DISCLAIMER: This recap of Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 9, “Storytelling,” contains major spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back to The Wilderness, acolytes. “Storytelling” marks the season finale of Yellowjackets, and folks, it’s a mixed bag for me. It boasts stellar performances across the board, a kickass soundtrack and a few plot twists that land successfully. Plus, I need more of Walter and Jeff in Season 3.
It’s the swan song for Natalie Scatorccio, and I’m not a happy camper. Nat, you deserved better than this. I’m all for a well-written character death, but this feels too soon and, upon rewatching, kinda corny. Nat had so much more to give. She was a recovering addict who was clean and suicidal. However, after Lottie rescued her, she decided to live. Side note: I like the parallel of teen Nat trying to save Ben in The Wilderness while adult Nat attempts to protect Lisa from the hunt.
Hell, Nat even wanted to talk about the Yellowjackets’ trauma. She still didn’t have answers regarding Travis’s death. We might never learn the truth now. Let’s face it: Lottie’s an unreliable narrator. It’s all a bit sloppy. And Kevyn dying on the same night as Nat in the same place! That can’t be for nothing. I was hoping Matt would be the one to go. Besides all that, “Storytelling” is a serviceable outing.
Ready to delve into “Storytelling”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and the other teens carrying Javi’s body (Luciano Leroux) back to the cabin. Admittedly, how he’s tied to the long branch looks like they’re about to roast him on a spit. The Cranberries’ “Zombie” plays, and, once again, Yellowjackets sticks the musical moment landing. Travis (Kevin Alves) paces on the porch. He’s relieved Nat’s alive but instantly breaks down when he discovers Javi’s dead. His worst fear came true. My heart.
Meanwhile, in the present, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) tells Lottie (Simone Kessell), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Nat (Juliette Lewis), Misty (Christina Ricci) and Van (Lauren Ambrose) that she believes they should ditch the phenobarbital solution and opt for the hunt. They should offer themselves to The Wilderness as they used to back then, with each Yellowjacket selecting a card until someone draws the Queen of Hearts. Lottie thanks Shauna and embraces her. Shauna shoots Tai a look that says, “I know this is f*cked up, but just play along.” The group encourages Lottie to ensure none of her acolytes inadvertently stumble upon their ritual.
After Lottie departs, Shauna and the crew brainstorm their next move. They must placate Lottie and entertain her outlandish desires until a crisis team arrives. She must return to a mental health facility for her safety and theirs. Misty offers to call Lottie’s physician. Nat claims everyone except Lottie has “gotten over” their Wilderness trauma. Sure, Jan. You’re all on the struggle bus, and that’s perfectly understandable.
Next, teen Misty (Samantha Hanratty) informs Lottie (Courtney Eaton) about the cabin’s plan to consume Javi. Lottie looks somewhat better as she still convalesces. Oh, and she’s not a fan of the group hunting each other for survival. Lottie wouldn’t risk a child dying on her watch. However, Misty insists that Lottie “started this,” so she better sit silently while Shauna goes all butcher on Javi’s body. Misty is one of Lottie’s most ardent acolytes (along with Van), so her reaction is expected. Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) heads outside to chop up Javi for consumption. Tai (Jasmin Savoy Brown), Nat and Van (Liv Hewson) accompany her.
Shauna finds Travis cradling his little brother’s body and sobbing. You can see the empathy in her eyes. If anyone understands what it’s like to lose someone out there, it’s Shauna. Travis steps aside so Shauna can get to work. Shauna struggles to pierce Javi’s skin. This is the first time she’s carved up a human body. If you recall, Jackie cooked over the fire. Tai, Nat and Van get emotional. Despite their overwhelming hunger and malnourishment, Javi’s death, an innocent boy, clearly affects them. Shauna pulls her cap over her eyes and makes the first cut. Then, she orders everyone to go inside.
Next, Misty breaks into Lottie’s office and recovers her phone. She also finds a prescription from Lottie’s doctor. As she prepares to call said doctor, Misty hears someone enter. Thankfully, it’s only Walter (Elijah Wood). Her boyfriend! Meanwhile, Tai and Van make masks for their hunt that night. Van tries to persuade Tai to call off the crisis team. She feels they can help Lottie themselves. Van also supports Lottie’s theory that they’ve all felt “It” at some point. Plus, they made a pact to protect each other. I’m assuming this means they rigged the cards in their favor during the subsequent hunts in The Wilderness. Zealot Van has come out to play again. Being around Lottie elicits this out of her.
Nat burns a Queen of Hearts card and scratches out its eyes while Shauna dulls all the knife blades. These two still plan on playing along with Lottie while waiting for the crisis team. Jeff (Warren Kole) and Callie (Sarah Desjardins) head to Lottie’s compound to reunite with Shauna. Naturally, Kevyn (Alex Wyndham) and Matt (John Reynolds) follow them. Nat encourages Lisa (Nicole Maines) to leave the compound. Pack up your sh*t and go, girl. Nat doesn’t explain why Lisa should leave, only that she deserves to live a normal life. Aw, Nat’s trying to protect her.
Later, Ben (Steven Krueger) walks back to the cabin. He finds Shauna chopping up Javi’s body. It’s a bloody mess. Nat approaches Ben from behind with an armful of branches. Ben reveals he found Javi’s symbol tree. He encourages her to join him there. They can survive the winter. Ben reminds Nat that she’s not like the other teens. Nat confesses she let Javi die to appease The Wilderness. She tells Ben he doesn’t belong there. My guess is she’s trying to warn him to steer clear of the cabin lest he winds up a “sacrifice.”
Meanwhile, Van talks to Travis about Javi. He insists the girls should feel shame for what they did. Javi didn’t deserve to die, nor did Nat deserve to be hunted. I’m assuming Van told Travis about the specifics of Javi’s death. She claims she doesn’t feel remorse for surviving. In the present timeline, Walter sings “Send in the Clowns” while preparing something in a pot. Kevyn wanders into the room and strikes up a conversation with Walter. Walter admits that Shauna’s at the compound, along with her co-conspirators. Jeff and Callie spot Kevyn talking to Walter. Jeff urges Callie to look for Shauna while he puts his plan into action.
Then, Jeff approaches Kevyn. He asks Walter to give them some privacy. While Jeff attempts to turn himself in, claiming responsibility for Adam’s murder and asserting it was a crime of passion, Kevyn starts acting strangely. He (literally) keels over and dies. RIP, Kevyn Tan. You might’ve partaken in some shady stuff, but you didn’t deserve to die. What about his poor son? As it turns out, Walter spiked Kevyn’s hot beverage with Lottie’s phenobarbital solution. It acted lightning-fast, too. Walter introduces himself to Jeff and asks if he’ll help him move Kevyn’s body.
In The Wilderness, Shauna enters the cabin with pieces of, um, Javi. Now, to put his body parts on the skillet over the fire. Shauna urges Javi to kick off the proceedings as Javi’s brother. I wonder what it’s like to be peer pressured into eating parts of your brother? Travis reluctantly takes a bite of Javi’s heart before throwing it on the skillet. We see tears streak down his face. After the team cooks Javi, Misty brings food to Lottie, who’s still in the attic. Initially, Lottie hesitates to eat, but Misty claims the group needs her. Lottie must replenish and regain her strength.
At the compound, Lottie prepares for the hunt. She notices her cabinet’s been forced open (courtesy of Misty) but doesn’t seem upset about it. Tai calls the hospital and tells them they plan to bring Lottie in themselves. A crisis team isn’t necessary. The six women gather outside a fire to draw cards for the hunt. Callie runs into Matt. She has a gun in hand, which she conceals behind her back. Matt orders her to place her hands where he can see them. Suddenly, Kevyn calls him. However, it’s a recording of Kevyn saying to Jeff, “What the f*ck are you doing?” before he died.
Meanwhile, the adults draw cards until someone selects the Queen of Hearts. So far, everyone’s in the clear. I love that the scene transitions between their teenage selves pulling cards and their present selves. Side note: Is it me, or does it look like Dark Tai is out to play now? Shauna gets the dreaded card. The others don their masks while Lottie reminds Shauna of the rules. She can either submit or run. Shauna tries to persuade them to refrain from killing her. This is ridiculous. They aren’t in The Wilderness anymore. She starts to flee, with the others, now wielding weapons, hot on her heels.
Next, Walter stuffs Kevyn and his phone into the trunk of his car. Matt follows Kevyn’s ringtone to said trunk. Once Matt opens the trunk, Walter rushes out, firing on Kevyn’s body. Walter orders Matt to stick to the story he’ll provide him. Kevyn was involved in a sordid police corruption scandal. Matt will be seen as the hero for risking his life to stop Kevyn. All phone and bank records now point to Kevyn as Adam Martin and Jessica Roberts’ murderer. If Matt goes along with this narrative, he’ll stay alive. We hear sirens as Walter reveals he called the local authorities. Jeff watches the exchange from behind a tree.
Then, while the adults chase Shauna, Callie hops out from behind a tree and shoots Lottie in the shoulder. Callie orders the others to stay away from her mom. Shauna tries to reassure Callie that it’s all good in the neighborhood. Just a playful game of Russian roulette. Lottie realizes Callie is Shauna’s daughter. She stares at Callie, awestruck, stating that Callie’s quite powerful. Could The Wilderness or “It” be in Callie? In The Wilderness, Lottie rejoins the group downstairs. Van starts telling the crew about a story involving The Wilderness, a terrible and beautiful place.
Outside the cabin, Ben grabs supplies like rope and a box of matches. He observes the teens through the window. Lottie interrupts Van’s tale to declare to the cabin that she can’t hear or feel The Wilderness anymore. She doesn’t believe she’s fit to lead them now. Ergo, it’s time to name a successor. This is the episode of Succession I’ve been waiting for. She states that Nat will be their leader, much to Shauna’s and Misty’s surprise.
In the present, the others tend to Lottie’s shoulder wound. She doesn’t seem to feel any pain. In 1996, Lottie and the teens acknowledge Nat as their new leader. Some kiss her hand; others elaborately bow before her. Travis puts her hand on his heart. Even Shauna recognizes her as the alpha, albeit begrudgingly. Nat looks thrilled, while Ben seems shocked.
Next, Lisa enters the scene with her gun poised to shoot. She believes the group is trying to hurt Lottie. Nat steps in between, her knife still in her hand, and attempts to defuse the situation. Lisa orders Nat to drop the knife. She does as told, but Lisa still has her gun trained on Nat. Misty whips out a syringe full of the deadly toxin that killed Jessica. She prepares to stab Lisa with it. Unfortunately, Nat, who notices what Misty’s about to do, jumps in front of Lisa. Misty inadvertently stabs Nat. Before Misty administers the syringe, Nat envisions Javi falling through the ice and her telling Ben she let Javi die in her place. She didn’t want to do that again.
We also see a flash back to the pilot, where Nat, high on LSD, sees Misty at the party. Methinks this was to foreshadow Misty killing Nat. Admittedly, I thought this scene happened so slowly that both women could’ve easily avoided Misty’s fatal syringe. While we hear the others panic and figure out how to save Nat, we see Nat sitting on an airplane. “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” starts playing. Okay, this made me emotional, but only because of the song choice. I’m not a fan of how Nat went.
Javi sits next to Nat on the plane. He reassures her that there’s nothing to be afraid of. However, Nat firmly believes she’s not supposed to be there. Teen Nat appears on the other side of Nat to counteract what she said. She claims they’re precisely where they’re supposed to be. This was their fate — they’d been there for years. My guess is she means Nat has been essentially a walking corpse due to her drug addiction/trauma/grief.
Then, teen Lottie materializes next to Nat. She says it’s not evil, just hungry like them. “Let it in,” she tells Nat, placing her hand on Nat’s chest. Nat seems to calm down. Okay, I understand Javi and teen Nat being with her while she dies, but why is teen Lottie there? Why couldn’t she have adult or teen Travis sitting by her side? Weird choice.
Later, the police arrive. They dub Nat’s death a drug overdose, which is even more painful considering she’s clean. Matt keeps to Walter’s story and tells the police what transpired with Kevyn. The authorities lead Lottie away, who’s in a haze. Tai informs Lottie she’s going away for a while, but they’ll visit her. Lottie asserts they did the right thing. Nat’s death satisfied The Wilderness, and they’ll reap the benefits to come. Van smiles. Methinks this means her cancer will go into remission soon. Walter embraces Misty, who sobs because she killed her best friend … again.
Jeff reunites with Shauna and Callie, reassuring them the Adam mess is handled. Shauna tells him about Nat’s death. She looks genuinely grief-stricken. Callie seems to be in a trance, which Shauna notices. Hmm. In The Wilderness, Shauna writes in her journal how she’s shocked Lottie didn’t pick her as the group’s next leader. Suddenly, she smells a fire. She grabs her other journals while waking the others.
We see the flames quickly consume the cabin. Everyone grabs their belongings before fleeing. Thankfully, it looks like everyone got out, including Akilah (Nia Sondaya), Mari (Alexa Barajas), Gen (Mya Lowe) and Melissa (Jenna Burgess). It’s worth noting that the doors were locked, meaning someone trapped them inside a burning house. After the group gets out safely, they watch while the cabin burns. Lottie laughs. Yay, fire!
“Storytelling” boasts some questionable (and downright stinky) narrative choices; however, I’m still Team Yellowjackets. While the Nat plot sucks, and I’m genuinely angry about it, I will trust the writers have a plan for the other storylines. The juxtaposition of Nat being named the leader in the 1996 timeline against adult Nat dying to save Lisa in the present is heartbreaking. That said, I’m curious to see teen Nat lead the group in Season 3, especially now that they don’t have a home. I’m also intrigued by the idea of Shauna potentially serving as an obstacle as they fight for power.
I’m 100 percent confident Ben burned down the cabin. He was seen grabbing matches. My guess is he wanted to entrap the teens and get to them before they kill him. Maybe he feels he’s doing them a kindness. Plus, the fire might signal to someone that there are lost humans in the middle of nowhere. When the teens discover he’s MIA, they’ll put two and two together. They might even find his symbol tree cave.
Additionally, I don’t think Matt will stay quiet. The fake Kevyn story has too many holes (Sorry, Walter). A toxicology report will show he was poisoned.
I’m still keen on tuning in for Season 3, but in retrospect, Season 2 was inconsistent. There were things I loved and some I didn’t. Such is life (in The Wilderness). RIP, Nat. You were the best.
Yellowjackets streams new episodes every Friday on the Showtime app, and if you bundle Paramount+ with Showtime. You can also catch their cable network airings every Sunday at 9 pm on Showtime.