After a week of stagnation, it’s pleasing to see Yellowjackets step it up a notch. Although we are still asking lots of questions and getting few answers, there’s plenty to sink one’s proverbial teeth into.
Things are looking pretty bad for the girls in the wilderness. The battery has died on the sole source of music, Misty is sexually harassing the recovering coach, and everyone’s periods have synced up, leading to a cross Yellowjacket time of cramps, moods, and makeshift sanitary products. It leads to one of the grossest jokes in the show so far, where Travis mistakes a pot of boiling bloody underwear for venison stew. Aside from landing some fun menstruation jokes the plot device lets us know that Shauna, the sole person who’s not being visited by Aunt Flo, has an unwanted pregnancy onto her list of things to worry about.
All in all, the girls have settled into an impressive routine, hunting, skinning, laundering, and chopping wood. Strangely, coming up with ideas for getting rescued doesn’t seem high on the agenda. Jackie, floundering again despite her supposedly innate leadership abilities, is being called out for not pitching in. Her solution is, after a solid talking-to from Shauna—and it’s hard to even comprehend the writers linking these two plot points—is that they should hold a séance to boost morale. This is a serious leap, but sure, we’ll suspend our disbelief to imagine a world without The Exorcist or charades.
When the séance starts, Yellowjackets goes full Evil Dead mode, complete with whooshing zooms to the window. Lottie (already seemingly connected to the other side) takes on a deep unnatural voice and starts speaking in French and downstairs the coach starts projectile vomiting (although whether that is supernatural or Misty poisoning him isn’t confirmed). Laura Lee proves particularly useful in this situation and literally whacks the evil out of Lottie with a Bible.
What is starting to emerge, intriguingly, is an ambiguity among the girls of what exactly happened. Nat and Misty manage to get crime scene photos by getting one of Misty’s amateur detective friends to hack Detective Kevin’s email. When Misty pieces together the mysterious symbol on the floor beneath Travis’s body her first reaction is to say “This is bad. This is so wrong. Travis didn’t believe in any of this shit.” It hints that not everyone in the wilderness brought into the supernatural interpretation of events, and maybe the divide between the hunters and the hunted was formed that way? At this point it’s all speculative but it’s an intriguing nugget of information.
Shauna’s storyline also reassuringly kicks it up a gear. Still hanging out with Adam, the world’s most suspicious man, she fakes another late-night Book Club to go to a Halloween rave with him. There, Shauna thinks she might be being followed by teenage Jackie, but on closer examination it turns out to be her daughter Callie, high on molly and wearing Jackie’s old Yellowjackets uniform.
It’s an uneasy confrontation, but one that in a few minutes actually speaks volume about how Shauna has been sleepwalking through life as a wife and a mother. Shauna’s strange naivety comes to the fore when her daughter points out that Adam, if he has access to google, knows about her traumatic past. Shauna also tells her daughter that though she and Jeff don’t speak about her, but she is haunted by Jackie every day. But Callie overplays her hand, trying to leverage knowledge of the affair against her mother. It’s a delightfully snarky retort from Lynsky deadpanning, “Have you ever heard of mutually assured destruction?” and dispassionately spells out how bad her parent’s divorce would be for Callie. It’s an uneasy détente and one that likely won’t last very long.
Meanwhile, Taissa is having an equally miserable time with her kid. Sammy still seems distant and disturbed, despite looking adorable in his sandwich Halloween costume. The campaign is still nosediving and their house is being vandalized with red paint. Simone gently helps her to come to realize that it’s time to give up on her state senate dreams and there is true sweet chemistry between the actresses that we haven’t had a chance to truly feel until now. Unfortunately Sammy is getting in the way of their domestic bliss and a red paint can is found under his bed. He, of course, unconvincingly denies it. But this and a series of hallucination somehow motivates Taissa to stay in the race, and she declares her intention to see it through until the bitter end. So technically, yes, this is yet another episode of Yellowjackets with one note for Taissa, but Tawny Cypress can sell the hell out of a righteously angry monologue.
Just as compelling is Juliette Lewis’ portrayal of grief. Some of the episode’s best moments cut between Travis and Nat as teenagers flirting in the woods and present day Nat remembering lying next to him in bed, cutting to grisly images of his autopsy.
We finally bring some of our disparate threads together in the present day. Taissa and Nat meet up and simultaneously receive blackmail texts asking for $50,000. Seems a bold move to blackmail Nat, who doesn’t even seem to have bail money and is willing to set people on fire to get what she want. But perhaps she’s not as savvy as we suspect, as she hasn’t clocked the hidden camera Misty has put in her house. And in a classic Misty plot, she overhears how everyone thinks she has bad hair.
Our mysteries are now in the double digits, but it will be fascinating to see more of Taissa and Nat together and to see how they act around a trusted friend that know the truth of what happened out there in the woods.
- Taissa and Van having a little romance in the wilderness is adorable.
- How long until scurvy sets in when you are on an all-venison diet?
- Maybe I’ve watched Old Boy too many times, but is anyone else now slightly worried that Adam is going to turn out to be Shauna’s baby?
- Misty and the coach feels like it’s going to end somewhere horrifying. At least he, unlike so many others, seems to appreciate how dangerous she is. Realizing her crush and that she’s potentially poisoning him, he attempts to placate her by saying the feelings are reciprocated and they’ll act on them post-graduation/rescue. Doubtful that will get him to the end of the 19 months.
- Misty is saved in Nat’s phone as “Don’t Pick Up.”