‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2, Episode 8 recap: Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage

In the series’ darkest episode yet, “It Chooses” is a hard watch

I mean, we did ask for this. Or at least I did.

All season I’ve been (literally) chomping at the bit for darkness. When Shauna ate that ear, I cheered. When BBQ Jackie was roasted, I toasted. And when Lottie started seeing zombie Laura Lee, reader, my heart was full of glee.

But even for me, sadistic Yellowjackets fan that I am, “It Chooses” is a hard watch. In the present day, we watch the surviving women come to terms with what they’ve done (as they consider doing it again), while in the past we finally see them fully fall off the edge. And boy, oh boy, does the show go there

Jackie’s death and feast were one thing—a tragic accident fuelled by teen feelings and a certain gust of wind to make her nice and crispy. But what happens to Nat—and Javi—in this episode is no accident. And the “it” that chooses turns out to be the team themself.

Before I get too far into the recap, one thing continuing to bring joy (or at the very least, smug satisfaction) is my continued theory that there is no supernatural wilderness force, just some fucked-up teens doing fucked-up stuff. And this episode continues to support it! The teens, they are, in fact, fucked up! They decide to take things to the degree they take them all on their own, and it’s horrifying. Now as grown-ups they’re grappling with it! And it’s so fascinating and exhilarating and horrifying to watch!

The adult survivors share a lot of secrets in “It Chooses.”

Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

We open with Lottie recovering from Shauna’s beating, pissing blood while Misty cares for her, and the girls whisper about what could happen if she doesn’t make it. Elsewhere in the cabin, Akilah’s pet mouse, which she’s been tending to for several episodes now, is finally spotted by someone else (Taissa) and we and Akilah find out at the same time that it’s been dead this whole time. The later shot of her considering trying to eat it is tragic and gross in all the right ways.

The vibe in the cabin overall is pretty dour, as the group has moved to trying to boil one of Jackie’s leather belts as protein. Taissa is still seeing other Taissa in glass reflections, and Nat remains skeptical of everyone’s continued loyalty to Lottie, feelings she shares with Coach Ben. He himself seems to have backed down from wanting to end his life (much to Misty’s relief), but has taken new interest in Javi’s creepy drawings, particularly one of a tree with interlocking roots. Armed with a map that looks suspiciously like the symbol, and newly reinforced crutches, he heads out into the snow.


Meanwhile, a hungry Mari starts to hear dripping (which Taissa also claims to hear) before having a terrifying vision of blood flowing down the walls. As that’s happening, Lottie gives her blessing to Misty for the group to “not waste her body” if she dies. And the group pledges to not let that happen.

In the present day, it’s all about coming clean. After a confrontation between Van/Lottie and Shauna/Taissa/Misty/Nat about Adam’s death, Lottie calls the group to the “Sharing Shack” to let it all out. And there’s a lot to let out. Shauna admits to telling Jeff and Callie about Adam and roping them in, and to Jeff and Randy being the blackmailers. Misty reveals that Taissa hired Jessica Roberts to do oppo research on the group, and that she herself killed Roberts—“What was I supposed to do, let her go? I’d already held her captive in my basement for a week.” 

Meanwhile, Jeff and Callie are visited by Saracusa and Kevyn Tan, who now have a warrant, and they search the house. After Kevyn shows Jeff the brutal images of Adam’s dismembered corpse, along with suspicions of it being done “surgically” by someone with lots of experience in that area, he dreams about being attacked by Shauna with her hands replaced by electric knives. It’s horrifying and hilarious in the ways Yellowjackets does best to watch Melanie Lynskey descend upon Warren Kole, knife hands abuzz and sweetly describing removing Adam’s tattoos with a cheese grater as “skin grated off like a rind of pecorino.”

Travis and Javi’s brotherly bond is ultimately what dooms one of them.

Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Jeff and Callie also share a tender conversation where Callie worries that she’s “fucked up” like Shauna, and Jeff tells her about the wilderness baby. There’s another version of this story where Shauna has kept the worst of the wilderness from Jeff (and that may still be the case), but I appreciate the relationship building it does to know that she’s opened up to him at least about the baby. 

And then we enter the endgame. In the present-day Sharing Shack, Lottie says they “won’t solve shit” with talking and have to give “it” what it wants—one of them. And then the meaning of the “choosing” in the episode title starts to materialize.

Back in the cabin, the team seems to come to the conclusion that in order to save Lottie, they must sacrifice someone else (and eat them). The way they choose to go about it is using the deck of cards from Season 1, with the queen of hearts singled out. Whoever pulls the card is “chosen.” And here, as a viewer, I will admit that my immediate thought was “goodbye to one of these nameless background girlies.” 

But one by one, each person draws a card, and one by one, it’s not the queen. Travis, Javi, Van, Misty and the others are all safe … until Nat draws the card. And I gasped! Because she lives, right? Yet the absolute fear on Sophie Thatcher’s face is so tangible as she is pulled into the centre of the circle, and Shauna (apparently the volunteer executioner?!) puts Jackie’s necklace (you know, the one on pit-girl in the pilot!) ceremonially around her neck. As Shauna goes to cut Nat’s throat, however, Travis bursts in and saves her. She takes off, with the rest of the team in hot pursuit. 

In the present day, Lottie offers the group a similar choice: a tray full of teacups, one containing the same deadly poison used by the Heaven’s Gate cult in 1997. “This is how we have always given back,” she says ominously. 

Back in the ’90s, the team is practically feral as they chase Nat through the woods with homemade weapons. Javi finds her and says he knows somewhere safe they can go (yes, he talks!) and starts to lead her across the frozen lake. But the group starts to gain on them … until Javi falls through the ice! Misty catches up and urges Nat not to save him, suggesting that he can be the sacrifice instead—“If you save him,the others will get you.. And in a brutally raw moment, the group (including Nat) watches Javi struggle over and over in the water until he drowns and falls still. And only then do they rush to pull him out, lest his body go to waste. 

With one episode left to go in the season, the team is going to eat. But something tells me Javi won’t be the only one on the menu.

Other thoughts from the hive:

🐝“I should have done it myself”: Misty checking if Nat measured Adam’s grave deep enough

🐝Van on Misty killing Jessica Roberts: “Misty, you are nothing if not proactive.”

🐝The Mazzy Star Nonstop Banger Award: “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” by the Smashing Pumpkins is an absolutely perfect backdrop to the forest hunt for Nat. “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage,” indeed! 

🐝Walter appears briefly, doing an elaborate puzzle and listening to show tunes in what looks like a very nice house (how big was that lawsuit of his?). But he also might be narcing on Misty to the police about Adam, so he’s one to watch.

🐝Present-day Lottie describes sacrificing one person to survive as “it made sense, it was practical,” which is a bit of a stretch if you ask me.

🐝How are we all feeling going into the finale? Are we emotionally ready for no more weekly Yellowjackets?

New episodes of Yellowjackets are available streaming in Canada and the U.S. on Fridays, and air live on Showtime Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EDT.

Senior editor Mel Woods is an English-speaking Vancouver-based writer and audio producer and a former associate editor with HuffPost Canada. A proud prairie queer and ranch dressing expert, their work has also appeared in Vice, Slate, the Tyee, the CBC, the Globe and Mail and the Walrus.

Read More About:
Culture, TV & Film, Analysis, Yellowjackets

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