[Ed. note: Showtime released the Yellowjackets finale Sunday at 12 a.m. ET via streaming.]
When many Yellowjackets fans (myself included) heard that this series was intended as a many-season story, and the mysteries wouldn’t be neatly concluded by episode 10, we raised a skeptical eyebrow. But we have been proven wrong. Now in the season finale, there seems ample material to keep this story going, and the first winter hasn’t only just hit the wilderness.
And thank goodness season two is happening. Had this been the note that Yellowjackets had concluded on, I would have had to have led the comments section in a protest march on because it’s not the great crescendo we were hoping for, but does manage to set up some exciting new propositions for season two.
In the present day, the women have come together to help dispose of Adam’s body. I’ve said it once and I’ve said it again, Misty is a psychopath but she’s a great friend. She collects the cleaning supplies from her job (12% of murderers are caught shopping for cleaning supplies, don’t you know) and sets to work—luckily without witnesses and security cameras. “We’re just destroying evidence!” Misty gleefully says, with one of Christina Ricci’s peerlessly terrifying grins. Unfortunately for Shauna, since she’s the one with the knife skills, it’s down to her to cut her lover’s body into pieces. It’s a sweet moment when Nat looks at her, aware of how difficult a proposition that is and reassures her, “I’ll help you.”
While sawing off his head and hands for Misty to ingeniously sneak into a recently departed patient’s coffin (great friend, but a terrible nurse), Nat and Shauna bond further, even if Shauna think’s that Travis probably did just die by suicide. Melanie Lynskey’s restraint as an actress makes many of her most devastating lines hit harder. Covered in blood, she plainly states, “What if the truth is we are all just fucked in the head from what happened to us?” It’s a moment that makes all that happens in the wilderness ever more depressing. That those girls fought and starved and survived only to get to a place where a death by suicide seems a perfectly reasonable option.
The reunion finally arrives and Taissa, Nat, and Shauna arrive walking in slow motion, like an edgier version of the plastics. Misty quickly rushes to walk in alongside them and, grateful for her body-disposing expertise, they all seem to welcome it. Frustratingly, despite the multiple episode build up to the reunion no new adult Yellowjackets are introduced. When the party ends, despite having re-connected Shauna and Jeff, it comes as a huge letdown.
Even if Misty is thrilled with how the evening goes, it proves an infuriating red herring as a viewer. Misty and Jessica the PI reach an agreement, and Misty agrees to let her go, even kindly returning her cigarettes to her, though they are a “terrible habit.” But just like in their first interaction, Jessica underestimates Misty, and a few puffs in her car later collapses, presumably dead thanks to a couple of well-placed injections of fentanyl. Farewell, Jessica—sad we couldn’t have more from Rekha Sharma in season two but always good to appreciate just what Misty is capable of.
In the wilderness, the Yellowjackets are having to confront just what Misty is capable of, too. The girls wake up in a daze, strewn on the ground like they’ve fallen out of an airplane, some of them having to address nearly murdering Travis, and are initially unaware what happened to them. It doesn’t take long to get the truth out of Misty, that ’shrooms meant to poison the coach were in the stew. That seems of significant comfort to Shauna, a reasonable explanation as to why they behaved like a pack of wolves, but Jackie remains furious.
Lottie seems unfazed by this information, clearly feeling the ’shrooms were only a vessel to connecting with something real. When a bear appears behind her, she calmly takes a knife and plunges it into the back of its skull, saving them all, presumably providing ample food as well as the the fur outfit and mask Misty was wearing in the premiere episode.
But, there are things that also cannot be unsaid. And when Lottie shoved Jackie into the closet in episode nine and hissed “You don’t matter anymore!,” she meant it. Jackie, still under the illusion that she holds the same power that she did when strutting down the hallways of high school, confronts Shauna in front of the group. “Shauna was fucking Jeff!” she yells, playing it like a trump card as if that would somehow elicit great sympathy to a group that has watched half of their friends die horribly.
Shauna, a pregnant teenage plane crash survivor that just filleted a bear and almost murdered a guy while on ’shrooms, has finally had enough of Jackie’s shit. A wonderful furious performance from Sophie Nélisse as she yells back about the way Jackie has always treated her as a sidekick. “I don’t even like soccer!” She lands the ultimate insult with aplomb: “High school was the best your life was ever going to get.”
The Yellowjackets are clearly favoring Shauna, and Jackie’s attempt to have her evicted fail. Instead it is Jackie that finds herself out in the cold alone, with no one but herself to blame. High school really is over.
And finally, we have it. What really happened to Jackie is solved. She dreams of being re-accepted by her friends but it’s just a sad final delusion. Having failed to light a fire and being too proud to come back inside, she curls up on the cold damp ground alone. The next morning, Shauna wakes up and a fresh blanket of snow is on the ground. Shauna runs out, but it is too late. Jackie is stiff and blue, frozen to death in the night. It may not be the spectacular demise many of us were waiting for, but the traumatic effect on Shauna is tangible, and it feels like a sincere source for her alienated numbness 25 years later. Much like Nat with her father, Shauna didn’t technically murder Jackie, but came close enough that the guilt will haunt her like she actually had.
And while we don’t technically get a new Yellowjacket, one is hinted at. Nat is kidnapped in the night by a group that are loyal to Lottie. Are they the people who killed Travis? Is Lottie alive or are they worshipping a dead teenager? What do they want with Nat? Bring on season two, I say.
- Taissa won the election! A twist most of us could see coming a mile off. I’m hoping it came down to Misty’s single vote.
- More surprisingly, Simone finds a small shrine in their basement that contains the head of their dearly departed dog. How this connects to everything is anyone’s guess as much of what is going on with Shauna seems to pre-date the plane crash.
- Van and Misty kneel down behind Lottie in the snow. I see Shauna and Taissa being lured over too at one point. After all, they said Nat saves them from something.
- Travis might be dead but he’s still my least favorite man on the show (yes, worse than Randy or the fella with no eyes). Nat saved his life and he still mocked her with how he “got laid.” I don’t care if he is traumatiszd by his dad’s death, he’s still the absolute worst.
- Was the world’s most suspicious man just a nice normal guy?!? Adam is on the news, having been reported missing, which suggests he was, at the very least, an artist called Adam. So much for all our theories. Sometimes in life, a manic-pixie dream boy with no internet presence finds it delightful that you rear-end their car and yell at them; coincidentally starts showing up at places you are; lies about their background; buys books about you and pretends not to know who you are and... is just a nice guy. Go figure.
- Thank you all for all these theories. I think the comments section of these recaps have been some of the most interesting TV discussions on the internet. One time someone said I was “just like Misty,” but I’m going to take that as a compliment.