Yellowjackets Episode 2’s Ending Finally Answered Season 1’s Biggest Mystery
These Yellowjackets don't sting. But they do bite.
The Yellowjackets have finally begun to be honest with themselves: They’re hungry.
And the Wilderness is willing to feed its teenaged acolytes and starving shamans, but at the shocking price of the Yellowjackets’ moral compass, which is becoming murkier with every icy night that passes in Middle-of-Nowhere, Canada.
In the Showtime series, rumors about feral girls chomping into each other have been circulating since 1998, when the stranded soccer team was finally rescued from their remote plane crash site and promptly flown back to New Jersey. Yellowjackets spent most of its inaugural season teasing the devilishly delectable secret: did they or didn’t they resort to cannibalism?
Major spoilers ahead for Yellowjackets Season 2.
Given that Yellowjackets is inspired by the true-life events of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 disaster, wherein a group of rugby players stuck in the Andes Mountains had to eat the deceased in order to survive, Yellowjackets fans knew where the story was most likely headed. But viewers still spent the entirety of Season 1 eagerly awaiting confirmation.
Instead of dragging out the meaty mystery past its expiration date, Yellowjackets’ writers and directors wisely opted to get that secret out in the open relatively early in Season 2— and that’s a good thing. In Episode 1 (“Friends, Romans, Countrymen”), Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) munches on Jackie’s (Ella Purnell) ear. But by the end of Episode 2 (“Edible Complex”), well, the entire team is tearing into Jackie’s corpse con gusto, relishing in the remains of their barbecued bestie after a cremation attempt is foiled by snowfall (which effectively barbecues her, sending the delicious smell wafting through the Yellowjackets’ chilly cabin).
“Edible Complex,” directed by Jonathan Lisco (Animal Kingdom), ends with a concluding scene that is shot like an artful, twinkly-lit Bacchanalian buffet. The teenaged Yellowjackets, envisioning themselves clad in togas, diadems, and laurel wreaths, devour Jackie with ecstasy, thinking little of the ethical lines they have crossed— with only a horror-stricken Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) opting to not indulge, perhaps because he is the only adult in the room with the ability to think about the long-term repercussions of his actions.
The Dionysian diners rationalize their decision-making with the intoxicating smell of medium-rare steak under their noses: not only would Jackie be honored to serve as sustenance for her beloved teammates, they conclude, but also this isn’t just any body roasting in the fire. Jackie is an offering from the Wilderness itself, the mystifying deity that Lottie (Courtney Eaton) worships and Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) has begun to sense at nightfall.
The cannibalism of it all is only a surface-level conundrum in Yellowjackets— the real puzzle lies in the show’s constant push-and-pull between science and the supernatural. What can we, the viewers, believe, when the Yellowjackets are either suspending disbelief to repress their trauma, or when they themselves aren’t sure what’s fiction and what’s fact? Was it just a coincidence that Jackie’s body was burning in a makeshift funeral pyre when snow fell on top of it and cooked her like a kebab, or is the Wilderness an actual entity deep in the woods with the survivors— and, later, deep within themselves in the suburbs as adults?
Now that the show has gotten the flesh-eating tease out of the way, it can now focus more on magnifying the show’s many other mysteries.
Episodes 1 & 2 of Yellowjackets Season 2 can be streamed now on Showtime channels.