The following post contains spoilers for the first five episodes of "Yellowjackets" season 2.
After taking the world by storm in 2021, the genre-bending Showtime series "Yellowjackets" returned in 2023 with a jaw-dropping second season, one full of new characters, long-awaited answers, and even more questions about the mysterious force in the wilderness. The season 2 premiere picks up two months after Jackie's (Ella Purnell) shocking death in the '90s timeline. Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) works through her grief and guilt by talking to the frozen body, while the rest of the team distract themselves from their growing hunger. In the present day, Misty (Christina Ricci) helps Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) cover up the death of her former lover, Taissa (Tawny Cypress) battles for control of her body, and Natalie (Juliette Lewis) finds herself held captive by a familiar cult.
Season 1 hinted at the girls' cannibalism in its shocking debut scene, establishing it as a secret that the surviving Yellowjackets would do anything to protect. Series creator Ashley Lyle told IndieWire that the writers intentionally waited to show us this horror, instead focusing on the emotional impact of eating human flesh to survive. "For us, it's never been about if cannibalism ... It has always been why and how, and then what happens after that."
The first episode of the season gives us a taste of this gruesome survival strategy, followed by a shocking scene in episode 2 in which the remaining Yellowjackets indulge in a nighttime feast at Jackie's would-be funeral pyre. However, not everyone partakes; at just over halfway through the season, there may still be meals yet to come. As the finale approaches, we've ranked each main character from season 2 according to how likely they would be to eat you in the woods.
As the doomed flight's only surviving adult, Ben Scott (Steven Krueger) seems like the group's natural authority figure. However, season 2 reveals that the girls have pretty much taken over. Ben is still attempting to map the local terrain in hopes of finding a way back to civilization, but Lottie (Courtney Eaton) has emerged as the group's spiritual leader and replaces him in guiding Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and Travis (Kevin Alves) in their daily hunting expeditions. Still, Ben is probably the safest of this bunch to be around when he's hungry. The assistant coach is the only survivor who resists eating Jackie's roasted remains, retreating in horror from the girls' midnight feast.
Ben spends the majority of season 2 lost in delusions. Flashbacks reveal that he had an argument with his partner Paul (François Arnaud) before departing for Seattle, as well as his fearful hesitancy to come out of the closet. During times of stress, Ben retreats into a fantasy in which he quits his job as coach, reconciles with Paul, and misses the flight altogether; it's a heartbreaking vision of what might have been. Since Ben is horrified by the idea of cannibalism even while starving to death, he would likely resist eating you should the opportunity arise, and would probably instead immerse himself in his dream world to ignore his hunger.
After surviving the wilderness as a tean, adult Natalie finds herself caught up in a bizarre love triangle. After a chance meeting in season 1, she rekindles a relationship with her former best friend, the goth-turned-cop Kevyn Tan (Alex Wyndham). Natalie sleeps with her longtime admirer in order to access information about the real object of her affection, Travis (Andres Soto), who was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Season 2 picks up with Kevyn investigating Adam Martin's (Peter Gadiot) disappearance and closing in on Shauna.
Despite his laser-focused search for the truth, Officer Tan would probably be a safe companion out in the woods. As an officer of the law, Kevyn never deviates from his code of ethics, and he doesn't shy away from the harm his actions cause. He ends his relationship with Natalie after she steals his service weapon and fires a shot at a mysterious blackmailer. He interrogates Shauna, a friend of his, even though it may damage her marriage. Kevyn insists on doing what's right even when it might cause pain for himself or others. Having shed his goth roots, the clean-cut detective would likely resist the call of cannibalism simply because it's against the rules.
Kevyn's free-wheeling partner, Matt Saracusa (John Reynolds), has a looser moral code, making him just slightly more likely to eat people. A season 2 addition, this mustachioed detective stalks Shauna's teenage daughter, Callie (Sarah Desjardins), in hopes of uncovering information about her mother's connection to Adam Martin. After eyeing the high school student from his seat at the bar, Matt encourages Callie's flirtations; the two begin seeing each in secret. As they grow closer, he plays with the teenager's heart, insisting that he likes her but that wants to take things slowly, all while subtly pumping her for information about her mom.
Despite this creepy behavior, Matt makes sure to keep his actions (mostly) above board. He texts Callie, takes her out on dates, and buys her alcohol, but refrains from any kind of physical interaction that could put him in legal jeopardy (remember, Callie is a minor). Acutely aware of where the lines for acceptable conduct lie, Matt strives to keep his record clean. He pushes the boundaries but he never breaks them, and would likely avoid cannibalism out of the fear that it would cost him his job. However, were he assured there would be no legal repercussions for eating a human, this reckless cop wouldn't hesitate to dig in.
Jeff (Warren Kole) has been through the wringer. After learning the truth about "book club," he and Shauna seem to be mending their marriage and moving towards a more hopeful future. Much more sympathetic than he was in the first season, this Jeff embodies the self-sacrificing husband archetype. He'll stop at nothing to protect his wife from a murder charge. Aside from his questionable taste in music, Jeff appears to be an ideal person with whom to be stranded in the woods. This straight-laced salesman with a never ending supply of dad jokes would ostensibly be the last person to consider cannibalism.
However, we can't forget the underlying cause of Adam Martin's murder: Believing that her paramour is her blackmailer, Shauna kills the charming artist before she learns that Jeff was the culprit all along. Hoping to save his floundering furniture store, Jeff attempted to extort the Yellowjackets with his dim-witted friend Randy (Jeff Holman) and plunged half the cast into a rapidly spiraling criminal conspiracy. Jeff may have cleaned up his act in season 2, but the jury's still out on whether or not we can trust him. Sure, he'll do anything to save Shauna, but that "anything" might just include feasting on human flesh. Also, anyone dumb enough to fall for that ludicrous book club lie might wind up becoming a cannibal by accident.
Newly-elected state senator Taissa Turner should probably occupy two places on this list. However, since we don't yet know the identity of the mysterious persona that sometimes takes control of her body, a single entry will have to do. Taissa first experiences time loss in season 1, but writes it off as sleepwalking. This mysterious condition takes a more sinister turn in the new season, as we witness the lengths this Other will go in order to achieve its clandestine ends. Teen Taissa wanders the wilderness at night and chews on Van's face before waking in a panic. Adult Taissa hallucinates interactions with her son, places parts from the family dog she dismembered on a creepy shrine in her house's crawl space, and causes a car crash that nearly kills her wife, Simone (Rukiya Bernard).
The headstrong athlete-turned-politician is the first person on this list to partake of Jackie's body. However, due to her clashing personalities, her participation in the feast is a little more complicated than it seems. The real Taissa has no memory of the cannibalism, and wakes up the next morning horrified to learn that she ate Jackie's face. We don't yet know who — or what — keeps hijacking her body, nor do we know what it wants, but if you're trapped in the woods with Taissa, your fate largely depends on who happens to be behind the wheel. If you catch Taissa in her right mind, you'll probably be fine. However, if you encounter the malevolent entity who's frequently pulling the strings, she'll probably eat you without a second thought.
Of all the Yellowjackets who might resort to cannibalism, Natalie seems like the most logical choice. The troubled loner has impeccable aim, venturing out with a shotgun each morning to map the terrain and hunt for food. Even before the crash, she's seen death up close, and adjusts more easily to the vicious realities of survival in the wilderness. However, Natalie also has a self-destructive streak, and spends many of the years after her return home in and out of various rehab facilities.
Despite this personal darkness, it'd probably be a little less risky to be stranded with Natalie. She does join the rest of the team in eating Jackie's corpse, but she continuously resists Lottie's growing leadership, even though it pushes her further away from Travis. Her present-day confinement at Lottie's (Simone Kessell) commune brings out adult Natalie's combative spirit, particularly when she vows to expose the gentle guru as a fraud. Not only would Natalie refuse to engage in any cannibalism suggested by her rival, but with her bravery and strong hunting skills, she would probably feel empowered to keep hunting for wild game before using her friends' bodies for food.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Unlike Natalie, the group's other hunter has fully embraced Lottie's spiritual guidance. Travis spends the majority of season 1 isolating himself from the remaining team members while grieving for his late father. However, Travis opens up a bit after bonding with Jackie at the drug-fueled Doomcoming Dance. Still searching for his missing brother, Travis turns to Lottie for emotional support, in spite of the fact that she concluded the dance by declaring Travis a stag and leading the girls after him in a delusional hunt through the woods. Later, we learn that he's maintained a connection with Lottie in adulthood, and called on his friend to help him connect with the darkness that followed him out of the wilderness. Lottie witnessed Travis' death, which ends up being an accidental hanging, and not the suicide it first appeared to be.
Travis may have softened a bit in season 2, but we still wouldn't trust him not to eat us. He seems more interested in finding his brother than hunting, and might consider cannibalism an easy meal that would quickly give him the strength to continue scouring the countryside. His devotion to Lottie is also fairly damning. Should she suggest that the group feast on another member of the team, Travis would probably fall into line without question.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Of all the new faces in "Yellowjackets" season 2, Walter (Elijah Wood) may be the most intriguing. The well-spoken young man slides into the action while leaving a coded letter for Misty at her work. A fellow internet sleuth, he teams up with the tiny Yellowjacket to investigate Natalie's abduction and conduct a tag-team interrogation for the ages. Walter's willingness to get creative when questioning suspects implies an openness to cannibalism. On the other hand, his IBS might make him avoid human flesh due to fear over what the unusual meat will do to his digestive system.
Working in Walter's favor is his utter disinterest in Misty's past. As a "citizen detective" he knows about the Yellowjackets, but he swears his interest in Misty has nothing to do with gory fascination. An endearing montage reveals that the two oddballs may just be perfect for each other, and it's tempting to believe that Walter really is "just a bored Moriarty looking for his Sherlock."
However, in an interview with Vulture, Wood hinted that Walter may not be entirely trustworthy. The horror aficionado has also portrayed an unassuming cannibal before. In the 2005 crime thriller "Sin City," Wood plays Kevin, a silent psychopath who hides his taste for human flesh behind innocent blue eyes. As the new kid on the block, we're still not sure whether Walter would eat us. Like Misty, we'll just have to wait and see.
The more we get to know Shauna's teen daughter, Callie, the more she seems like a chip off the old block. The high school student begins season 2 with a crisis of confidence after she fails to blackmail her mother about her affair with Adam. Once she learns that Shauna's former lover has gone missing, Callie abruptly breaks up with her boyfriend and goes on a rebellious tear that nearly takes down her whole family. The girl hits on an undercover detective at a bar, and winds up sharing incriminating evidence about Shauna's connection with the missing artist.
While Callie's heart is in the right place, her unpredictability makes her especially dangerous. Like many teenagers, she operates more on instinct than intellect and doesn't always consider the consequences of her actions. Her decision to feed Matt misleading information about her mother may seem like a smart plan, but it requires tying her family's safety to the bumbling Randy — never a good idea. Motivated by angst and defiance, Callie might eat you simply to piss off her parents.
Episode 4 of "Yellowjackets" season 2 ends with a pleasant surprise. After abandoning her comatose wife in the hospital, Taissa hitches a ride out of town and walks into a retro VHS boutique, where she finds the adult Van (Lauren Ambrose) manning the counter. Seeing each other for the first time in years, the former lovers awkwardly catch up before Taissa reveals the true purpose of her visit: She's begun sleepwalking again and needs Van's help.
This echoes their dynamic in the past, where teen Van (Liv Hewson) has become a sort of caretaker for Taissa. She spends each night tethered to her girlfriend, and calms Taissa's fears about what she might do during her frightening time lapses. Van also insists they attend Lottie's daily meditations and becomes one of the most enthusiastic members of her would-be cult.
Giving in to her hunger, Van partakes of Jackie's body and helps rationalize this shocking act the next morning. After nearly losing her life twice in season 1 — first in the initial crash, and secondly in a wolf attack — the brave redhead has crossed some sort of metaphysical line. She no longer fears death and will do anything for the people she loves. Van would definitely use your body for food if it was necessary to protect Taissa.
Crystal / Kristen
Though she survives the plane crash, we don't meet the bubbly Kristen (Nuha Jes Izman) until she befriends Misty (Samantha Hanratty) in season 2. The girls bond over their love of showtunes and vow to pass the frightening winter with informal voice lessons and harmonizing duets. Quickly becoming fast friends, Kristen and Misty are cut from the same cloth. Both are outcasts who annoy the rest of the group with their cheery assertiveness and overeager personalities. Kristen even allows the team to call her by the incorrect name; the Yellowjackets got it wrong on the first day of practice, and Kristen was so enamored with the resulting nickname, "Crystal the Pistol," that she never corrected her teammates, fearing that she'll lose this smidgen of popularity.
Given what we know about her best friend, Kristen likely finds the idea of cannibalism perversely exciting. She's even "eaten" a human before, having absorbed her fraternal twin in her mother's womb. However, there do seem to be lines that Kristen will not cross. Kristen balks when Misty confesses to destroying the plane's black box and threatens to tell the other girls. Still, Kristen — or Crystal — will do almost anything to avoid rocking the boat. Should the other girls decide to eat the corpse of a fallen comrade, there's a very good chance that she will follow suit.
Large sections of present-day plot in season 2 revolve around adult Lottie's "cult," but the seeds were planted long before now. The teen version of this troubled girl spent season 1 slowly building her influence among the survivors. In season 2, she leads daily meditation sessions and uses her hands to instantly stop panic attacks. It seems that Lottie has been drawing power from whatever force resides in the wilderness, fully embracing the mysterious symbol that's etched in various places around the cabin even though it puts her at odds with some of her friends.
At first glance, adult Lottie's commune appears to be a utopia where troubled souls can mend their broken spirits. However, the purple-clad cult members regard their serene leader with a troubling mix of awe and reverence. We also learn that Lottie had a hand in Travis' death. She swears his hanging was an accident caused by a faulty pulley system, but considering what Travis was afraid of, there must be more to this story. Lottie has amassed a great deal of influence through the sheer power of her gentle personality and manipulative inspiration, making her an especially dangerous person to meet in the woods. Not only could she direct her followers to kill and cook you, but she could probably convince you beforehand that sacrificing your body for the group is actually in your own best interest.
If you or someone you know is dealing with spiritual abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.
As far as we know, Shauna is the first Yellowjacket to actually taste human flesh. This season, the teen is coping with the death of Jackie by secretly talking to the frozen corpse in the meat shed. During an imagined argument about her affair with Jeff, Shauna knocks over Jackie's body and accidentally breaks off one of her ears. In the final moments of the season premiere, Shauna quickly pops this piece of flesh into her mouth, foreshadowing the Jackie buffet in the following episode. Shauna also serves as the team's butcher, cutting and cleaning what little animal meat they find. As an adult, she lets her sinister side loose when forcing a car thief to return her minivan, giving us further evidence of her reckless tendencies and her willingness to dive headfirst into deadly situations.
Even with this darkness, Shauna never loses hold of her humanity. In the '90s timeline, she must eat to feed her unborn child, and reluctantly agrees that Jackie would probably want her body used to save her best friend's life. And if Shauna's willing to eat the flesh of her most beloved companion, she probably wouldn't hesitate to chow down on you, too.
This hyper-organized and cheerful team manager hides a terrifying dark side, emerging as one of the show's most fascinating characters. Desperate for approval but judgmental of those with less power, Misty has convinced herself that her elaborate plans' ends justify their ludicrous means. Teen Misty is the reason why her friends have not yet been rescued, and adult Misty withholds medication from her patients out of spite. She also knows how to poison cigarettes, has an uncanny knack for interrogation and torture, and will gladly guide you through the finer points of disposing a corpse. Given her wealth of devious talents, Misty should be considered the most dangerous character in the "Yellowjackets" universe.
After years of bullying, Misty has developed a nasty taste for revenge. She amputates her crush's leg, then poisons the group's food when he rejects her advances. Her new best friend learns the hard way that Misty will murder to protect herself. Misjudging Kristen's loyalty, Misty admits to destroying the plane's black box and "accidentally" kills the poor girl when she threatens to expose Misty's secret. Should Misty become even slightly hungry while stranded in the woods, you would be a goner. Not only would she probably use a monogrammed set of tupperware to preserve any leftovers, but her experience as an internet sleuth means she could cover her tracks in the blink of an eye.
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