Well, it happened.
The Wiskayok High School Yellowjackets have officially cannonballed into cannibalism, feasting on their fallen pal, Jackie (Ella Purnell), after she was barbecued, nay, slow-roasted and smoked on her own funeral pyre.
In Season 2, episode 2, “Edible Complex,” the entire ravenous team excepting Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) emerge from their fireside slumber to the long-missed wafts of cooked meat infiltrating their cabin in the woods. Outside, they find Jackie steaming and well-done after a fateful snow drift alters her cremation. And in one of Yellowjackets‘ most intense sequences, cutting between reality and a surreal Dionysian banquet, the Yellowjackets tear their friend to pieces to the bleak sounds of Radiohead’s “Climbing Up the Walls.”
It’s this scene that’ll be in the back of your mind if you rewatch one scene from Season 1, episode 1, set before the plane crash.
Attending a party the night before they’re set to depart for Nationals as the state champions, some of the Yellowjackets are seething. Earlier, Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) had taken her competitive nature out on freshman Allie during a training match — if you’ve forgotten that juicy compound fracture, allow me to reopen that wounded memory.
Credit: Paul Sarkis / Showtime
A tense confrontation between Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) and Taissa leads to an argument. Natalie (Sophie Thatcher), Van (Liv Hewson), Lottie (Courtney Eaton), and Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) join in and start throwing insults at each other. Jumping in as the team captain she is, Jackie drags her teammates to a private spot away from the party, trying to mediate.
“We’re about to go to Nationals, and based on what I’m looking at right now, we might as well not even bother getting on that plane,” says Jackie. In hindsight, maybe she should have let them have it out at the party.
In the copse, Jackie requests that her Yellowjackets line up, then, one by one, they’re asked to “say one nice, true thing about every other girl on this team.” Laura Lee’s generic, faith-driven compliments fall flat, but Jackie pulls deeply thoughtful compliments for her friends out of nowhere.
“Taissa Turner, you have more fight in you than anyone I’ve ever known. I’m inspired by your determination. Vanessa Palmer, your smile makes me feel happy every time I see it. Laura Lee, I truly admire your faith. Nat, I love that you don’t care what anybody thinks, you’re so completely yourself.”
Credit: Paul Sarkis / Showtime
Eventually, the other girls cooperate, saying lovely things about each other and causing Shauna and Taissa to make amends.
Finally, Jackie does Shauna.
“Shauna Shipman, you are a terrible dancer and you have seriously questionable taste in music and you can’t hold your liquor for shit. But you’re the only one who’s always been there for me. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had.”
It’s extremely odd rewatching this scene knowing that these girls Jackie is praising, including her best friend, will make a literal meal of her. You just never know whether the pals you’re complimenting today will be gorging themselves on your spleen tomorrow.
Yellowjackets Season 2 is streaming on Showtime, with new episodes streaming weekly on Fridays. Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.