I’ve fought the intrusive impulse to begin this post with wasp emoji and “buzz buzz buzz” declarations, but I’m certainly thinking both, because the season-two finale of Yellowjackets is finally here. Showtime first debuted the part–psychological thriller, part–survival epic, part-bildungsroman series in 2021; for those of you who were too scared too watch it, it follows a champion New Jersey girls’ soccer team whose plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness on its way to a national tournament in 1996. The series is splintered into two timelines — the girls stranded as teens, hunting and butchering and separating buckets of pigs’ blood from menstrual blood and the survivors as women in the present-day, living regular-shmegular New Jersey lives while contending with blackmail and reckoning with the insistence of their past traumas. Season two takes place two months into the unforgiving wilderness winter, where food rations are low and the girlies are blood sacrificing and cannibalizing. Oh, and now ritually hunting on another!
In case you thought our favorite group of survivors were in deep shit at the end of last season, Yellowjackets has upped the ante. In the present-day timeline, the women are gathered at Lottie’s (Simone Kessell) purple-people cult, and some are feeling the feral pull of the wilderness as strongly as they did 25 years ago. Or maybe they’re all just plain feral. Our survivors weigh in on the question: “You know there’s no it, right? It was just us,” adult Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) pleads to the others in the woods, to which Lottie replies: “Is there a difference?”
If you can’t stomach the horror bits, here’s a spoiler-heavy guide to the most frightening (and disgusting) moments of each episode of the second season. This week’s finale episode, “Storytelling,” is a particularly nauseating one: While the adults consider some Russian-roulette tea, the teen girls reckon with the aftermath of last episode’s hunt. Buckle up, hive — it’s time for an Antler Queen coronation.
Season Two, Episode Nine: “Storytelling”
2:18 — Zombie: After the hunt, the girls carry Javi’s dead body on a stick back to the cabin, with “Zombie” by the Cranberries playing aptly in the back.
2:27 — Javi’s body: A clearer shot of Javi’s body. Travis is distraught, and so am I.
11:17 — Mise en place: The girls lay Javi’s body on a table outside and strip him down to be butchered.
13:01 — The first cut: Shauna makes the first incision into Javi’s neck.
19: 37 — Coach Ben: He’s always in the wrong place at the wrong cannibalistic time! He returns to the cabin to tell Natalie about Javi’s hideout, but spies Shauna dismembering the boy outside.
25:13 — Hot cocoa: Back in the adult timeline, Kevin drops dead after drinking the phenobarbital hot cocoa that Walter made while singing “Send in the Clowns.” It’s a clever callback to Jackie’s hot-cocoa death dream in season one.
26:56 — Suppertime: Shauna brings in butchered Javi-meat on a tray.
28:26 — Blood brothers?: Travis, in an act of consecration, bites into his brother’s raw heart, then panfries it.
29:58 — Eat up: At Misty’s insistence, Lottie takes a bite of her Javi chunks. RIP.
42:27 — The adult hunt: The adults are hunting Shauna, who’s drawn the queen card from the deck, through the woods. Everyone’s going feral until Callie shoots Lottie in the arm.
44:27 — Bone broth: Misty got her wish! The girls are making Javi bone broth by the fire and telling stories.
50:39 — Natalie: In the woods, adult Misty tries to stab Lisa with a lethal drug to protect Natalie. But Natalie intercepts, not wanting another innocent person to die in her place. I hope we get Juliette Lewis hallucinations next season, because I will miss her dearly.
Total gore: This episode was by far the most chilling — 12 out of 10!
Season Two, Episode Eight: “It Chooses”
1:53 — Taking the piss: It’s a rough episode for young Lottie, whose face is severely disfigured and possibly infected from Shauna’s beating. With the help of Misty and Mari, she pees blood into a bowl.
4:32 — Nugget’s corpse: I’m always saying pets don’t fare well on this show. Case in point: Akilah’s pet mouse, Nugget, has actually been dead for a while, and she’s just been playing with his dried-up corpse and giving it fantasies of the Jersey shore and salt-and-vinegar chips. Tragic!
13:07 — Good soup: While the girls make belt soup, Akilah tries to eat dead Nugget but can’t bring herself to bite down.
13:50 — The big drip: Mari keeps hearing dripping and hallucinates the cabin wall panels bleeding in a jump-scare moment.
16:56 — Adam and the cheese grater: Saracusa and Kevin Tan are questioning the Sadeckis, and show Jeff some gnarly photos of Adam’s chopped-up body parts, including the tattoo scraped off his torso—likely the work of a cheese grater. Look away.
29:30 — Jeff’s nightmare: The murder investigation is really getting to our dear himbo Jeff, who has a nightmare of Shauna coming home, slicing through his abdomen mid-makeout, and slitting his throat with her mechanical knife hands.
50:08 — The wilderness chose: Starving and desperate to get Lottie sustenance, the group decides to draw cards to decide who to eat. Natalie pulls the queen card and runs for it, and in an effort to guide her to safety, Javi falls through the ice. The girls — Natalie included — all allow him to drown in her place, saving his body only when it’s slack. If only he had stayed in his hideout …
Total Gore: 8 out of 10!
Season Two, Episode Seven: “Burial”
2:32 — Postpartum: The mood is especially somber after the death of Shauna’s baby. A trigger warning for infant loss: She’s still clinging to him here, but his remains are hidden in a blanket.
19:47 — Finish your plate: While Misty sends the team on a (doomed) search for Crystal in the snow, JV girlies Gen and Melissa decide it wouldn’t be the “worst” thing to find her dead. They have new appetites after all: “It would be disrespectful to the wilderness to waste it,” Melissa concludes.
20:13 — The baby blanket: Here, we get a fleeting shot of Shauna’s bloody baby blanket and a flashback to last episode’s hallucination of the team feasting on Shauna’s newborn.
32:15 — Jellyfish: Adult Misty is in the sensory-deprivation tank, seeing a flash of what she fears — jellyfish, for those of you who are cnidophobic.
46:46 — The Antler Queen psychiatrist: Adult Lottie is telling her suspicious psychiatrist how the reunion of the adult women is wonderful but also terrifying. They hurt each other before! People died! But the psychiatrist, who turns out to be a projection of the Antler Queen covered in locks of human hair and speaking in a distortion of Lottie’s own voice, thinks harm is fair game: “Does a hunt that has no violence feed anyone?”
54:14 — Let it out: A grieving Shauna punches Misty in the cabin, convinced she killed the baby and that the team ate him. Lottie steps forward (and also gets punched out) before inviting Shauna to “let it out” on her alone. It’s a grisly, disfiguring beating.
56:14 and 56:41 — Lottie’s face: Particularly unsettling shots of Lottie’s bloody face. Girl took one for the team.
Total Gore: 6 out of 10!
Season Two, Episode Six: “Qui”
14:07 — Laboring: Wilderness births are about as rough as you might expect. Misty is midwifing things along but gets squeamish for the first time ever when she sees Shauna’s blood on her hands — a sign things aren’t going well and a reminder of Crystal dead in the snow.
15:10 — Paging Coach Ben: After Misty steps aside from midwife duties, Nat asks Ben to swap in for him, but he nearly faints at the sight of Shauna’s very bloody rags and blankets.
16:20 — We hear the wilderness: Travis initiates a blood sacrifice for the safety of Shauna’s baby. Team Lottie joins in, slicing daggers through their hands and hair, and setting the blood and bits onto an animal skull. Exactly what you’d want to see while giving birth.
22:38: — Placenta birth: Those of you who couldn’t get through the birth video in eighth-grade health class, be warned: Akilah pulls out Shauna’s placenta here, which has arrived before the baby does.
46:10 — Gilly!: Pets don’t fare well on this series; you know this by now. In a twisted act of mercy, adult Natalie pulls Gilly out of his tank to kill him but slips him back in the tank at the last minute.
52:33 — The wilderness baby: In Shauna’s post-birth hallucination, her baby survives, and once he finally feeds, she catches all the Yellowjackets eating him alive. It’s not reality, but it’s pretty gruesome nonetheless.
Total Gore: 7 out of 10!
Season Two, Episode Five: “Two Truths and a Lie”
30:00 — Shitstorm: Crystal draws the worst card of the chore lot, which is, for now, throwing the Yellowjackets’ shit bucket off a snowy cliff. It’s nothing too graphic. We see the spillage from afar. And at least her bestie, Misty, is keeping her company!
32:53 — Crystal kicks the bucket: Scratch that. Misty accidentally kills Crystal, backing her off the cliff after admitting she broke the plane’s emergency transmitter after the crash. RIP, bestie.
47:05 — Stayin’ alive (or not): Well, we know why adult Misty hates the Bee Gees. Teen Misty attempts to revive Crystal with some “Stayin’ Alive” chest compressions, which only send blood pooling out of the late theater kid’s mouth.
47:27 — Frozen Crystal: The storm’s picking up, and we get a close-up, eerie shot of Crystal, open-eyed and slowly covered in snow, Jackie 2.0 style.
50:05 — Javi’s friend: Javi hasn’t spoken to anyone since coming back wrong, but when Coach Ben leafs through his drawings of branches, he finally does: “She told me not to come back,” Javi tells him. “My friend.” It’s a creepy moment and sure smells like a coming-back-wrong horror trope …
53:17 — Back to the wilderness: As adults, Van and Tai have reunited, and fugue state Tai wants to make out. Cute! She wants to maybe return to the wilderness?? Less cute. “This isn’t where we’re supposed to be,” Other Tai tells Van with menace.
55:28 — No return: At Camp Green Pine, adult Lottie digs into her memories of a cocaine-fueled night with Travis, when she overdosed and imagined the scene of the plane crash again — only this time without survivors but just burned bodies in their seats and a Juliette Lewis–looking Antler Queen milling about the wreckage.
Total Gore: 4 out of 10!
Season Two, Episode Four: “Old Wounds”
26:22 —A bloody hunt: In the 1996 timeline, Nat and Lottie are put to a hunting test in a war of practicality versus wilderness superstition. For good luck, Lottie drags a dagger along her palm and drips her blood on a makeshift altar. This probably doesn’t faze you anymore!
37:57 — Backwash, please: Adult Natalie steals back Lisa’s goldfish, Gilly, by swallowing him and spitting him into a water bottle. This is actually more sweet than gross, all things considered, but it’s still making my list. Pray for Gilly as we pray for Steve.
51:29 — Frostbite: Again, at this point, this probably doesn’t faze you, but a freezing Lottie returns from a fruitless hunt with her extremities freezing. Natalie helps her opponent into a tub of warm water, and we get a quick shot of her frostbitten, blue-black toes.
52:58 — Queens in the deck: Meanwhile, back at the cult, adult Lottie leafs through her acolytes’ “gratitude entries” when she comes across a wrinkled queen card with the eyes blacked out in pen. Ominous — if only a hallucination! Remember: The 1996 Yellowjackets have no queens in their deck.
54:19 — Present-day blood sacrifice: Adult Lottie might be leading a healing cult, but she’s not doing so hot between last week’s bloody bee hallucinations and this week’s queen vision. To appease the wilderness that seems to be communicating with her again, Lottie cuts into her palm with a dagger and pleads, “Can this just be enough?” Something tells me it won’t be.
Total Gore: 1 out of 10!
Season Two, Episode Three: “Digestif”
1:17 — Leftovers: Well, the girls ate and left no crumbs. This episode kicks off with a close-up of Jackie’s leftovers — specifically her hand, bloodied and chewed down to the bone.
2:49 — Need a hand? Here’s Jackie’s cannibalized one again.
3:11 — Jackie’s remains: Looking at Jackie’s full skeleton on the pyre without any Radiohead playing in the background is pretty sordid.
4:24 — A full-body hangover: Also sordid? Taissa doesn’t remember last night’s feast. It seems her fugue self was the one eating. So Van fills Tai in, explaining how she not only ate the former queen bee but ate her face. We get a quick flashback to the act. I’m happy the lighting makes it too dark to see.
8:23 — Headless chickens: A chicken beheading, specifically. Up at Lottie’s cult quarters, Nat finds Lisa stroking a chicken before laying it down on a stump and striking down the axe.
17:56 — Wishbone: Nat packs Jackie’s remains into a rucksack to take to the plane for a temporary resting place. Prepare for a shot of Jackie’s eaten arm and other red bone bits.
24:07 — Bone broth? Not a scary visual by any means, but as the girls prep for Shauna’s baby shower, Misty and Crystal commiserate about no one listening to Misty’s “broth idea,” i.e., Jackie-bone broth. “It would have been so good,” Misty says, before quickly qualifying “not, like, good good.” Still, she and Crystal decide that human meat isn’t “totally terrible.” A match made in heaven.
25:22 — The absentee: A skeeved out Coach Ben hallucinates one of the season’s unnamed JV characters frothing at the mouth, hungry for more human. Things can’t go well for Ben.
44:05 — Tai’s fugue self: Adult Taissa’s having a rough go, swallowing Adderall while looking in the bathroom mirror to keep her fugue self at bay. But the fugue self is in the mirror — and she’s telling Tai to go to Van! Anything to finally get some Lauren Ambrose here.
54:55 — Bloody honey: Present-day Lottie’s combing through the cult’s beehives and discovers one of the frames drenched with blood. It’s just a hallucination (so many of those this season!) but nonetheless, I’m warning you.
Total Gore: 3 out of 10!
Season Two, Episode Two: “Edible Complex”
3:40 — More ear(less) action: Back in the meat shed and inside Shauna’s hallucinations, an earless Jackie invites Shauna to braid her hair in order to mask said earlessness. It’s a minor moment of gnarliness. Later, Shauna does Jackie’s makeup! Very A Rose for Emily chic.
7:30 — A bit of butchering: Shauna is very pregnant and very hungry, and the taste of Jackie’s ear last episode leaves her wanting more. In the shed, Shauna rebuffs Jackie’s taunts about her hunger, telling her hallucination that Mari’s making dinner inside. But Jackie points out that herbal soup isn’t what Shauna’s hungry for before taking a dagger to her arm and cutting off a thick wedge of skin.
11:35 — The man with no eyes: Did you miss him? This slender man is back and here to haunt your nightmares. In a sleep fugue, Taissa follows the apparition into the snowy woods; he leads her to a tree with the symbol etched onto it.
32:33 — More bloodletting! If you’re squeamish, buckle up because blood is the least of your problems in this episode. Anyway, young Natalie cuts into her own leg so she can bloody a pair of Javi’s pants, forging evidence of his probable death so that Travis can end the wild brother goose chase.
36:20 — Travis’s accidental suicide: This week, the mystery surrounding Travis’s suicide is revealed in a flashback in which adult Travis, paranoid that the wilderness has come back for him, hangs himself from a crane in order to speak with it (apparently it communes with you during near-death experiences, and he agrees to let Lottie bring him back down with a button when he goes unconscious). Unfortunately, the buttons are broken.
37:35 — Paging Laura Lee: In the barn where Travis hangs himself, Lottie has her own ghost encounter with Laura Lee, whose face pales and horrifically disintegrates as soon as she emerges from the shadows. Very old-school thriller.
56:28 — The first cannibalism: Overnight, snow falls on Jackie’s funeral pyre, which roasts her instead of cremating her; the girls wake up to the smell of meat and go outside to investigate. The sight of her cooked body is unsettling but not as unsettling as what happens next: “She wants us to,” Shauna declares (Would she?) before taking the first bite — or the second, really, if you count last week’s earful. The scene of communal Jackie cannibalism is intercut with a mutual imagining of the girls in Grecian robes, feasting on chicken and berries and bread and wine in the verdant springtime. Somehow, the intercuts make it even grosser, and the relish with which Misty Quigley devours a watermelon will haunt my dreams. Consider me a vegetarian.
Total gore: 10 out of 10!
Season Two, Episode One: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”
5:05 — Light bloodletting: In the 1996 timeline, winter is in full force and there’s barely any game outdoors, but Natalie and Travis are still on the hunt. Before they leave the cabin, Lottie, who is in full shaman mode, pricks the blood from her finger and swirls it into a cup for both of them to drink. “It’s not like this Wiccan bullshit is doing us any good,” a skeptical Natalie remarks. To which Lottie replies, “Well, you keep coming back alive, don’t you?”
18:22 — Necro friendship! In the makeshift shed where the girls store meat, Shauna’s playing MASH with Jackie. But wait! Yeah, Jackie is still very much dead, and Shauna’s either grieving or, as Akilah puts it, going “full-on Norman Bates” with her body. At 22:09, Shauna shoves Jackie after a hallucinated argument and her frozen ear falls off. Shauna tries to stick it back on, but of course this doesn’t work, so naturally, she pockets it.
26:43 — The fox skeleton: Last season, Javi went missing while the rest of the older teens and Coach Ben had a drug-addled Doomscoming. He’s still missing in season two, and here, a panicked Travis sees a frozen Javi in the snow. But this gruesome bit is just a hallucination; it’s really a fox skeleton.
49:32 — Put a fork in it: Adult Nat, who is strapped to a bed at Lottie’s wilderness wellness cult, cons one of the members delivering her lunch to unstrap one of her ties so she can eat. But of course, Nat keeps her fork, and in an attempt to escape, stabs the member’s palm with the tines. Then—slowly— Nat pulls the fork back out. Kind of gory!
44:23 — Biscuit’s altar: I never wanted to see this again, so I’m warning you, you see it again here. Poor Biscuit. Prayers for Taissa’s new Yorkie, Steve!
57:22 — An earful: After pacing the room with Jackie’s defrosting ear, Shauna pops it into her mouth and swallows it as Tori Amos’s “Cornflake Girl” plays. “Things are getting kind of gross” is an apt lyric.
Total gore: 4 out of 10!
This post will be updated each week.