The Inverse Interview

Yellowjackets Star Kevin Alves on that Shocking Episode 2 Ending

“If Lottie said jump, he’d jump.”

Travis is the odd one out in Yellowjackets Season 2. He lost his father back in Season 1, and now his brother Javi is missing. His only real connection was with Natalie, and after Season 1’s “Doomcoming” led to him hooking up with Jackie, that relationship is more strained than ever.

In Episode 2, we dive deep into Travis’ character not just in the past but in the present as well. For Kevin Alves, who plays Travis in the Showtime series, the loneliness is a key part of his character in Season 2.

“He's alone as all heck when it comes to this group of people,” he tells Inverse. “Even Natalie has other people there. She has Tai, she has Shauna, but Travis only had his brother who didn't speak to him at all the first season. They would just argue and they would butt heads.”

Warning! Spoilers for Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 2 from here on out!

But now, Travis doesn’t even have that, and we see in detail how that affects him — in Episode 1, he has a panic attack at the thought of losing Javi, and only Lottie’s assistance can help (though it also gets him visibly aroused). In Episode 2, we see Natalie try to bring him some closure with Javi’s disappearance, but Lottie’s insistence that Javi’s still alive — and a tasty meal with the team — undoes all that.

Inverse spoke to Alves about Travis’ relationships, the future of the show, and the surprising character choice you may not have noticed.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and/or brevity.

Sophie Thatcher as Natalie and Kevin Alves as Travis in Yellowjackets Season 2.


Inverse: How has Travis changed between the seasons?

I think the biggest thing that's changed with Travis is that he's finally connecting with someone. In this case, it’s Natalie, which is allowing him to be more vulnerable. But he’s also got this steady feeling of guilt that has continued to grow — originally it was with his dad, but then as we got to the end of Season 1, you tack on how guilty he feels about Jackie's death, because if he hadn't gone up with her, who knows what would've happened.

And then the same thing with his brother being gone, if he hadn't gone upstairs with Jackie, who knows what would happen with his brother. This idea of guilt, he almost has to wear it as a badge all the time because it's consistently happened to him.

I think he's opening up his kind of mind to the possibility of anything that can keep him hopeful because it's getting bleak. In this season we're seeing a side of him that’s trying to connect with the group more than we ever would've seen before.

In losing Javi, Travis is definitely going through a lot of grief: we saw his panic attack at the end of Episode 1. How is he dealing with his grief in particular?

Um, not well!

I think he's dealing with it in the form of denial. He can't believe that anything is wrong with his brother and that his brother's there and safe. So he's dealing with it with pure denial not listening to any other statements beside his brother's fine, and he will find him.

That's a really great place to be when you feel like there's a chance you can find him. But at the same time, it keeps you disconnected from believing anything else. I think that's what's causing so much stress: every day that goes by, the idea of Javi being alive becomes less and less possible in his brain. So going into this season he's hitting the point of panic attacks because he's starting to not believe himself.

How has his relationship with Natalie changed?

They're growing apart. They already had this idea of trust that was broken late in the first season. The reason that he and Natalie reconnected is because their bond is really palpable. But I think in this case, he doesn't really trust that Natalie and him see eye to eye anymore. That's the case a lot when you're dealing with people who have become a couple because of bonding with trauma — that's really how they became a couple.

“When you're out in the wilderness like this, all you're clinging onto is hope.”

It doesn't mean that they don't love each other, but what's keeping them together is this idea that they're the same. So when you start to have different ideologies, in this case being about Javi and what's going on with him, it's definitely starting to make them feel not so close and connected.

The other big wedge that we see between them is, of course, Lottie. How would you define his relationship with Lottie as of the end of Episode 2?

At the end of Episode 2, I think Travis is in a really big state of confusion when it comes to Lottie. When Travis gets aroused when Lottie helps him calm down from his panic attack, we don't really understand where that’s coming from. I'm not sure he does either, whether the arousal came from the calm, whether it came from what he was thinking about in his head, or whether it came from Lottie herself.

Then on top of that, when he's seeking comfort in Natalie and they are together, he starts to have these visions of Lottie. The visions themselves and their timing are very juxtaposing because when they're happening it makes you have this idea and this confusion that Travis would be thinking of: “Am I into Lottie? Do I like Lottie? Do I want to be with Lottie?”

Lottie calms Travis in Season 2 Episode 1.


But if you pay attention to the images, they're very caring and motherly and there's a different vibe to them. His state right now is in a very weird place of confusion with Lottie because he doesn't actually know where his feelings stand with her. Lottie's now been put on this pedestal for him because it’s like he says — “she just gives me hope.”

When you're out in the wilderness like this, all you're clinging onto is hope. When Lottie becomes that vessel that you're seeing as hope, you can get really confused as to how you see that person. It feels like it's someone in a position of power that you're looking up to.

In Episode 2, we see how in the future Lottie and Travis have another encounter. Did knowing Lottie's role in Travis' fate inform your performance at all?

I always ask the writers only to give me what has happened in Travis' past that's going to affect his future, because I think that's always important cause that's playing in your mind.

But there's so much that goes on from when they get rescued to when Lottie and Travis have those moments that even though there's a really interesting parallel between what's happening in the past and the future, they're probably connected to very different things. There's this big gap of time that we're hopefully going to see a bunch of and try and understand more.

I try not to take the future stuff and have it inform my performance just because I want us to leave the door open for anything.

“He’s losing himself.”

Speaking of Adult Travis, did you get to meet the actor who plays the future version?

Andres Soto is such a great guy and I got to meet him a few times. We had a couple of phone calls before his big scenes in the future for Episode 2. He was just very open to just conversing about where I saw Travis.

In many of these situations with the older and younger versions, the older version really sets the tone for the younger character. But with Travis, I get to flip it upside down and the younger version sets the tone for the character because we see him so much in Season 1.

So it's been nice to talk to him and he asked about what I thought of certain things and how I built the character over the year and see if we can inform and bridge the gap between what happened to him in those 25 years.

I was just happy to see him not as a dead body.

Yeah. In Season 1 there were a couple of deleted scenes that had Andres' character leaving the cabin. I think you see it in one of the trailers for Season 1, but then it never came out in the show. I was just happy for him to have some really cool scenes.

Travis participates in the big feast at the end of Episode 2, but notably the only other guy, Coach Ben, does not. Why do you think he was willing to take that leap with the rest of Yellowjackets?

Well, I think number one, he's losing himself. He's losing himself in this almost like a cult that's starting to form. I think at this given moment during Episode 2, if Lottie said jump, he'd jump. That's where he's at because he wants to believe in something.

It’s really bad timing when this happens at the end of the episode because he just came to terms with the possibility of his brother being gone. He’s in this weird state of like, do I want to even survive or not? And that lends itself to the thought that maybe he wouldn't, but I think that changes the minute there's this pack mentality of “eat or be eaten,” as crazy as that sounds.

I think it wasn't even a question for him. The hunger, the cold, the need to survive, the need to hold onto something hopeful overtakes him in this situation.

What was it like last year watching the slow but then very, very fast rise of the Yellowjackets fandom?

It was really cool. The first time I went onto that set and we were on the plane, I never could've imagined that this show would have such a cult following in the sense of searching for answers and wanting to know what's going on.

I really believe that the team at Showtime and Paramount plus this year are just hitting it out of the park with all the marketing and getting the show out there this year. It's really cool to see so many people buzzing and talking about the show. You just feel so grateful to be on any show and now to be on a show that's being so well received ... I would do this show for as long as they'd let me.

What's your favorite episode of Season 2?

It's not my favorite, because that would make me a horrible human, but the finale of this season by Karyn Kusama is pretty insane. That's the one that I'm the most nervous and the most excited for.

After “Doomcoming,” I was hyped for the penultimate episode of this season.

That's why I had to think about it, because that's where the climax really begins. It's where this season's climax starts. Then the finale episode tackles so many ridiculous, insane moments and subjects, it sets up what's to come in such a scary, crazy way.

One last question: why doesn't Travis grow a beard for warmth?

It's a question that's been mind-boggling for people for years now. I think Travis must really care about how everyone sees him. I think that's what it comes down to. Coach Ben's growing his beard out, but that young kid wants to stay young.

I think he's so nervous. It's funny seeing people talk about how volatile Travis is because he is, he truly is. But there's a reason for that. He's not just been treated badly, but he hasn't had the best role models. He's not in the best situation.

New episodes of Yellowjackets premiere Fridays on the Showtime Anytime app and Sundays on Showtime.

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