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Yellowjackets Season 2 ep 1.png

All The Weirdest Parts Of The 'Yellowjackets' Season 2 Premiere

By Tori Preston | TV | March 28, 2023 |

By Tori Preston | TV | March 28, 2023 |

Yellowjackets Season 2 ep 1.png

Someday I’ll know whether or not Yellowjackets is actually a good show, or just a wildly addictive one. The cast is fantastic, even if the likes of Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, and Tawny Cypress are stuck trying to hold our attention against a narrative center of gravity that remains in those woods back in 1996. What secrets are the survivors guarding? Their own acts of desperation, or something more sinister and … supernatural?

We don’t have all the answers yet, but the season two premiere finally gives us a tiny taste of the depravity Yellowjackets has been heading toward all along: Cannibalism! Teen Shauna ate her dead best friend’s ear! As a snack! Like I said, I don’t know if this show is actually good, but it always manages to deliver enough solid batsh*ttery to keep me hooked. So let’s recap the squickiest moments of the season two premiere, shall we?

Would You Eat An Ear?

Remember how Jackie froze to death last season? Well, the premiere picks up two months later. The survivors have decided to store Jackie’s corpse in a shed where it remains perfectly preserved in the cold, and that’s where Shauna retreats to talk to her every day. You know, as one does. Unfortunately, Shauna gets in a little scuffle with her imaginary-but-really-quite-dead best friend and knocks her over — and that’s when Jackie’s ear falls off. Shauna, unsure what to do, pockets that little popsicle of flesh, where it remains alllll episode. Until she eats it.

Shauna is pregnant, OK? And food is scarce. Honestly, I’m surprised it took Yellowjackets this long to get to the cannibalism of it all, but I can’t say I blame her for it one bit. All I wanna know is if that ear defrosted while in her pocket all that time, because that just seems less than sanitary. Will Shauna be the only person to taste the forbidden friend-flesh, or will everyone get a bite of Jackie before the season’s through?

Introducing Your New Dog To Your Dead Dog

This might be my favorite part of the episode right here. Last season Simone discovered the extent of Taissa’s nighttime activities, which includes a hidden shrine in their basement — the centerpiece of which was the head of their dead dog. Naturally, Simone decides to keep their son Sammy away from Taissa. In the premiere, Taissa adopts a new dog to try and patch things up with Sammy, without consulting Simone, and that goes about as well as you’d expect. So Taissa takes the new dog, which is named Steve (because the best little dogs deserve big dude-bro energy!) home with her. Tai heads down to that shrine to reflect on how absolutely effed her life has gotten, and that’s when Stevie-boy trots in after her. She scoops him up and promises to do better this time, while staring at the mutilated head of her previous dog that she absolutely killed in her sleep.

The mystery of Taissa’s sleepwalking is something that’s unraveling simultaneously in the present as well as the past — we also discover that Van has taken to tying herself to Tai at night to protect her girlfriend. I imagine that’s how Lauren Ambrose will join the show as Adult Van, the one person Tai can really confide in regarding the danger she potentially poses. Whatever is really going on with Taissa, though, it doesn’t explain why she hasn’t bothered to clean up that creepy shrine yet. Like, you’re a politician! Covering up your mess should be second nature!

What Is Lottie’s Whole Deal?

There are a lot of mysteries on this show and most of them seem to revolve around Lottie, the girl who has visions and is somehow attuned to whatever dark essence is haunting the woods. She offers protective mysticism to the group, but she also killed a whole-ass bear and made an offering of its heart, so she’s not exactly not a threat. The premiere wastes no time confirming that Lottie is, in fact, one of the survivors who made it out of the woods alive, and shows us what she went through after the rescue (electroshock therapy, thank you very much). In the present, Adult Lottie (Simone Kessell) has become a sort of Shaman Guru figure who lectures her purple-clad followers about how only they can prevent forest fires save themselves or whatever. It’s not even an objectionable message! It’s just undercut slightly because we know she was involved in the ritualistic murder of Travis and the kidnapping of Natalie.

Not that kidnapping Natalie was the weirdest part of her whole deal this week. Nope. And it wasn’t even when Lottie led a ceremony that involved burying a living naked guy in the woods, because that’s just therapeutic! No, the real weirdest part is that Lottie somehow has heart-calming powers, and when she uses them on a panicking Travis in the past, he sorta… pops a stiffy. And look, I’m not saying that accidental boners are “weird,” OK. These are teenagers we’re talking about! I just thought we’d have left the issue of Travis’s performance problems behind last season when he resolved them by sleeping with Jackie and then having a drug-fueled orgy that ended in his almost-murder. So what’s up with his, uh, reaction to Lottie now? Do they share a deeper connection that somehow led to his sacrifice in the present? Am I going to have to keep caring about this dude’s hard-ons?

Lottie also had a few important messages to share this week. In the past, she reveals that Travis’s little brother Javi — who has been missing for two months in the dead of winter — is totally still alive somehow. And in the present, Lottie tells Natalie she has a message for her from Travis. Any guesses on whether the message is from the afterlife, or from right before she had him killed?

Those Dang Portraits

I am not going to sit here and pretend that Shauna and Jeff’s steamy/angry sex session in her dead lover’s art studio was squicky, because it wasn’t. It was hot. And more importantly, it was a sensible continuation of their relationship from season one. Remember how their couple’s counselor recommended they try sharing and acting out their fantasies? That’s exactly what Shauna does when she admits that the thought of Jeff being unfaithful was kind of a turn-on. She tells him this because she can see that the opposite is most definitely not true for Jeff — that seeing nude portraits of his wife painted by the secret lover she murdered is more than her husband bargained for when he decided to help her cover it all up. Jeff’s in pain, but he also recognizes that Shauna revealed a dark, vulnerable side of herself in that moment, and… well, one thing leads to another. It’s not the tenderest of lovemaking, but it’s a raw and real evolution for this couple and I support it.

What was weird was that afterward they still had to stick around and pour turpentine on the paintings so Shauna could scrub her own face off of the canvases. That, too, makes sense obviously, since this is evidence of a connection between her and the man the police think is “missing,” but it doesn’t make it any less sad. So many of Shauna’s self-destructive impulses are rooted in the feeling that she’s been overlooked and ignored, overshadowed first and foremost by Jackie. Whatever Adam’s flaws were, he truly saw Shauna as a beautiful and passionate woman, and those portraits were proof. As hard as they may have been for Jeff to witness, I have to think they also had to be a little hard for Shauna to erase.

Jeff’s Papa Roach Sing-along

The ’90s songs that pepper Yellowjackets have always been a strong point of the show — not just because they all hail from my own teenage years (I think I was a freshman in high school when that fictional plane went down) but also yeah, exactly for that reason. I dig the nostalgia. It works. Unfortunately, I’m most certainly not nostalgic for g*ddamn Papa Roach, so Jeff’s little headbanging sing-along to “Last Resort” in his car was maybe the most uncomfortable moment of the episode for me. I understand that it’s a visceral expression of his confusion and frustration after that entire trip to that art studio, and it makes sense that he basically regressed to the comfort of his fave high school music to work his emotions out. I get it. It’s just that I kinda like Jeff, and seeing him go off on some air drums while his car screams “CUT MY LIFE INTO PIECES” is just… gross. I’m sorry. It is though.

Not Weird: Misty!

Big twist! Misty was the least gross, creepy, or otherwise uncomfortable character in the premiere. New season, new you, girl! Maybe it’s because she operates at a consistent level of creep anyway, so all I’m saying is that there was no noticeable uptick, but Misty actually had a productive week. In the present, she tries to get to the bottom of Natalie’s disappearance, first by harassing the motel manager and then by breaking into Natalie’s room, where she sees signs of a break-in. In this case, Misty’s steadfast refusal to see logic actually works in her favor. Why believe Natalie would abandon her when there are other, more sinister possibilities that just happen to be true?

Misty is also monitoring her little citizen detective message boards to see if anyone has taken up the case of Adam’s disappearance, only to see that one person (obviously Elijah Wood’s character) has already figured out that Adam had a secret lover. Misty downvotes his comment in frustration, but that’s not gonna work for long.

If I had to find something weird about Misty this week, it’s that the whole show has just moved on from her own little bout of murder. She killed Tai’s secret investigator with a poisoned cigarette! Is that ever gonna come back to bite her?