Season 1, Episode 10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”

Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, Tawny Cypress and Melanie Lynskey star in the Yellowjackets

Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, Tawny Cypress and Melanie Lynskey star Yellowjackets
Photo: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

[Ed. note: Showtime released the Yellowjackets finale Sunday at 12 a.m. ET via streaming.]

When many Yellowjackets fans (including myself) heard that this series was intended as a multi-season story and the mysteries would not be nicely completed by episode 10, we raised a skeptical eyebrow. But it has been proven that we are wrong. Now in the season finale, there seems to be plenty of material to keep this story going, and the first winter has not only just hit the wilderness.

And thank goodness season two is underway. Had this been the note that Yellowjackets had concluded on, I would have had to have led the comment section in a protest march on, because it is not the big crescendo we were hoping for, but it manages to put together some exciting new proposals for season two.

Today, the women have come together to help get rid of Adam’s body. I’ve said it once and I’ve said it again, Misty is a psychopath but she’s a good friend. She picks up the cleaning supplies from her job (12% of the killers are caught buying cleaning supplies, you do not know) and gets started – thankfully without witnesses and security cameras. “We’re just destroying evidence!” Misty says cheerfully with one of Christina Ricci’s incomparable scary laughs. Unfortunately for Shauna, since she’s the one with the knife skills, it’s up to her to cut her lover’s body to pieces. It’s a sweet moment when Nat looks at her, realizes how difficult a suggestion it is, and assures her, “I have to help you.”

While sawing off his head and hands so that Misty can ingeniously sneak into a recently abandoned patient’s coffin (good friend, but a terrible nurse), Nat and Shauna bond further, though Shauna thinks Travis probably just died of suicide. Melanie Lynskey’s reluctance as an actress makes many of her most devastating remarks hit harder. Covered in blood, she clearly says, “What if the truth is that we are all just fucked in the head by what happened to us?” It’s a moment that makes everything that happens in the desert increasingly depressing. That those girls fought and starved and survived only to get to a place where a death by suicide seems to be a perfectly reasonable option.

The reunion finally comes, and Taissa, Nat and Shauna arrive walking in slow motion, as a more angular version of the plastic. Misty quickly rushes in to walk in with them, and grateful for her body-disposing expertise, they all seem to welcome it. Frustratingly enough, despite the many episodes built up for the reunion, no new adult Yellowjackets are introduced. When the party ends, despite having re-established the connection between Shauna and Jeff, it comes as a huge downturn.

Although Misty is excited about how the evening is going, it turns out to be an annoying red herring as a viewer. Misty and Jessica, PI, make a deal, and Misty agrees to let her go, even kindly returning her cigarettes to her, even though they are a “terrible habit.” But just like in their first interaction, Jessica underestimates Misty, and a few breaths in her car later collapse, presumably death thanks to a few well-placed injections of fentanyl. Goodbye, Jessica – sad that we could not get more from Rekha Sharma in season two, but it’s always good to appreciate what Misty is capable of.

In the desert, the Yellowjackets have to confront just what Misty is capable of as well. The girls wake up dazed, scattered on the ground, as if they have fallen out of a plane, some of them having to resort to almost murdering Travis, and are initially unaware of what happened to them. It does not take long to get the truth out of Misty that ‘mushrooms meant to poison the coach were in the pot. That seems to be a significant consolation to Shauna, a reasonable explanation for why they behaved like a pack of wolves, but Jackie remains furious.

Sophie Nelisse and Ella Purnell in the Yellowjackets

Sophie Nelisse and Ella Purnell in the Yellowjackets
Photo: Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

Lottie seems untouched by this information, and clearly feels that the mushrooms were only a vessel to connect with something real. When a bear shows up behind her, she calmly takes a knife and throws it into its skull, rescuing them all, presumably providing plenty of food as well as the fur clothes and mask that Misty wore in the premiere episode.

But there are things that can not be left unsaid either. And when Lottie pushed Jackie into the closet in episode nine and hissed “You mean nothing more!”, She meant it. Jackie, who is still under the illusion that she has the same power as she did when she strode down the hallways of high school, confronts Shauna in front of the group. “Shauna was fucking Jeff!” she shouts and plays it like a trump card, as if it would somehow evoke great sympathy for a group that has seen half of their friends die horribly.

Shauna, a pregnant teenage survivor of a plane crash who just filleted a bear and nearly murdered a guy while on mushrooms, has finally had enough of Jackie’s shit. A wonderfully furious performance from Sophie Nélisse as she shouts back about the way Jackie has always treated her like a sidekick. “I do not even like football!” She lands the ultimate insult with confidence: “High school was the best your life would ever get.”

The Yellowjackets clearly favor Shauna, and Jackie’s attempt to get her thrown out fails. Instead, it is Jackie who finds herself out in the cold alone, with no one but herself to blame. High school is really over.

And finally we have it. What really happened to Jackie is solved. She dreams of being accepted by her friends, but it’s just a sad final delusion. After failing to light a fire and being too proud to get inside, she curls up on the cold damp ground alone. The next morning Shauna wakes up and a fresh blanket of snow lies on the ground. Shauna runs out, but it’s too late. Jackie is stiff and blue, frozen to death at night. It may not be the spectacular death many of us were waiting for, but the traumatic effect on Shauna is palpable, and it feels like a sincere source of her alienated numbness 25 years later. Much like Nat with her father, Shauna technically did not murder Jackie, but came close enough that guilt would haunt her, as she actually had.

And even though we technically do not get a new Yellowjacket, one is suggested. Night is kidnapped at night by a group loyal to Lottie. Are they the ones who killed Travis? Is Lottie alive, or are they worshiping a dead teenager? What do they want with Nat? Come with season two, I say.

Roaming observations

  • Taissa won the election! A twist most of us could see coming a mile away. I hope it came down to Misty’s single voice.
  • More surprisingly, Simone finds a small shrine in their basement that contains the head of their deceased dog. How this relates to everything is anyone’s guess, as much of what goes on with Shauna seems to date before the plane crash.
  • Van and Misty kneel down behind Lottie in the snow. I also see Shauna and Taissa being lured over at some point. They said that Nat saves them from something.
  • Travis may be dead, but he’s still my least favorite man on the show (yes, worse than Randy or the guy without eyes). Night saved his life, and he still mocked her with how he “was laid.” I do not care if he is traumatized by his father’s death, he is still the absolute worst.
  • Was the world’s most suspicious man just a nice normal guy?!? Adam is in the news after being reported missing, suggesting he was at least an artist named Adam. So much for all our theories. Sometimes in life, a manic pixie dream boy without an internet presence finds it nice that you back up their car and yell at them; begins to randomly appear in places you are; lies about their background; buys books about you and pretends you do not know who you are and … is just a nice guy. Go figure.
  • Thank you all for all these theories. I think the comment section in these summaries has been some of the most interesting TV discussions on the internet. Once someone said I was “like Misty”, but I will take that as a compliment.

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