A lot happened in “Yellowjackets” Season 1, so here’s a brief overview if you need a refresher before Season 2, which debuts on Showtime streaming on Friday, March 24. (Non-streaming customers can catch the premiere on Showtime on Sunday, March 26 at 9:00 p.m.)
The story takes place in two timelines: 1996, in which a private plane carrying a high school girls’ soccer team crashes in the wilderness, and 25 years later as a handful of adult survivors are forced to deal with their troubled past.
MASSIVE spoilers for Season 1 follow:
In flashbacks that take place after the events of Season 1 and before they are rescued 19 months after the crash, we see the teenagers wearing masks and making sacrifices to their veiled leader, who is wearing a crown of antlers. We see them chase an unknown girl through the snow to a pit full of stakes: The dead girl is then roasted on a spit and they feed on her. The only character we can identify with certainty in this cannibalistic group is Misty.
The 1996 Timeline
The Yellowjackets team that boards the ill-fated flight to nationals includes team captain Jackie, players Shauna, Taissa, Natalie, Van, Lottie, and Laura Lee and equipment manager Misty. Along for the flight are Coach Martinez and his two sons Travis and Javi, as well as assistant coach Ben Scott.
The plane crashes in the woods, instantly killing the pilot, several players and Coach Martinez. Ben’s leg is crushed and Misty, who is well-trained in first aid, expertly amputates his lower leg with an ax. The other survivors begin to rely on Misty, who has often been bullied by the team. When she finds the flight transponder, she smashes it to maintain her new elevated status in the group, which she fears she would lose if they were rescued.
Taissa and Van are among a group who set out to reach civilization. They have been secretly dating, a relationship that is revealed when Van is attacked by wolves and thought to have died. Van is left mauled, but alive. Taissa inexplicably ends up at the top of a tree in the first of several strange sleepwalking incidents.
The group gives up on efforts to find help and takes shelter in an abandoned cabin. When they discover a still-working small plane, Laura Lee convinces Ben, who is now the default adult in charge, to let her fly it to find help. The group looks on in horror as the plane catches on fire and explodes shortly after takeoff. The tragedy seems to have been predicted by Lottie, who we learn was prone to visions as a girl. As she runs out of her medication, Lottie begins having more visions and more of her teammates look to her for guidance.
Natalie and Travis pair off to hunt wild game and Shauna becomes good at skinning their catches, so they became valuable members of the group. Jackie, meanwhile, isn’t doing anything to aid in their survival and finds her popularity waning. Shauna realizes she is pregnant: Unbeknownst to her best friend Jackie, she was sleeping with Jackie’s boyfriend, Jeff.
With food running out and winter approaching, the girls decide to throw a “Doomcoming” party with what food they have left, homemade wine and their nicest clothes. They also make crowns for themselves, with Lottie choosing one made of antlers. Although they don’t know it, their meal is laced with hallucinogenic mushrooms that Misty picked. The entire group, except for Jackie, succumbs to mass hysteria that leads to Javi running off and nearly results in Travis being killed. During the party, Misty reveals her feelings for Ben, who finally tells her he is gay.
The truth about Shauna’s affair with Jeff comes out, with everyone taking her side against Jackie. After Jackie further angers the group by having sex with Travis, she leaves the safety of the cabin. They find her the next morning, frozen to death.
Lottie predicts, “We won’t be hungry much longer,” another prophecy that seems fulfilled when a bear calmly walks up to the cabin and lets her kill it.
25 Years Later
We learn that only a few survivors made it back alive, including Shauna, who is now married to Jeff; Natalie who is getting out of another stint in rehab; Taissa, who is campaigning to be a senator; Misty, who works at a nursing home; and Travis, who has long since cut ties with everyone else.
Natalie turns up at Misty’s house, wanting to know if she also received a blackmail demand for $50,000 on a postcard that bears the mysterious symbol they saw back in the woods. Misty and Taissa both received the same card, but Shauna did not. They all vowed to never talk about what they did to survive and are alarmed that someone seems to know their deepest secrets.
Natalie reluctantly lets Misty accompany her on her quest to find Travis. To their dismay, they find his body hanging in a barn. Nat believes he’s been murdered and amateur detective Misty vows to find out the truth, especially after they discover someone drained Travis’s bank account after his death.
Shauna suspects Jeff is having an affair and tracks him to a hotel where he is meeting a beautiful blond woman. When Adam, the man she met in a previous fender-bender, shows up at the hotel, Shauna decides to sleep with him to even the score. They begin an affair, but Shauna is troubled when he seems to know a lot about her past as a Yellowjacket. She confronts him, believing that he is the blackmailer, and accidentally stabs him to death. Shauna’s friends, including Misty, help her dispose of the body. We later learn that Jeff, who was not having an affair but was having money issues, was the one blackmailing the other Yellowjackets. They agree not to tell the others and let them continue to think Adam was to blame.
Taissa is happily married to wife Simone, with whom she has a son Sammy and a dog named Biscuit. Whether it’s the stress of her campaign or the blackmailing scheme, Taissa starts sleepwalking again. Even more disturbing, Sammy claims to have seen a woman staring at him from a tree outside his bedroom and then Biscuit goes missing. Taissa wins the election in a surprising upset. Could her victory be due to the gruesome altar Simone found in their basement? The one that has Biscuit’s severed head on it? A horrified Simone takes Sammy and leaves Taissa, who doesn’t seem to know about the altar. Or does she?
When Jessica, who claims she’s a reporter, approaches Misty to ask about “what really happened” with the group in the woods, Misty takes her hostage in her basement. After a few days, she finally agrees to let Jessica go and even hands her back her cigarettes, which are laced with fentanyl. Jessica realizes her mistake too late and dies behind the wheel of her car.
A despairing Natalie decides Travis probably did commit suicide and prepares to do the same. She’s holding a shotgun to her head in her hotel room when a group of people bursts in and abducts her. This plays out as we hear a message left for Natalie by her banker friend about Travis’s account: “Who the f–k is Lottie Matthews?”
“Yellowjackets” Season 2 premieres Friday, March 24, on the Showtime streaming site and airs Sunday, March 26, on Showtime. Episodes will drop weekly Fridays at 12:01 a.m. PT/ET each week ahead of their linear airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.