What Is the Deal With Elijah Wood’s Character on ‘Yellowjackets’?
Watch your back, Walter
When it comes to the ensemble cast of Showtime’s addictive series Yellowjackets, it’s generally best to treat it like an Agatha Christie novel: Everyone’s a suspect. Between shady cannibalistic cults, mysterious symbols, blackmail, hidden pregnancies, and a torrid affair, it feels like virtually every Yellowjackets character might have some massive secret hidden away, just waiting to be revealed—much to our shock and dismay.
That makes it all the more exciting (and complicated) when season 2 throws us a curveball: a five-foot-six curveball in a striped puffer vest named Walter. One of three new faces in season 2 (and notably the only new character of the three we haven’t previously met in the 1996 timeline), Elijah Wood’s citizen detective Walter has quickly become a frequent fixture in present-day Misty (Christina Ricci)’s life—but just who is Walter, and how does he tie into the complicated, dual-timeline narrative of Yellowjackets?
Who is this Walter guy, really?
In terms of biography, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when we finally do get to put a face to a name, there isn’t much we actually know about who Walter is. What we do know is that he’s a frequent visitor of the Citizen Detective subreddit—a fictional page that Misty also enjoys browsing as a way to challenge herself by solving true crime mysteries in her spare time. On the Citizen Detective boards, Misty has honed her skills as both a detective and a criminal, often utilizing the site’s vast network of eccentric personalities and their helpful skills to solve problems that might leave her fellow Yellowjackets stumped.
It’s on the boards where Misty first meets Walter—whose username is “PuttingtheSickinForensics”—and he offers a few of his own theories about what happened to Adam Martin, the man Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) had an affair with and eventually murdered back in season 1.
Walter comes into Misty’s life IRL when he notices that she’s continually downvoting his theories as to what happened to Adam Martin. While Walter may just be frustrated at someone doubting his investigative prowess, the audience—and Misty—knows the actual reason she’s downvoting him is because he correctly sussed out that Shauna killed Adam. When Misty puts a call out on the boards for help tracking down Natalie (Juliette Lewis), who was kidnapped at the end of season 1, Walter offers his help—as long as Misty (a.k.a. AfricanGrey, a nod to her bird, Caligula) explains why she keeps downvoting his theories about Adam Martin.
Thanks to last week’s episode (and the episode 3 teaser), though, we know that Misty and Walter won’t stay strictly virtual for long. In “Edible Complex,” we see Walter subtly scoping out Misty’s job as a care assistant by pretending to be a concerned son evaluating facilities for his elderly mother. During his “tour,” he slips Misty a note with writing that’s only visible under a blacklight, letting her know that he’s interrogating a lead in Adam Martin’s murder, having lied and told the witness he’s an FBI agent. The letter (which addresses Misty by her real name) ends with an invitation from Walter for “Agent Quigley” to join him during the interrogation on his boat—i.e., an invite for Misty to meet him face-to-face and work together on cracking the Adam Martin case.
So, what’s Walter’s endgame here? He’s seemingly open and transparent about his goals: he’s interested in true crime, and wants to split the case with Misty since it’s her lead. One does wonder what kind of person just has access to a boat for interrogation purposes at the drop of a hat, but then again, it’s entirely possible that Walter isn’t who he says he is. For all we know, and with how unpredictable and open-ended Yellowjackets is when it comes to twists, Walter could be Shauna’s baby all grown up (let me be clear—I don’t think he’s Shauna’s baby). Given the multiple glimpses of Walter and his costume changes in the trailer, it’s safe to say that he’ll be operating as Misty’s partner in crime for at least a few episodes.
But if he’s smart, he’ll watch his back—most people close to the Yellowjackets end up dead.
(featured image: Showtime)
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