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Yellowjackets S1E2: “F Sharp” Buzzes in the Wilderness

The Yellowjackets team stands in the woods after the plane crash

The following contains spoilers for Yellowjackets S1E2, “F Sharp” (written by Jonathan Lisco & Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson, and directed by Jamie Travis).

“Opinion is the wilderness between knowledge and ignorance,” Misty says in Yellowjackets Episode 2, “that’s Plato.” The quote seems to be off, as online search results have it as “medium” instead of “wilderness”—I’d check my copy of The Republic, but of course it was hard enough for me to even find that level of citation, as this is more one of those quotes you find on a calendar or a wall poster than it is something being referenced with academic weight. (I would guess it might be somewhere in Book 6.)

Regardless, I rather like Misty’s version better, and not just because the reference to the wilderness resonates with the scenes in the woods in Yellowjackets, but because it does indeed seem to fit with Plato’s general view on the matter. Opinion, or doxa, is fickle and changing. Knowledge is stable—eternal even—and thus of a different kind. Thus we can wander about in this wilderness in search of the truth or perhaps get lost in it, thinking that the wilderness is all there is.

Natalie talks to Travis in the woods, which a crashed plane in the background

In Yellowjackets, the truth we’re after is knowledge of what precisely happens in the woods in between the events we have already seen. It’s held within the hearts and minds of the women who’ve survived into 2021, while those around them wander in the wilderness of opinion. They might think they know—certainly Jeff must think he knows what happened to his wife and ex-girlfriend, at least in the broad strokes—but it’s just a belief that’s settled into place because it makes sense to them and helps them cope.

The truth itself is a problematic idea that forms the kernel that the narrative of Yellowjackets circulates around. I have seen many claim this is a show about trauma, and I suppose it is, but not so much in the sense that we could articulate the nature of the trauma as in the more structural way that the Event splits time into a before and an after. What is essential to trauma is that nothing will ever be the same again.

Give Me a Reason to Love You

But when it comes to the wilderness that forms the scene in the aftermath of the plane crash, it’s clear that Misty is thriving. In the past she’s been mocked, but here she is valued. Those skills she learned from the Red Cross Babysitter Training class she took twice are really coming in handy.

I wondered last week how it would be that this girl on the margins came to hold a position of power in Yellowjackets, and “F Sharp” already begins to make that clear. Further, we see Misty’s brutality in chopping off the coach’s leg and later cauterizing it. Clearly this ethos will expand throughout the group and turn even darker.

Misty looks downwards, with blood on her face and trees in the background

In 2021, Shauna kills a bunny in her garden, skins it, and makes chili after her daughter Callie forgets to take the meat she was going to use out of the freezer. That’s not really why, though, as much as it is Shauna’s desire to kill something, and the thrill she gets from doing so carries forward to her successful role-playing with Jeff.

I perhaps should have mentioned last week the evidence that they had gotten married. I wonder how this worked and when it happened exactly. Shauna returned from those 19 months in the wilderness, and…

I am almost positive Jackie is dead.

Shauna smirks as she sits at the dinner table in Yellowjackets S1E2

Speaking of Jackie, after the plane crash she decides that they have to give up on saving Van (who is stuck in her seat because her seatbelt won’t unlatch, as fire encroaches upon her), which is incredibly awkward when Van survives anyway. Given how much I like Van, I find myself totally on her side in this, though in fairness to Jackie I don’t think she meant to be callous, and it’s true she was focused on Shauna’s safety. But she did kind of decide to let Van burn, and I can’t see that being easy to forgive.

And then she wants to save the Corn Nuts.

Van, with a bloodied face, holds a bottle of rubbing alcohol in the woods in Yellowjackets S1E2

Jackie may have been the leader of this team prior to the crash, but I don’t think there is any way she ends up being the “horned queen” we saw in Episode 1. It’s much more likely that we saw her die at the beginning of the premiere and we’re just being led to think this is more of a mystery than it is. They did show us a shot of her necklace.

Hold On for One More Day

It turns out that Natalie was tracking down Misty in 2021 because she recently received a postcard that featured a mountain scene on the front, along with the words “Wish You Were Here” and a symbol on the back. She has no doubt this is a threat, but we don’t know who it is from any more than she does.

It is worth noting that the symbol on the card is also present on a tree in the woods in 1996 in S1E2, and this carving would seem to predate the plane crash. That’s intriguing.

Misty insists that she didn’t send the postcard and produces one she says she received herself, which is a limited kind of evidence. Honestly, I’m prone to believe her, but it’s certainly not at all because Misty seems trustworthy. Note, for example, how she gets a ride home from her date Stan because “her car won’t start” but then arrives in her car to offer a ride to Natalie the next morning…whose own car won’t start at that point. And she already has two coffees—not exactly subtle, Misty.

And, of course, there is the scene with which Yellowjackets S1E2 closes, of Misty destroying the flight recorder that could have led to the girls’ rescue, while “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips plays on the soundtrack.

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye
Until then, baby, are you going to let ’em hold you down and make you cry?
Don’t you know? Don’t you know, things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you Hold On for one more day
Can you Hold On for one more day?
Things’ll go your way
Hold On for one more day

Misty and Natalie are on their way to see Travis, so apparently he survives. I have to admit I’m a little surprised by that, insofar as I wasn’t thinking there were any men involved in the ritual we saw in the pilot. Perhaps there weren’t, but then this raises a question as to what happens with regard to the few who remain alive after the plane crash. I may have jumped to the conclusion in my mind that they would be killed and eaten, but it appears that the truth will be more complicated. I wonder if maybe the group breaks into two and we haven’t seen one of those two groups yet. Jackie, or whoever dies at the beginning of the pilot, could have been a member of this other group perhaps before somehow being chased into a trap. The very fact that there was a trap might feed into this interpretation.

Kevyn, whose name is apparently spelled like that, and who we saw as a goth in 1996 in the pilot, is a cop in 2021, according to the card he gives Natalie. This seems bound to tie into the plot in some way moving forward. He was Natalie’s best friend, but she doesn’t want to talk to him now because of course she can’t tell him the truth of what happened out there in the woods but also can’t bear to keep it from him by dissembling. So she’s cut him out of her life, which I’m sure he’s never understood.

F Sharp

Yellowjackets S1E2 introduces another timeline with the scene of Misty getting a harassing call from Becky in 1992. I wonder if there will be more scenes that occur in this timeline or if this was a one-off to provide further characterization of Misty. If it’s the latter, I still wonder if Yellowjackets might give us other scenes (perhaps with other characters) that happen at other points in time, or if this will be the only divergence from the main 1996 and 2021 timelines.

Taissa’s son, Sammy, has taped drawings all over his window. A number of them are fairly creepy, and he says it is to keep “the lady in the tree” from seeing him. Is there perhaps someone actually spying on him, or might the lady in the tree be that carving we saw in Ontario and on the postcards? Maybe someone carved it on the tree outside Taissa’s house and it scares her son, who is a little off?

How did that carving get on the tree we see after the plane crash, anyway? It’s too soon for it to have been someone on the plane who carved it. Who else, or what else, is out there? Are they still out there? Is something supernatural lurking around the corner or peeking in the window at night?

I tend to expect Yellowjackets to remain more mundane and to explore the strangeness that lies within our putatively ordinary reality. No need for the supernatural—nature is weird enough. And this is a coming-of-age story. We just need to remember that that is also a horror.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

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