Yellowjackets Season 2 Premiere Recap: Reality Bites — Plus, Grade It!


It’s official: With one decisive gulp in its Season 2 premiere (now streaming on Showtime, ahead of its cable network debut Sunday), Yellowjackets becomes the cannibalism drama we all knew it was destined to be.

But who takes that first nibble of dear, departed Jackie? And how are our survivors faring in the present? Read on for the highlights of “Friends, Romans, Countrymen.”

JACKIE’S BACK! (KINDA) | It’s full-blown winter in the plane-crash timeline, and Natalie and Travis bundle up as best they can before preparing to trek into the snowy wilderness to look for Javi. Lottie stops them before they go outside and spends some time anointing their palms, pricking her finger and then making them drink from the mug she mixes her blood into. When Nat grouses that it’s not like the “wicca bulls—t” is doing them any good, Lottie replies: “Well, you keep coming back alive, don’t you?” Touché. After they leave, she puts her finger to the fogged-over window and draws one of those stick figure-y things we’ve seen so often in this show.

Meanwhile, in the two months since Jackie froze to death, Shauna has taken to hanging out in the shed where her best friend’s body is being kept. The mom-to-be imagines that Jackie is alive, and they have long conversations; the other girls don’t know exactly what’s up with Shauna, but they think the whole situation is weird. (They’re not wrong.)

During one of these interludes in the shack, Jackie Frost asks how things started between Shauna and Jeff. That’s how we learn they kissed after a party during which Jackie and Jeff were on a break; Jackie Frost sharply points out that the reason for the break was that Jeff was losing patience with her not wanting to have sex with him, and she reminds Shauna that she knew that, too. When Jackie Frost intuits that Shauna made the first move, Shauna gets mad and shoves her friend, which causes the corpse to fall over… and one of its ears to break off. Shauna slips it in her pocket. When Shauna returns to the cabin, she announces that they’re running very low on food, and she had to cut back rations.

yellowjackets-premiere-recap-season-2-episode-1WHERE’S JAVI? | On their trek, Natalie and Travis see a frozen carcass and Travis freaks out, sobbing as he thinks that they’ve found Javi’s corpse. But it’s just a dead fox, and Natalie decides that it’s time to call it a day. Back at the cabin, she hands Coach Scott the sketch she made of the area they covered; he adds it to a rudimentary, ever-growing map of their surroundings.

The reality is that there’s just about no way Javi could survive all alone in the frigid conditions, and when Natalie gently broaches the subject while she and Travis sit in front of the fire, he has a gasping, choking panic attack that only abates when Lottie puts her hand on his chest and gently instructs him to breathe. As soon as she touches him, he has visions that include the altar from the season finale, glowing; he simultaneously recovers and realizes that he’s sporting an erection. “Your brother’s alive. I know he is,” Lottie tells him as he scrambles to pull a blanket over his lap.

Natalie pulls her aside and rips into her for giving him false hope, but Lottie replies that she just said what she felt. “I want you to say less, Lottie,” Nat warns. “A lot f–king less.”

yellowjackets-premiere-recap-season-2-episode-1BLOODY WONDERFUL | Van and Taissa are still together and very much in love, yet Tai is troubled by her uncontrollable habit of hurting her girlfriend in her sleep. Van reassures her that she can handle it, but the bruises on her body are pretty significant. Tai begs her to lock her up at night, but Van resolutely refuses.

One evening, Tai rolls over in bed and starts kissing Van, who’s asleep. But what seems like a prelude to mid-slumber sexytimes turns weird when Van (whom we learn is also still asleep) bites her lady’s lip, hard. Van’s yell wakes Tai, who immediately starts trying to break up with her in order to protect her. “I’m not scared of you, Tai. I’m never going to be scared of you,” Van says softly, asserting that the nocturnal activity “isn’t you. It’s just something that’s happening to you — happening to us.” Then she does something both sweet and gross: She dips a finger in the blood from her bitten lip and writes “I [heart] u” on Tai’s forearm. It’s the first time she’s said it, and Tai says it back, then they engage in a fully conscious (and hopefully less injury-prone) makeout session.

LEND ME YOUR EAR | The next time Nat and Travis go exploring, she is surprised to find a tree where the snow has been cleared away from the base. (Side note: At least, I think that’s what she’s surprised by? If I missed something here, shout it out in the comments.) Elsewhere, as “Cornflake Girl” pumps on the soundtrack (HELL YEAH TORI AMOS), Shauna takes a bite of Jackie’s ear like it’s a 99-cent Whopper.

LOTTIE, RIGHT AFTER | Before we jump to the present, a brief moment for what we learn about the aftermath of the girls’ rescue in 1998. After her return, Lottie didn’t speak. Her parents brought her to a doctor who eventually strapped her down, injected her with drugs and subjected her to electroconvulsive therapy; as the current was administered, she had visions of walking down a dark hallway lit with candles. Eventually, she begins talking again, and she uses her calming touch to help another patient.

yellowjackets-premiere-recap-season-2-episode-1LOOSE ENDS | In the present-day, Misty is worried that they missed something when they disposed of Adam’s body, and she’s not heartened when a fellow citizen detective on her message board says he’s seen Adam’s credit card statement and posits that the dead man had a girlfriend no one knows about.

And there’s probably pretty good reason to worry: Despite telling Misty that she got rid of all the evidence, Shauna is keeping Adam’s driver’s license, keys, etc. in her safe. When she notices that one of the keys has pain spattered on it, she calls Jeff, slightly panicked: “He had an art studio.” So they go there together and find lots of paintings of Shauna there; many depict her in alluring poses, and Jeff is taken aback. “The thought of you with someone else always scared me,” she says softly. “But it also… turned me on.” She confesses that she used to think that feeling that way was wrong, but now, “I like being the way I am.”

Whatever else Jeff is, he is also HIGHLY ready to dip his paintbrush in her watercolors. So he bends her over a table and they go at it. Afterward, they realize there are too many pieces to take out of the studio without getting noticed, so they splash turpentine on the paintings to make her face unrecognizable.

At home, they burn Adam’s license and other personal effects in the barbecue grill, accidentally setting a nearby tree on fire in the process. But at the end of the episode, their daughter Callie — who’s been simmering with resentment over her mother’s affair — finds a still-intact corner of Adam’s license in the BBQ’s ashes. Oops.

WATCH OUT, STEVE! | Tai goes to an animal shelter and puts very little thought into adopting a dog, who happens to be named Steve. She brings him to Sam’s school and is excitedly introducing her son to the pup when Simone runs over and flips out, telling Tai to stay away from their kid. “I found that thing in the basement,” she says, a look of horror on her face. “You’re not well.” She commands Tai to step down from office and get help, or she’ll never see Sam again.

At home, Tai sees blood near the crawl space in the basement and finds the altar with Biscuit’s heart and Sam’s creepy doll. She starts to cry. When Steve comes to see what’s up, she hugs him. “This was a mistake. I’m going to do better with you,” she sobs. (Ha!)

yellowjackets-premiere-recap-season-2-episode-1LOTTIE, NOW | Misty questions the clerk at the motel where Natalie was staying, and when he’s reluctant to give up any information, she out-weirds him and he relents. He divulges that Nat left in the middle of the night and paid cash. Unsatisfied, Misty breaks into her friend’s room and cries… until she notices that it looks like the door was forced open. Also? There’s a security camera outside.

Somewhere else, Natalie is chained up on a bed in a room with bars on the windows. A woman enters with food on a tray; she’s wearing a pendant of one of Lottie’s symbols from the woods. Natalie sweet-talks her captor into undoing one of her handcuffs so she can eat. When the woman returns to clear the plates, Nat stabs her with the fork and escapes.

It’s nighttime, and a small distance away, Natalie sees people chanting around a fire. Eventually, they chase her. She eludes them long enough to run through some forest and come to a group of people wearing white robes and animal masks.

They disrobe a man and lay him in a ditch, then everyone shovels dirt on top of him. That’s when Lottie (played by Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s Simone Kessell) appears in flowing white robes of her own, which causes Nat to grab a huge piece of wood and come at her with violence on her mind. But Lottie just breathes deeply with her eyes closed and isn’t bothered at all. “I have a message for you,” she tells her former teammate. “From Travis.”

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