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Our Spooky, Sexy Yellowjackets Theories

Photo: Kailey Schwerman/Showtime

Spoilers follow for Yellowjackets season two episode “Old Wounds,” which premiered on April 14.

Every week, Yellowjackets immerses us in dual eldritch torments: the horror of being a teenage girl alone in the wilderness battling hunger, clique drama, and a possibly evil supernatural entity; and the awfulness of being an adult forced to reconnect with the past you thought you’d left behind. Both are equally frightening, and both inspire endless theorizing — citizen detectives, get your inquisitive minds ready! 

“We did things out there that … we’re really ashamed of,” Shauna says to Callie when coming clean to her daughter about the Yellowjackets’ time in the Canadian wilderness and her role in Adam’s death and disappearance, and “Old Wounds” takes a break from that alluded-to gore for a transitional episode that sets up character arcs to come. Javi is alive in 1996! Van is alive in 2021! (The former is a surprise for us all, while the latter might have been spoiled for you if you kept up with Yellowjackets casting announcements.) Lottie and Tai both know they’re losing it! Misty and Walter are flirting over her hatred of Starlight Express! We’re almost midway through this second season, and the mysteries are piling up. Pull up a chair at the mall food court alongside Laura Lee’s lingering spirit, and let’s get into it.

Questions About 1996

UPDATED: Is Lottie the cause of the group breaking apart? 
The bird blessings, failed hunting competition, return of Javi — rifts between Lottie believers and Lottie detractors sure are getting more chasmal. I think if Javi weren’t in the mix, and the events of this episode were limited to both Lottie and Natalie failing to bring in game, then maybe the mini-truce they reach while battling hypothermia could hold. But as soon as Javi walks through that cabin door, whatever sway Natalie had with the group at large and Travis in particular are gone.

CONFIRMED: Is Javi alive?
Our boy lives! Not only is Javi alive, but he seems … no worse for wear? His hair is a little bit longer, and he doesn’t say a word when reunited with older brother Travis and the Yellowjackets, but otherwise, he seems perfectly fine. We’ve probably found our meat-stealing culprit, but where was Javi sleeping, where did he get more clothes, how did he manage to avoid everyone for two months, and does this now mean that he survived through 2021? Far more questions than we have answers for yet.

UPDATED: What’s the deal with the “weird mossy tree”?
Van and Tai see a weird mossy tree that has melted snow around its base right before they literally run into Javi, but this is a different tree from the one Natalie and Travis encountered, I think. (Maybe I’m being tricked, but the terrain looked different with Natalie and Travis miles away from the cabin and near a clearing, while Van and Tai seemed far closer and in a more densely forested area.) Something to note here is that these trees don’t seem to have the symbol carved into them, so they’re not part of the overall aerial pattern Van found of those carved trees making the symbol pattern. But there’s obviously something weird going on — something warm around these trees that is affecting the ice and snow at their bases. This episode sets up that the trees are somehow connected to Javi, since Van notices the melted snow right before Tai spots him trying to run away from them. Is Javi taking refuge under the trees (or maybe in them?) and his movement is what’s disturbing the snow?

NEW: Is time travel back on the table? 
Last season, we all had fun wondering whether Jackie was a time traveler, because her teen journals listed favorite movies and songs that came out after the Yellowjackets crashed. That theory, enjoyably gonzo as it was, fell by the wayside once it was suggested that Shauna was writing in Jackie’s journals as a way to remember her best friend. But Shauna using the phrase “the worst” in 1996? As an elder millennial, I have no memory of hearing “the worst” before, say, 2005. This is either an anachronistic dialogue oversight, or new evidence for a Yellowjackets time loop. Keep an eye on the release date of Misty’s next cinematic monologue!

UPDATED: Is Coach Ben next on the Yellowjackets’ menu? 
Coach Ben is still starving, still imagining what his life with Paul could have been like if he’d never flown to nationals, and still perceiving the Yellowjackets as hungering for his flesh. It’s extremely unsurprising that Mari is the one who accuses him of judging them for eating Jackie. You know that if they do end up eating Coach Ben, she’s going to take the first bite.

UPDATED: What noise is Mari hearing? And why only Mari?
She’s still hearing it. Still seems bad.

Questions About 2021

UPDATED: Is Lottie still in communion with the entity from the woods? 
How many more ways can I say “All this Lottie stuff sure is ambiguous”? Because, well, it is! In 2021, we learn that Lottie has been seeing a therapist every six months for the past ten years (since she got back from Switzerland, presumably) and that her medication regimen has helped control her visions. So why are they back? Lottie can’t figure it out, she wants them to stop, and to her credit, she says that last time she was this besieged by visions, they “became something different.”

Her concern seems legitimate to me, but isn’t it odd that for all of Lottie’s insistence that she doesn’t want to go back to what she was like in the wilderness, she has recreated aspects of that experience at Camp Green Pine? The tree trunk she kneels before to slice open her left hand is a clear recreation of her 1996 experience while competing against Natalie in the hunt, her followers wear the forest symbol as jewelry, and there was that animal-mask ceremony in the woods. What does Lottie know, not know, and not know that she knows or doesn’t know?

We can probably assign that string of questions to Lottie in 1996 too, as she passes out from blood loss and hypothermia and, in her mind, goes back to that tunnel system from her baptism. But this time, the Romeo + Juliet–style candles are swapped out for a shopping mall where Laura Lee holds court, the Yellowjackets treat Lottie like an outsider, and — somewhat unexpectedly — Van and Natalie are the ones who mock her most. Natalie makes sense, since she and Lottie are so at odds. But why Van, whom we see increasingly under Lottie’s sway and who stood with Lottie at the altar back in season one? Does Lottie not perceive her as an ally?

It’s interesting how silent and forgotten Shauna and Tai are in this moment, even though they are two of Lottie’s most vocal detractors, and that Laura Lee keeps returning to Lottie — almost as if Lottie’s guilt from not being able to predict or stop Laura Lee’s death has the most lingering impact from their time in the woods. When Lottie shuffles through the gratitude entries in 2021, in between the queen-of-hearts cards with the eyes scratched out (hmmm, like the antler crown that is effectively a mask with no eyeholes?) is a slip of paper with “I am grateful for my friends” written on it. Is that an admission for Lottie or a directive? If she’s instructing herself to be grateful, which other emotions is she trying to push herself away from?

UPDATED: Who, or what, is possessing Tai?
No real update on this question, but we do get confirmation that shadow-self Tai wanted to reconnect with Van — Lauren Ambrose in her first appearance! Van doesn’t seem exactly happy to see Tai, which hints that maybe there was a rift between them that was (partially? fully?) caused by their differing opinions about Lottie. Remember that in 1996, Van wanted to loop Lottie in on Tai’s sleepwalking, Tai refused, then Van basically blew up her spot by announcing to the cabin that Tai knew where Javi was, because she has some connection with the forest symbol. Not necessarily helpful, Van! While You Were Streaming is a cute name for a video-rental store, though, and a nice nod to her fireside retelling of the plot of 1995’s While You Were Sleeping. (I suppose the time in the woods isn’t entirely buried for Van if that’s what she names her store, but recognizing that time as formative doesn’t necessarily mean she wanted Tai to find her.)

Questions About the Future

UPDATED: Does Elijah Wood’s citizen detective know Misty helped get rid of Adam?
The only update here is that Walter is rich from a $6 million settlement and doesn’t have to work, so again, I’m thinking Misty lying to him about being friends with Adam’s mother is not going to hold. Aside from making cassette tapes of his favorite musicals, Walter has little else to do but snoop around in people’s lives, so I’m assuming Misty’s fib will unravel soon enough. And that rare Misty misstep might lead to further revelations about …

NEW: Where’s Jessica Roberts?
In the 2021 storyline, it has only been a few days — maybe a week max — since the first-season finale. Even with that timeline, if Jessica did actually die from Misty injecting fentanyl into her cigarettes, wouldn’t her demise behind the wheel in a residential neighborhood make the news? I would think that if she were dead, some of the friends and family in the photos in Jessica’s apartment might end up there, but Tai’s shadow self easily breaks in to steal her file on Van. Even with Walter as a new ally for Misty, Jessica being alive wouldn’t be good for her at all.

UPDATED: Does Callie take Adam’s ID to the police? 
Practically, this option now seems out of the question, since Shauna found the ID fragment among Callie’s things, and Callie has lost her leverage. But Callie, despite knowing everything Shauna and Jeff have been up to — killer mother, blackmailer father — is still half in the dark, because she doesn’t know that her new beau is an undercover cop. I wonder if she’ll further vent to him about her parents and unknowingly implicate them in Adam’s disappearance. I understand Jeff’s frustration with Shauna about bringing their daughter in on the secret, since she falls outside of spousal privilege, but Jeff confronting Kevyn Tan at the gym wasn’t great either. Maybe the youngest Sadecki can help her parents get better at this whole crime thing?

NEW: What’s with all the little pets?
Akilah’s mouse. Lisa’s goldfish. If Yellowjackets is introducing these little cuties just to kill them off, that will upset me more than the cannibalism does.


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Our Spooky, Sexy Yellowjackets Theories