Spoilers follow for the Yellowjackets season-two episode, “It Chooses,” which premiered on May 19.
Every week, Yellowjackets immerses us in dual eldritchian 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 left behind. Both are equally frightening, and both inspire endless theorizing — citizen detectives, get your inquisitive minds ready!
After a few episodes in which Yellowjackets felt like it was spinning its wheels, things are getting interesting again! Penultimate episode “It Chooses” finally gives us some movement within the adult Yellowjackets story line, with Shauna coming clean about Jeff’s blackmail and her own erratic behavior, and Lottie admitting that she thinks “something greater” has been plaguing the survivors and is craving a sacrifice. The 1996 story line, which has mostly been strong, takes a confident, unsettling, horrifying step forward through the Yellowjackets going full Shirley Jackson and letting Javi die so they can eat him (a development that fully lays to rest the theory that Adam is adult Javi). And the needle drops include the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” a perfect song perfectly chosen for use during a cannibalistic hunt. Let’s figure out what the Yellowjackets get for their pain, and other questions raised by “It Chooses.”
Questions about 1996
UPDATED: Is Lottie the cause of the group breaking apart?
“Maybe Lottie dying wouldn’t be the worst thing … It’s like she has some weird control over them or something,” Natalie says to Coach Ben. He accuses her of jealousy — ugh — but you know what? Natalie is right! Because it’s the group’s need to save Lottie from dying of Shauna’s incredible beatdown that drives them to this elaborate ritual with the Queen of Hearts card Lottie keeps seeing in her 2021 visions, Lottie’s dagger, and Jackie’s gold-heart necklace, turning them from cannibals to killers. (These girls definitely read Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery before they crash-landed, right?)
I’m slightly skeptical of how quickly the Yellowjackets put together this formal, almost religious custom, and how easily they decide that Natalie — one of only two in the group who shoots well! — should be the person sacrificed to save Lottie, who failed during their hunting competition. I suppose the teens’ irrationality is intentional, and of course, it makes a certain amount of narrative sense that Lottie’s most doubtful teammate would be the one chosen to die in her stead. What I can’t quite accept, though, is how quickly Shauna and Tai buy into this, since Shauna has been so anti-Lottie for so long and since Tai, who sees her “bad one” in the mirror, should know that Lottie’s guided meditation is no longer keeping her double at bay. But it’s all very dramatic and sad, and once again confirms that Lottie’s influence on this group is bad, bad, bad.
UPDATED: Is Javi alive?
Yellowjackets hasn’t made me cry before, but here we are.
UPDATED: What’s the deal with the “weird mossy tree”?
For everyone who had “Lost bunker?” on your Yellowjackets bingo cards, good job! Natalie sharing with Coach Ben that she saw Javi “like, bowing to a symbol tree the other day” reminds Ben of Javi’s tree-root sketches, sending him on a hunt to find the tree “not far from the creek” that he realizes Javi had a special connection to. Now, do I find it realistic that amid all these hundreds of trees, even with the map the Yellowjackets have been keeping, Ben could find the specific one related to Javi? Not really. But I suppose the melting snow around the base of the tree is enough of a tell to help Ben find the tree with the long, underground tunnel in which Javi stayed safe for three months, and where he tried to lead Natalie before drowning. That’s one question answered. The “she” who was Javi’s friend and told him not to return to the Yellowjackets, though — maybe that secret died with Javi?
UPDATED: How many more people besides Jackie got eaten in 1996?
I think we can safely assume this, although we don’t yet see it happen: Add Javi to the list.
UPDATED: Is Coach Ben next on the Yellowjackets’ menu?
For now, Coach Ben still lives — but will he agree to eating Javi to survive? Or will he stay disappeared in Javi’s secret-tunnel hideout? Personally, I would choose the latter!
UPDATED: Do Lottie and Travis hook up?
I can’t see Travis hooking up with anyone at this point! I wish Coach Ben would take Travis with him and decamp to that tree and never see these girls again! My poor, sweet princes!
UPDATED: What noise is Mari hearing? And why only Mari?
So the blood Mari has been hearing for weeks — and now Tai does, too — is some Amityville Horror–style ghost stuff! Everyone is starving and hallucinating bloody walls, as you do. And in typical “No one can stand Mari, so no one cares” fashion, Van’s exhausted “It’s the hunger, Mari, it’s just the hunger,” and Coach Ben rolling his eyes and turning away from the whole scene made me laugh quite a bit.
Questions about 2021
UPDATED: Is Lottie still in communion with the entity from the woods?
Yellowjackets is still playing with how “real” the entity is, but Lottie is now fully on board the “it wants blood” train. Serving cups of poison to your friends is not very nice hostess behavior, Lottie! The dialogue between the adult Yellowjackets is perhaps a little too obvious in its “the evil was our trauma all along” positioning, but I’m intrigued by how the group reacts. Shauna and Misty, who in 1996 were pro-hunt, are skeptical of Lottie’s “cult-leader persona,” while Van seems somewhat susceptible to Lottie’s “something has broken within you” judgment. Of course, as Misty says, it’s convenient that Lottie is the one insisting that one of them needs to die, serving poison, and arguing that sacrificing herself would be ineffective. But I’m worried about Natalie, who has been on such a downward spiral this season, and how open she might be to Lottie’s insistence that “it will help us survive now … if we give it what it wants.” Won’t someone protect our favorite former goth?
UPDATED: Will Juliette Lewis get another note to play?
Well, not really, since “It Chooses” maintains adult Natalie’s “indebted to Lottie” energy. But Sophie Thatcher as teen Natalie, folks! Her last few moments with Javi are devastating, and effectively bridge the Natalie of then with the Natalie of now.
UPDATED: Where’s Jessica Roberts?
We still don’t know where Jessica is, so I’m still not sure we can fully call her dead. But now that Misty has admitted to trying to kill her — excuse me, taking care of it, like she always does — to the other Yellowjackets, at least they’re all on the same page if Detective Kevyn comes knocking.
UPDATED: Who, or what, is possessing Tai?
No updates in 2021, but a quick note that in 1996, the “bad one” gazes out at the mirror at Tai — an early incarnation of what we’ve seen in recent episodes. I just can’t decide if she’s doing a Kubrickian stare or a Lynchian one; I am open to arguments either way, please show your work.
UPDATED: What went down between Lottie and Van?
As with Tai’s shadow self, no real update in 2021 about what could have happened post-wilderness between these two. But that 1996 scene in which Van is instrumental in leading the hunt that leads to Javi’s death because “the wilderness chose,” all to protect Lottie, probably played a role in their current friction once it turned out that Lottie wasn’t prescient or mystical. (Or was she? We still don’t really know!)
Questions about the future
UPDATED: Does Elijah Wood’s citizen detective know Misty helped get rid of Adam?
We’ve established that Walter basically knows everything about Misty and Adam, but that was before Misty starts referring to Walter as her boyfriend and leaving him flirty messages. Will that sway Walter to her side, and is his message to the police that he has relevant information to the Adam Martin investigation a ploy? Or is he grabbing purple clothes and amping himself up by listening to Phantom of the Opera because he’s going to infiltrate Camp Green Pine and try to bust the Yellowjackets on his own? I’m fine with either option, as long as Elijah Wood and Christina Ricci kiss at least once.
UPDATED: Does Callie take Adam’s ID to the police? And how self-destructive is Shauna going to get?
I’ll admit I was surprised that Jeff knew about his and Shauna’s son who died in the wilderness — I had assumed that was a secret Shauna wouldn’t share. But how many of Shauna’s secrets is Jeff still willing to keep? I think we need to switch suspicions from Shauna’s daughter to her husband, since Jeff was so unbelievably rattled by the gruesome pictures of Adam Martin’s dismembered body that he has a nightmare in which a knife-handed Shauna attacks him for not loving her enough. Honestly, poor Jeff! This is too much for our sweet himbo prince to handle, and they probably should have lawyered up earlier. I think if forced to choose between protecting Shauna or protecting the only child they have, Jeff would go for Callie, right?
UPDATED: What’s with all the little pets?
Uh, so the thing about the little pets is that, in 1996, they’re just another sign of how much the Yellowjackets are losing it. RIP to Akilah’s mouse, Nugget, who apparently has been dead all this time!