The following contains spoilers for Yellowjackets S1E5, “Blood Hive” (written by Ameni Rozsa and directed by Eva Sørhaug)
I’ve noted before that since the pilot Yellowjackets seems to be centering each episode around one character in particular. It’s subtle—certainly subtler than in Lost, for example—but also fairly clear that S1E2 circulated around Misty, S1E3 around Taissa, and S1E4 around Natalie. With S1E5 (“Blood Hive”) revolving around Shauna, the cast of characters we know have survived to 2021 is exhausted. Will Yellowjackets thus move to break this form or to repeat the cycle, or is there perhaps just around the bend a broadening of scope, with episodes utilizing other characters we’ve to this point thought of as minor as their fulcrum?
“Blood Hive” ends with Taissa and Nat resolving to call Shauna after they each receive an anonymous and threatening text message. They’re surprised to learn that she already knows that Travis is dead, because Misty told her, and Misty is watching them on a web camera she apparently hid when she was over helping Natalie earlier in the episode. The text message says that if they reach out to others the sender will know, and Misty is spying on them, which might lead us to think that Misty is behind the whole thing after all, but I think this is misdirection.
Certainly Misty could be behind everything, and I wouldn’t put it past her in moral terms, but she briefly smiles at the mention of herself as she spies on Taissa and Natalie, before her face turns sour at the latter’s insulting characterization of her. That’s not definitive evidence, of course, but it just doesn’t feel to me like Misty is the one sending the messages, despite the fact that we don’t see if she received one herself at the end of “Blood Hive” (and presumably she would have if she was telling the truth about the postcard).
I tend to think that it’s someone we haven’t seen a 2021 version of yet who is trying to blackmail the others, but it’s a strange situation if we presume they are all ultimately guilty of heinous acts during their time in the woods. Or alternately, if they aren’t, we might be led to wonder why the innocent would have kept the secret in the first place, or else be mentioned quickly as suspects by those being harassed.
I have been operating under the presumption that no one who’s made it to 2021 is innocent, but perhaps I should question that.
In 2021, Shauna catches her daughter Callie high on molly and attending the same Halloween party that she has gone to with Adam. Callie is wearing Jackie’s uniform, which might have led us to think that this was an apparition of Jackie that only Shauna could see at first, but which ultimately leads instead to pretty direct confirmation that Jackie is dead (unless you think Shauna is lying to her daughter for some reason). It does seem pretty messed up that Jackie’s parents would give Shauna her uniform to commemorate what would have been her 40th birthday—it would make more sense to me if Shauna had it all along, kept as a souvenir—so I suppose she could be lying about that.
In 1996, we learn that Shauna is pregnant. Presumably Jeff is the father, but since Jackie thinks Shauna is a virgin and the latter very much does not want her best friend to find out that she’s been having sex with her boyfriend, Shauna fakes having her period along with the rest of the girls.
The fact that Taissa is onto her doesn’t seem like much of a problem, but I now live in terror of what happens to this fetus. It can’t be Callie. Besides the fact that we were told in Episode 1 that the girls spend 19 months in the wilderness, Callie is simply too young to have been born out there. And since she doesn’t have an older sibling so far as we’re aware…
Jackie continues to show that she isn’t cut out to lead in this new situation and virtually says as much in “Blood Hive.” Shauna warns her that the other girls are getting sore at her for the fact that she isn’t pulling her weight, which we also saw when Mari rather unkindly insisted that Jackie go get some water from the lake.
Where of course Lottie was standing, looking off into the distance blankly.
That’s nothing, though, compared to what happens during the séance that Jackie seemed to think would lighten the mood. Whether Lottie was actually possessed by some kind of spirit in this scene is debatable—maybe she’s just off her meds completely now and this is a manifestation of psychosis—but it’s certainly framed as such, with an exterior shot of the cabin accompanied by ominous whooshing panning in towards the window that blows open before Lottie starts raving in French.
Probably just the wind.
As for what she’s saying in French, I’m afraid I can’t do better at the moment than what Jackie offers in the episode itself, though I can confirm that she seems to be on the right track and it is something about wanting blood (I am fairly sure she is saying “il veut ton sang” which means “he/it wants your blood”). I continue to wonder if Jackie is getting something wrong or missing something important, but it’s a little hard to parse the words, what with all the screaming. I do think there is more that I’ve not been able to hear properly. (Sorry, my French sucks, too. But I am trying, Van!)
This shouldn’t distract us, however, from noting that, before she starts to speak French, Lottie says “it’s hungry” and tells Shauna it’s already inside her. So maybe it’s a demon baby? Cool.
Yellowjackets hits us with dual allusions to The Exorcist in this scene, as Laura Lee runs in yelling “The power of Christ compels you!” on the one hand, and Coach Ben vomits up Misty’s tea on the other.
When he confronts Misty about poisoning him, she says it’s because she has feelings for him. I’m not sure what to make of Ben’s response that he feels the same way, but they need to keep it a secret. It could be that this is his attempt to placate Misty, who he is increasingly afraid of, and that’s probably right, but I can’t shake the feeling that maybe he is telling the truth.
All I know for sure is that Misty believes he is telling the truth since she’s been primed for it also by the message she received during the séance. One way or another, I don’t think this is going to go well for Ben.
By which I mean I’m pretty sure that before long he’ll be what’s for dinner.
Taissa heads up to the attic to sleep for the night after Lottie’s freak out/demonic possession, to prove to the others that there is nothing to be afraid of. Her insistence on not believing in the supernatural seems entirely in character, but odd given her encounter with the Man With No Eyes in Nana’s mirror when she was younger.
He appears again in S1E5, this time while Taissa is giving a speech in 2021, which bolsters the idea that his appearance is connected to her (and maybe a figment of her mind), but also leads me to think that Taissa is actively shutting out the possibility of the supernatural as opposed to simply not believing in it. Will this change at some point yet to come in Yellowjackets? Perhaps she will ultimately give in to the darkness for a time in the woods, as my money is still on her becoming the Antler Queen.
Sammy continues to be creepy and insists that he didn’t write “SPILL” on the front door of the house even though Taissa finds a can of red paint in his room, indicating that he did it. Instead, he insists it was the bad one/lady in the tree and seems to equate the two with one another in a way he hasn’t before. Taissa dismisses this as well, of course, but beyond wondering about a possible supernatural explanation for what Sammy is talking about, I find myself wondering about a possible mundane one. He could just be disturbed, but is it outside the realm of possibility that there actually is someone in the tree manipulating him?
Natalie enlists Misty’s help to get information about Travis’s death off of Kevyn’s phone. It’s noteworthy that she has Misty in her phone as Don’t Pick Up (because it’s hilarious) and that she has so little regard for Kevyn at this point (which is sad). But the most important thing to note is their discovery of wax around the scene where Travis’s body was found and how Misty connects the dots to draw the symbol we’ve seen various other places at this point.
Natalie insists that Travis didn’t believe in that, which leads me to wonder what exactly he didn’t believe in…a hungry spirit in the woods that wants to eat blood?
Tying things together, it seems like this could offer an explanation of the ritual we saw in the pilot. But if Travis didn’t believe in it, where was he and what was he up to when that was happening? And was Nat with him or in that circle of cannibals?
Also in the mix in S1E5 is a shot of an adult Travis in bed, which seems to be a memory of the adult Natalie, indicating that their relationship continued after they got back to civilization. Perhaps that’s not terribly surprising, and while I wonder what happened between them I also find myself thinking about how 25 years is a long time. I’m pretty much the same age as the Yellowjackets, and I can count the number of people from high school I’m still in touch with on one hand. It doesn’t mean the ones I’ve lost touch with were unimportant, or that anything big and bad happened. Sometimes people just drift apart.
I doubt that’s the case with Natalie and Travis, though. There’s clearly more to the story, including when and why Travis went into hiding and changed his name. And now he’s dead.
I have to conclude along with Nat at this point that Travis didn’t kill himself, so who did kill him, and more importantly why? I’m as ravenous for your theories as a teenage soccer player waiting for her next feast of long pig, but I don’t tend to think it was Taissa or Misty behind it. Who do you think it was?
Let’s talk about it all week.