Warning: This article contains spoilers for Yellowjackets. Season one of your favorite survival-horror series left us on one hell of a cliffhanger and how Jackie died in Yellowjackets had everyone talking. It was so shocking that viewers speculated whether the team captain was actually dead and wondered if that meant Ella Purnell’s character would never be seen again.
“I think it is fair to question these things because one of the things the show is trying to do is play with the subjectivity of experience,” the show’s co-creator Bart Nickerson told Vulture. “So I do think it’s fair game to ask whether or not a thing you’re seeing is happening because there are ways that experience, like past and present and future, can be warped.” If you haven’t seen Yellowjackets, here’s what you’re in for. A talented girls’ soccer team survives when their plane from New Jersey to Seattle for a sports tournament, but their plane goes down somewhere over the Canadian wilderness and they’re left stranded for 19 months. Inspired by the classic 1954 novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Yellowjackets is “a shivery synthesis of folk horror, survival story and then-and-now mystery,” per the New York Times. Here’s how season one ended and how Jackie has come back for season two.
How did Jackie die in Yellowjackets?
How did Jackie die in Yellowjackets? By the conclusion of season one, Jackie and her best friend Shauna have had a falling out. After a mushroom-poisoned rave, Shauna banishes Jackie to the woods—keeping in mind this is the Canadian wilderness and things can get mighty chilly.
When Shauna awakes, she finds Jackie’s dead frozen body in the snow and as season two opens—two months after Jackie’s death—Shauna is clearly still riddled with guilt. Jackie’s corpse is stored with the rest of the meat and, while hunting, Shauna hallucinates having conversations with her dead friend. When their imaginary talks get heated, Shauna shoves Jackie and, considering Jackie’s frozen state, one of her ears falls off. Though she tries to stick it back on, she does something really shocking in the closing minutes of season two, episode one. Shauna eats Jackie’s ear.
“Shauna is dealing with so much guilt and self-recrimination from [Jackie’s death],” showrunner Jonathan Lisco told The Daily Beast. “She keeps playing it over and over in her head. So she goes into the meat shack to talk to Dead Jackie and Dead Jackie talks back to her. She is reliving things and trying to write a narrative in her head with both of them talking to in some ways process her guilt. But as we know and as we will see, things don’t go completely as planned.”
He continued, explaining the significance of the ear. “The ear is a very intimate body part in some ways,” Lisco said. “There’s almost an erotic quality to the ingestion of the ear. I think people, I hope, are really going to see that it was about their friendship. Shauna and Jackie loved each other. But Shauna is in Jackie’s shadow in a lot of ways. It’s one of those Relationships where you love the person, but also sometimes want to destroy that person. Other times you want to be that person. So what’s the next step? Consumption. So when she takes that ear, it’s both so Jackie can be a part of her forever, in a way. But also to just get it done.” Actor Sophie Nélisse, who plays the teenage Shauna in the show, told TVInsider of season two: “We want to live up to expectations and give [fans] the wildness, gruesomeness, and craziness they’re seeking.” Mission accomplished, huh?
The survival-thriller show debuted on November 14, 2021, and has since gained a ravenous (pardon the pun) cult following. Reviewing its first season, critic site Roger Ebert praised Yellowjackets, saying, “One of the strengths of the writing here is how distinctly the writers and performers sketch the characters, both as teenagers and adults. If there’s a lead, it’s probably Melanie Lynskey/Sophie Nélisse as Shauna Sheridan, who seems like the quiet girl on the team but takes a big secret into the crash (it’s debatable that a few too many secrets are taken into the crash in a way that seems manufactured but the character work is strong enough to forgive the manipulation),” Brian Tallerico observed.
The show was renewed for a second season in mid-December 2021 and just before season two was expected to hit screens, news broke Yellowjackets had already been renewed for a third. “With ‘Yellowjackets’’ runaway success in Season 1 and the pent-up anticipation for Season 2, we wanted to maximize the momentum by fast-tracking Season 3 now,” said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Showtime and Paramount Media Networks, per Variety. “The show’s ambition is only exceeded by its execution, and I thank the incredible creative team behind it, including Ashley, Bart, Jonathan, eOne and the Showtime team, for turning this into such a success.”
Yellowjackets is available to stream on Paramount+. Here’s how to watch it for free.
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