Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 8 exemplifies the greatest divisive line of the series: the teenager’s storylines are much more engaging, and the present-day adult storylines suffer from it. Last week’s episode played quick and loose with believability when it came to the sequence where the adult versions of this character sought one another out for healing as they danced and commiserated over the state of their lives — all that they were willing to share.
The result was a scene that was at odds with what we’ve come to learn about the characters, a cheap display of fanservice at best, and a shift to recharacterize them as softer individuals at its worst. But we don’t need Shauna (Melanie Lynskey,) Misty (Christina Ricci,) Tai (Tawny Cypress,) Natalie (Juliette Lewis,) Van (Lauren Ambrose,) and Lottie (Simone Kessell) to be more easily likable. We don’t need to see them embrace one another and drink to the past. They’re much more engaging as the culpable, damaged, and ruthless women they’ve been shaped to be.
So while this week handles their storyline with fewer cringe-inducing moments, they’re still lacking in comparison. This is especially true as the action takes considerable steps to find the group of teenage survivors where they are at the start of the series. As Lottie suffers from the beating she received from Shauna at the end of last week’s episode, the group continues to succumb to their starvation. From hallucinations to quick tempers, they’re on the brink of loosing all semblance of sanity and stability, and even as they all gripe and bicker, they at least are on the same page that something needs to be done. Otherwise, none of them will survive.
Lottie (Courtney Eaton) sets things in motion, mentioning that if she dies from her wounds, they shouldn’t let her body go to waste. Instead, it sets the girls, Javi (Luciano Leroux) and Travis (Kevin Alves), off to come up with a new means of survival, and that’s where the deck of cards comes into play again. Specifically, the queen of hearts. We’ve seen the significance of the card in the present-day scenes with Lottie, it’s arrival on her desk causing her to make a blood sacrifice by slicing her own hand, hoping it will be enough to quell whatever darkness followed them home. The cards have also been used as a means to assign chores in the past, a way to keep order in the group as winter erodes their defenses.
Now all the pieces come together in a chilling moment of calculated group brutality. Whoever draws the queen of hearts will be sacrificed, their fate to be executed so that the others can eat their remains in order to stay alive. Cruel in how clinical it is, it speaks too to Shauna’s (Sophie Nélisse) continued, a ruthless characterization that she’s the one assigned to slit the throat of the condemned.
Of course, it being Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) who draws the card means that the sense of foreboding is lessened since we know that she survives as she’s one of the characters with a modern day counterpart. Thatcher imbues Natalie with enough sheer terror, however, that as she runs from the group’s desperate chase, we hold our breath anyway. The entire sequence is a testament to her having become the heart of the group, no matter Lottie’s proposed sainthood and deity posturing. Travis first allows her a headstart, then Javi tries to help her get away to the secret place he’d been hiding in that allowed him to live all those months in the wilderness (the same place that Steven Krueger’s Ben seems to have stumbled upon.) Then, once Javi falls through the ice, a parallel to Natalie having found the frozen moose, Misty (Samantha Hanratty) drags her away, prioritizing her survival over Javi’s.
On the one hand, it’s frustrating to have Javi come back as a plot convenience only for him to be killed so soon afterward. On the other hand, it’s another example of how the forest seems to give and take, no matter the belief Lottie has of it not being that simple. Natalie tried to get that moose out of the ice to feed her team and failed. That same ice kills Javi, likely giving the group their next set of rations.
Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 8 is a particularly bleak episode, miserable in ways that seep into you. The series continues and likely won’t ever be able to escape its uneven pacing due to the divide of interest in the story, but it remains engaging, especially as the biggest mysteries begin to unravel themselves. With only the season finale to go, we’re likely going to be left with remaining mysteries, but the series is poised to do so in a way that goes for the jugular.
Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 8 is available now to stream. Episodes air Sunday’s on Showtime.
Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 8 — “It Chooses”
Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 8 is a particularly bleak episode, miserable in ways that seep into you. The series continues and likely won’t ever be able to escape it’s uneven pacing due to the divide of interest in the story, but it remains engaging, especially as the biggest mysteries begin to unravel themselves.