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Our Spooky, Sexy Yellowjackets Theories

Don’t let that confused look fool you; Shauna is sharper than she lets on. Photo: Kailey Schwerman/Showtime

This post will be updated regularly to reflect changes or tweaks in our theorizing. It now features analysis of episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi,” which aired January 16, 2022.

Showtime’s Yellowjackets never lets you forget that teenage girldom is a brutal, thrilling, all-consuming (lol) experience. The series from Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson about a varsity girls’ soccer team from New Jersey that crashes in the Canadian wilderness and is forced to survive there for 19 months is a bloody good time (again, lol, but also, sorry), not to mention a treasure trove of mysteries and misdirects. With its split timeline in the 2021 present and flashbacks to the girls’ ordeal in 1996, Yellowjackets boasts one of the best combined adult and teen casts currently on TV, maneuvering its characters into friendship, alliance, and enmity with each other.

Oh, and if it wasn’t clear already, the girls eat each other. I’m not saying cannibalism is the best thing about this series, but it does emphasize that the stakes are very high! Karyn Kusama, who directed the premiere episode and is also an executive producer, sets a tone that jumps between grotesquely unsettling and darkly amusing. How did the girls go from bickering in their Yellowjackets T-shirts and cutoff shorts to ritually hunting one of their own in fur outfits and antler crowns? When did they transform from human to, maybe, something else?

With Yellowjackets approaching its season-one finale — and recently renewed for a second season, hooray! — it’s time to check in on some theories and questions about what’s going on in those mountains in 1996, and what’s going on in the New Jersey suburbs in 2021. There’s potential supernatural stuff, probable blackmail stuff, and definite hot-guy stuff. Join me, but don’t confuse the venison-stew pot for the menstrual-blood pot.


Who is the Yellowjackets’ victim, and who is their leader?

The premiere episode immediately establishes that the team didn’t just starve and scrounge while lost, as they have told the media and their families over the years. (Notice that I did not mention “friends” here, because the adult Yellowjackets don’t seem to have any.) They also hunted down at least one former teammate and ate her in a ritualistic ceremony that certainly seems like it’s been done before. So, who is the Yellowjackets’ victim in the premiere, and who is their leader?


For the former, the easy answer seems like Jackie (Ella Purnell), right? The fifth episode “Blood Hive,” with Melanie Lynskey’s adult Shauna being haunted by a vision of teen Jackie, and sixth episode “Saints,” with that agonizing brunch scene with Jackie’s parents, confirm that she didn’t come back from the crash. And the preceding episodes have laid out a path for Jackie’s seeming irrelevance in this disaster scenario: She refuses to help with any of the physical tasks, and she spars with teen Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), who becomes the group’s de facto voice of pragmatism. So does the gold heart necklace shown on that victim mean that it’s Jackie? Remember that Jackie gave the necklace to Shauna on the plane as a means of protection, and then Shauna gave it back to her later on. Did Jackie give it to someone else past that point? I doubt it.

This leads to another question: Who is the chainmail-wearing, antler-crowned person ruling over the girls’ feast?


I think there’s one clue here for which we do not yet have an answer: There are chunky, pearl-looking earrings hanging off each side of the chainmail headpiece. Who would have brought two pairs of the same earrings? Curious. But there’s another element to notice as well: This person’s hair seems to be RIDICULOUSLY long. Look at that second picture, with the hair woven through the dress! Granted, hair gets long when you’re stranded in the wilderness for months on end, but to achieve that sort of extreme length, we’re looking at someone who had a solid head start (ugh, sorry again). For that reason, I’m going with Lottie (Courtney Eaton). We’ve gotten a sense of her maybe-clairvoyance throughout the season, and yes, I believe she was genuinely possessed by the spirit of the cabin’s original owner, the dead French Canadian guy. She was the first to notice the flashing light from the cabin on the lake, she notices the carvings in the trees, and she has that trippy, Romeo + Juliet–esque candlelit walk during her baptism. I think Lottie’s connection with the spooky elevates her upward — and maybe to her doom. No adult Lottie yet, remember.

Updates after Episode 7, “No Compass”: Lottie’s ascension seems to have begun! This episode begins with Laura Lee looking to her newly baptized friend for guidance about Taissa’s plan to leave camp and seek help, and although Lottie isn’t yet comfortable offering up advice in front of others, she certainly makes some moves that affect the group anyway. Before Tai, noted While You Were Sleeping fan Van, Misty, Akilah (Keeya King), and Mari (Alexa Barajas, who gives a hilariously confused line reading of “Who?” in response to “Edmund fucking Hillary”) set off, Lottie gives Van a curiously unburnt bone from the diseased stag’s corpse. That talisman comes into play, as does Lottie’s dream of “red smoke and a river of blood,” and all irritate Tai: She doesn’t agree with Van’s wearing of the bone that Lottie says has protective abilities, and she brushes off the girls’ concerns when they come upon a river with water tinged burgundy and when their compass spins around and around. Oh, and the red smoke? It certainly seems to refer to the flare gun Tai shoots at the wolf eating Van’s face. So everything Lottie has now said could be interpreted as coming true. Spooky!

Meanwhile, poor “we’re gonna get through this together” Jackie. On the one hand, she is basically useless in a life-or-death scenario. On the other, it’s probably a real drag to realize that the best friend you took for granted for years is actually more resourceful and more capable of making friends than you, and is also pregnant with your boyfriend’s baby … and didn’t even tell you about the first time she had sex. Truthfully, Shauna has done Jackie wrong, but I can’t help but think that Jackie reading Shauna’s diary is only going to hurt her in the long run. Does this cause a schism in the group, which is already fracturing? Is this revelation the first step in Jackie going from survivor to victim … or perhaps survivor to time traveler?

Updates after Episode 8, “Flight of the Bumblebee”: Look, I’m not saying that Jackie deserves to be eaten after divulging Shauna’s pregnancy to everyone, running her mouth about Nat to Travis, and overall being that girl in high school who is beautiful and an asshole and who can only experience joy when making others feel miserable. Jackie is still a teenager who found out that her best friend and boyfriend were lying to her, who realizes now that maintaining her virginity hasn’t really benefited her in any way, and who is grappling with loneliness and irrelevance in a very seriously life-or-death situation. But still, Jackie is the worst this episode, and I can see her overall crappiness moving her a little bit closer toward the “will get eaten, absolutely” column. A mitigating force against this guess is that journal in her childhood bedroom, which contains information about pop culture that was released months, even years, after the 1996 plane crash. (Bring It On, listed on Jackie’s “Movie Characters I Would Be” list, didn’t come out until 2000!) I don’t think “Jackie as a time traveler” (or, pragmatically, “Jackie surviving the woods but dying afterward”) is totally out of the question, but I do think that theory might be a little thinner after her consistent shit-stirring this episode.

Meanwhile, Lottie! Is so spooky! In the final moments of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” we see another Lottie vision confirmed: During her baptism by Laura Lee in “Saints,” Lottie had seen a ball of light explode behind her friend, throwing her into shadow. That moment takes on acute clarity here, as the light that initially seemed to provide Laura Lee with a halo ends up being the fire that breaks out in the Canadian guy’s plane, which Laura Lee tries to fly South for help. She’s successful at first, getting the plane to take off and soar over the lake. But either the plane was too old and the gasoline was too degraded or the forest is doing its best to keep the girls there, because both Laura Lee and her beloved teddy bear, Leonard, are no more. Lottie loses a friend and an ally, yes, but she gains the confidence of believing that another one of her imaginings came true. In terms of Yellowjackets power rankings, she’s definitely on the upswing.

Updates after Episode 9, “Doomcoming”: Well, well! Let’s check one of these mysteries off the list because Lottie as the Antler Queen is confirmed. Things got weird when Lottie suggested “Doomcoming” as the name of their party to, as Jackie put it, “drink rotten berries and celebrate our impending death.” We later see Lottie attaching earrings to the deer antlers from the cabin. Then, while high on ’shrooms and slightly tipsy, she starts talking about how “something’s coming.” What’s that something? The same thing that visited the girls during the séance, or whomever carved all those symbols around their crash-landing site, or the eyeless man Taissa keeps seeing? It isn’t clear, but Lottie is adamant, telling the girls, “We won’t be hungry much longer.” Then she leads a sexual assault of Travis followed by an attempt to eat him.

With my whole heart: poor Travis. But also — can this kid stop being a jerk to Nat for like, five seconds? I get being shocked and traumatized from having sex, being attacked, and then running for your life and nearly being killed. Nat doesn’t deserve this constant crap, though. And I’m not sure what a continued Travis/Nat division means for the ascension of Lottie, if anything. Now that she’s worn the crown once, when does she put it on again?

Photo: Showtime

As to who gets eaten in that first sequence? For now, Jackie is still in the mix. Her active pursuit of Travis has pissed off a lot of the fellow survivors, and I can see them trying to justify or dismiss their on-’shrooms behavior since they were, you know, drugged. Jackie, though, in her new “burn it all down!” ideology, got down with Travis (whom she didn’t know was tripping) of her own volition. It’s all so convoluted and awful for these teens who already have been through so much, but if anything, I think this makes Jackie more of a target.

VERDICT after Episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”: We already knew after “Doomcoming” that Lottie was the Antler Queen, but now we know that Jackie is not their victim. I think we can accept that Jackie has actually died, freezing outside overnight in the snow after a fight with Shauna that tears apart their friendship and reveals — gasp! — that Shauna doesn’t even like soccer. I am sure people will argue about whether Jackie is really gone, and I must admit that I wished for an adult version of Jackie played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. But for now, I’m sticking by my guess that Mari is that first girl.


Who’s Adam, really?

Look, I wish I could believe that Adam (Peter Gadiot) was simply a Very Hot Man who takes a liking to Shauna.

That would be nice, and it would give me hope for a world in which Very Hot Men are also just helpful dudes who offer to do body work, ahem, for free! But there’s Adam’s back tattoo, which sure looks to me like a mountain range and a version of that spooky circle-and-triangle forest symbol:

Then there’s the fact that he hasn’t asked Shauna anything about herself or her past, probably because he already knows it, because I am guessing my man is actually grown-up Javi (Luciano Leroux).

In the fourth episode, “Bear Down,” the scene in which Shauna remembers handing Javi a piece of paper while they are stranded adjoins the scene in which Shauna remembers the first sex-filled night she spent with Adam. Probably because subconsciously, Shauna senses something is up! If Javi went off to sketch on that paper, then maybe he became an artist … an artist with similarly unkempt brown curls in adulthood! But how does Shauna not know whether an adult Javi exists? Maybe he dropped off the grid? We should keep an eye on whether Adam wears a ring that could have been the one Travis retrieves from their father’s dead body. Either way, I need Gadiot’s attractively smirking face on my screen as much as possible, please and thank you.

Updates after Episode 7, “No Compass”: I’m sorry, but how is Adam not Javi? There are too many overlaps here! Back in 1996, Javi unexpectedly shows up in the attic, technically Shauna’s “house” at this point, and references the “art project” he’s working on. It ends up being a carved wooden wolf for her, which is both cute and sort of clairvoyant. Meanwhile, in 2021, artist Adam shows up at Shauna’s actual house and makes an observation that seems to capture her perfectly: “You feel exactly what I’m talking about running between us. Every single cell in your body wants to blow things up and see what happens. That’s who you are.” Adam’s comment is similar to what Nat said about Shauna and Tai during their ransom drop-off: Neither of those women is really happy or stable; they’re just better at hiding their trauma than she is. So how does Adam know Shauna so well? I am guessing it’s because he knew her before.

My only doubt about this theory is that I’m not sure how Shauna has no recognition of this man as Javi, but perhaps she believes Javi died in 1996. Or maybe Shauna is just thoroughly distracted by Adam’s hotness — after all, she did have sex with him in the bed she shares with her husband before literally shoving him into a closet, “French farce”–style, to hide him from Jeff. Adam’s handsomeness is a hindrance to pragmatism, and that I understand.

Updates after Episode 8, “Flight of the Bumblebee”: Bless Shauna’s heart, because she voices this question directly to her hot side piece’s face in the closing minutes of “Flight of the Bumblebee” — and it is kind of heartbreaking! Earlier in the episode, Shauna had been so sure of the fact that Adam was with her for her: “I am what he wants,” she insisted to her judge-y daughter, and it was clear that Shauna really wanted that to be true. And yet nothing about Adam checks out, from his falsified backstory to his lack of an online presence, since he is obviously grown-up Javi living under an assumed name!

The age works: Note that Shauna would have been class of 2000 if she went to Brown, and the Yellowjackets were in Canada for 19 months. So let’s say the teens probably would have been class of 2002 or 2003 if they went to college after returning to New Jersey. If Adam was supposedly class of 2007 or 2008 from Pratt, as Shauna guesses when she calls the school and learns he never went there, then that gives a four- or five-year age gap between the two, which about checks out. Javi seemed about 12 or 13, while the Yellowjackets were about 16 or 17. I have seen theories that Adam is Shauna’s son, or even Jackie’s son, but I do not think that timing works. Adam is not 24! Actor Peter Gadiot is 35, and he looks that age. So I am standing by the “Adam is Javi” theory, both because Adam admits to having an older brother and because we now know from reporter hostage Jessica that someone cleaned out Travis’s bank account after his death, and I’m assuming only a sibling would have access to that. (Will Nat’s old sponsor confirm that information for her?)

My only qualm: Do we think Adam/Javi is capable of murder, or could it be that whoever killed Travis is one entity and Adam/Javi is another entity? This is getting complicated!

Updates after Episode 9, “Doomcoming”: Look, I know Adam is dead, and I am deeply upset about it. Peter Gadiot is a Very Handsome Man, and I’m sad we won’t see him anymore! However. I am not entirely sure that this completely undermines or expunges the Adam-is-Javi theory! We still have not met an adult Javi, nor do we have confirmation of a dead Javi. I refuse to believe his highly suggestive tattoo was for nothing!

Could Adam have been a stalker, or a Flight 2525 fanboy? Sure. But I think his lack of a web history as “Adam Martin” points more toward “assumed identity” territory than “obsessive rando” territory. And note that Shauna’s journals are in the safe when she gets home. Did they actually disappear, or is something else going on with Shauna that we don’t quite understand yet?

I ask because Shauna’s past-and-present weeble-wobbling as she confronts and kills Adam seems to send her spiraling, and points toward some scenes we haven’t yet seen on the show that suggest Shauna’s sense of time is collapsing. We see flashbacks to her tying up Adam during sex, and then a flashback to her tying up Travis, a scene we see in full later in the episode.

Photo: Showtime
Photo: Showtime

We see teen Shauna digging in the snow — for what? Does that mean we get winter in next week’s finale?

Photo: Showtime

Then, after Shauna essentially guts her lover, we see an image of that symbol carved in the attic floorboards.

Photo: Showtime

What did Shauna do back then — whom could she have killed back then? — that she’s reminded of when killing Adam? And isn’t it incredibly disconcerting how blasé Shauna is about this? She was pretty nonchalant while admitting the killing to her husband, and when she spins the lie for Taissa and Natalie to cover up Jeff’s actions, her affect is basically a shrug. I think her rawness at “He was lying to me. He was going to hurt me. I thought that he loved me. I trusted him” is genuine. But I think Shauna’s overall ruthlessness during this whole ordeal hints at a lot simmering underneath her bored-housewife exterior. Who knew that poor rabbit was only the first glimpse into Shauna’s propensity for violence? And if someone comes looking for Adam, what happens then?

VERDICT after Episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”: No hard answer on this one yet! Adam could just be who he said he was: an artist/mechanic who fell for Shauna, and then got curious about her past. He could be Javi (I refuse to let this theory go!). Or he could be a member of Lottie’s cult who was sent to Shauna’s side; how else to explain his curious tattoo? I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Adam-related story lines, since he’s reported missing quite quickly and makes the local news, and because he’s a wedge in Shauna’s family. Jeff knows that Shauna and Adam were having an affair and that Shauna killed him; Callie knows that Shauna and Adam were having an affair, but doesn’t know that Shauna killed him, and doesn’t know that Jeff knows. Their family-dinner conversations were already awkward; this massive secret will probably just make them worse.


Is Taissa possessed?

Let me get all Shakespearean here: Methinks Taissa doth protest too much when it comes to her disbelief in the supernatural. Excuse me, then what the hell is this guy doing following you around?

He shows up outside your beautiful home, Taissa!

There are two questions to consider here. First, is Taissa being haunted in a sort of It Follows deal? Is her family somehow generationally cursed? We see her grandmother fear “that man with no eyes” in the third episode, “The Dollhouse,” and then we learn that Taissa’s son Sammy (Aiden Stoxx) is also having all kinds of strange visions of eyeless figures. The kid’s bedroom window is covered in sketches of them:

There’s an attendant question that’s answered in the sixth episode, “Saints,” though in true Yellowjackets fashion, it raises more questions. Back in 1996, Taissa’s fingernails are so dirty that secret girlfriend Van (Liv Hewson) makes a joke about it, and we learn it’s because Taissa is sneaking off in the middle of the night to ravenously eat dirt, seemingly unaware of her own actions. Then, in the final minutes of the episode, we see adult Taissa crouched in her home’s courtyard, her teeth covered in dirt and her hand bloodied. Looks like she’s the “lady in the tree” terrifying her son.


Whatever trauma triggered the dirt-eating back then appears to have continued in the present day, complete with suggestions of cannibalism. Which leads me to ask: Is the wolf Taissa keeps imagining a sign of her divided selves?

And finally: If we can trust the series’s opening credits, the man with no eyes appears in 1996 while the girls are in Canada, too. He won’t let go of Taissa, and I’m gonna go ahead and assume that’s a problem.

Updates after Episode 7, “No Compass”: Taissa stays dismissive of supernatural stuff when she’s awake, refusing to get caught up in the other girls’ acceptance of Lottie’s visions. But when she falls asleep, something else seems to take over. We see that in 2021, when “bad one” Taissa lingers outside of her son’s window, eating dirt and taking a bite out of her own hand. And we see that in 1996, with Taissa falling asleep during her volunteered watch duty, and then, in an offscreen sequence, taking Van’s bone necklace, climbing a tree, and waiting there as her friends are attacked by wolves below. Is that self-preservation from Tai’s subconscious, or the actions of something possessing or haunting her? Does eyeless guy have a secret communion with wolves? Is this a Wheel of Time crossover thing? In all seriousness, though, Van had the protective bone necklace, and when it was taken from her, she was the only one injured, perhaps fatally, by the wolves. If Van dies, I’m sure Taissa’s guilt will be immense.

Updates after Episode 8, “Flight of the Bumblebee”: There is nothing in this episode that disproves possession! Sure, Taissa could be sleepwalking. Or she could be taken over by some kind of bizarro supernatural entity that communicates with wolves and turns her eyes blood-red! (Shout-out to Vulture comedy editor Megh Wright, who noticed that Taissa’s eyes are sometimes far more burgundy than brown. Maybe an effect of the contacts that actress Tawny Cypress wears for the role, or maybe a clue.) I do think Taissa’s self-awareness of and admission about her behavior is progress and another piece in the growing friendship between Taissa and Shauna in 1996 (that moment where Shauna weighs down Taissa’s body with her own to stop her from sleepwalking reminded me of the canceled-too-soon Y: The Last Man). I also think what she says to Shauna during their impromptu sleepover in 2021 is pretty revelatory: “Not a single one of those things felt real,” she laments of her series of successes after their rescue. Is that because there are two Taissas, or because of what happens to the people she loves? “It wasn’t gonna be good for anybody” is pretty dire, and raises another question: What happened to Van now that we know she survived that wolf attack? That was her wearing the “Coed Soccer” shirt in the pilot’s opening cannibalism scene, right? Final thought: Did Biscuit the dog really go missing, or did Taissa … you know?

Updates after Episode 9, “Doomcoming”: Yes, Taissa is possessed by something this episode: love! Although Van has been keeping her distance, Taissa apologizes for almost letting Van burn to death with some Renaissance Faire–quality leather masks, a public proclamation of their relationship with a kiss at Doomcoming, and a later admission of love. That’s all nice! But I have an array of questions, like how did the Yellowjackets get so crafty (those masks have finished seams!), why has no one asked about Taissa’s whereabouts when they were attacked by wolves, and how has Van’s face — which was ripped open down to the bone — healed so cleanly, with only a rakish scar as a souvenir? The part of me that remembers the trauma Brienne of Tarth went through in George R.R. Martin’s books after a dude bit a chunk out of her cheek is very skeptical that Van’s way-worse injury would look basically fine after only a few weeks. Good for her! But also, I demand a medical professional comment on this.

Something else to notice: When Lottie says, “We won’t be hungry much longer,” it’s while Taissa is kneeling on the ground next to Shauna’s stomach after Shauna felt the baby kick. Um, guys, please remember that Shauna’s baby is not actually a cheeseburger or a roast chicken! I am very concerned you will forget this, Snowpiercer style!

VERDICT after Episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”: Well, that altar sure does push this answer closer to “hell, yes!” territory, no? Look, I still do not know what is up with eyeless man, whom we have not seen in a while. But Taissa is clearly suffering from some kind of divided identity that manifests in dirt-eating, bone-necklace-stealing, sleepwalking, and family-dog-killing. The bite wound on Taissa’s hand that I assumed was caused by herself might have been caused by Biscuit in the off-screen scene in which she kills and beheads him, right? And that final smile that Taissa gives after she learns of her state senate win — does that mean that Other Taissa, the one her son Sammy calls “the bad one,” has taken over for good?


Is a Yellowjacket doing the blackmailing?

In 2021, the adult Yellowjackets are constantly asked about what “really” happened while they were stranded — so much so that Taissa, who is running for state senate, hires a fake reporter, Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma), to approach the other survivors to see if they’d sell their stories for cash. No one responds to Jessica’s bait, but someone does seem to be targeting the Yellowjackets, sending postcards with the creepy symbol on it and texting them demands for $50,000.


Who’s behind all this? I think Yellowjackets wants us to suspect Misty (Christina Ricci), given that she is just resourceful enough and just high-key unhinged enough to be dangerous. (RIP to Jessica; I don’t know how you make it out of this one.) But my real answer is Shauna. Her and Jeff’s (Warren Kole) college fund for their terrible daughter is sitting at $12,000, and $50,000 would help a lot. It’s unclear to me from that kitchen scene in “Saints” whether she kept one of the postcards after meeting with Nat and Taissa, or whether she was lying about having received one. But if she really hasn’t received one, and also hasn’t gotten the text message, is it because she’s the one truly in charge? Shauna is smarter than most people think, and also increasingly spontaneous. I could see it.

Updates after Episode 7, “No Compass”: I’m going to pivot here! At first, I thought either Shauna or Misty was involved in the blackmail scheme: Shauna because she hadn’t received any threatening texts or postcards, and Misty, just because she seems like the type. But “No Compass” made fairly clear that Misty genuinely sees her fellow survivors as her friends and will do anything to protect them, including keeping a snooping reporter hostage and threatening to poison her father with fentanyl. (Christina Ricci’s array of smirks is truly life-affirming.) So that leaves Shauna. I initially thought this episode was casting doubt upon her; the tracker idea was clever, but its execution was kind of clunky, and I didn’t quite grasp how it took Shauna so long to drive from the back of the thrift store where Nat and Tai were chasing the blackmailer to the front. (I will not complain about having longer to listen to the Prodigy’s “Firestarter,” but still.) And when Shauna said, “He could be working with someone,” it almost seemed like she was telling on herself!

But by the end of the episode, with Jeff coming home late and immediately taking a shower, the blackmailer is pretty clearly him, right? We already know he’s lying about furniture deliveries, and there is no way fixing an inventory database takes that long. If so, then I think Taissa is onto something: The blackmailing and Travis’s murder are separate things, and the person who did the latter is still out there, and now they might have the contents of Travis’s bank account, too. Could Javi-as-Adam kill his own brother, or are we looking at someone else entirely? I’m going with the latter, for now.

Updates after Episode 8, “Flight of the Bumblebee”: Jeff! Jeff! Jeff! All signs now lead to Shauna’s dopey husband, who obviously is not doing inventory at all hours of the night and who clearly was responsible for the glitter in Shauna’s closet. (I think the timing between when the guy who blackmailed the Yellowjackets fled in that modern silver car and when Adam showed up to Shauna’s house in his older pickup truck is too tight to put the blame on Adam.) Plus, Jeff knows Taissa, he knows Misty, he knows Nat, and he knows what will rile them.

So Jeff as a blackmailer: firming up! Jeff as a husband: still not great! (Did he really think Shauna would enjoy wearing that canary-yellow bandage dress left over from 2015 to their impending high-school reunion? Sir, please.) However, there is a greater chance that Jeff figured out Shauna’s safe code after decades of marriage than Adam after the one time he came into her house, and I could absolutely see Jeff selling access to the journals to help solve their money problems. I no longer think Shauna is in on this, but I do remain confused as to why she has stayed in this marriage. Could I see Shauna wailing about Jeff, as Nat does about Travis, “Do you believe in love?” I could not; I do not understand the current incarnation of this relationship.

Updates after Episode 9, “Doomcoming”: Put a checkmark next to this one, too, because Jeff “Huh. Glitter?” Sadecki has been doing the blackmailing! This was a surprisingly funny episode of Yellowjackets, and a lot of that humor came from Warren Kole’s performance. He has the worst poker face of all time when Shauna points out the glitter, and his line deliveries of “Goddamn!” and “What? There’s no book club?!” are so tragic. But this explains why Shauna wasn’t getting the postcards or text messages, because their family is struggling financially, and explains how the blackmailer knew about the forest symbol, because Jeff read her journals years ago. All of that is a breach of trust, but it also feels a little too tied up. Are the loan sharks really going to leave them alone now that they have the $50,000 stolen from Natalie? Will Jeff pick a new career? Is he going to get over Shauna’s cheating so quickly? “Of course I still love ya” is very sweet, but Jeff has already proved that he talks by looping best friend Randy into his blackmail attempt. If he spills about Shauna and Adam — especially now that Adam is dead — that would be very bad!

Another open loop: Jessica, who seems to be trying to talk Misty into a tell-all book deal as a trade-off for letting her go. “So you guys ate each other. I mean, that is what happened, right?” Jessica says to a reactionless Misty, and I am not sure trying to trick Misty into anything is a good idea. Lottie in that Antler Queen headdress was terrifying; adult Misty is somehow even scarier. Misty hadn’t been doing the blackmailing, but now she knows about Adam’s death. Can she be trusted to keep that information to herself, too? I cannot tell! Misty is such a live wire! Bless Christina Ricci, truly.

VERDICT after Episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”: We knew the answer to this already, but let’s repeat it: yes, sort of, in that Jeff came up with blackmailing Tai and Nat for the $50,000 to pay off his shady loan. Remember that Misty does not seem to have received a text message and was not part of the blackmailing, probably because Jeff lifted Tai and Nat’s numbers from Shauna’s cell, and Shauna had told Misty never to call her (so I’m assuming her number wasn’t in Shauna’s phone). That rift between Shauna, Tai, Nat, and Misty … maybe because the latter was in Lottie’s clan, and they weren’t?


Who’s this guy?

The series’s opening credits, designed to scratchily play out like a many-times-recorded-over VHS that you pop in during a sleepover, mostly cycles through the characters in the two timelines. But there is someone I don’t recognize: Who’s this guy?

That doesn’t look like adult Travis (Andres Soto). Could it maybe be Assistant Coach Ben Scott (Steven Krueger)? I don’t really think they look alike, either, but maybe I have brunette-man facial blindness? I suppose it could be adult Javi, but that blows up my Adam theory!

Updates after Episode 8, “Flight of the Bumblebee”: I still do not know who this guy is, and I really do not think it is Coach Ben Scott; their faces are a little too different. But we are getting down to the wire now with only two episodes left to go in this season, and I am not sure we are going to get a whole new man character! Maybe this is Coach Scott, and the shorter hair is just throwing me off. Or perhaps the answer is in the people we have already met or discussed, so my final guess: Is this Paul, the writer boyfriend Ben left behind? Was Ben taking too many condoms to Seattle for someone with a boyfriend in New Jersey? Arguable!

Updates after Episode 9, “Doomcoming”: No, we still do not know who this man is. But I’m curious about what the high Travis says after having sex with Jackie: “We disappeared though, right? But, where are we? Am I even here?” And when the other girls get to the cabin: “None of us are here though, are we?” On the one hand, the ramblings of a man tripping out in a post-sex haze. On the other hand, what if that cabin attic is some kind of weird portal? It does have all those symbols carved around it! It did invite whatever entity during the séance! That old man did die up there! What if Travis is genuinely describing some kind of out-of-body experience, and what if that ties back to his suicide/murder 25 years later — maybe he was trying to go back to that place, or someone else was trying to get him back to that place? I’m reaching far here, but … is this a “we have to go back” introduction to the Yellowjackets universe?

VERDICT after Episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”: An answer has arrived: the Hunter, played by William Charles Vaughan. This dude is spooky, right? If we can assume he’s the dead man whom the Yellowjackets find in the attic, and if we can assume too that Jackie’s vision of him in her death dream is “real,” then has this dude’s spirit just been lingering around the cabin the whole time? What caused his death? Did he carve all those symbols? Why didn’t he ever try to fly out of there? I don’t necessarily need answers to all these questions, because this man is simply effective in popping up as a strange, lingering specter. But at least now we know why he got that prominent opening-credits placement!


Is Jackie a time traveler?

Shout-out to writer Marya Gates for this question, which relates to Jackie’s list of favorite movies released in “Saints.”

Doesn’t the 1996 story line take place in the spring of 1996? The acceptance letter from Brown University that Shauna looks over in the premiere is dated November 1995, which made me think that the girls are playing in a spring soccer season in 1996. So how did Jackie already see The English Patient, which wouldn’t come out until November 1996? Is one of her annoying milquetoast parents actually a movie pirate? OR: Is Jackie a time traveler, and future and past Jackie are the same?! (I am only being about 60 percent sarcastic on this.)

Updates after Episode 9, “Doomcoming”: No updates on this, except to say that Jackie is exuding strong “You’re in danger, girl!” energy. She better jump on that time travel quick if she wants to make it out of the Canadian wilderness and ever see Bring It On, one of the puzzlingly anachronistic movies listed in her journal.

VERDICT after Episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”: Sadly, I think we can put down a “no” for Jackie’s time-traveler status. If this scene is taken at face value, Jackie is very dead, and she was the mysterious item in the snow that Shauna was digging for during that flashback she experiences while stabbing Adam. The guilt of Jackie’s death has sat on Shauna’s shoulders for a long time. Does this explain the journals? Maybe a clue has always been that Shauna is the journal writer, not Jackie. Maybe what we assumed were Jackie’s journals weren’t hers at all. I could see the “Shauna or Jackie?” question lingering into season two.


Who signaled the girls from the cabin?

Maybe this is me just not understanding how glass works, but: When the girls are hanging out in the lake and Lottie and Jackie spot the cabin, isn’t that a flashing light off in the distance?

And yet the cabin is both dirty and surrounded by trees when they get to it, so I wouldn’t think that any of the windows’ glass would be so reflective that it would cause the flashing. Wouldn’t that imply the girls are being summoned? Does that sync up with how Lottie says of the plant life that grew around the French Canadian guy’s plane, “They didn’t want him to leave”? Is the forest itself sentient, and did it call the girls back from the lake?

VERDICT after Episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”: No strong answer on this one by season’s end. But what the Hunter says to Jackie in her death dream is curious: So glad you’re joining us. We’ve been waiting for you.” Is that “we” who signaled the girls from the cabin?

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