Yellowjackets (Season 2), Episode 1: Winter has hurled its icy stabs over the Canadian wilderness that cloaks its soccer star hostages, a one-legged coach, and a boy who had no business getting on the cursed plane. Freezing not only a blithe adolescent’s pale, sad frame but also any clue that threatens the enigma that keeps us coming back for more; snow has arrived in the lives of the plane crash survivors, and the second installment of the most notoriously opaque narrative is upon us.

PTSD isn’t linear, and neither is the timeline that hauled us back and forth in season one to see the origin of the scars that make it tremendously taxing for Shauna, Natalie, and Taissa to keep up the ruse of a functional life when the woods have had an irreversible effect on them. Season 2 is likely to have them locked in a cage with the macabre truth they would rather not meet eyes with. 

Yellowjackets (Season 2), Episode 1: Recap

Is This The Start Of Someone Chaotic?

Lottie has been known to eavesdrop through the imperceptible veil of the universe ever since she was a child who screamed bloody murder to stop her parent’s car from getting into a fatal crash. Whether you lean toward embracing Yellowjacket’s convoluted ethereal elements or not, it is unlikely that a massive apex predator would succumb at Lottie’s feet due to natural causes.

Season one of Yellowjackets had connivingly kept the entire list of the rescued away from our nosey knowledge, and only at the end of it, and that too when Natalie is abducted from her motel room before she can eat a bullet do we learn that Lottie had some part to play in Travis’ death. When the rescued bunch saw the light of the world away from the territorial clasp of the wilderness, the only thing that came out of Lottie’s mouth was an earth-shattering scream–savagely ceasing the selfish chatters of the press.

Her vow of silence ever since had her provenly jackass of a father irritated, if not concerned. And so traumatized, Lottie was bound to a table, and waves of excruciating electricity were made to storm through her head. Lottie’s empathetic hand on a palpitating chest even then soothed the disturbed. It is that very gift she went on to ride the wave of in her peculiar future as a cult leader who now commands complete submission from her subjects with only her words of spiritual nihilism.

Shauna Then And Now

Shauna had demons scheming her every move even before she herself knew of their existence. It’s not that she didn’t love Jackie. If anything, she may even have had a repressed part of her sexual truth come out in all the wrong ways. From what I’ve seen of teenage Shauna, she’s only ever meant to possess the essence of Jackie through nasty means. She’s never been one for communicating or even knowing how to. Crossing the bridge of confrontation only occurred through an emotional burst which struck Jackie the wrong way, making her brave the cold and tilt at windmills.

Death has always been the unjudging arms where Shauna has come to rest her wary frame. So even though Jackie’s ghastly demise hits her with the might of a meteor, Shauna feels closer to Jackie’s pale, blue, stiff state of being than she ever did to her when she was alive and thriving. Traces of Shauna’s frightening psychosis infect the secrecy of the hedge, where she lets out all that she has never been able to bare to Jackie.

It’s almost Shakespearean how she is essentially having an inner monologue as she is justifying her betrayal to the corpse of her best friend. We’re no strangers to Shauna’s slightly disturbing nonchalance around corpses. So when she pockets the stray ear that breaks off of the lilac Jackie, it only instigates a feeling of familiarity for us. Present-day Shauna has had to let go of Adam’s lifeless body to evade imprisonment.

She still hasn’t been able to part with Adam’s keys and IDs that she safely locks away in the privacy of her little closet shelf. She has come to know of an art storage Adam used to frequent and figures that there has to be evidence of her correspondence with the deceased preserved in there. It makes Jeff supremely uncomfortable to see intimate portraits of his wife made by her dead lover, and all it does is arouse the peculiar Shauna.

She knows the nooks and crannies of Jeff’s generic triggers of desire more than she lets on. So it comes off as more her playing Jeff to get her fill when she turns him on with the mention of a more stereotypical kink she most likely doesn’t even have. Shauna has had more than her fair share of encounters with needful cover-ups to know that her portraits need to be destroyed. Jeff may only be considered the right fit for Shauna in the pragmatic context of helping her keep up the facade of normalcy. But it undoubtedly strains him to stay shoulder-to-shoulder with a wife whose idiosyncrasies would overwhelm any ordinary man.

Threats Out There And Threats Within

Occultic or not, the irreparable cracks in Taissa’s disordered psyche first appeared in the fatalist woods. She was sleepwalking way before the stress of the senatorial elections weighed heavy on her mental state. Taissa’s stress-induced sleep disorder was taken with the softest of love by her girlfriend Vanessa, who didn’t mind shedding blood if it meant that Taissa wouldn’t feel the wrath of loneliness.

Albeit, it was good of Taissa to send her wife and kids away in the wake of the affliction that is beginning to get its claws into her again. But her terror came too little too late. Simone had already treated her eyes to the unnerving sight of Biscuit’s decapitated head adorning a frightful shine that bears the cryptic sign that has time and again shown up in the woods and the site of Travis’ death.

Before she can even take to the office and tread the waters at a job that has come at the worst possible circumstance, Taissa must clasp the cord that is almost about to be severed forever, leaving her with the loss of the two people who mean the world to her. She’s gotten her son a puppy that resembles Biscuit, but before he can get his hopes high for his mothers to come together again, shots are fired from Simone’s side of the trench, for she has seen the damning proof of Taissa’s instability.

Wretched Taissa can’t believe her own eyes at the sight of the horror she is capable of, but how quickly she is to come to terms with it does indicate that it isn’t something she’s unfamiliar with. Unlike Taissa’s dread, which is born out of a part of her mind that the saner half can’t access, trouble had come into Natalie’s life from a source she’s yet to recognize. Bestirring herself in a strange bed she is shackled to, Natalie comes to know of the root of her kidnapping from the cursed sign necklace that her caregiver is wearing. She is in the vicinity of Lottie, whose cult following has proven to be more self-sacrificing than one would expect.

Coming to terms with the fact that Travis has taken his own life is the closest Natalie has gotten herself to unfastening her grip on the notion of the only man she has ever loved. Back in 1996, Natalie used to scour the dreadful, wintry woods just so that Travis wouldn’t be alone in his discouraging lookout for Javi. She even went along with Travis’ faith in Lottie’s bizarre “wicca bullshit” and drank a potion infused with her blood if it meant that Travis wouldn’t have to let go of the hope of their survival.

The labyrinthine world of Yellowjackets making the most implausible circumstances come true does make me wonder if Lottie is right in filling Travis’ head with the hopeful possibility of Javi’s return. But it sure did rub Natalie the wrong way to see Lottie convincing Travis of something that was unlikely to come true. Although what really got her goat was the bulge in Travis’ trousers that came from Lottie’s calming hand on his chest.

Yellowjackets (Season 2), Episode 1 Ending Explained:

Why Did Shauna Injest A Part Of Her Dead Best Friend?

The jarring introduction of an adult Lottie at the start of the episode foretold the march of trouble that was to follow. But Natalie is a tough bug to squash, even for Lottie and her occultist brethren. It takes Natalie about a minute to think about an escape plan and even less to go through with it like the baddie that we’ve known her to be. One cult member bleeding out on the floor, and others haunting the woods they’ve come to make a home out of; evading eyes turns out to be increasingly difficult for Natalie.

She may have always been adept with her finger on the trigger of a rifle, but Lottie’s overwhelming and often creepy spirituality has been a thing of discomfort for Natalie. So when, in her perturbed state of haze, Natalie sees a man bereft of clothes being laying on the ground to be buried alive by Lottie’s followers, she’s already lost the presence of mind to make a run for it. Nobody has ever been able to read Lottie’s mazelike ambiguity of being. Even now, as Lottie gets ready to deliver a message from one lover to another, Natalie could never see it coming from someone she hasn’t been in touch with for over a decade.

It was only a matter of time until having someone as subtly frightening as Shauna got to be too much for Callie. She’s so far kept mum about all that she knows of her mother and the questionable relationship she had with Adam to protect her father. But now that Adam’s face is all over the news and Shauna is suspiciously quiet about her lover’s disappearance, Callie begins to question everything she thought she knew about her parents.

Covering up the barbequing of evidence with a family barbeque isn’t working out too well with Jeff and Shauna. Taken aback by how well her parents are getting along when her dad knows about her mom’s bizarre sexual endeavors, Callie sniffs out the dirt the two are fighting to bury. Skimming through the ashy remains underneath the grill, Callie comes to find the unburnt speck of Adam’s ID. What she’s going to do with it now that she knows of her parent’s involvement in Adam’s disappearance will more than likely depend on just how intimidatingly Shauna chooses to conduct herself.

At the end of the day, Shauna is as much an expert in gutting animals as she is in dismembering corpses. But she has grown up to be the most proficient in using her quiet menace to browbeat people even when they’re in the right. Perhaps the most disturbed of the lot, Shauna has always been able to persevere with her facade of normalcy when in fact, she has never been quite right in her head. She misses Jackie with every fiber of her being. But she isn’t without her best friend. In the solitude of the cabin, away from everyone’s eyes, Shauna ate the ear that fell off the frozen, placid Jackie.

While it may have been the dawn of the cannibalistic indulgences we wouldn’t be surprised to see, Shauna consuming Jackie’s ear was, in all likelihood, her psychotic way of immortalizing the love she had for her best friend and being one with her forever.

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Yellowjackets (Season 2), Episode 1 Links – IMDb
Yellowjackets (Season 2), Episode 1 Cast – Melanie Lynsey, Tawny Cypress, Sophie Nelisse
Where to watch Yellowjackets

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