such brutality? And the others watch?? Frozen, maybe, but this scene is rooted in a very male concept of having it out. I really don’t understand why this is skated over in these otherwise so sensitive analyses.

      • Hardcore agree. I was PISSED none of the other teen Yellowjackets stepped in. They’re complicit! I get being shocked at first, like “WTF is happening?!” but at some point you snap out of that *before the person is almost dead*

        Tbh I think the reason more people aren’t upset about Shauna practically murdering Lottie is that it was ~artfully spliced in with the happy adult montage at the end for cinematic effect~ (barf/eyeroll). But for me that doesn’t lessen the fact that it was REALLY disturbing. I personally don’t think including it will be worth however it “advances the story.” It reminds me of when straight white guys write a rape scene as a lazy shortcut to explain a woman’s fury. Like OK Yellowjackets, we get it, you’re edgy and dark and provocative…can you not traumatize *us* in the process? (Apparently I have a lot of feels about this scene!)

    • I kind of saw the Shauna/goat moment as Shauna re-living the loss of her wilderness baby. The cut up rope forshadowing Bruce’s disappearance felt much like the baby’s detached placenta being expelled before the dead baby. Also, Shauna is for some reason convinced she is gonna end up killing Bruce pretty much like she “killed” her baby in the woods.

  19. I think you’re right — I don’t think Shauna and Lottie remember the beating. But I wonder if Van does? Maybe that’s why she had no interest in driving up to the compound until she saw Shauna drive up. Maybe she was thinking it was going to end in violence and figured they might need all hands on deck.

  20. Simone Kessel did an intervew for TV Guide’s Youtube Channel, where she says that she does hold back in one scene with Melanie. Older Lottie doesn’t reach out to comfort Older Shauna when Shauna’s holding the goat. She’s compassionate, but wary of her in that particular state where Shauna’s mom-button has been pushed.

  21. It really struck me that they were so free and relaxed like that dancing to Lightning Crashes- a song about a woman DYING IN CHILDBIRTH while the baby lives. Did Shauna die and did the wilderness ritual bring her back? Did it trade her for the baby?

    • I saw a tweet, that I can now of course not find, regarding theories about the hallucinations the characters experience right before death/as they die. When Shauna is with her dream baby, she finally gets the baby to eat, but doesn’t actually drink the tea Nat gives her. When Jackie dies, she hallucinates drinking hot chocolate after being welcomed back into the cabin. Both of these fit with the theme of “eat in the underworld and be bound there”. It’s a loose theory, but something about the wilderness acting as a force to pull people to death/the underworld and offer them a “choice”. Under that assumption, I think Shauna and the baby were actually both gone, but she was able to be pulled back since she hadn’t consumed anything. Whether a theory or just a common motif, I thought it was interesting! And it has me hunting for those instances when other characters are on the brink of death. (I think Ben also hallucinated eating something when he was remembering Paul and didn’t die immediately. So maybe he wasn’t close enough to death, was a memory, or maybe that doomed him for the future.)

  22. I loved this recap, as always! I think I’m in a minority after a quick glance at the comments lol but it doesn’t click for me that they don’t remember the violence between them but I do think it’s possible they’re hardened to it, or that so many things happened it feels like a drop in the bucket. I think if it weren’t for all the references to Shauna’s diary and her husband reading it etc I might buy more that they have some collective repression/amnesia going on, but I don’t think the show’s earned that yet. Similarly, I’m still more compelled by the teen story line, though this was one of my favorite episodes overall… I loved Misty’s dream sequence! I think I just wish we’d gotten here sooner, but I’m hoping the show really picks up from here

    • I agree with this. I’m not suggesting they remember everything perfectly well, of course they don’t, but I don’t think the overall memory or knowledge of life in the wilderness or significant events out there has been lost by the group or anything like that. Of course episodic memory is subject to decay and distortion over time (even with flashbulb memories unlike the popular thinking around this – they retain their vividness, but the accuracy erodes just like other memories), trauma and repression is a factor, and we have Lottie who underwent ECT (known for inducing retrograde amnesia, though I think this tends to be in the short term and memory is usually recovered eventually). Sure, I’d say Lottie is an unknown quantity due to this and also the perceptual distortions she experienced in the wilderness, and Tai perhaps due to other Tai. Still, I think the group retains the overall knowledge of what happened, and this is a major subject of the series, that they’ve all agreed to conceal the story – we see the public asking for it even 25 years later, and various yjs processing how to respond, worrying about what the others shared, and we have the blackmail storyline etc. I think when they’re talking about how much they all remember, I see it as a distinction between knowing (which is retained due to rehearsal, due to writing in the case of Shauna) and remembering like they’re asking each other how salient it is, how it moves through their minds now and how this has shifted over time, how much has decayed or is fuzzy or repressed, etc. That’s what happens with memory and time, and trauma memories are even more complicated. But I don’t believe they’ve lost the knowledge as individuals (most of them) and certainly not as a group.

  23. One of my new favorite lines is Van saying something like “And what is the intention?” when Lottie said “intentional community.” Perfect delivery, I just love Van so much

  24. This episode was harder for me to watch than last week’s. It’s just so fucking sad.

    Two things come to mind: we never saw how the Ben and Misty scene fully played out. Did she save him or did he jump anyway?

    Isn’t there a term or name in folklore for a person that absorbs sickness from another person? I can’t think of it but maybe Native American? I keep thinking it’s what Lottie is and she absorbed Shauna’s “disease” in the cabin when she got pulverized. SO HARD TO WATCH. If that’s true, can she metaphorically absorb Van’s cancer at some point?

    • They clearly showed him moving back and turning away from the cliff. Technically one could argue that after the camera cut away he turned back around and threw himself off, but nothing about the scene hints at that. I still think he’s doomed, but he’s not meeting his end in this episode.

    • Not sure if it’s what you’re thinking of, but your comment made me think of the sin-eaters in parts of Britain in the 18th-19th century, who took on the sins of the recently-dead via a ritual meal (that did not involve cannibalism , to be clear).

      Not quite a parallel to Lottie/Shauna, tho, sadly.

  25. Thank you so much for doing these reviews Kayla! I’m way too squeamish to watch the show, but I’m so intrigued in the plot that I highly anticipate these recaps each week.

    One thing I noticed – as someone who doesn’t watch the show, I almost jumped when I saw the screencap of Misty’s visions in the sleep deprivation chamber. The curtains are clearly a reference to the red room in Twin Peaks. If you google “Laura Palmer red room” you’ll find several images that are almost identical to the screencap posted. It’s so interesting to see how Yellowjackets references shows that came before it/influenced it (Lost also comes to mind), and I was wondering if anyone else caught this?

    • Most definitely. I thought of the Red Room as soon as I saw the opening credits this year, and when this episode showed the context of that clip was definitely not Misty going to a theater in real life, that really underlined the Red Room link. I’ve seen AV Club mention Twin Peaks too, and I’m sure others have – it’s so iconic for those of us who have seen Twin Peaks. And the showrunners have mentioned in interviews that they watch tons of TV, so this was no accident. (I’m still laughing about the hatch “no, we’re not Lost!” fakeout earlier this season._

  26. I feel like Walter’s days are numbered now that Misty confided in him on the voicemail that his assumptions about Adam were right. We saw what happened to the last person she confided in during an emotional rush.

    • Maybe. But there’s been a clear contrast between Crystal and Walter. Crystal was horrified when Misty told her the truth. Misty didn’t tell Walter the truth, Walter just assumed that she killed Adam (which actually Misty didn’t), and told her he was okay with it.

      Now maybe Walter’s lying and this is all part of his plan to get Misty locked up for her presumed crimes, but even if so, he’s still markedly different from Crystal, who had no idea whatsoever of Misty’s pathology until Misty told her.

  27. I didn’t read every comment here, so sorry if this has been repeated, but I’m pretty sure it’s Alanis Morissette singing the theme, esp. if you look at the Spotify playlist.

  28. another small part of that line from Misty in that bit about the snack/goat bait is that she mentions deliberately causing out of body experiences due to hunger, which i feel like could be foreshadowing (er, backwards-shadowing for teen timeline? lol) to another way they disassociate in the wilderness which could also mess with their memories / sense of ownership over who did what.

    also i might have missed this being said but the scene in one of the previous episodes (3?) where Lottie gives Lisa the opportunity to release her pain/anger out on Nat in group therapy almost mirrors the scene in this ep where Lottie ‘surrenders’ herself to Shauna’s beating. which re-inforces the idea that adult Lottie’s cult practices are re-purposed behaviours from the wilderness days.

    also i’m kinda intrigued by this ‘power’ that (adult) Lottie still seems to have over them, the ease that Tai and Shauna just disclose their hidden fears to her. While she herself is only really opening up to herself/not-a-therapist instead? (but they finally got her to dance so maybe she’ll feel more able to open up from now…or at least maybe with Nat ) ((but i def agree with Lisa being better for healing Nat than Lottie!))

    • Love these recaps Kayla, they’re always my first stop after watching each episode!

      I just wanted to add my two cents about captions – I work for a company that does captions for TV shows (not for Yellowjackets!) and while we try to be accurate, we definitely make mistakes sometimes. So I wouldn’t assume anything in the subtitles is factually true (e.g., I agree it was Jackie’s voice last week! And it was an Alanis version of the theme song today for sure.)

      We’re a separate company from the broadcaster/production company, and sometimes we get scripts etc to work from, but sometimes it’s just the captioner doing their best to work out what’s being said. Anyway, just wanted to add that for context! Thanks for such thoughtful recaps each week!

  29. Ugh I can’t remember how to add a photo to a recap BUT

    I took a screenshot at the moment Lottie turned after being punched by Shauna for the first time and her hair was perfectly covering her eyes, but not the rest of her face. In that moment was Lottie the queen with no eyes AND a sacrifice to Shauna’s rage and grief?

    As other commenters have said, I think this is definitely the beginning of some violent rituals and I could see this tying into the theory that they draw cards to pick their role in the ritual. I think the antler queen/no-eyed queen both presides and is sacrificed. I bet we get a reveal that underneath the veil of the antler queen her eyes are covered or gone in some way.

    Also the real sexual tension is between writers and deciding to kill a queer character. I’m of two minds about this, because obviously this is a horror show and in some ways Van’s diagnosis feels really earned. But also we’ve been given 4 canonically queer characters and one is in a coma, one has terminal cancer, and one is seconds from killing himself and appears to be narratively doomed at this point. I hope Van’s diagnosis leads to some adult reversion to sacrifice for life, I think that would get me fully onboard plot-wise.

    • “the real sexual tension is between writers and deciding to kill a queer character” lmao

      I hope Simone survives, but she is obviously done with Tai and her altar shenanigans at this point, so they get a divorce and Simone finds another hot woman who doesn’t sleepwalk.

      Ben, I dunno at this point, I thought his first flashback with Paul was sweet and moving, but there have been so many scenes like this that I’m getting kind of annoyed, like why are we spending so much time on male characters this season? and he’s so checked out and won’t help the girls at all, so…shape up or ship out, Ben! Natalie especially needs you right now!

      and yeah, they will not kill Van on my watch. I actually refuse x

  30. I absolutely ADORE these deeply thoughtful analytical articles / recaps, so I just have to say I’d offer a clipping of my hair or some blood to the wilderness to protect this invaluable contribution to my YJ experience, if need be. A deeply heartfelt thank you to you, Kayla!

    That said, I’m here commenting for one reason and one reason alone: who else watched that impromptu party scene multiple times to make out (lol) Tai clearly adding to the cheers “AND TO TONIGHT’S IMPENDING SCISSOR PARTY!”


    It’s both PEAK YJ comedy and sooo clearly speaking to all the sexual tension brewing among so many of the adult Yellowjackets. It wasn’t in the subtitles, but it’s real and it’s Tai, clear as a bell upon careful listening.

    Just need to share this moment with my fellow Autostraddle gays because I can’t get over how this perfectly and subtly stokes the lesbian tensions brewing throughout the adult timeline. Wish I had more intelligent thematic observations to bring, but just sharing this perfect moment after not seeing it mentioned (sorry if I missed it in the comments I haven’t read yet!) is truly all I need.

  31. I don’t think Van is going to die.

    Each of them are suddenly experiencing things that defined them in the wilderness — Lottie’s visions, Tai/Other Tai’s sleepwalking, Shauna’s violence. (I’m struggling a bit with the Nat and Misty connections here, because it seems like both their lives have been continuous trainwrecks this whole time.)

    But. If the “re-experiencing” holds for Van…

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they’d include in the same episode both the scene with teen Van talking about her quest for meaning after repeatedly surviving things that should have killed her AND also adult Van revealing her cancer that should kill her. I think she’ll live and the existential question of “what is my purpose/why am I still here” will just grow.

    • “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they’d include in the same episode both the scene with teen Van talking about her quest for meaning after repeatedly surviving things that should have killed her AND also adult Van revealing her cancer that should kill her. I think she’ll live and the existential question of “what is my purpose/why am I still here” will just grow”

      I see your vision and I like it!

  32. as always, love these, kayla.

    so,,, a baby goat is called a kid. and baby goat season, aka *right fucking now*, is called kidding season, or any manner of oh hey the kidding is upon us. anyway, i’m 100% certain of why they (lyle and nickerson) chose a goat and it’s *not* just cause their offspring are ‘kids’. but that’s a chicken/egg thing and also my lips are sealed.

  33. Don’t eat me but does anyone else think this season is considerably worse than s1? I’m still enjoying it a lot and planning to keep watching but the pacing has felt so slow (so much filler which hasn’t served to actually increase tension that much), the writing at a dialogue level feels way clunkier and less subtle, the humour is getting very broad, the horror moments have been more cliche and less shocking… It just doesn’t feel on the same level as s1 which really felt like genius, taut, terrifying TV of a kind that doesn’t come along every day. Again don’t get me wrong, I’m still having a good time following these characters and I’m still keen to see what happens (and I thought the final 20 mins of this episode, after a shaky start, were incredible)… but is anyone else a bit disappointed?

    • It does feel a little less narratively “tight” in some ways. Like, there so much I do enjoy about this show but every so often they’ll do something and I’ll kinda wonder if we get a pay off or if they just keep starting these strings and dropping them. But I also feel like I can’t really judge on that front until the show ends fully.

    • Totally. The episode before this one (the baby fakeout) felt like a total waste of time/gotcha. I feel like this season we’re just waiting around for something to happen. Maybe they’re saving it for the last, what, 3 episodes of the season?

  34. OK i have a theory. but first, kayla, these recaps give me life! Thank you, been following since day 1.

    the motif of the black queen card from the deck of card keeps coming up in Lotties recent visions. And the deck of cards is how they pick chores. I think they use the deck of cards to decide who dies, so the group can eat. The black queen represents the wilderness, the antler queen (which i agree is possibly a collective delusion since Nat saw it too, but it could also be lottie’s delusion that she tells the group and makes a reality for everyone).

    i think we are getting close to seeing the group devolve into cult/spiritual-driven cannabalism to survive….especially since multiple girls are talking about eating krystal/kristen and Misty talking about eating Ben. Van also says they need to wake up… and I see this desperateness leading to a full buy in to cannablism to survive. And Lottie’s position as a seer who understands the wilderness better than the rest of the girls, may give her the power to suggest they use the cards and let chance/fate/the wilderness decide. Curious to see how teenage Lottie will guide and influence the group into using the deck of cards to choose, and how she’ll rationalize and suggest that a deck of cards is the wilderness. I also wonder about how they get to and rationalize doing a violent hunt to kill the next person – seems like Lottie’s antler queen vision suggests violence.

    ALSO, how did they dispose of Adam’s body again? Is it possible that Shauna is off the hook if they found the wrong remains? Or did they find his real remains and Shauna is fucked?

    • On the Adam’s body front, head and hands went into an incinerator with another body, but torso was buried in a suitcase in a park. So odds are they found the suitcase, and I think there were tattoos involved too. Idk, I feel like there was still something shady about Adam, how does an artist in 2021 not have a social media presence??? I kinda wonder if there will be some deus ex machina about something he was involved in that could explain it all away, because Shauna actually getting locked up indefinitely isn’t that interesting of a plot direction imo.

      • I’m afraid they’re gonna make all of season 3 a courtroom drama about Shauna’s trial. 😒 Somehow all of the adult Yellowjackets will have to testify. Misty will lie and make up an alibi for Shauna that gets her off the hook at the very last second. Shauna will face no consequences. I love Melanie Lynskey just as much as everyone else (give her all the awards!) but Shauna is the least compelling character.

    • Ok nvm just rewatched the last episode of season 1…and it is Adam’s remains. Buried in the same field Misty tells them to bury him in. I wonder if Misty will be right that they can’t do anything with a torso. But clearly the cops have already connected the body to adam and presume it’s his. So now the cops know that whoever murdered adam was trying to hide it. Wonder how adult shauna’s story will play out from here…

  35. First off, I run to these recaps after each episode. They are a perfect pairing and a way to also internally digest what scene on the screen. You clearly put so much time and effort into the recaps so thank you!

    My own thoughts:

    I’ve actually been disappointed these last few episodes, I tried to figure out why this season hasn’t felt as strong as last season (because it in so many ways it is objectively stronger). I’ve come to realize I really dislike the inclusion of Lottie as a main. I wish we had more time with other girls.

    It’s interesting because after thinking about why (both actresses are doing good jobs in the role), I’m faced with my hatred for the fanaticism in religion that is hurting our communities so much these days.

    Alternatively (or maybe concurrently), I’ve recently had a best friend join an Evangelical style cult and conversations with her have become so charged around everyday behaviors and even queer identities – it’s hard to watch the Yellowjackets ladies yield their autonomy to Lottie’s seemingly invented religion. To watch Lottie pervert the freedom and stalk, secular, harsh earthiness of the wilderness into her own deranged narrative. The forest belongs to itself. When we first saw the antler queen I assumed it was spiritual delusion brought on by the conditions of the woods creating a mass hysteric episode. It’s looking like more and more that hysteric episode may have been created by Lottie’s crazy. In addition, we have no proof that Lottie’s invented religion is helping. Like a true cult leader, young Lottie alternates with not pulling her weight in the camp with huge sweeping acts of martyrism. Older Lottie, feels like a classic cult leader with a case of internal nutcase.

    In perhaps proof of the shows strength, it was painful to watch Shauna in past episodes to beg to try to get Lottie to leave her religion out of the process of the birth of her baby. Even in her (near) death hallucination Lottie plays a large factor in her distress. Nat sees Lottie when she tries to sleep with Travis.

    It’s hard for me to get over the fact that Lottie literally makes her problems everyone else’s. In the worse Summer of their lives, as they fight for survival, Lottie makes so much of the fight about her, using religion to occupy space in the other girl’s minds.

    I do find it interesting that the adult versions have not thought about Lottie in decades.

    I loved Lottie getting beat up and I love watching Shauna come into her own subtle power. She’s not forcing anyone to follow her lead, she craving her own path. Grown up Shauna is much the same, though the light has dimmed, when push comes to shove she will do want she wants and what she has to, to survive. Beyond those who died, it’s Shauna who arguably has lost the most.

    – Are we never going to hear about Tai’s son? Maybe she didn’t birth him, but where is he? Melanie has a ton of scenes referencing motherhood, but Tai is (abet absent) a mother as well- to much younger child.
    -Christina Ricci is great. I wish they gave her more to work with.
    – JCM killed it as the parrot. I used to work with him, and he is literally the coolest.
    -Agree that cancer thing for Van is a copout but curious to see how it’s handled.

    • As far as Tai’s son, her wife made it clear that she doesn’t want Tai around him and thinks she’s dangerous, so I wouldn’t be surprised if her family stepped in while she was in the hospital recovering.

      • Oh completely agree, I just meant like she doesn’t really seem to think about him in general her storyline doesn’t weave him into it since she left the family like Shauna’s does. It could be a side effect of her dissociation. It’s just interesting that’s no longer a focus

    • I like what you’re saying about the impact of Lottie on the teens and their survival in the woods. It was detrimental to them and their wilderness culture and it has a lasting impact now on how they experience and perceive their survival (Nat & Travis are tormented about this, and on their remorse, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s to come out there due to this theology). I was PISSED that Lottie would bring that ritual into Shauna’s birth space so clearly against her will. You don’t bring anything to someone’s birth that they don’t want there. Like Shauna was thrashing about it.
      I still didn’t like watching Lottie get beat up, and I have some empathy for her teen self in certain moments, like ep 4 in particular, she didn’t choose to have mental illness is the form of hallucinations/delusions, but it’s really hard to watch her violate the expressed wishes of others and when various yjs accuse her of causing harm, she’s defensive and won’t adapt. Also, you can see her really want to guide other people regardless of what the specific belief-system behind it is. Like how in the hospital post-rescue she tells her roommate the treatments helped her and can help the roommate too. She’s always playing guru whether it’s around the aq faith or the field of psychiatry or anything else. That’s really what she’s bad at and what she should stop doing, and then it would be easier to have empathy for her teen & adult selves and her psychological difficulties sussing out reality and fantasy, and see the positive attributes that she clearly has (I think the reason I can have empathy for her in ep 4 is because we follow her alone and lost and guiding herself, and that’s what she should be focusing on). This episode she’s back down the rabbit hole of seeing herself as an oracle/god and on the precipice of rejecting the mental illness hypothesis altogether. It can’t be going anywhere good.

      • Ah this all the way. I do have sympathy for her early on. They are all going through it, doing what they can to make sense of reality, however, I agree with what you said, she does so expressly in opposition to others. Claiming a wisdom and a sense of righteousness that often violates the autonomy of those around her. Often for the worst.

  36. Listening to the YJ Spotify playlist and reminded how PHENOMENALLY executed the musical texture of this show is.

    Although I have to acknowledge that at times the lyrical resonance with the scenes borders towards Gen Q style commentary (although the music is so much better it redeems it in a way that TLW’s house band never could pull off).

    Exhibit A, Florence accompanying this episode’s adult group therapy by way of booze and dancing in the snow scene, which begins at Lottie joins them:

    “Sometimes I wonder if I should be medicated
    If I would feel better just slightly sedated
    A feeling comes so fast and I cannot control it
    I’m on fire, but I’m trying not to show it
    As it picks me up, puts me down
    It picks me up, puts me down
    A hundred times a day
    It picks me up, puts me down
    It chews me up, spits me out
    Picks me up, puts me down
    I’m always running from something
    I push it back, but it keeps on coming
    And being clever never got me very far
    Because it’s all in my head
    And “You’re too sensitive”, they said
    I said, “Okay, but let’s discuss this at the hospital”
    As it picks me up, puts me down
    But I hear the music
    I feel the beat
    And for a moment
    When I’m dancing, I am free
    Is this how it is?
    Is this how it’s always been?
    To exist in the face of suffering and death
    And somehow still keep singing
    Oh like Christ up on a cross
    Who died for us? Who died for what?
    Oh, don’t you wanna call it off?
    But there’s nothing else that I know how to do
    But to open up my arms and give it all to you
    ‘Cause I hear the music, I feel the beat
    And for a moment, when I’m dancing
    I am free, I am free
    I am free, I am free

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