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 Yellowjackets is finally back for season two. 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 picks up two months into the unforgiving wilderness winter, where food rations are low and the girlies are blood sacrificing.
At the end of season one, we left our favorite group of survivors in deep shit: in the present-day timeline, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) stabbed the artist with whom she was having an affair and enlisted her teammates to help cut up and dispose the body, but he was reported missing anyway, so oops. Taissa (Tawny Cypress) won her race for the New Jersey state senate, but her wife uncovered the blood altar where she keeps the severed head of the family’s dog, Biscuit (R.I.P.). Misty (Christina Ricci) killed a probing journalist with a fentanyl-laced cigarette, while Natalie (Juliette Lewis) was kidnapped out of a suicide attempt by a bunch of purple-clad Lottie Matthews devotees. Meanwhile, in the 1996 timeline, the girls freeze out team captain Jackie after a fight only to discover her outside, literally frozen to death as winter begins.
If you’re already nauseated or 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. First spoiler alert: This week’s episode, “Edible Complex,” ends with some straight-up stomach-turning cannibalism. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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 Ii: 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!
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!
This post will be updated each week.