Holy hell. How do you even follow up an episode like last week's? I've been seeing this weird discourse online about how this season is "too slow" or "jumps around too much," and I can't help but feel some of those takes are in bad faith. Yellowjackets season 1 came out of the gate swinging because it had much to prove to hook new viewers. I've actually come to appreciate the pace of this second season, but last week felt like a paradigm shift. This week's episode kept that chaotic energy going and might be one of the most shocking episodes in the series yet. You know what? I'm here for it.
The episode opens on a somber note with the Yellowjackets hunkered down in the cabin, waiting for the blizzard to pass. Shauna just suffered the loss of her baby, and the mood overall isn't very high. Comradery is at an all-time low, if we're being honest. Eventually, the blizzard finally stops, and they're able to go back out into the wilderness. Some begin speculating that the loss of Shauna's baby was enough to get the blizzard to stop, but Lottie quickly corrects them and says it doesn't work that way. We also learn that Van has a sense of survivor's guilt and is questioning why she's still alive, Tai provides reassurance and lets her know that she's needed. It's a quiet and tender moment. Elsewhere, Shauna lays her baby to rest. Losing a child and her best friend, I feel like she is worse off than anyone else at the moment.
Meanwhile, in the present, the gang's all back together! They are forced to give up their cell phones (though they are allowed to send their loved ones an emergency contact number) and choose a treatment they wish to undertake at Lottie's compound. Most notably, Shauna picks the "Self-Care" treatment and is forced to take care of a baby goat named Bruce for the day, while Misty chooses "Guidance" and is presented with a sensory deprivation tank.
Coach Ben's visions are becoming more alarming. They seemed bad before, but now he is straight up imagining his partner breaking up with him and telling him he's no longer welcome there. I'm starting to think these visions aren't "what if" and instead memories of what happened in his past and the regret he's harboring (let's not forget he brought a ton of condoms on the plane). These visions reach a boiling point as it's beginning to affect his psyche as a whole.
The girls begin to suspect that Misty had something to do with Crystal's disappearance (which she totally did), but Misty overhears their conversation and is alarmed that she's a suspect. The group eventually decides to search for Crystal, while two of them privately discuss what to do with her body if she's found dead. That's right, more cannibalism if she turns up as a corpse. During the search, Tai takes a moment to tell Lottie that since she's been going to her circle therapy sessions, the sleepwalking has stopped, and she feels free of her "other self." Lottie takes issue with this and lets her know that her "other" self will always be a part of her, whether she likes it or not.
Shauna has lost Bruce the goat and begins searching for him around Lottie's compound, where she runs into Misty, who was weirded out by the sensory deprivation tank. While helping her, Misty makes a snide joke about Shauna killing Adam. Shauna gets upset at this and accuses Misty of enjoying being a serial killer, to which Misty finally stands up for herself and points out that out of everyone involved, she was the one that took the situation most seriously and had her back. Misty is your loyal friend to the end (even if you don't want her to be). They find the escaped Bruce, and Shauna is worried about him because he likely ate some of the rope he chewed through to free himself.
Back at the cabin, Misty starts to panic. Not only does she not want them to find out she was responsible for Crystal's death, but she also doesn't want them to eat her body. She was her only friend, after all. She sets out into the woods to find Crystal's body before the others. Elsewhere, Shauna heads to the meat shed to talk to Jackie. She calls out for her and says she needs her, but there is silence. No response. Jackie is truly gone. Coming to a realization, Shauna breaks down in the shed and begins to cry, truly mourning the loss of her best friend.
Shauna confronts Lottie about taking care of Bruce and refuses to slaughter him after taking care of him all day, but Lottie reveals slaughter was never a part of the plan. This was all part of her treatment — caring for something more vulnerable. Shauna emotionally breaks down to Lottie and comes clean that she feels distant from her daughter Callie out of fear that something bad might happen to her. She realizes she loves her and is a mother to her regardless of the fear she holds.
Misty finally enters her sensory deprivation tank to start her treatment. Stick around, folks, because this is where things get a little weird, even by Yellowjackets standards. She is transported to a full song and dance number led by her bird Caligula (John Cameron Mitchell in a wonderful cameo), and Walter. This sequence plays out in strange Twin Peaks fashion and is an absolute delight. After the musical number, she has a heart-to-heart with Caligula and realizes she has romantic feelings for Walter and leaves the tank to leave him a voicemail.
In the past, Misty is on the hunt for Crystal's body and heads to the bottom of the cliff. To her surprise, she can't find the body. Heading back up the cliff, Misty sees Coach Ben on the edge contemplating. He asks her to push him off, to which she starts tearfully pleading and asking him not to kill himself. After the pleading doesn't work, she desperately resorts to blackmail, saying she'll accuse him of the worst things imaginable, which ultimately culminates in her threatening "I'll tell everyone you're gay!". This strikes a chord with him, and he tells her to go ahead because he doesn't care anymore, a solemn moment of him finally accepting himself.
As night falls on Lottie's compound, Tai runs into Van, who reveals her treatment was "Foraging." Van foraged a bottle of alcohol from her truck, and she and Tai sit together to talk about reconnecting, their past, and then... they kiss. Tai pulls back to apologize, and Van drops a massive bombshell: she has terminal cancer with only a few months to live. Out of all the chaos on the show so far, this is probably one of the most shocking and emotional moments. Seeing Van struggle with survivor's guilt is a stark contrast to the fate that she holds in the present. Elsewhere, Lottie is talking to her psychiatrist and brings up that while she's happy they're all together in adulthood, she's scared because bad things happen when they are grouped together. The psychiatrist encourages her to let it happen because her true self comes out when it does. Then the reveal happens: Lottie's psychiatrist turns into the antler queen and asks, "Does a hunt that has no violence feed anyone?" and disappears. She was never there, just a vision from Lottie's mind.
The group bonds on Lottie's compound, passing around a bottle of tequila. Lottie hesitantly joins them but decides to let it happen without fear of the consequences. All seems right in the world, and there's not a care for a brief moment in the world of Yellowjackets. Misty notices it's beginning to snow, and they head outside.
In the past, the group decides to return to the cabin for the night and pause their search for Crystal. Shauna then hears Misty humming a familiar tune and confronts her by punching her in the face. She then screams at the group accusing them of eating her baby (a recurring nightmare she has). Lottie steps in and lets her know that while she's upset at the events that transpired, the group still needs her. Lottie then lets Shauna take her aggression out on her, and Shauna beats her to a bloody and messy pulp in one of the most shocking moments of the entire series.
The group is dancing out in the snow, enjoying life, when one of Lottie's followers informs them that Shauna has received a call on the emergency phone. She goes to answer and learns it's Jeff who is talking in such a way as to be mindful of a potentially monitored conversation. He informs her that Adma's remains have been uncovered in the state park, and Kevyn is one step closer to finding the truth about what happened.
Holy hell. I feel like I say this every week, but Yellowjackets keeps pulling the rug out from beneath us. Not only did tensions reach an all-time high in the past to the point of explosive violence, but Adam's remains were discovered! How is that even possible with Misty being as thorough as she is? Also, the case of Adam just went from a missing person to a full-blown murder investigation. Now that we're reaching the final two episodes of the season, I feel something shocking/unexpected will happen, and we're not going to see it coming. Yellowjackets Season 2 being "too slow" is a myth that's been busted by these last two episodes and
I can't wait to see how they wrap this all up.
Needle Drop of the Week: "Dream Girl Evil" by Florence + The Machine
This week's episode ends with a pretty neat "full circle" moment. "Dream Girl Evil" is a song about the double standards placed upon women by society and was directly inspired by Yellowjackets. Speaking about the song, songwriter Florence Welch had this to say "Yellowjackets appeals to me because of my fascination with all things culty, but also it portrays the violence of the hormonal shift of girlhood so well. I think there's something about being a young woman that feels very murderous. That's what I was trying to get with a song like 'Dream Girl Evil.' It can be dangerous for people to think you're incredibly nice. When you get, 'You're an angel,' that seems like such a high place to fall from. When I see messy or violent or terribly behaved women, especially young women, there's a liberation."
That's so goddamn cool. Love when stuff like this happens.