Yellowjackets S2E3 Recap: “Digestif” — Can’t Stop What’s Coming

Misty hunches, looking at her phone in Yellowjackets S2E3

The following recap contains spoilers for Yellowjackets S2E3, “Digestif” (written by Sarah L. Thompson & Ameni Rozsa and directed by Jeffrey W. Byrd)

My understanding is that the face is the most delicious part of a roasted human being (more like long guanciale, amirite?). Anyway, I have to admit that I was wrong in asserting last week that Tai (Jasmin Savoy Brown) was not somnambulatory during supper, but as with the previous time Yellowjackets faked me out, I think it’s worth noting how this occurred within the show as well.

Last season when I thought Van (Liv Hewson) was dead, so did Tai and the others. They even proceeded to start burning her body. Here, we get the inverse. Van was completely convinced that Tai was fully conscious as they ate together and is confused and disturbed by Tai’s failure to remember, while Tai is freaked out by the realization of what she’s done. She’s retching even before Van tells her she ate Jackie’s (Ella Purnell) face, which is a pretty powerful way to end S2E3’s cold open.

Tai bent over, retching

It’s hard for me to feel too much sympathy for Tai, though I feel like that’s cruel of me, particularly when it comes to the younger version of the character. But seeing 2021 Tai (Tawny Cypress) makes it pretty clear that she will not seek out help. Perhaps the problem faded after she came back from the wilderness and has only recently reared its head once again under the stress of her political campaign. But, when it comes down to it, the adult Taissa does not seem nearly freaked out enough about what she’s done.

She killed the family dog! And made an altar in the basement! Plus, when she saw the Man With No Eyes while giving a speech in Season 1, she just… continued right along with what she was doing.

I could veer into an attempt to give something like a clinical diagnosis at this point, but I don’t really think that would be helpful even if I were better qualified to do so. What we have to grapple with is that Tai is deeply conflicted to the point of being split in twain. Her conscious self dissociates itself from the Bad One and vice versa (as we learn when Van has a little conversation with her in this episode), and it would seem that Tai takes this so far as to exculpate herself for what the Bad One has done. Or, at least, she doesn’t tend to feel that she bears responsibility, and we should read her retches and scream in light of this. Because even if she can convince herself it wasn’t her abstractly, she can still feel that Jackie meat in her belly.

Taissa with her back turned to a mirror but with her reflection still looking forward

When Taissa comes alert in the middle of the night, Van asks if she can go with her. The young Tai Bad One says she follows the Man With No Eyes, though it’s not entirely clear if she sees him during this scene since we do not. Nonetheless, she walks right to a symbol carved into a tree. You’ll recall there was one of those last week, too, near the edge of the cliff Van pulled her back from. So maybe she wasn’t about to walk off that cliff and the Man With No Eyes was just showing her where that symbol was.

There is an image in the opening credits of Season 2 that seems to show the symbol laid out over the map of the territory Nat (Sophie Thatcher) and Ben (Steven Krueger) have been making, so maybe we’re on the path to that with these scenes.

Further, “Digestif” sees Lottie (Courtney Eaton) claiming that she believes the symbol is some kind of protective ward. She’s put it on a blanket for Shauna’s (Sophie Nélisse) baby. And she will not have given up on her belief in this symbol by 2021. It’s all over the place with regard to her cult wellness group.

2021 Taissa (or the Bad one, I suppose) has also drawn that symbol onto Simone’s (Rukiya Bernard) hand, though she tries to wipe it off after a nurse notices it. Simone is in the hospital because Tai ran a red light and got them T-boned. If you care about Simone’s well-being more than I do, I don’t want to demean that, but the really interesting bit in the hospital occurs when Taissa is in the bathroom.

Last week we saw her reflection in a mirror look at her. This week, the reflection holds steady even as Tai turns around. It’s chilling. And of course it wouldn’t make sense to suggest that this is something she’s hallucinating in any direct way, since she obviously cannot see behind her when she’s turned fully in the other direction, but I don’t think this means we’re getting proof positive of a supernatural element. One might read the scene as symbolically portraying Tai as she enters into a dissociative fugue, though I suppose it would be better to describe what happens as a kind of confrontation between the two parts of herself, whatever term we might use to describe that.

Regardless, the Bad One mouths some words to Tai. I read these words as “Go to her” (twice). And then she puts her hands to her face like this:

Taissa with hands to her face in Yellowjackets S2E3, "Digestif"

Van. She’s telling Tai to go to Van. I think this is clear. So Tai grabs her phone and calls Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma), the person who tracks down others from the plane crash for her. Of course, Jessica Roberts is very likely dead at this point, but we don’t know that for sure (and Tai doesn’t know that at all).

A phone screen with the name Jessica Roberts on it

Last we saw her, Jessica certainly seemed to be dying as she cursed Misty Quigley (Christina Ricci) for poisoning her cigarettes, but it’s possible she was just incapacitated and is now in a vegetative state or something. If she is alive, I don’t expect her to be conscious.

As for our friend Misty, she meets up with Walter (Elijah Wood) to interrogate the man from the motel where Nat (Juliette Lewis) had been staying, and it turns out that this man is none other than Randy Walsh (Jeff Holman). This is not surprising, but it does add a layer of tension. Randy knows that Jeff (Warren Kole) was behind the blackmail in Season 1, and not only does Misty not know that, she believes that it was Adam (Peter Gadiot), which feeds into her motivation to help Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) cover up the murder.

Walter looks down at Misty from aboard a boat

Randy does not blab about that, however. Instead, we get a hilarious scene of Misty feeding Walter lines through an earpiece (since Randy would recognize her) that doesn’t amount to much except for providing the information that Lottie’s followers really like Fanta. Did you know that Fanta was invented to sell to the Nazis? I digress…

Anyway, Randy has no idea who these people dressed in all purple heliotrope are, but the lead is enough for Walter to trace a credit card. We can only guess that the pair will make their way to upstate New York in coming episodes, where they’ll probably find Nat taking part in some kind of healing session I guess.

Nat and Lottie walk through a field with trees and a mountain behind them

I’m joking there, but it is noteworthy that Nat has not left the compound by now. Lottie (Simone Kessell) had told her it was too late in the day so she’d have to spend the night, but the scenes we get in “Digestif” are clearly well into the following day. Maybe it’s even been longer. Nat seems to have decided to hang around.

That may be from suspicion, but there is also the brief flashback she had last week, which I think was to a time when Nat overdosed and was resuscitated. And there was a figure one might read as Travis (Andres Soto) exiting the room. Maybe Nat didn’t previously remember this and she’s thinking about what Travis purportedly said to Lottie about coming close to death, or maybe she’s realizing that she’s pretty broken and might benefit from what Lottie has to offer. Or maybe she just doesn’t have anywhere else to go. It could be all of these things.

Back in the wilderness, there is ongoing tension between Nat and Lottie, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it breaks into violence sometime soon. Nat could be the one responsible for Lottie’s bloodied face, or at least I found myself pondering that possibility as Lottie instructed Lisa (Nicole Maines) to explore her anger and hurt Nat back if she felt she needed to.

That results in a hug, but the relationship between Nat and Lottie is fraught. Why didn’t Lottie contact Nat sooner and more directly after Travis died? It’s not a rhetorical question; I am confident there are reasons.

Yellowjackets S2E3 ends with another song from Tori Amos. “Bells for Her” (which I have to note was written as it was performed and recorded) is precisely about the fracturing of a friendship between women, and it’s paired with Lottie in terror at having discovered all of her bees are dead.

Lottie looking down at her hands, with blood on them

The symbolism is obvious, and the fact that it turns out to have been in Lottie’s head doesn’t undermine the power of this moment for her, particularly when we bear in mind that this is a woman who has visions and has decided to trust in those visions. It’s not about the bees; it’s about what the bees represent.

And now I speak to you
Are you in there
You have her face and her eyes
but you are not her
and we go at each other like blank ettes
who can’t find their thread and their bare

Can’t stop loving
Can’t stop what is on its way
and I see it coming
and it’s on its way

For me, at least, “Digestif” brings the adult and teen versions of Lottie into the space of resonance I’ve appreciated with regard to Tai, Nat, Shauna, and Misty since the beginning. The adult Lottie finally feels like the same person as her younger self, and we can fill in the movements that led her to where she is.

In the wilderness, when birds suicide themselves on the roof—as Mari (Alexa Barajas) puts it—Lottie suggests they be collected as blessings. She isn’t commanding the others to do so in this moment; she’s just expressing what she thinks should be done. And yet, they proceed to do it. They follow her lead insofar as she is the one who offers guidance in a situation where no one really knows what they should do.

Is Lottie the Antler Queen? The ending of Season 1 certainly led us to think so, but perhaps we ought not to have jumped to that conclusion. Regardless, I feel for Lottie, and I believe that she believes that she is doing her best to help people, whether in the 2021 timeline or back in the 1990s.

This is what she says when Nat refuses her blessing before she treks to the plane with Jackie’s remains, not that Nat is having it. She tells Jackie that she’s lucky to be dead because things are going to get a lot worse, and then she fails to kill the first game she’s seen in months. Maybe if she’d accepted Lottie’s tea she would have killed the moose?

I don’t believe that, but if Lottie is ascending to a position of power and Nat continues to undermine that power to the extent that she can, I wonder how deep of a falling out that might lead to. All we know is that it won’t lead either of them to fall into a pit and become dinner.

Lottie approaches a box of bees covered with dead bees in Yellowjackets S2E3

Meanwhile, it’s time for a baby shower! Lottie predicts that Shauna’s baby will be a boy, though she hardly seems to realize she’s making a prediction, and—Eraserhead-evoking dreams about fried chicken babies aside—assures Shauna that she won’t hurt him. That’s a relief.

I’ve kind of assumed that Shauna’s baby would die in the wilderness, in one way or another, so it’s interesting to think about the possibility that he doesn’t. I’m going to assume Lottie is right about the gender, but there aren’t any great candidates among the characters we know who could be the wilderness baby. Honestly, that’s kind of a relief, too. I don’t need a Season 2 version of the idea that Adam is Javi (Luciano Leroux).

No Javi updates in Yellowjackets S2E3! I thought for a second he was about to surprise Nat in the plane, but that was a moose. Unless she only thought it was a moose and it was actually Javi? No, that doesn’t make sense…

A white moose in the snow

In 2021, Shauna has a boring meal with Jeff where they each lament being boring before being carjacked. Badass that she is, Shauna turns the tables on the thief and takes his gun, but Jeff lets him take the van anyway. That’s lame. Poor Jeff. Should have tried the strawberry lube.

Because he’s not wrong—what Shauna did was pretty insane and hard to justify from a rational point of view. She’s just getting going, though, as she later decides to track down the location of the van, point the gun in the face of the man in the office of the body shop, and give a nice monologue about how much she enjoys murdering people. I think she most enjoys that look on their faces when they realize they’re going to die that she mentions.

This is great. No notes.

Shauna points a gun

And then there’s Ben, who we last saw walking into the cabin and slamming the door in terror at the spectacle outside. I speculated last week that other girls who aren’t in the main cast would be with him in horror in the aftermath, but S2E3 gives confirmation of their involvement in the cannibalism. Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) and Misty bond over their enjoyment of the taste of human flesh, and Gen (Mya Lowe) scares Ben when she asks if he’s hungry.

I have to say I find it to be a really odd choice to introduce these new Yellowjackets at the beginning of Season 2 but then not show them participating in the eating of Jackie. I’m sure any number of viewers took for granted that everyone was involved in the cannibalism, but this series usually rewards attentiveness to the details, so I’m a little disappointed.

Plus, it just serves to sideline these characters to where I’m not sure why they even need to exist. There were already other members of the team in Season 1, but they didn’t talk. I have yet to feel like there is a justification for some of them talking now. I’d honestly be hoping Crystal was a figment of Misty’s imagination if her actual existence hadn’t been independently corroborated, and it makes the recasting of Akilah (Nia Sondaya) a step more confusing than it needs to be. For just a second, you might find yourself thinking she is one of the new characters before you remember they changed who’s portraying a character that was in Season 1.

Regardless, it’s clear that it was indeed all of the Yellowjackets (plus Travis) feasting on their former team captain, with Ben being the only one who did not partake. He spends most of “Digestif” in what amounts to something like a fever dream about his (ex?) boyfriend, Paul (François Arnaud), and it becomes clear this is a lamentation for a road not taken.

Paul smiles

Ben didn’t move in with Paul because he felt obligated to see his responsibilities to the team through, or at least that’s what he said, but he ultimately imagines a world where he didn’t get on the plane and instead ran into Paul’s arms.

There’s more at play here than simple regret, of course, and if Ben is bedridden out of a paralyzing fear of the others in the cabin, this is in parallel to a different kind of paralyzing fear evident in his relationship with Paul. As a gay man in the 1990s, Ben was afraid to come out of the closet. He was afraid to live his life as himself. It was really that fear, more than any sense of duty to a high school girl’s soccer team, that kept him from moving forward with Paul. And Paul knew this. He says as much to Ben, and when he does, it feels like he’s breaking up with him.

And now Ben is stranded in the wilderness with seemingly no chance of rescue. He’s kept his wits about him well enough, but the veil of civilization has just come crashing down in a way far more extreme than he could have fathomed. Probably the worst part is how everyone is mostly behaving like it’s just another day when, the night before, the world ended.


I almost levied this as a criticism against Yellowjackets S2E3: that, with the exception of the opening scene where Tai veritably freaks out, everyone seems basically OK. Sure, Nat has some lines about how messed up it is that they ate Jackie, but the spirit of the group is better encapsulated in Mari’s half-throated statement/question that she guesses no one wants breakfast.

And on reflection, I think this fits. Because what do you say? Everyone was involved (except Ben), so that seems to offer some kind of excuse. And everyone was very hungry. Surely they had to do it and should be forgiven. What is there to talk about? Each has to digest what happened on their own, and the fact is we have seen how much this whole experience will affect them, at least through the lens of the 2021 versions of characters we’ve gotten to know.

I think we’re finally going to meet the adult Van (Lauren Ambrose) next week, and it will be Tai who visits her. I wonder what happened between these two, whether they split out there in the wilderness, or after, or somehow in between.

Can’t stop what’s coming
Can’t stop what is on its way

See you next week.

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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