Adult Van! Adult Van! Adult Van!
After building up since Lauren Ambrose’s casting announcement last year, we finally got our first peek at adult Van at the end of the episode, and all I want is more! The video store (called While You Were Streaming!) the decades-old scars, the way she said Taissa’s name—I’ll admit I’m a sucker for an edgy soft butch in a button-up, but I’m really hoping Van’s appearance injects some energy into the present-day story line. Because overall, and particularly in its present-day efforts, “Old Wounds” feels more like a road to somewhere rather than presenting any sort of a concrete destination in itself for Yellowjackets.
Which, I should add, is fine! Not every episode can involve eating your best friend or doing a murder. Sometimes you need to put on a playlist, crank up the show tunes and get to the next destination (and then there will be more murdering). With six episodes left to go, there’s still ground to cover and mysteries to solve. And with the adult survivors slowly creeping closer and closer together, things are going to start happening. Plus, another surprise character appearance at the end of the ’90s storyline promises more intrigue to come.
In the present day, Taissa (Tawny Cypress) is certainly on a road to somewhere, though she doesn’t quite know where. The senator-elect wakes up behind the wheel of a car out of gas on the side of the road with a folder full of information on the Yellowjackets. Obviously, she’s left her very injured wife behind at the hospital in favour of this little joyride that ends up at the videostore of a certain ginger queer, which is certainly a choice. Nevertheless, thanks to a friendly truck driver (who also voted for her!) she makes it to the small-town VHS emporium and her former lover.
Elsewhere on the road of life, Nat (Juliette Lewis) leaves Lottie’s compound with Lisa (Nicole Maines) for the group’s weekly honey-selling at the farmers’ market (heliotrope dye doesn’t buy itself!) in what seems like a gesture of goodwill, if also potential escape. The two take a detour to Lisa’s family home to visit her fish, as Nat continues to gently prod at the rules and limitations of Lottie’s teachings. In a turn, however, Nat ultimately breaks up a confrontation between Lisa and her mother about Lisa’s embrace of Lottie’s teachings, and it’s an interesting scene watching the adult Nat defend Lisa’s choice to stay with Lottie in contrast with what happens between Nat and Lottie in the ’90s storyline as the group continues to fracture (more on that later).
Ultimately, Nat and Lisa don’t make it to the farmers’ market, with Nat smuggling Lisa’s fish out into the car via her mouth and the two continuing to bond. And it’s a shame they don’t, otherwise they would’ve run into everyone’s favourite citizen detective duo.
I recently read a great interview in Entertainment Tonight where Christina Ricci and Elijah Wood dished about getting to work together again, having first been on set together as 15-year-olds for the 1997 film The Ice Storm. And while comedic relief side stories in a show as heavily dark as Yellowjackets can wear thin, I don’t ever see myself tiring of what Misty and Walter get up to. They’re just so fun, and Ricci and Wood bring everything to these two little weirdos.
This week, it’s road-trip show tunes (“Rainbow Tour” from Evita is an inspired pick from the music direction department) and a journey to the small town adjacent to Lottie’s community. Walter reveals he’s actually a multimillionaire via lawsuit for a freak accident while Misty continues to evade the pretty obvious romantic tension bubbling up between the two. As soon as someone mentioned having to stay at the B&B in town, my whole watch-group collectively said out loud, “Oh no, there’s only one bed!” in reference to the classic trope.
But Misty says no to your classic TV tropes, firmly asking for two bedrooms and leading to a delightful side-by-side sequence of the two getting reading for bed set to “Angst in My Pants”by Sparks. With plans to find the compound tomorrow, it seems at least Misty and Nat are on a collision course for reunion.
Melanie Lynskey’s Shauna, however, is much more of a background presence than episodes past. After lying to Jeff about how the van came back (they just found it on the road!), she discovers that Callie knows about the one big lie (Adam) and that Callie herself has been lying about spending nights at her friend’s house. Truly, the family that lies together, stays together apparently. Shauna rectifies this by driving Callie out into the middle of nowhere, coming clean and roping her in.
This week’s storyline in the ’90s focuses once again on the search for food, as the team starts to tire of soup made from the dead birds. The resulting solution is competition between Nat (Sophie Thatcher) and Lottie (Courtney Eaton), with both girls going out for a day, and whoever comes back with the most food wins. It’s a pretty clear way to delineate between the believers in Lottie’s—for lack of a better term—“woo” and Nat’s pragmatism.
It’s here where I wish we got a bit more of Lottie’s interior feelings around the choice to make this trek. Nat’s motivations are pretty clear, but Lottie is mostly silent, buoyed by her supporters to head out into the woods alone. And while Nat finds that same white moose frozen into the lake (which unfortunately slips to the bottom before the team can pull it out), Lottie finds something much more confusing.
After slitting her hand open over what looks like a tree altar, she stumbles across the plane that Laura Lee crashed, complete with Laura Lee’s teddy bear and cross necklace. And here’s where things get weird: Lottie descends down a hatch in the plane that opens up into an elevator into what looks like a shopping mall, complete with Abercrombie sales and a food court full of the team munching down on fast food. But before Lottie gets too far into what’s clearly a vision, it’s Laura Lee who pulls her out, urging her to “go.” And then Lottie wakes up alone, cold and on the ground in a clearing, with no plane in sight. Spooky!
Meanwhile, Van (Liv Hewson) has been mapping the locations Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) goes to during her dissociative episodes, and in a shock to no one, they form the mysterious symbol. There’s one point left on the map, however, and the pair set out to find it. What they find there is arguably the most shocking moment of the episode: it’s Javi, alive, cold and confused after missing for more than two months.
As the team points out back at the cabin, Lottie knew he was alive, but Taissa knew where to find him. They’re both connected to whatever’s going on. And as Simone Kessell’s adult Lottie cuts her hand over a similar altar in the present day, whatever “it” is seems primed to re-enter all of the adults’ lives.
Other thoughts from the hive:
🐝An excellent episode of music kicks off with a new version of the theme song and title credits covered by none other than the ’90s angst queen herself, Alanis Morissette! Reader, I screamed in all the best ways. The sequence also gave a pile of new imagery to unpack, so Tumblr sleuths, get at it!
🐝The Mazzy Star Nonstop Banger Award: As much as I want to give it to Alanis or even Evita, it’s gotta be “Angst in My Pants,” which perfectly capture the silly horniness of Misty and Walter’s courtship.
🐝Speaking of, Wood has certainly joined Ricci in delivering some top-tier line readings. “It’s pretty rare to have a friend who’s relentlessly got your back” and “I don’t care. No offence, because I’m sure it was a significant trauma” were perfect.
🐝Misty, skeptical of Walter’s earnestness: “So you just happen to love musicals? And it has nothing to do with me?”
🐝Apparently Lottie’s cult are terrible tippers. If I were a cult leader, a baseline tip of 18 percent or more would be one of my core teachings.
🐝In a ranking of scandalous things to find in your teenage daughter’s drawer, a condom comes just barely behind the scorched ID of the man you murdered.
🐝I live in Vancouver and love that Yellowjackets is filmed around here because it leads to my favourite TV-watching activity—pointing at somewhere and being like, “I bet I know where that it is.” This week, it was every dusty back highway that is almost certainly somewhere in rural Langley.
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.