Yellowjackets S2E4 Recap: “Old Wounds” — He Wants Blood

Misty and Walter in a car in Yellowjackets S2E4, "Old Wounds"

The following recap contains spoilers for Yellowjackets S2E4, “Old Wounds” (written by Liz Phang & Julia Bicknell and directed by Scott Winant)

Maybe it’s just me, but something about Yellowjackets S2E4 feels… off, like there’s been some shift in the show’s tones or rhythms. Or perhaps it’s like the song is being played in a different key. Maybe this is all down to the new version of “No Return” we’re treated to in the opening credits putting me off kilter—that’s Alanis Morissette, by the way—or maybe that’s a signal of intent. Maybe it’s the fact that Scott Winant is in the director’s chair for the first time. Regardless, I’m left feeling a little bit like I’m watching a series that’s only pretending to be Yellowjackets (and I don’t necessarily mean this as a criticism, to be clear).

Let’s go with that being intentional, as it seems fitting to how much of “Old Wounds” plays in a space where reality is in question.

The episode opens with Tai (Tawny Cypress) searching Jessica’s place in a fugue state, seeing herself from across the room and ultimately waking up behind the wheel, out of gas and bewildered. This all makes it less than clear what exactly happened, though Tai does end up with a Yellowjackets file. There could be more survivors in there we don’t know about yet!

Girls sit around a table at the mall

Lottie (Courtney Eaton) hallucinates the plane Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) died in, finding a tunnel from that plane to a shopping mall, and Laura Lee pushing her out so she doesn’t die… Actually, is this all a hallucination? Part of me believes that it really is the ghost of Laura Lee shoving Lottie out of that snowy tree stump.

In contrast, I had the distinct impression that the scene of Ben (Steven Krueger) and Paul (François Arnaud) was a furthering of Ben’s fantasy and not a memory. It could have been a memory, but Ben finding Paul’s memorabilia box (of pictures of exes) seemed more like something that would happen if he were moving in. But he did not move in; he got on the plane that crashed. Still, it is a weird thing to fantasize about given how the scene culminates in Ben lamenting how he doesn’t have the kind of history that Paul does. It does fit with his regret, so perhaps this is his fantasy turning against him.

Javi with a blank expression

Van (Liv Hewson) and Tai (Jasmin Savoy Brown) find Javi (Luciano Leroux), who has no business being alive. How is he alive? He seems out of sorts and doesn’t speak. Of course, last we saw him he was tripping balls, the girls were chasing his brother, and Shauna told him to run. So it’s not a surprise that he’s freaked; it is a surprise that he’s somehow survived.

Is this really happening? I have no plausible way of suggesting that it isn’t, but again, something feels off and makes me suspicious. This whole episode left me uneasy in a way I’m finding hard to pin down. I wonder if things aren’t as they seem.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting where Van and Tai find Javi. The former has been mapping the locations the latter sleepwalks to, noting how the Bad One seems to know where the symbols on trees are. Overlain on the map Nat (Sophie Thatcher) and Ben have been making, the locations seem to be creating the symbol, so Van hypothesizes that there should be a tree with a symbol on it at the bottom.

They do not find one, but they do find Javi after wondering why some snow on a tree was melting. I pretty quickly jumped to the conclusion that he’d been taking a whiz there, but let me know if you have another theory. Regardless, I’m led to speculate that this is some special spot and the specialness of the spot is what’s kept Javi alive.

Yellowjackets is getting pretty close to embracing the supernatural.

Lottie sitting in a therapist's office

In 2021, Lottie (Simone Kessell) is trying to get the dose increased on her meds because she’s just started having visions again and wants them to go away. I have to admit that this is in contrast to what I had guessed, but it does fit with everything we’ve seen. The only odd thing is how she’s continued to embrace the symbol.

One of the visions she has in “Old Wounds” is of a queen of hearts with its eyes scribbled out. This shot is in the opening credits to Season 2, along with the note that says “I’m grateful for my friends.” But there is also a queen of diamonds in the opening title sequence. I think we’ll see the queen of hearts again, and it’s reminding Lottie of how these cards factored into what they did 25 years ago.

In the wilderness, young Lottie cuts her hand in front of the tree stump, as if to make an offering in blood. That doesn’t lead her to anything good, though, just the aforementioned shopping mall vision, which I honestly don’t know what to do with. So it’s odd that in 2021 her desperation leads her to repeat the gesture, praying that it will be enough.

Last week, after her vision of dead bees, Lottie thought her acolyte said, “Il veut du sang,” which lines up with what she said during the séance in “Blood Hive” and translates to “he wants blood.” Further, blood dripping onto the symbol on the blanket she made for Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) presaged the arrival of the birds, whether it caused it—as Mari (Alexa Barajas) thinks—or not. Something is going on with blood.

Lottie believes in the darkness she discovered in the wilderness; she just no longer views it as a friend.

Lottie looks downward

Mari takes a step forward in Yellowjackets S2E4 to emerge as Lottie’s True Believer #1. I think she believes in Lottie more than Lottie believes in herself. It’s not entirely irrational to credit her with the bear meat and the bird meat, but the line about how Lottie doesn’t need a gun was a bit much honestly.

In other Mari news, she hears something dripping again, and is again the only one who hears it. But she ropes Akilah (Nia Sondaya) into looking for the source with her. She doesn’t find it, but she does find a mouse she proceeds to hide. I don’t think any of this bodes well for either of them.

The main event in the ‘90s timeline is the idea of Nat and Lottie competing to find food. Nat finds a moose frozen in the lake, but despite help from the group, it slips away under the water. So both return empty-handed and at risk of hypothermia. Good times.

For a moment, though, Nat and Lottie seem to remember their rapport, and in 2021 they also seem more uneasy friends than enemies. Nat (Juliette Lewis) is still hanging around the compound and volunteers to join Lisa (Nicole Maines) on a trip to the farmers market to sell honey. Of course they don’t go and instead go to Lisa’s home/mother’s home to see a fish. I like that Nat stole the fish. I especially like that she put it in her mouth to do so. These two are bonding.

Lisa and Nat on a couch together

It’s a missed connection that they skipped the farmers market, though, since Misty (Christina Ricci) and Walter (Elijah Wood) arrive there following the leads they’ve gotten about the cult members who like to drink Fanta. We get some good banter between this pair, though I’m not sure I believe Walter when he says he doesn’t care about Misty being a Yellowjacket. I do want to believe him, as does Misty, and I guess for now that’s enough.

Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) finds Adam’s burned license in Callie’s (Sarah Desjardins) drawer and ends up telling her daughter everything. It’s striking that Callie kind of does seem to be OK with it, as the last we see her in S2E4 she’s offering to help make dinner. I think she’s just relieved to be living in the truth with her parents, even if that truth involves some murder. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know the guy she’s been seeing is a cop. She’s texting with him when Shauna pulls up to take her for a ride, so that’s definitely an ongoing thing.

Callie and Shauna lean against a car

Speaking of Shauna, back in the ‘90s she wants to know who stole some bear meat, but no one fesses up. That’s two mysteries now, with the other being who pooped in the pee bucket. Is it the same perp in both instances? I’d bet on Tai doing things while she is asleep, but Van has been keeping a close eye on her, so that seems doubtful. I’m afraid I don’t have a good theory on this one.

As “Old Wounds” comes to a close, we finally get to meet the adult Van (Lauren Ambrose). She seems surprised to see Tai, and maybe doesn’t even recognize her for a moment, so that’s interesting, but that’s it. Roll credits.

Van stands behind a counter in Yellowjackets S2E4

“Old Wounds”

There were a few things in this episode that I wanted to note but didn’t find a way to work in, so I will just list them:

  • The song Misty and Walter end up listening to in the car is “Rainbow Tour” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. We then cut to Misty and Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) singing the same song in the cabin.
  • Misty checks into the bed-and-breakfast under the name Lady Mallowan. This is presumably a reference to Agatha Christie, though it could also be a reference to Barbara Parker-Mallowan, Sir Max Mallowan’s second wife. I’m guessing Misty likes the ambiguity.
  • Ben appears to be reading The Magus by John Fowles before he sets it aside in apparent frustration. The book famously has an indeterminate ending.
  • It would seem that a moose can indeed get frozen in a lake, though the stories I turned up tend to be about people saving such a moose from death. Probably when the moose dies it doesn’t make the news.

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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