‘Yellowjackets’ Recap, Season One, Episode 9



Season 1

Episode 9

Editor’s Rating

5 stars

Photo: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Shauna has come to the quick realization that neither of the men she’s been sleeping with are who she thought they were. Her husband, Jeff, albeit a blackmailer, may have been a cheat in his youth, but he hasn’t been cheating on her. And Adam, the embodiment of her fantasy of a young, floppy-haired artist come to save her from the drudgery of her adult life, is dead along with her assumption she could leave her reality for some hot and heavy stolen time as someone else somewhere else, where she could be loved for being anyone other than Shauna Shipman, survivor of flight 2525.

For all her fears of not being loved for the reasons she wants to be loved, for not being the chosen one or someone’s first pick, it turns out the man she wrote off years ago knew in full detail all the dark secrets she’s been trying to hide and loved her regardless. When Shauna confronts Jeff about the glitter on the floor in their closet, he admits to coming up with a blackmail scheme to save his furniture store, executed with all the thoughtfulness and planning of a homecoming king. And then Shauna makes a confession of her own: Not only was she cheating on him (and there’s no book club), but there’s a dead body a few miles away that they’re going to have to do something about. Seeing as Jeff read Shauna’s wilderness journals years ago and knows full well what his wife is capable of, he doesn’t seem all that surprised to learn she killed a man with his own kitchen knife. What he and Shauna are most worried about is the fact that in the citizen-detective era of 2022, things like this aren’t so easy to get away with. They decide to continue with the story that Adam was the actual blackmailer, and Shauna calls Taissa and Natalie over to Adam’s apartment to help her clean up her mess, but they’re missing the person they really need to get this job done right — the person who, I think, caused this trouble to land in Shauna’s lap in the first place.

When Taissa gets to Adam’s apartment, nothing in her face or tone registers that she’s ever seen the dead guy on the floor before, which negates a theory I had that she had more than just one spy under her employ. I’d been building a theory that because Jessica Roberts wasn’t flipping any of the surviving Yellowjackets with promises of book deals and money, Taissa went another route with Adam to see if sex would get anyone to (I gotta do it) “open up.” And although we know Taissa is great at separating from reality, she walks into the situation in what seems to be an earnest “Who is this man?” sort of way. All three Yellowjackets standing in Adam’s apartment are in the dark as to who this guy really is, but there’s one person who hasn’t gotten to the scene yet, and that’s Misty. After going back and rewatching the first three episodes, something stood out to me. When Misty and Natalie are driving to Travis’s house, Misty talks about her hilariously bad dating life, and when Natalie doesn’t offer anything back, she counters with, “I totally get it, not dating anyone right now. At our age, it’s like all the available ones are basically crumbs at the bottom of the chip bag.” Her phone chimes after this, and Natalie sees it as an opportunity to rib, “Got a whole chip?” To this, Misty responds, “Just a friend for now,” which I didn’t read into then, but now I’m wondering if that chip was Adam, a fellow citizen detective whom Misty put in Shauna’s path. As Jessica points out, still held captive in Misty’s basement, Shauna, Taissa, and Natalie have all kept in touch over the past 25 years, while Misty receded into uncomfortable memory after they were rescued. What if she found a way to insert herself into the scene again? To make herself needed again? Which is the only thing she’s ever wanted to be. Natalie makes an in-person visit to Misty’s home, this time in a pleasant fashion and not holding a rifle at her face, and asks her to help them get rid of Adam’s body. Misty is visibly thrilled.

Suppose Adam isn’t a tool put into utility by Misty and he turns out to actually be Javi, which most other theories point toward. In that case, that means Shauna saved his life during the full-moon animal orgy in the wilderness only to take it from him 25 years later. Flashing back to the wilderness, we see the Yellowjackets eating grubs and lounging around waiting for imminent death when Jackie suggests they have a party. There’s molding berry wine, a Trapper Keeper full of ’shrooms, and plenty of bones and leaves to make accessories out of. With a full moon and what would have been the occasion of their homecoming dance on the way, they set out to prepare, but then everything gets real wild real quick. Misty had intended for her mushroom stash to be used to get her reluctant date, assistant coach Ben, more amenable to her advances, but when it finds its way into the stew that everyone but Jackie feasts upon, the underlying dark vibe of these woods takes hold of them. Jackie pulls Travis into the attic, and they lose their virginities to each other, but there’s no bond between them. The stress of actually loving the person he’s having sex with isn’t present here, allowing Travis to perform in a way he wasn’t with Natalie. He tells Jackie he’s still in love with Natalie, but she already knows this and doesn’t care. She’s only doing this for revenge. Revenge upon Jeff. Revenge upon Shauna, whose affections she’s addicted to. And revenge upon her circumstances as a whole. Deep down, she knows any chance she had of growing up to be someone’s pill-popping trophy wife, like her own mother, is off the table, so she might as well go out in a blaze of chaos.

While Travis and Jackie are having sex, the rest of the girls are tripping their asses off. Lottie, now in full Antler Queen mode, gets them riled up about Travis being with Jackie and proclaims that he doesn’t belong to her. They set off to the cabin, and Jackie gets locked in a pantry while the rest of the girls circle around Travis. At first, he’s like, Hell, yeah, but then their faces morph into evil wilderness monsters, and he makes a run for it. They take after him, the drugs, stress, trauma, and spookiness of their surroundings making him seem like a stag fleeing from the hunt. Mid-pursuit, Shauna sees Javi hiding in a bush and, in a demonic, druggy voice, tells him to run. Things escalate to the point of near disaster, and Shauna is just about to slit Travis’s throat when Natalie comes up and stops her, saving his life and solidifying her role as the sole Yellowjacket with any amount of true fashion sense, not to mention firmly rooted loyalty and the willingness to do anything, just anything, for who she loves. Jackie may feel as if they’re all just shells with nothing inside, but Natalie is filled with the emotions and passions of ten people, which can be both a gift and a curse. Just before Travis is found dead many years in the future, there’s a note discovered in his house that reads, “Tell Nat she was right.” We now know who was behind the blackmailing, but we still don’t know who was behind the postcards and Travis’s death. If Natalie was right about something, and it’s the key to solving this mystery, it’s locked somewhere deep within her. God help everyone around her when she finally pulls it out.

• More and more, I’m thinking that any mystical/paranormal experience by the Yellowjackets survivors can be explained away by mental stressors. The boys of Lord of the Flies spent half the book fearing a “beastie” in the woods that ended up just being a dead parachuter, and I think that’s the case here too. The “beastie” is actually the survivors and the horrors within their own minds.

• Misty seems just to be toying with Jessica about this whole ghostwriting thing. She could have let her go already but is holding on to her for no real reason other than to give herself something to fiddle with and take care of like another bird.

• As unlikely as it seems, part of me is bracing for grown-up Jackie to appear at the end of episode ten. Co-creator Ashley Lyle gave an interview to E! in December in which she said they hate when shows drag people along in terms of providing answers, and they intend to explain a lot in the first season, so it will be interesting to see just how much is packed into the finale. In that same interview, she said, “This isn’t a story about what happened versus why it happened,” which puts a lot into perspective in terms of how we should be approaching what we’ve been shown so far.

• In a recent interview with Variety, Melanie Lynskey invalidates a lot of current theories pertaining to her pregnancy in the wilderness by saying not even she knows what becomes of it. Her baby bump has gotten increasingly larger, and the timing is certainly off for that child to be her teenage daughter, Callie, so does that baby get left behind in the wilderness when the rest of the surviving Yellowjackets are rescued? Or does something even darker happen?

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