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Our Spooky, Sexy Yellowjackets Theories

Photo: Kailey Schwerman/Showtime

Spoilers follow for the Yellowjackets season-two episode “Digestif,” which premiered April 7.

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! 

Only a couple months into the long Canadian winter and the Yellowjackets are going stir crazy. By my math, they still have about a year left of their 19 months in the wilderness, but “Digestif” shows how much they’re already teetering on the brink. For the first time in a while, they’re properly fed thanks to the supernaturally tinged Jackie barbecue in “Edible Complex.” But Coach Ben is wasting away, the teens’ baby shower for Shauna gets hijacked by weirdness, and Misty goes all in on her theater-kid leanings with a monologue from Steel Magnolias that moves some of the girls to tears even if it isn’t exactly good. Meanwhile, in 2021, self-destruction is as omnipresent for the Yellowjackets as heliotrope in Camp Green Pine or Jeff’s sweat on all that gym equipment. Like a Colonial Williamsburg reenactor churning butter, “Digestif” is an up-and-down ride. Let’s review where we’re at.

Questions About 1996

NEW: Is Coach Ben next on the Yellowjackets’ menu? 
Before the Yellowjackets ate Jackie, they were literally starving, so it’s not a surprise that Coach Ben, having not eaten Jackie, is sliding into hallucination and lethargy; as Travis says in his characteristically understated way, “You seem weird.” But what does it mean that Coach Ben spends so much of this episode wrapped up in memories of his relationship with his boyfriend, Paul (whom Ben disappointed by refusing his invitation to move in), and in an imagined world where he quits the soccer team, doesn’t fly to nationals, and instead proclaims, “I’m going to live how I want to”? Is his disgust over what they did going to make him disengage from the Yellowjackets — and the map project he had going with Natalie — and retreat into a fantasy where he’s not “the saddest possible version of me” but rather a chillaxed guy whose palette is nuanced enough to know Paul didn’t put cumin in the clam chowder? That sounds pleasant, but these hallucinations could also be read as the visions of a dying man, which would make him a prime candidate for becoming the Yellowjackets’ next meal.

UPDATED: Is Lottie the cause of the group breaking apart? 
It’s nice to have consistency, and Lottie sending her peers into a tizzy of infighting is as reliable as this show gets! More evidence of the Natalie-Lottie divide pops up in both timelines with Natalie being conflicted over the Jackie feast in 1996 and Lottie insisting in 2021, “It isn’t brutal, it’s natural” for one queen bee to kill off the others. “Otherwise, they starve. We all do.” Those statements certainly seem paired, indicating Natalie and Lottie have spent more than 20 years arguing about whether eating Jackie was a justified act.

But let’s focus on the 1996 story line because Lottie’s use of the mysterious symbol on a baby blanket she gifts to Shauna during their makeshift baby shower has a broader divisive effect. On the side of “Maybe the symbol provides protection” are Lottie, Misty, Akilah, and Mari, while Shauna and Tai are firmly in the “Nope, this is weird” category, and Van seems to float in between — not wanting to gas up Lottie too much in front of Tai but also unwilling to back away from her belief that Lottie does hold some kind of power. When all those birds randomly fall out of the sky onto the cabin, we don’t have the same aerial perspective we had in “Edible Complex,” which seemed to show us the supernatural force getting involved in cooking Jackie. So did Lottie make the “blessings” fall out of the sky on her own, or is this just a coincidence? We don’t get an answer, but we do get more fodder for what seems to be an inevitable conflict between those who believe in Lottie and those who don’t.

NEW: How many more people besides Jackie got eaten in 1996? 
We know about the girl from the pilot, whom we saw hunted, killed, and eaten. We know about Jackie. And when Shauna intimidates the chop-shop guy in this episode, she talks about “people”: “Have you ever peeled the skin off a human corpse? People are always so sweaty when you kill them. Just, like, oily. There’s a look people get when they realize they’re going to die.” I don’t think Shauna is exaggerating to scare this guy because she doesn’t need to; she’s already pointing a gun at him. I feel like we can take “people” at face value and as confirmation that when the killing starts, it doesn’t remain a one-off thing.

With 13 more stranded months to go, I’m assuming more than one person is going to get butchered; the question now is “How many?” The show has been deliberately vague about how many remaining Yellowjackets there actually are; the series even addressed this in the second-season premiere with a cheeky conversation between girls we’ve never seen before who were irritated by Shauna, Tai, Natalie, et al. making themselves the main characters of this story. I think it’s safe to assume some of these new faces will probably end up on the tree-trunk chopping block.

NEW: What noise is Mari hearing? And why only Mari?
“You guys really don’t hear dripping?” Mari is my favorite shit stirrer, what with that persistent sneer and her total shamelessness about attaching herself to the popular girl of the moment (first Jackie, now Lottie). Her desire to be close to whoever has power makes me wonder if she’s somehow being targeted by the entity and she’s hearing things it wants only her to experience? It’s all very Ghostbusters II! If you see any mood slime, Mari, don’t touch it!

Questions About 2021

UPDATED: Is Lottie still in communion with the entity from the woods? 
Count all the ways “Digestif” references Lottie’s time as the Antler Queen 25 years ago: the antlers mounted over the door to Lottie’s Camp Green Pine quarters, blood spilling onto a mossy tree trunk Lisa uses to behead chickens, and Lottie hearing some cryptic French. (According to the subtitles, Lottie’s acolyte says “Il veut du sang,” which translates to “He wants blood.” That certainly seems to line up with what Lottie said at the 1996 altar, “Versez le sang,” or “Spill the blood.”) All of that, combined with Lottie imagining her bee boxes full of viscous gore — which she describes in terms that evoke her former teammates — and, yeah, it sure seems like the entity has never let Lottie go. But is the entity warning her that her friends are in danger or threatening her that they will be in danger? It sure is ambiguous!

NEW: Are all these heliotrope outfits provided by Lottie’s T.J. Maxx Bucks?
As we learned in season-one episode “F Sharp,” Lottie has thousands of dollars in shoplifting-enabled store credit, and I don’t think those ever expire! There’s no way the people showing up at Camp Green Pine know to bring only heliotrope clothes, so I’m hoping for a scenario in which Lottie is browsing the T.J. Maxx website each week, looking for perfectly shaded items to provide to her acolytes. (Why they’re so into Fanta is a question for another day.)

UPDATED: Who, or what, is possessing Tai?
We should probably tweak the phrasing of this question to “How many whos, or whats, are possessing Tai?” because, in both 2021 and 1996, we get our clearest looks yet at the identities/personalities/beings splitting time within Taissa. In 2021, I think we can assume Sammy’s “bad one” is what caused Tai to crash the car. But not knowing whether the forest symbol is protective or malevolent makes it less obvious whether the “bad one” drew it on Simone’s palm, and the mirror version of Tai who instructs that she “go to her” is another question. (“Her” is Van, I’m assuming, since mirror Tai seemed to mimic Van’s scar design with her hands.) My guess is that the “bad one” is activated by the man with no eyes, but I’m curious if there’s another version of Tai that is tied to the wilderness symbol, and that’s who took over when Tai ate Jackie in 1996 (an act she doesn’t remember). That would make three total versions of Tai with her core self seemingly less and less in control.

How long until everyone else in 1996 starts noticing, though? Tai and Van’s argument about eating Jackie was pretty public, and I’m surprised that each night Tai, and now Van, somehow make it out of the upstairs room and through the common area where most everyone else sleeps without being detected. In 2021, we know Shauna is somewhat aware of Tai’s issues, but I’m thinking this will be a bigger deal when it becomes public in 1996.

NEW: Was Christina Ricci doing a Gollum voice as a way to reference co-star Elijah Wood’s time as Frodo Baggins? 
Hear me out! When Ricci’s Misty and Wood’s Walter finally meet in person to interrogate the motel witness — revealed to be Jeff’s best friend, Randy — Misty slips into a hoarse, guttural voice as she hides in the back of Walter’s boat. She sort of sounds like the One Ring–brainwashed Gollum, with her croaky rasp and hair-trigger temper, and I like the idea of Ricci paying homage to Wood’s Lord of the Rings work by mimicking the character who was such an antagonist to his Frodo. Listen to Ricci’s line delivery of “Bad cop is the only way to break him!” and tell me you don’t hear a bit of Andy Serkis in that snarl.

Questions About the Future

UPDATED: Does citizen detective Walter know Misty helped get rid of Adam?
We now know Walter’s name, that he has disposable income, and that he’s lied to Misty to get closer to her. Maybe the latter is because he has a crush on her — he does call Misty “incomparable” and “unparalleled” — but he brings Adam up pretty quickly after they go bad cop on Randy. I will quibble a bit, though, with how Misty reacts to this: She lies to Walter, who has been established as a high-level hacker with resources to burn, about being close to Adam’s mother and makes up this whole sob story about how grief stricken the woman is and how much she’s been leaning on Misty for support. This story is so obviously false, and so provably false, that I don’t really accept it as in line with the Misty we’ve known so far.

Maybe this is meant to be a sign that Walter’s light flirtation has so unnerved Misty that she’s throwing all caution to the wind, but this is a woman who murdered someone to protect her friends’ secrets! I’m shocked she didn’t have a better cover story prepared for why she’s been down-voting Walter’s Adam Martin posts. Also Walter describes himself as a “bored Moriarty looking for his Sherlock,” and those two characters were rivals and enemies, not friends. Misty would have known that too, I think.

NEW: How self-destructive is Shauna going to get?
An affair, a murder, a bunch of lies to her teammates and her family, a fumbled first conversation with the detective investigating Adam’s disappearance, hundreds of texts she can’t explain away (hundreds?), and a casual visit to a chop shop with a stolen gun. (Didn’t the Yellowjackets used to be discreet about cannibalism talk?) It’s time to consider the possibility that Shauna is doing all this incriminating stuff on purpose, and I do think that makes her more dangerous than any other adult Yellowjacket we’ve met so far except Misty. In 1996, she tells Lottie, “Everything feels out of control. I don’t know what’s going to happen next”; in 2021, she tells Jeff she’s tired of her predictable life. There’s a direct line between those two admissions, and they lead to a present-day Shauna who craves the kind of impulsiveness and danger that her normal life will never provide and that their time in the forest did. If Shauna breaks into a “We have to go back!” monologue, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

NEW: Will Jeff go strawberry?
He could have gone strawberry. He almost did! It’s not just for bisexuals and goths anymore, and it’s probably a more affordable way to spice up your marriage than a spontaneous road trip that ends up with your minivan carjacked. Will someone please point Jeff to his local retailer’s intimacy aisle?

This article has been updated.


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Our Spooky, Sexy Yellowjackets Theories