Earlier in the week, we caught up with Yellowjackets Season One, and here we are for our first recap of the season. Yellowjackets is looking to put up a fight for the best drama series on television. Showtime and Paramount+ are back in the game, and with Yellowjackets episodes releasing on the streaming platforms on Friday mornings, expect us to be here to drop our recaps. The Season Two premiere – “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” kicks off with a bang and keeps the momentum of Season One’s shocking finale. Daisy von Scherler Mayer directs the premiere from Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson’s teleplay.
The Recap – Yellowjackets – “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”
Two months after the end of Season One, snow entirely overtook the cabin. Nat (Sophie Thatcher) and Travis (Kevin Alves) layer up to go on a hunt. Just before they leave, they are stopped by Lottie (Courtney Eaton). She performs a quick sage-burning ritual and pricks her finger. She pours the blood into a cup, which she hands to Nat and Travis. Lottie notes they keep coming back alive when they seem hesitant to drink. They nod, drink the blood in the cup, and go out to hunt. Lottie remains inside and draws the symbol on the window.
We jump forward to 1998 after the Yellowjackets have been rescued. They wear jackets and hoodies over their outfits and board a plane while reporters call out questions. Lottie seems lost after her experience as her parents try to help her recover. Lottie begins electroshock therapy in the hospital as part of her treatment. Then, she flashes back to a bunker surrounded by candles.
Lottie sits in her room and tries to help her roommate. We flash forward to the present, where Lottie (Simone Kessell) speaks to a tribunal. The crowd is dressed in purple outfits and holds onto her every word. She preaches about returning to a primal form and speaks about how society is not real. Back in 1998, she turns back to the reporters and screams.
Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) sits in an interrogation room. She’s asked why she killed Adam Martin. She pushes back, saying she never murdered anyone. The person pushes back, saying they did not say murdered. They follow up with questions about the sex, and Shauna stops the interrogation. Misty (Christina Ricci) tries to follow up, but her voice modulator stops working. They’re in her basement, practicing interrogation in case Shauna gets arrested. Misty reminds her not to say anything to the police without a lawyer (with an accompanying frosted cookie cake). Taissa (Tawny Cypress) and Nat are late, and Misty is getting frustrated by the other women. She feels like they missed something. She worries as they leave the basement.
Taissa goes to a dog shelter to pick up a new dog for the family. The shelter worker thanks Taissa for being a real candidate that she could believe in. While driving back, she gets a call from her campaign manager. She’s already thinking about re-election and how to deliver on less than what was promised.
Misty begins searching Internet forums focused on Adam’s disappearance. Some are speculating there was a girlfriend involved. She downvotes the post but feels worried about ties to Shauna.
Shauna arrives home to see Callie (Sarah Desjardins) and her boyfriend watching game shows. After the boyfriend leaves, Callie mentions she may have to break up with her boyfriend unless, of course, he goes missing. Shauna and Callie begin fighting about Adam and why Shauna told Jeff (Warren Kole) about her affair.
In the hunting shed, Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) talks to Jackie (Ella Purnell). They talk about marrying Jeff and living the same life as Shauna’s mother. However, when Shauna reaches over to grab her diary, we see Jackie is a corpse. Taissa (Jasmine Savoy Brown) and Van (Liv Hewson) play paper football. They discuss an injury on Van’s wrist, which came from Taissa’s sleepwalking. Everyone is cold and has begun discussing Shauna’s discussions with Jackie’s corpse.
We return to Shauna and Jackie, discussing how Shauna began sleeping with Jeff. Shauna leads the conversation, and we discover it was after a party. Jeff was upset with Jackie for not sleeping with him, and then Shauna kissed him. They begin to argue, and Shauna knocks over Jackie’s corpse. She frantically picks it up and tries to reattach an ear that’s broken off. When she can’t, she puts the ear in her pocket. She returns to the cabin with smaller portions. They’re running out of meat.
In the present, Shauna still has items from Adam. In her safe, she’s held onto his driver’s license, a sketch of Shauana on the back of a receipt, and his keys. She calls Jeff, who brags about the sales day he’s having. After she lets him brag for a minute, she reveals that Adam had an art studio. They have no idea what he left there that could trace back to Shauna.
Taissa arrives at the parent pickup loop with the puppy. She introduces Sammy (Aiden Stoxx) to Steve (the puppy). Simone (Rukiya Bernard) arrives suddenly and tells Taissa to stay away from Sammy. When Taissa asks what’s happening, Simone reveals she found Taissa’s alter in the basement. Taissa has no idea what she’s talking about, and Simone threatens to go to the press if Taissa does not seek treatment.
Travis believes he’s found his brother, Javi (Luciano Leroux), in the snow. However, it is not Javi, but instead, the corpse of a fox. Nat agrees to search further from the cabin, starting an hour earlier. Nat places a marker, so they know they have already visited this location.
Misty arrives at Nat’s hotel to ask the manager about Nat’s whereabouts. She has gone silent over the last week, and they have not heard from her. When the manager tries to brush her off, Misty reveals she knows far more about the man than he realizes. He reveals the hotel thrives on discretion, at which point Misty asks and threatens to wait in the lobby until she gets answers. Finally, he caves, telling her that Nat left money in the room and split.
Fred and Shauna visit Adam’s art studio to see if anything is noteworthy. Adam painted Shauna throughout the studio, making Fred uneasy again. He loses his comedic edge and retreats into himself. Shauna reveals that she did not want to think about Fred with someone else but admitted that it also turned her on. He bends her over the table, and they begin to sleep together. Afterward, they need to get rid of Adam’s art, and they start using paint thinner to destroy the canvases while using other paint to obscure the images.
Shauna holds Jackie’s ear in her hand and gets called to dinner. Misty tends to the fire, but the other girls, including Mari (Alexa Barajas), tell her to get away from the pot. She begs them not to send her out for water again, but they push her until she goes. Taissa asks Shauna if she’s doing okay, to which she responds yes. While Misty is recovering the water, Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) comes out singing “The Glory of Love” on the way to the bathroom. She snaps at Crystal to stop, but they decide to start hanging out.
Nat returns to the cabin and hands the latest map to Ben (Steven Krueger). They could not find any more food, and Ben wonders why they keep looking for Javi. However, Nat notes they have no choice because Travis will not stop looking for his brother.
Misty goes to Nat’s room and wonders why she believed Nat would ever be her best friend. When she looks around, she realizes the door is scratched up. As she examines it, she sees splinters on the ground in the room, suggesting a break-in. When she looks up, she realizes there was a camera pointed at the room the whole time.
Nat (Juliette Lewis) wakes up in a strange room and tries to escape her restraints. As she screams for help, a woman enters with food. Nat demands answers for why she’s kidnapped. While the girl tries to give her no answers, Nat recognizes the necklace the girl wears belongs to Lotti’s group. Nat asks to get one arm released so she can eat.
Fred listens to Papa Roach while imagining Shauna’s time with Adam. He headbands and sits alone in his car. Shauna grabs all of Adam’s items and goes to burn them. Fred comes out with food to put on the grill as an alibi for why they’re using it in the fall. They light the items on fire, and with too much lighter fluid on the pictures and journals, they accidentally light the tree on fire.
Taissa goes to her basement and turns on her cell phone light. As she goes through the crawl space, she finds the alter Simone brought up. On the altar are a heart, a dog’s head, and a doll resembling Sammy. She hears the patter of feet down the hall, and Steve the dog comes rushing up to her. Taissa promises to do better.
Shauna, Fred, and Callie eat the hot dogs. While Fred tries to tell a dad joke, he fails to remember the punchline. Callie asks for a veggie burger and stands up to grill it herself. Fred tells her to sit down, making an excuse so she does not go near the grill.
Nat and Travis sit by the fireplace, watching the blaze to keep warm. Travis knows everyone thinks that Javi is dead. While they sit there, Travis has a panic attack. When Lotti assists in calming him down, he begins to have a vision of candles by a tree stump. When he relaxes, Lotti tells Travis she believes Javi is still alive. Nat and Lotti fight about Travis and the promise of hope.
Nat remains tied up to the bed and lures the girl attending to her to get closer. When she does, Nat stabs her in the hand and runs out the door. She attempts to escape into the woods. In the distance, she sees some people seated around a campfire while other men run towards her. A sign reads “Camp Green Pine” over a gate. Nat takes off for the woods as more people begin to chase her.
Taissa and Van sleep next to each other. Taissa slowly kisses Van but suddenly bites her on the lip. When Taissa shudders awake (this was part of her sleepwalking), she says it’s not working. Van refuses to let their relationship fall apart, telling her it’s just something happening to her. Van pulls Taissa close and writes “I Love You” on Taissa’s arm using the blood from her lip. While Taissa is annoyed, this is how Van said it, she says I Love You Too.
Nat continues walking through the woods and comes upon an open clearing. When she does, a group of masked and costumed people emerges from the woods. They don animal skulls and scary masks, with one man stripping nude and letting the others bury him. The last member of the group walks out of the woods, with Lotti taking center stage. Nat calls out to Lotti and begins hitting her group’s members with a stick she found in the woods. When Nat gets ready to smack Lotti with the stick, Lotti says she has a message from Travis.
Over a montage, we see 1996 Travis and Nat approach the tree from his vision. In the present, Callie searches through the ash of the grill. She finds a piece of Adam’s driver’s license still intact. Finally, we close on Shauna in 1996, who looks at Jackie’s ear one last time before eating it.
‘Yellowjackets’ – Season 2 Premiere – “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” Episode Breakdown
I don’t know about you, but Yellowjackets got funny over the hiatus. Of course, it never hurt for humor, but becoming a phenomenon allowed the writer’s room to really swing big. Even the title of our episode, “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” becomes one of the funniest titles I’ve ever heard. The humor runs throughout the episode, despite the presence of a cult, talking ghosts, and mental breakdowns. One show has made this jump before, but it will take a minute before we start putting Yellowjackets in The Leftovers conversation.
Additionally, some characters get a glam-up for the new season. A heavy emphasis on Lottie (Courtney Eaton & Simone Kessell) makes its way into the show. Looking back on Season one, Lottie played a more pivotal part than many remember. She appears to have shades of “big bad” in her portrayal, and she’s got the lackeys to do it. Yet, her terrifying start in this episode may yield to the upcoming savagery of the girls in the wilderness. 1996 Lottie seems poised to break a few rules about common decency. How much power she will gain seems up for discussion, but everyone seems to fear her return.
Most of the episode focuses on the grief we carry with us and the ghosts it creates. For Shauna, the death of Jackie aches, even months after her death. It’s literalized and haunts her in every moment. Taissa must wrestle with her demons, which she cannot control at night. Even Jeff must live with the ghost of a man that slept with his wife and painted pictures of her in the nude. The ghost of Adam looms large over their relationship, ironic given that Shauna and Jeff first slept together when he was with Jackie.
There’s a decent effort to ensure we know new characters for the season. That smells like trouble. First of all, both Mari and Crystal seem genuinely likable characters. They may play a more prominent role in the woods than we realize. However, that larger role may be as food. We know cannibalism is on the way (or, in the case of Shauna, on the way down into her stomach). That choice must be upsetting when it comes, and without bonds to existing characters, it will not be. We know they wear yellow jackets, but they might be our red shirts.
Already, there feels like a shift in the water for Yellowjackets. The series became something of a phenomenon in Season One, but Season Two arguably starts stronger. Now that the setup is out of the way, where can the team go from here? Lyle and Nickerson seem to have a plan and do not hold back on its return.