This recap contains spoilers for the second episode of Yellowjackets Season 2.
If you would’ve told me upon meeting Jackie Taylor in all of her pastel polo’d, popular girl glory that the fate of her flesh was to become her teammates’—the ones responsible for her untimely death—first foray into cannibalism, I simply would not have believed you. But because it seems that the primary goal of the sophomore season of Yellowjackets is to prove that all the cynics who said the series only flirted with people-eating were gravely wrong, here we are!
That’s right, our favorite soccer team has finally sunk their canines into their first victim. Does it feel earned after dribbling around it for the last eleven episodes? Sure! Was the sight of everyone gnawing on poor Jackie—bones and all—thoroughly upsetting? Indisputably.
“It wasn’t that we set out to be like, ‘Well, there will be no cannibalism in the first season,’” the show’s co-creator Bart Nickerson recently told The New York Times when asked about the wait. “It was more that it didn’t feel like we had gotten the characters to a place where that would feel organic. We wanted viewers to be with them as much as possible to make this seem like not a salacious choice, but the only choice.”
Considering Shauna popped Jackie’s ear into her mouth at the end of last week’s season premiere, much like the Pepcid I did immediately after this episode, it did seem inevitable that the girls would be so famished that they’d have no choice but to fill up on their fallen friend—the irony that perhaps the most acerbic Yellowjacket was made a meal before anyone else is not lost on me, by the way. I mean, we’re talking about the girl who, by the end of season one, had sufficiently made an enemy of every last survivor and is still taunting Shauna from the other side. Oh, and while we’re here, given the unmistakable queer subtext between Jackie and Shauna, I would’ve been less shocked to see the former nibbled on in another, more fun way, frankly. That aside, I haven’t been this perturbed since Laura Lee was reunited with God.
At the outset of episode two, titled “Edible Complex,” Natalie and Travis are still unsuccessful in their forages for food—the kind that didn’t keep a diary and wear a heart-shaped necklace—while Shauna continues to assuage her guilty conscience with more one-on-ones with Jackie. In an effort to conceal Jackie’s severed ear, she braids her hair. Then, she—very poorly—does her makeup (put “I’m looking awfully necrotic” in the Louvre). And before you can wonder whether Jackie’s body can endure any more trauma, Shauna suffers another hunger-induced hallucination and carves into her like a steak.
Clearly, this is yet another harbinger for Nickerson and his co-writer Ashley Lyle’s described moment of desperation for the survivors. We should all see what’s coming, and yet, it still feels like something of a surprise when they dig in in the final minutes of the episode. Now, I’ve never been stranded in the wilderness—hell, I’ve never even been camping. But I like to think I’d rather continue to starve to death than live with the knowledge that, for a time, my best friend lived in my small intestine.
When the big moment arrives, the girls have gone to bed after cremating Jackie’s body and, quite comically, wake to the smell of roasted meat. It snowed overnight, thus coating Jackie’s remains and...making her something akin to a suckling pig? It’s one of the more bizarre deus ex machinas ever committed to television. Is Jackie’s letterman jacket something comparable to cracklings? Her necklace a tag on a cow’s ear that’s primed for slaughter? But the survivors—notably not a horrified Coach Ben—gorge on their girl anyway.
I don’t know, man. If this is now what being devoid of choice looks like, I get the notion this season is just a forkful into a profoundly fucked up feast.