Yellowjackets S2E5 Recap: “Two Truths and a Lie” — What Should We Be Asking About the Moon Landing?

Misty looks down and to the side as she stands in front of a driveway gate

The following recap contains spoilers for Yellowjackets S2E5, “Two Truths and a Lie” (written by Sarah L. Thompson & Katherine Kearns and directed by Ben Semanoff)

Yellowjackets S2E5 opens with a vignette of the life Van (Lauren Ambrose) has made for herself, and the use of “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes is so perfect here I now believe that Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson set the two timelines 25 years apart just so the opening line of the song would hit harder when we got to this moment. I’m not interested in counterarguments.

Van’s been running a store that rents out VHS tapes and VCRs, and while I’m not sure this is a viable business model or if I believe the youths would be so out of touch as to not know what a VHS tape is… maybe in Oberlin? I mean, I’ve been to Oberlin, and the setting actually does make all of this just a step more plausible than it would be just about anywhere else.

Van stands behind a counter

The most pressing question in my mind with regard to Van and Tai (Tawny Cypress) has been when they broke up and why, and we do get an indirect answer to the first part of that question when Tai gives Van the nudie pen. Apparently they replaced the fancy guest pen at Shauna’s (Melanie Lynskey) wedding with one of those, which indicates that they stayed together until some time after they returned from the wilderness.

That was not my guess! I expected some kind of split either before they were rescued or right after, but the implication is that they made it through all of that and broke up for reasons not directly related to their time in the woods.

Prior to this episode, I thought we’d also been given a vague answer as to the reason why Tai told Shauna in Season 1 how she’d found that being with someone who made her feel “it” was dangerous. Now I’m wondering if she wasn’t talking about Van. Maybe she was talking about some other love interest she fell for, which led to her breakup with Van.

Regardless, Van is going to help Tai (because of course she is) even though Tai couldn’t muster the decency to actually ask her. Van is willing to lie to her to avoid getting grief over her oxycodone habit. For the record, I do not blame Van at all for this, nor do I judge her for her drug use. It’s not good, obviously, but our girl’s been through some things.

I do wonder if Van was lying about her mother dying of cancer and the pills having been hers. It’s possible that part was true. Or would that be two parts that are true? Does it add up to two truths and a lie?

Van comforts Tai

After Tai falls asleep on the sofa, the Other One (as Van calls her) spins Van around to kiss her before saying, “This isn’t where we’re supposed to be.” That’s an odd line because it’s not clear whether “we” means Tai and the Other One or Tai/the Other One and Van. I thought it was clear that not-Tai was telling Tai in the mirror to go to Van, and I thought she was driving to Van when the car ran out of gas and Tai woke up. So I’m going to presume that’s all true and that the “we” in question includes Van.

So where are they supposed to be? Maybe back in the wilderness?

Tai looks at Van intensely in Yellowjackets S2E5

In the 1996 timeline, Van (Liv Hewson) has convinced Tai (Jasmin Savoy Brown) to attend Lottie’s (Courtney Eaton) morning prayer circle thing, which has apparently become a regular practice since we last checked in. Tai has stopped sleepwalking, and she insists that she doesn’t credit Lottie for this, while at the same time she does, and it pisses Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) off.

Mostly, though, Shauna is properly creeped out by the way Lottie talks about (and to!) her unborn baby. As S2E5 comes to end, it looks like that baby won’t be unborn for much longer, so I do have to wonder how this will all play out. If Lottie tries to factor the infant into her “woo woo shit,” things might get ugly.

I have always presumed that the wilderness baby would die in one way or another, but I’m starting to doubt that. Jeff’s (Warren Kole) remark to Shauna last week that they only have one kid seems like evidence that the baby doesn’t make it, but it could fit with Shauna having given it up for adoption. Jeff read her journals, so unless she scratched a lot of stuff out, he knows she was pregnant out there. But if he does know, then his remark was really callous.

So maybe she did redact that part of her journals and Jeff doesn’t know, but that would actually make the most sense to me if the baby lived. I’m not sure if this is a cogent line of reasoning or if I’ve just spun myself in a circle, but I find myself leaning toward the child’s survival at this point. I just hope it’s not Lisa (Nicole Maines) because I do not like that theory at all.

Callie looks on in center frame as Jeff and Shauna gesticulate to each side

As for Callie (Sarah Desjardins), she discovers that Jay (John Reynolds) is not named Jay, and thus that he is a cop. So she tells him her mom has been cheating on her dad with Randy Walsh (Jeff Holman), which is pretty hilarious if you recall teen Shauna’s reaction when Jackie (Ella Purnell) tried to hook her up with Randy back in Season 1.

Regardless, Shauna actually likes the plan here. She suggests Callie feed some information to the cops about her meeting up with Randy and then goes to meet him. And you really have to respect her follow-through when it comes to insisting that Randy masturbate into a condom for them to leave behind. Too bad he filled it with strawberry-scented lotion instead. Matt’s too smart for that!

I now predict, based on a shot in the Season 2 credits, that Matt will have his head bashed in by Shauna in the Sadecki family home, but I don’t have much else to say about this storyline.

Matt holds up a condom full of lotion in Yellowjackets S2E5

Nat (Juliette Lewis) finally manages to get into Lottie’s (Simone Kessell) office, but when she makes a scene to reveal how Charlotte has all kinds of personal information about each of the people at the compound, they calmly respond that they already knew that and are totally cool with it. However, the confrontation gives Lottie the opportunity to push Nat on the question of what Travis (Andres Soto) thought she was right about.

Their hypnosis session leads Nat to remember a vision she had when she overdosed, which led her to tell Travis that they brought the darkness back from the wilderness with them. But the most interesting thing here is how Lottie sees the silhouette of the Antler Queen immediately after this.

Lottie looks distressed

I still think that Lottie is the Antler Queen, and it’s in relation to this that there remains a way of interpreting events that doesn’t dive us into the supernatural. The darkness is something within them that they’ve repressed. It was brought out of them through trauma and isolation. They did some very bad things that they can’t reconcile with their conscious views of themselves, but they can’t make what’s there in the unconscious go away. There will always be a return of the repressed.

Or maybe there are supernatural spirits in this story. What’s the difference?

The young Nat's head resting on the lap of the adult Lottie

Javi (Luciano Leroux) hasn’t been talking at all and won’t tell anyone how he survived. In his only line of the episode, he tells Ben (Steven Krueger) that “she” told him not to come back. We’re left to speculate as to who this friend might be (not-Taissa?), but it’s hard to think of a mundane explanation for Javi’s survival. Maybe the DHARMA Initiative has a secret bunker nearby, or maybe we’re veering out of the mundane.

In Nat’s vision, they all died in the plane crash. That could be symbolic of the sense in which this event cut their lives into a before and after, and I am going to take it as such unless and until I am forced to revise that position. But Javi somehow dying and being resurrected feels almost as plausible as him surviving out in the cold alone for months. I hope we learn more about what happened next week.

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

Yellowjackets is always at its best when the events in the two timelines resonate with one another, and the exemplary instance this week centers on Misty (Samantha Hanratty/Christina Ricci).

In 2021, Walter (Elijah Wood) insists they play Two Truths and a Lie as they look for the cult’s compound, but Misty doesn’t want to. He proceeds to tell her three truths, asking for three from her in return. She only gets out two, neither of which convey much personal information, before spotting the compound’s sign. But the real point is that her scenes with Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) back in 1996 tell us why she’s behaving like this with Walter instead of the pair becoming the fast friends we all know they should be.

After bonding over an affection for Jack Kevorkian, Misty and Crystal share secrets as they go to empty the waste bucket, but Misty goes too far. I actually tried to warn her through my screen. But alas, she spills about destroying the black box. Goodnight Crystal the Pistol. We hardly knew ye.

Of course, technically speaking, you could argue that Misty does not kill Crystal, but I’m inclined to suggest that she does, just in a deeply hilarious way that isn’t quite intentional. She threatens to kill her, getting up in her face, which leads Crystal to step back and off the cliff. So is this murder? Tomato, tomato.

Misty makes an angry face at Crystal, whose back is to the camera

The best part, though, is that when Misty tries to resuscitate the clearly dead Crystal, she briefly sings “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. In the 2021 timeline, she turns off the radio when the song comes on, looking annoyed. Yellowjackets gives us that instance first, and we might have just thought that Misty didn’t like the song. It tees up Walter’s offer to put on some show tunes, but it becomes clear that she associates the song with her trauma regarding Crystal. And that trauma, to be clear, is not in the fact that she killed Crystal; it’s in how Crystal revealed that Misty couldn’t really trust her when she thought she could.

We can see this feeding into Misty’s reticence with regard to Walter in the 2021 timeline. He tells her that he’s deduced she was involved with Adam Martin’s murder, and he’s totally cool with it! I like you, who cares if you kill some people in your free time? Grandma always sent me a birthday card even after she murdered grandpa.

So Misty ditches him. She can’t trust it. And the sad thing is I actually believe Walter. I don’t think he’s secretly a cop or anything like that. Of course, I could be wrong. I’m sure he’ll show up in this story again somewhere down the line. I certainly hope so.

As for Misty, she heads back to the compound and gets someone to let her in, saying she wants to join. She doesn’t believe what Nat said about being there of her own free will at this point. But more importantly, I think Misty continues to be bothered by the fact that she didn’t know what Lottie had been up to even though she thought she’d been keeping tabs on everyone. This does make me wonder how long Lottie has been at it with the wellness group and how long she was in that institution in Switzerland. I’m guessing Misty just continued to think she was there and failed to keep herself apprised of developments.

“Two Truths and a Lie”

In a series of scenes this week, we see Mari (Alexa Barajas) assigning chores to members of the team by having them pick a card. This is, for example, what leads to Crystal being assigned to go dump the bucket, which her bestie Misty offers to help with.

Mari spreads a deck of cards out in her hands

I note that Misty herself does not seem to pick a card, so I guess there must be a little more to how this process works. Perhaps different people choose cards on different days or something. I’m not sure if all of the details will ever be filled in or if they need to be, but these scenes do lay the foundation for the possibility that at some point the missing queens will be found and integrated into the deck.

Since noticing the queens in the Season 2 credits, I’ve had the hunch that drawing a queen would be what led to becoming dinner in some way, but I’m struck by another thought in light of Yellowjackets S2E5: Is it possible that drawing a card will also determine who the Antler Queen is?

In other words, perhaps that is not a stable position but one conceived of as a necessary part of the ritual. We actually don’t know how any of this will go in detail, but if the cards are involved, I think it’s at least possible that donning the antlers might be viewed as a chore.

This would track with how seeing the shadow of antlers freaks Lottie out, along with her reaction to the queen of hearts last week. Of course those reactions could also track with her becoming the Antler Queen of her own free will, so there’s nothing definitive here. But given the young Lottie’s continued hesitance to embrace leadership, I think it might fit better if this position is thrust upon her. And it would be a nice subversion of expectations if it turned out all of our theories about the Antler Queen are wrong because it’s not always the same person.

A lighter being held to the queen of diamonds

That’s it for this time. See you next week, bestie.

Written by Caemeron Crain

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

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