“I think shit is going to get a lot worse out here.”
Nat (Sophie Thatcher) says this aloud to what remains of Jackie’s body the day after the starving survivors of the plane crash descend upon her charred corpse. She’s not wrong; all signs point to mounting tension and catastrophe for the group. Episode three of “Yellowjackets” Season 2, “Digestif,” grapples with the psychological fallout of their cannibalism as it’s compounded by peculiar events that suggest the land’s power grows in supernatural strength.
Unreliable reality pervades this episode for many of its central players. At the forefront of this theme is Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), who struggles the most with the feast upon Jackie’s barbecued body. She has no memory of the act, and her visceral repulsion at the idea of partaking in cannibalism concerns Van (Liv Hewson). The teens decide to rally with a distraction in the form of a baby shower for Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), who’s retreated into an aloof, shocked state. Preoccupied with attempts at revelry, no one notices something amiss with Coach Ben (Steven Krueger), the lone resistor to the enticing smell of burnt flesh.
Ben refused to partake in cannibalism, but heartbreaking flashbacks and present hallucinations indicate the final dam blocking complete anarchy may break soon. As Ben’s neurological state erodes from starvation, he dwells on memories of Paul (François Arnaud), the boyfriend he left behind. It’s even more devastating when Ben internally rewrites his past in favor of happier daydreams, keeping him blissfully unaware of his rapid deterioration.
The coach isn’t the only one suffering from hallucinations. In the present, Taissa (Tawny Cypress) can’t keep it together, even as Simone (Rukiya Bernard) lies in a hospital bed. It’s her story, both past and present, that marks the most dramatic shift toward the supernatural. Taissa seems most affected by the mysterious man with no eyes, an enigmatic presence that might be reducing Tai to a passenger in her own body. Taissa may bear the brunt of the unreliable realities plaguing everyone, but she’s hardly alone.
“Digestif” takes huge strides toward madness and completely unravels a delicate community balance. Sanity is slipping for many. In the past, survival and harsh elements so far removed from civilization left the Yellowjackets barely hanging on. The present demonstrates that their collective traumas only grew with the passage of time.
That culminates in one powerhouse monologue by Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) in an already riveting episode. As Shauna holds someone at gunpoint, her terrifying speech of bloodthirsty acts induces chills as it reveals so much about her broken psyche while teasing what’s still to come for the teens in the past. “Yellowjackets” continues its thrilling showcase of high caliber acting talent, and Lynskey’s monologue this episode is a showstopper.
Episode three offers compelling forward momentum for many characters and a few overarching subplots, but it also marks a pivotal moment for a few characters. “Digestif” underscores the crucial turning point marked by episode two’s act of cannibalism. It’s demonstrative in the toll it mentally took and still takes upon those who ate Jackie. More importantly, episode three’s focus on Ben, the girl’s only remaining authority figure, sets up ruinous consequences for their future in the wilderness. We know it’s coming, but that doesn’t make it any less compelling or painful.
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