Lottie, Shauna, and Taissa stand in the snow, looking distraught.

‘Yellowjackets’ Finally Let the Girls (and the Audience) Feast

In the season 2 premiere of Yellowjackets, Shauna took her first step towards cannibalism by eating Jackie’s ear. Now she, and the rest of the team, have gone all in.

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To recap: After finding out that Shauna has been putting makeup on Jackie’s corpse, Taissa and the other Yellowjackets decide to finally lay her to rest. The ground is too frozen to bury her, though, so they build a pyre to cremate her. As she lights it, Shauna gives Jackie a heartfelt goodbye. “I don’t know where you end and I begin,” she says. She doesn’t seem to realize how significant that line is, since Jackie is literally nourishing her.

Once the fire is lit, everyone heads inside and goes to sleep. However, snow from a tree bough falls on the pyre, dousing the flames to a slow burn. Instead of incinerating her, the pyre cooks her. The aroma eventually wakes everyone up, and they go outside to find a perfectly roasted meal waiting for them.

There’s so much to digest in this scene. Let’s tuck in!

The forest wants the Yellowjackets to be cannibals

After everyone goes to bed, Travis and Natalie make love—except Travis keeps seeing unsettling visions of Lottie standing in the background. We cut to some kind of disembodied consciousness flying through the treetops outside, and it stops at the tree hanging over Jackie’s pyre, where it knocks the snow loose. This is no accident. Something in the woods is sabotaging Jackie’s cremation.

Later, when the team finds the body, Shauna touches her stomach (remember that she’s eating for two!) and says, “She wants us to.” Shauna thinks that by “she,” she means Jackie. The show, however, is making it clear that “she” refers to some other entity entirely. It’s the spirit that’s been herding them to this moment ever since the plane crash in season 1. It’s the thing in the woods that Lottie—and Taissa, as we saw in the season 1 finale—are psychically plugged into.

Make no mistake: the forest cooked Jackie so that the Yellowjackets could feast on her.

Ambrosia and nectar

In the feast scene, the filmmakers make one of the best stylistic choices I’ve seen on TV in a long time. Suddenly, the team is dressed in Greek-style togas and laurel crowns, sitting at a table with golden goblets. The camera cuts between what’s actually happening in the woods, and their Dionysian revelry.

This choice accomplishes a couple of things. First, it keeps things tasteful, so to speak. Knowing that someone is eating their friend is dramatic enough; watching a graphic depiction of the act becomes sensationalism and gore for its own sake. Yellowjackets is reminding us that it’s a work of psychological and supernatural horror, not a splatter film. (Although who knows what’s in store in the future?)

Secondly, the scene shows us just how delectable Jackie is. Anything tastes good when you’re starving, but a table piled with perfectly cooked meat? Jackie is probably the best-tasting meal the team has ever eaten.

Now THAT’S a metaphor

Remember that the whole reason Jackie’s dead is because the girls gradually turned on her in season 1, driving her to sleep outside. The fact that they’re now literally devouring her—with her former best friend taking the first bite—is such a potent metaphor for teenage girlhood that I feel like I’m going through a second puberty. Teen friendships are fraught, with equal parts bonding and backstabbing, and it’s quite a denouement to Jackie’s story to watch the team tear her apart and take her into themselves.

What’s going to happen to Ben?

As the team gorges on Jackie, Ben hurries back inside the cabin. The body smelled just as good to him as it did to everyone else, but he can’t stomach it. He literally hides from the team, taking one last fearful peek out the door before slamming it shut. Everything about this last shot screams that Ben is going to end up on the table himself at some point. Is that true, though, or is it a misdirect? To find out, we’ll have to keep savoring what Yellowjackets serves up.

(featured image: Showtime)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>