‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2, Episode 5 recap: Bestie, we hardly knew ye

Our adult survivors start to come together, and a winter storm rocks the cabin

Now we’re getting somewhere! After a slow couple of episodes of scene-setting, “Two Truths and a Lie” bring Yellowjackets right back to the stuff we love, namely: murder, teen-girl emotions, spooky forest stuff and Christina Ricci one-liners. 

After last week’s big reveal of Lauren Ambrose as adult Van, the episode opens with some pitch-perfect scene-setting about the life Van lives, including a pile of past-due bills, a donut for breakfast, and a wholesome relationship educating the local queers on great cinema (Party Girl and The Watermelon Woman are recommendations, while Welcome to the Dollhouse is pretty prominent on a nearby shelf). Honestly, if I’d had a video store like that maybe I would’ve figured out I was gay sooner. We have to stan a queer elder with taste!

Taissa (Tawny Cypress) arrives, collapses and, it turns out, also stanning a certain queer elder. After a shower and fresh clothes, the pair flirt over the sexy pen Taissa took from the trucker and reminisce about Shauna’s wedding (meaning their falling out happened a lot later in life that I at least thought). They share a kiss … though not all is what it seems. 

“Oh, you’re the other one aren’t you?” Van asks, as Taissa pulls back with a very creepy look. And the other Taissa—whoever she is and whatever she wants—responds in equally creepy fashion: “This isn’t where we’re supposed to be.”

Lauren Ambrose as Van did not disappoint.

Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Cool! Normal! Not spooky at all!! But in all seriousness, that points straight toward our adult survivors coming together, which is refreshing after a few episodes of set-up. I want to see all six of these stellar actresses on screen together, and it finally feels like that’s on the horizon. 

Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) remains secluded in her own storyline, evading the cops. Callie is still hanging around with Saracusa, not realizing that he has ulterior motives hiding under that mullet, and the pair go bowling together. 

Side note: I wrote last week about my delight as someone who lives in Vancouver in spotting Vancouver locations in the show, as is often the case with stuff filmed here. And not only does my favourite local bowling alley, Grandview Lanes make an appearance, so does one of my favourite local punk bands Necking, who are spotted playing their song “Big Mouth” in the bowling alley! If you’re a fan of riot-grrrly punk jams, definitely check out the rest of their discography. We love to see productions utilizing local talent!

 

Anyway, Callie figures out who Saracusa is and comes clean to Shauna and Jeff, who construct an elaborate (and hilarious) coverup to make it look like Shauna was sleeping with Randy. But when Randy can’t get it up to jerk off into a condom as evidence, and substitutes lotion instead, Saracusa and Kevyn figure it out. 

After a hilarious game of “two truths and a lie” with Walter (Elijah Wood)—where we learn she does not like monkeys!—Misty (Christina Ricci) arrives at Camp Green Pine intent on rescuing Nat, only to realize the latter is staying with Lottie by choice. “She runs a place here and she’s helping me reflect or whatever,” Nat says somewhat unconvincingly. But later on she does just that, as Lottie guides Nat through some sort of hypnosis/meditation. She recalls her own near-death experience and confronting the darkness after an overdose when she was with Travis and ends up falling into Lottie’s lap—though interestingly it’s the younger Nat with the older Lottie that we see. 

Just gals being pals in the woods.

Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Ultimately, Misty’s not convinced that Nat can just be left there. After Walter confronts her about her involvement with Adam—wrongly suggesting she was the one to murder him—she makes him leave and turns around to commit to Lottie and the cult. And that makes half the team back together halfway through the season! I have a feeling Van/Tai and Shauna will be on their way.

It’s actually a big episode for Misty in both past and present, as she leans even harder into her burgeoning friendship—or should I say, “bestieship”—with Crystal. When she volunteers to join Crystal on toilet-bucket-dumping duty, the two start to exchange secrets, where we hilariously learn that her name isn’t even Crystal, it’s Kristen, and she wanted the others to like her so she just went along with it when they got her name wrong! (Also, she really liked the nickname the team bestowed upon her: “Crystal the Pistol.) Misty continues to be someone empowered by the acknowledgement of others, and as soon as an eager, almost hungry, twinkle enters her eye, we know what comes next. 

She confesses to Kristen that she destroyed the plane’s black box after the crash, and expects the same sort of supportive response. But stranding all of your friends in the wilderness is a lot different than faking your name! And Kristen’s reaction immediately makes Misty regret her mistake. After bumbling through pretending it was a joke—“You’re not that good of an actress,” Kristen says—Misty confronts her right to the edge of the cliff … and she falls to her death! 

I’ll admit I cheered. Is that bad? Does that make me like Misty? But the show has been spinning its wheels for a few episodes and now we’re back to the high stakes and I love it! Obviously Misty doesn’t come clean to the group about what happened, arriving back to the cabin in the middle of a storm crying about how she got separated from Crystal/Kristen. But we know what happened, and Misty knows what happened and I have a creeping suspicion something will be revealed.

What is this, “Frozen”? Regardless, they are not letting it go.

Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Also out in the storm are Shauna and Taissa, who fight about Taissa’s involvement with Lottie’s mysticism. The general nature woo has evolved into a morning circle, where the team does what basically looks like therapy mindfulness with Lottie leading—lots of feeling the wind, feeling each other, feeling connected to nature, etc. Van had pushed Taissa to start going, and she hasn’t sleepwalked since. Shauna however, remains a skeptic, particularly with Lottie’s insistence on talking to her baby—“Having a bunch of psychos praying for me in some weird fucking tree cult isn’t making my life any easier.”

As we learn more about what Lottie and her believers are doing in the woods, I continue to appreciate the general ambiguity as to how much is actually supernatural and how much is just their own creation. The nonsense therapy speak of “feeling the wind” and “feeling each other” is giving mindfulness circle in a really familiar way, and while the big answer may still end up being a supernatural boogeyman, Yellowjackets is at its strongest when everything remains explainable, if also a reveal of the darkness of humanity (see also: Jackie’s death). Sometimes you get stranded in the woods and one person (Misty) decides to do a very bad thing (destroying the black box) and keep you there, and then that leads everyone down a path of bad decisions and darkness. 

As the storm picks up, Shauna doubles over as she goes into labour. The pair make it back to the cabin (perhaps thanks to the nature connection of the team), but he—meaning the baby—is arriving just as the wilderness is in the present day. 

Other thoughts from the hive:

🐝Javi speaks! After silence for most of the episode, Javi is mostly just seen making some creepy drawings. But when Coach Ben asks where he’s been, he finally says, “She told me not to come back,” which is once again not creepy or spooky or unsettling at all! 

🐝There’s been some online chatter in recent weeks about the show’s use of modern-day vernacular in its writing of the ’90s storylines, and both my partner and I was thrown off by the repeated use of “bestie” between Misty and Crystal/Kristen. But it turns out the term dates back to the early ’90s—who knew!

🐝Misty gives “I do not like monkeys, I think we’re asking the wrong questions about the moon landing …” as two of her three truths to Walter and I simply must know what the last one is!

🐝If you’re wondering what my household wants out of this show, as Callie realized who Saracusa is, my partner leaned over and pleasantly said, “I hope she kills this man.”

🐝The Mazzy Star Nonstop Banger Award: Big shout-out to local pals Necking, but this episode starts with “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes and ends with “Mother” by Danzig—a double dose of nonstop bangers!! Once again, no misses!

🐝Some great one-liners this episode:

Walter to Misty: “You’re charming and impulsive, two traits of most serial killers.”

Shauna as Randy goes to jerk off into the condom: “Don’t you dare think about me.”

Van: “I’m mixing my pop culture metaphors because I’m fucking upset.” Girl, same. 

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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