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Ranking the ‘Yellowjackets’ Characters by How Brutal They Are

The cast of 'Yellowjackets' standing in the snow

Yellowjackets isn’t following the lyrics of its theme song, because the show is returning to disturb us all over again when season 2 premieres in March. Watching a show that’s diverse and focuses on complicated women is fabulous, but that’s not what I’m writing about today: I’m here to discuss the best Yellowjackets characters—and no, Jeff won’t be on this list (even though the memes about him are hilarious).

As with most series, the main characters of Yellowjackets vary in terms of how relatable and compelling they are. But their circumstances—and what that particular scenario can show about someone’s true self—are what sets the show apart. So I’m ranking these Yellowjackets based on how brutal they are, starting with the least brutal of the group.

7. Van

Van being injured and so sweet in Yellowjackets season 1

Brutality isn’t detected where our sweet young Van (Liv Hewson) is concerned. We may very well see a different side of her in season 2, but for now she’s the least brutal of them all. The show is still exploring her as a character (adult Van still needs to be introduced) and how she plays into the ’90s events of the series. But I can’t even imagine her becoming monstrous in the woods. Maybe that’ll change once shit completely hits the fan. Otherwise, she remains at the bottom of this list of incredibly complex women.

6. Jackie

Jackie in her dream in Yellowjackets season 1

I’m very aware that Jackie (Ella Purnell) was sometimes annoying, but she never gave into her circumstances—not that that makes her perfect or better than anybody else. She remained the same person she always was and that was never someone who was capable of brutality. She wasn’t meant to survive a plane crash and live in the woods. And she wasn’t about to murder anything or anyone for whatever reason. Her death was the start of the disintegration of Shauna as a person, so maybe she was part of the brutality in a way.

5. Natalie

Adult and teen Natalie in a trippy scene in Yellowjackets

There’s so much to love about Natalie (played by Sophie Thatcher and Juliette Lewis), who is incredibly dysfunctional and not remotely perfect. She’s capable of violence and brutality, but seemingly only resorts to it when absolutely necessary. And that’s part of what makes her character so interesting. All of the abuse and trauma she’s endured in her life would change anyone. Season 2 may show Nat being more violent in order to survive the woods and the cult (in both the past and present). We’ll just have to see how the woods changed her and what she had to do for herself.

4. Taissa

Taissa being annoyed with Shauna in Yellowjackets s1

Characters driven by success and power are capable of almost anything to maintain both. Taissa (played by Jasmin Savoy Brown and Tawny Cypress) operates under the guise of being a good person. The reality is that Taissa is willing to be brutal and sometimes her brutality comes out in disturbing ways (e.g.: murdering her child’s dog). She’s a wonderfully crafted character because of how well she can put on facades. Also, we need more queer Black women and women of color who are portrayed with this complexity.

3. Shauna

Shauna saying a disturbingly iconic line in Yellowjackets

Marie-Sophie Nélisse and Melanie Lynskey knock it out of the fucking park as Shauna. What’s even more brilliant is how Shauna is such a well-written character with so many layers, and not all of them are empathetic. As far as brutality goes, Shauna is very much capable of being violent—sometimes for reasons that are entirely selfish or unexplainable to anyone other than herself. The killing of the bunny and then Adam (Peter Gadiot), as well as what happened when she was high in the ’90s timeline, are perfect examples.

2. Lottie

Lottie spiraling out in Yellowjackets season 1

I enjoy villainous and antagonistic characters, like Lottie (Simone Kessell), who is essentially a cult leader doing dangerous things. Lottie’s behavior during the past events build up to acts of brutality during the shrooms trip. One might even say that setting up a cult during everyone’s most vulnerable moment is a brutal act. And to be clear, Lottie’s potential mental illness (her parents might have put her on medication because they didn’t believe in her “gifts”) doesn’t automatically make her capable of violence.

1. Misty

Misty being a weirdo in Yellowjackets season 1

Misty (played by Sammi Hanratty and Christina Ricci) is one of those characters you just know is fully capable of violence. Therefore, her ease with killing—and even harming the old people at her job—in the present day comes as no surprise. Misty’s brutality isn’t only apparent in acts of violence, but in her ability to justify what she does. Thus, including her at the very top of this list feels very apt because of what she can do and has done. Season 2 will likely show us even more chaos at her hands.

(featured image: Showtime)

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Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a blerd writer and visual artist who loves horror, anime and all things strange. Her writing has appeared in Pink Advocate, Dread Central and more. For more, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @theblackbuffy.