The Moment We Were All Waiting For Finally Happened in ‘Yellowjackets’
Friendship is a beautiful thing.
This post contains spoilers for Yellowjackets season 2, episode 1.
In a January 2022 interview with ET, Yellowjackets co-creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson assured viewers that the cannibalism in the series wouldn’t just be included for shock value. “We wanted to build to not just that they do in fact engage in cannibalism,” Nickerson explained, “but why they do …. It is very much coming [in season 2], but we want to make sure we get there the right way.”
Indeed, season 1 definitely took its time building up to the conditions that would lead a girls’ soccer team to eat each other. Resorting to cannibalism in order to survive is horrific, but forgivable. What the girls do in the forest, though—hunting and devouring each other in some sort of ritual, as we see in the season 1 premiere—is a whole other level. And although they gradually inch closer to that first scene throughout season 1, it isn’t until the season 2 premiere that we see a character cross the point of no return.
And the way the show portrays it is masterful.
Shauna and Jackie’s posthumous friendship
In the season 2 premiere, we see that Shauna and Jackie’s friendship hasn’t ended just because Jackie has been dead for two months. Shauna spends much of her time in the storage shed talking to her, imagining that she’s still alive. Shauna and Jackie chat, play games, and even fight, with Jackie demanding to know the details of Shauna sleeping with Jeff behind Jackie’s back. At one point, when Jackie gets a little too confrontational, Shauna shoves her body, which falls over. When Shauna sets Jackie up again, she sees that her ear has broken off.
Shauna tries to put it back on, but ends up slipping it into her pocket to keep as a sort of amulet. She holds onto it for the entire episode, and then, with the team’s supply of bear meat dwindling, pops it into her mouth.
Why does Shauna eat Jackie’s ear? There’s a lot going on here
Let’s get the obvious explanation out of the way: Shauna is starving. Everyone is starving. It’s the dead of winter, there’s no game to hunt, and Shauna is several months pregnant. An ear doesn’t have any meat on it, but Shauna is desperate for sustenance. You’d probably snack on some cartilage, too.
On a deeper level, though, Shauna’s initial act of cannibalism points to her inability to let Jackie go. After all, Shauna blames herself for Jackie’s death. At the end of season 1, Shauna tells Jackie off, alienating her from the rest of the team, and it’s their fight that leads Jackie to sleep outside and ultimately freeze to death. When Shauna eats a part of Jackie, she’s claiming that small part for herself, clinging to the friend she’ll never see again. It’s a (very messed up) way of keeping Jackie close.
Then there’s the matter of the dark spirit lurking in the wilderness—the one that’s connected to the mysterious symbols carved into the trees, and Laura Lee’s teddy bear igniting as she tries to fly out to find help. It’s the entity that sends a bear to the cabin for the team to eat, and then demands fealty through the offering of that same bear’s heart. Even though Shauna’s act of cannibalism seems spontaneous, it’s leading to the ritual we saw in season 1. The wilderness is gradually seeping into the psyches of the Yellowjackets, and I suspect we’re going to see much more gruesome stuff before their story ends.
(featured image: Showtime)
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