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‘Yellowjackets’ S2E8 review: The hunger, the horrors, and the choices to be made

“It Chooses,” the penultimate episode of season two foreshadows tough decisions to be made and tragedy to be had.

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of Yellowjackets’ season two penultimate episode, “It Chooses,” I first want to talk about many of the audio and visual cues throughout. Now, we’ve seen instances of television static and specific camera flair in the opening credits and Ben’s hallucinations when thinking about the life he could have had with Paul. It’s even more pronounced in the cabin during “Burial,” where Ben almost takes his own life. In “It Chooses,” the phenomenon happens extensively among many survivors. This is just some of the few that I noticed:

  • Akilah sees that her mouse is alive when it’s been dead to the bone for a while.
  • Younger Tai starts to see “the other” again in the window, but then sees it take the place of Van.
  • While incapacitated, Lottie has visions of what will happen in the latter half of the episode.
  • Travis looks at Natalie and Javi, talking with flair, and later apologizes to her.
  • When Natalie goes to escape from the group, she talks to Javi about going to a place that nobody knows about.
  • Mari “dripping” hallucination comes to a halt when she sees blood running down the walls.

With all of this, there’s a quick flash of someone wearing a horse’s head and Travis looking terrified while having something in his mouth during the botched sacrificial ceremony. It could be attributed to what younger Van says to Mari, stating it’s the hunger. Who could blame them for being hungry? – they are down to using Jackie’s belt as a source of protein for the stew. That being said, there’s a shared experience everybody is experiencing that is leading them down a dark path (hell, look at what happened at the end of the episode).

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

However, we’re only scratching the surface of how bad it will get in the 1996 timeline. Younger Tai’s progress in keeping her other self in check has come undone. Now (with another seemingly beeping tracker), she’s in tune with the wilderness and, perhaps, Lottie. Shauna is wholly exhausted and depleted after her Lottie beatdown and losing her baby. She brings Lottie a blanket in the attic and agrees with the ensemble that they don’t want to be in the wilderness without Lottie being alive.

This is interesting because Shauna was a staunch skeptic of Lottie’s influence – given her sacrifice, it seems Shauna has come out on the other side. She drinks the cool-aid. The only person still on the outs is young Natalie – which is funny considering how’s she the opposite in the present day. In her brief discussion with Ben, Natalie states she would be ok with Lottie dying because of the weird control. Even with Ben retorting, saying Nat could be jealous, the conversation bares more fruit about Javi and bowing to a particular tree.

Throughout this season, Ben has been in his plane of existence, envisioning the life he could have had. It makes sense for him to sneak out and seek the secret hot spring cave with the special marking. Ben, after all, had Javi speak to him and saw the picture of the location. The place Ben discovers has a collection of bones and evidence that somebody started a fire. Is that the secret hiding place Javi went to all that time, and if so, has somebody else been living there? As things deteriorate, I feel this will come into play when the groups start to separate.

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

So, there are the past and present iterations of Lottie. It’s noticeable that while the group quarrels about the blackmailing, murders, and all the other events, she is notably absent from the conversation until the very end. Lottie is exiled to the attic during the 1996 timeline because she’s near death. Even in her absence, her presence is driving everything. Young Misty becomes her second-in-command message just through osmosis – knocking Mari down a peg. It’s a position that Misty has desired since she disposed of the black box. The same dynamic in the present day still stands – Misty is the self-proclaimed “fixer,” and towards the end, Lottie is the one who says they have to make a sacrifice.

Regarding the wilderness or this darkness, Lottie mentioned in the previous episode that it doesn’t make deals – instead, it listens and gives them what they want. This theme of sacrifice is present in the 1996 timeline, where the group draws cards to see who will die to save Lottie. It’s funny that this duty falls to Natalie, given her opposition to what Lottie embodies. Also, the group is taking this action of their own volition – they think this is the way to spare someone. Unfortunately, it resulted in Javi dying, and who knows how Travis will react to the news? Also, how much of this animalistic behavior is because of the whims of the wilderness or just an excuse for the survivors to act this way?

With the hysteria Lottie operates in the present, she is convinced that all the survivors were brought to the compound for a reason. That something on the inside is the driver and not of circumstance. “It Chooses” leaves us off on a cliffhanger in the present, given the Jonestown Tea concoction the survivors may drink to do this.

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Is it possible Lottie is acting out of her psychosis and making a mistake? I think that’s the most likable conclusion. There are some supernatural things at work, but how much is due to overall trauma? As Natalie and Taissa say, they’ve been through some stuff. Anytime you are forced to eat a friend to survive, it will leave a mark. Their lives since the rescue hasn’t been precisely joyful either. With all the revelations about the blackmail, the Adam murder, and the spying on each other – you have to think that this group is close because of what happened and not so much that they like each other. (This is except Van and Taissa).

What would Misty have to do if it wasn’t being the investigative serial killer for the group? We see what happened with Shauna’s family when she desired to escape her mundane existence. The main question is can they contribute the state of their lives to a curse or an entity at play, or is it due to this horrific experience? The show seems to take the middle when it comes to this.

In regards to Adam’s murder, there is one thing Misty’s preciseness hasn’t accounted for, and that is Walter. It’s funny that when she finally is vulnerable in how she feels about him, he’s all in on solving this case with the information he has. Is he returning to the compound, and how will Misty react to it? Pulling Shauna away from Adam and Callie gives them a bit more character development, not being under her thumb. Callie is in accomplish mode so deep that it takes Matt’s nasty words to shake her out of it.

Jeff has his fears about who he’s married – he’s read the journals and knows Shauna has serious issues. It’s what attracts him to his wife in the first place, but also the same thing he’s scared about. What happened in the wilderness is begetting a cycle engulfing everybody around it. It was nice to hear Jeff tell Callie, “This isn’t your burden to carry.” I don’t know where Sammy is, but I surmise he’s in a better place than being with Taissa at the moment.

Somebody is not making it to season three – whether because of death or being locked up in prison. This string of Yellowjackets episodes feels like a reckoning is coming, albeit sometimes confusing. You hope that the choices made aren’t because of something imaginary.

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