DISCLAIMER: This recap of Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, “Two Truths and a Lie,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back to The Wilderness, acolytes. “Two Truths and a Lie” is, hands down, the best episode of the season thus far. Brilliant work across the board. We get a nice helping of twists and turns, shock reveals, in-depth character analysis and white-knuckled tension. The narrative moves at a brisk pace, maintaining momentum until the end. So much happens. That’s why this recap is a bit longer than usual. 

We finally see why Misty is the way she is with Natalie, Tai and Shauna. She blames herself for Crystal’s death and fights tooth and nail to ensure her friends stay alive in the present. It’s heartbreaking. 

Ready to delve into “Two Truths and a Lie”? Let’s get to it. 

RELATED: Yellowjackets Recap: (S02E04) Old Wounds

We open with adult Van (Lauren Ambrose) rewinding a VHS tape in a VHS rewinder shaped like a car. Oof. This reminds me of my grandparents’ VHS rewinder from the ’90s. She eats a rainbow-sprinkled doughnut and downs a can of soda—the breakfast of champions. Van’s growth is stunted as she lives in a cocoon of nostalgia, and understandably so. That’s her trauma response. She heads into her shop and finds a handful of overdue bills, which she disposes of quickly. 

Then, Taissa (Tawny Cypress) enters the shop as she does at the end of last week’s episode. She collapses. In 1996, teen Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) wakes up alone on the bed she shares with Van. She finds Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) sitting near the window. Tai plans to join Lottie (Courtney Eaton), Van (Liv Hewson) and the others outside for a little snowy meditation. Shauna feels Tai has gone to the Dark Side, but since Tai started attending Lottie’s sessions, her sleepwalking has stopped, and it keeps Van content. Happy wife, happy life. 

Adult Misty and Walter stand outside Lottie's compound while looking focused in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, "Two Truths and a Lie."

(L-R): Christina Ricci as Misty and Elijah Wood as Walter in YELLOWJACKETS, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Season 2 Episode 5. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Outside, we also see Travis (Kevin Alves), Misty (Samantha Hanratty), Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) and Mari (Alexa Barajas) in the circle. Akilah (Nia Sondaya), curious, follows Tai’s footsteps and joins the fun. Lottie asks the group to listen to nature. What do they hear? Then, they must sync their breathing with the person next to them. Admittedly, it sounds less cultish and more like a modern-day meditation practice. In the present, Callie (Sarah Desjardins) goes bowling with Matt (John Reynolds), the undercover cop. She tries to get him to kiss her, but he feels they should take things slowly. 

RELATED: Become one with The Wilderness by reading our Yellowjackets recaps!

When he heads to the bathroom, Callie notices the name on their bill doesn’t match what he told her. That’s when she does some digging on the ole world wide web. She learns he’s a detective in town. Meanwhile, teen Van tries to get Javi (Luciano Leroux) to talk after she and Tai found him in last week’s episode. He stays silent. Van asks Travis to help, but he feels like Javi will speak when he’s ready. Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) asks Travis if he’d like to accompany her to check on the fish nets. However, he’s still pissed at her for lying about Javi, so that’s a no-go. 

Misty and Crystal confess their celeb crushes on the tried and true pinky swear. Akilah checks in on her pet mouse, Nugget (an adorable name for a mouse). She conceals him from Mari when the latter enters the pantry. You better keep him hidden from the others, Akilah. They’ll try to eat him. Mari gives Crystal and Misty sh*t bucket-emptying duties again. I feel like Mari was one of the “popular girls” pre-plane crash. She exudes that energy. 

Teen Crystal smiles at Misty while sitting in the cabin in the wilderness in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, "Two Truths and a Lie."

Nuha Jes Izman as Teen Crystal in YELLOWJACKETS, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Season 2 Episode 5. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

After their bowling date, Callie tells Matt she agrees with his belief they should take baby steps regarding their relationship. She discloses her knowledge re: who Shauna’s sleeping with and reveals his name: Randy, aka Jeff’s BFF. Meanwhile, Walter (Elijah Wood) and Misty (Christina Ricci) drive through the woods to search for Lottie’s compound. Well, Misty doesn’t realize Lottie was the one who kidnapped Nat. Walter wants to play “Two Truths and a Lie,” which Misty only half-indulges. 

RELATED: How Yellowjackets Depicts Trauma Responses Through Its Main Characters

However, Walter breaks the game’s rules by giving her three truths and zero lies about him. His owning quite a bit of stock in Taco Bell despite never setting foot in one deserves context and a whole backstory. When Misty is about to deliver her truths (one of which seems to question the veracity of the moon landing — our little conspiracy theorist), they happen upon the entrance to the compound. Success! Next, Tai gives Van a gift: the boob pen from the truck driver. It takes them back to Shauna and Jeff’s wedding. 

Naturally, Van wants to know why Tai’s here after all these years. She answers her question when she realizes that Taissa’s sleepwalking is back with a vengeance. Callie tells Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) and Jeff (Warren Kole) about her conversation with Matt. Jeff is furious, especially since Callie is still in high school. However, Shauna seems almost proud that Callie somewhat remedied the situation. Shauna proposes they run with the lie. She’ll meet Randy that night at a hotel to throw Matt off the scent. 

Adult Natalie stands in a room while holding documents and looking focused in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, "Two Truths and a Lie."

Juliette Lewis as Natalie in YELLOWJACKETS, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Season 2 Episode 5. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Then, adult Natalie (Juliette Lewis) emerges from her quarters, seemingly embracing the purplish dress code. Of course, we know better. She’s not drinking the Kool-Aid yet. She tries to sneak into Lottie’s office to access the cabinet, but her new pals urge her to join them for a group therapy session. Teen Tai and Akilah have a heart-to-heart about finding something to believe in, even if it’s not real. It fuels their spirits and keeps them motivated to survive. Faith, belief, spirituality, religion, etc., play a significant role thematically in this series. 

RELATED: 10 Melanie Lynskey Roles to Watch if You Love Her on Yellowjackets

Travis makes a go at getting his little brother to speak but to no avail. He calls Nat out on her “saint” act, claiming she was the one who made him believe Javi was dead. Currently, Nat and Lisa (Nicole Maines) are participating in an exercise. Lottie (Simone Kessell) checks in on their progress. Nat learns someone’s here to see her and that someone is Misty (and Walter). They meet at the entrance to the compound. Natalie reveals that, yes, she was technically kidnapped, but now she’s staying to conduct her investigation. She doesn’t want Misty messing with that. 

Teen Shauna and Taissa stand outside in a blizzard while looking scared in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, "Two Truths and a Lie."

(L-R): Sophie Nélisse as Teen Shauna and Jasmin Savoy Brown as Teen Taissa in YELLOWJACKETS, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Season 2 Episode 5. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Meanwhile, Tai tells Van about sacrificing her son’s dog on her macabre altar and her wife discovering it. But before Tai can delve into the nitty-gritty (as if that’s not gritty enough), she asks Van if she can shower. In the wilderness, Misty and Crystal take the sh*t bucket to the cliff and dump its contents over the side. They confess more truths to each other. Crystal reveals her real name is Kristen, but her teammates called her Crystal from the get, and she never corrected them. Misty divulges her confession: she found the plane’s emergency transmitter the day after the crash and destroyed it. 

Crystal’s expression changes. She realizes Misty is probably the reason they haven’t been found yet. Misty tries to play it off like a joke, but Crystal isn’t buying it. She backs away slowly from Misty. Misty begs Crystal to keep her lips sealed. She’ll do anything to ensure this remains under wraps. Crystal asks if Misty will poison her as she did last season. As Misty threatens to kill her, Crystal loses her balance and tumbles over the cliffside. RIP, Crystal/Kristen. I liked her. She was too pure for The Wilderness. 

RELATED: Browse our Underrated Horror Movie of the Month archives!

Later, Walter reveals a theory he has about Misty. He thinks she killed Adam Martin. However, Walter likes Misty, warts and all. He doesn’t care about her “extracurricular activities.” Misty urges him to go home and grabs her luggage out of his car. She needs to do something first, like infiltrating Lottie’s compound. Next, Shauna pulls into the hotel where she’s meeting Randy (Jeff Holman) for their “romantic rendezvous.” Matt and Kevyn (Alex Wyndham) watch from afar. Randy and Shauna meet inside a hotel room. He’s unsure why he’s there, only that he must spend time with Shauna and “not touch her.” 

Adult Van stands in her kitchen while looking perplexed in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, "Two Truths and a Lie."

Lauren Ambrose as Van in YELLOWJACKETS, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Season 2 Episode 5. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Randy tells Shauna about the FBI agent (Walter) who interrogated him regarding Natalie’s whereabouts. Shauna orders him to jack off into a condom and toss it in the trash. Then, she tries to mess up the bed to make it look like they had sex. In the wilderness, a sleeping Shauna wakes to find Lottie praying over her unborn baby. Tai steps in to defuse the situation. Adult Tai steps out of the shower and finds a prescription for oxycodone in Van’s medicine cabinet. She asks Van about it, and the latter claims it was for her mother, Vicky, who had cancer before she passed. Tai offers her condolences but is relieved the two seemed to mend fences in her mom’s final years. 

Tai and Van argue about why Tai’s back and upending Van’s life. In true Van fashion, she rattles off ’90s pop culture references in her rage. Tai reveals she doesn’t want to hurt her loved ones and starts sobbing. Van pulls her in for an embrace. Tawny Cypress and Lauren Ambrose deliver spellbinding performances. 

RELATED: Movie Review: Scream 6

Next, Shauna asks Randy if he’s done the deed yet. She ruffled the blankets and pillows to make it look like they had sex. Randy, struggling to provide the juice, dumps a bottle of strawberry-scented lotion into the condom as a substitution. Hey, it looks like the real deal, right? Natalie finally gains access to Lottie’s cabinet, where she discovers a collection of cell phones, personal records and belongings. She reveals her findings to Lottie’s followers, claiming Lottie is keeping tabs on everyone here. 

Adult Taissa stands in Van's VHS rental shop while looking scared in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, "Two Truths and a Lie."

Tawny Cypress as Taissa in YELLOWJACKETS, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Season 2 Episode 5. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

However, Lisa defends Lottie. She tells Nat they all willingly hand these things over. Lottie asks everyone to give her and Nat the room. Lottie desperately needs to know what Travis meant by his last note to Nat. What was Nat right about? Then, it dawns on Lottie. She knows how to get the answer. In the wilderness, Tai and Shauna have it out. Shauna’s already stressed by the mere thought of giving birth to a baby in the woods. She’s wholly unprepared to be a mother. Tai defends Lottie. They’re all excited for Shauna to give birth to her little bundle of joy. 

Meanwhile, Misty clambers down to the bottom of the cliff (without going down the steep side) to Crystal’s body. She screams out her name (her saying “Kristen” broke me), hoping against hope the latter’s alive. In true Misty fashion, she performs chest compressions to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive,” but only blood gushes from Crystal’s mouth. And a blizzard is coming. In the present day, Kevyn and Matt search the hotel room after Shauna and Randy depart. So far, Callie’s statement checks out. That is until Matt finds the strawberry-lotion-filled condom. He discovers it’s not semen. 

RELATED: Browse our Horror With a Side of Cheese archives!

Later, Ben (Steven Krueger) finds a sketch of what looks like tree branches. Javi stands behind him and speaks for the first time since he returned to the cabin. “She told me not to come back,” he tells Ben. Who, exactly? His friend. Javi takes the sketch out of Ben’s hands and walks away. Then, Misty barges into the cabin, breathless. She spins a story about getting separated from Crystal and her “vanishing.” She’s lost in the wilderness. Van realizes Tai and Shauna are still outside in the snow. Everyone steps out and screams for them. Meanwhile, Shauna’s experiencing labor pains. 

Lottie asks Van what she hears. The rest of the group describes the sounds they hear, including their collective breathing. Tai, practically carrying Shauna back to the cabin, also says she hears her breath. It’s as if they’re all connected. We see snow whipping about their faces, almost blotting them in white. This transitions to a static TV screen in Van’s home. I love this transition — from snow to static. Adult Van covers a sleeping Tai with a blanket. She grabs the bottle of oxycodone out of the trash and takes a pill. She appears to be in pain. Does Van have cancer? 

Adult Lottie stands in a room with her hands clasped while wearing long flowy clothing in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, "Two Truths and a Lie."

Simone Kessell as Lottie in YELLOWJACKETS, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Season 2 Episode 5. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Suddenly, Tai pulls her in for a passionate kiss. Van asks if she’s speaking to “the other one.” Other Tai confirms this. Then, Tai leads her away, revealing where they are isn’t where they’re supposed to be. Nat and Lottie sit down for a soul-baring exercise. Lottie asks Nat to breathe, listen to her voice and focus on the flashlight shining in her face.

RELATED: Catch up on the murder, mystery and mayhem with our Wednesday recaps!

Nat relives the moment she last saw Travis (Andres Soto) alive. Nat claims she was staring at a beach. Travis asked her if she was okay. They hadn’t seen each other in a while. He had a steady job, and he was seeing a woman. Nat recalled how part of her wanted to ruin their relationship. Then, we see she was actually staring at a painting of a beach. She and Travis snorted cocaine together. She overdosed. Travis called the authorities, who brought her back. 

While she was out, Nat envisioned the crash site, except, in this vision, they all perished. We see charred corpses sitting in the plane seats. They almost resembled Jackie after nature burned her to a crisp. Next, in the present, Nat reveals they weren’t alone out there. The Antler Queen stalked the aisles in Nat’s vision. After Nat returns to the present moment, she realizes what Travis thought she was right about: the darkness. Whatever was in the wilderness came back with them. Or it’s still in them. Nat rests her head on Lottie’s lap. We see it’s young Nat from the wilderness. I love this moment. She’s like a child, stripped away to her most vulnerable self. 

Teen Travis sits at a table in the cabin with his hands resting on his face and looking pensive in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 5, "Two Truths and a Lie."

Kevin Alves as Teen Travis in YELLOWJACKETS, “Two Truths and a Lie,” Season 2 Episode 5. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Lottie hears creaking footsteps and turns to see the shadow of the Antler Queen on the floor. Misty gains entry to the compound with the help of some of Lottie’s followers. Meanwhile, teen Tai and Shauna make it back to the cabin. Once they’re inside, Shauna lets out another bloodcurdling scream. It’s baby time! 

RELATED: Movie Review: Beau Is Afraid

The Tai/Van scenes are so intriguing, especially since we still don’t know why they parted ways. This series does an excellent job of showing rather than telling. It doesn’t utilize exposition dumps or talk down to its viewers. It knows we’re smart enough to piece things together and reveal tantalizing tidbits to keep us invested. In addition, “Two Truths and a Lie” is an immersive, multisensory experience, notably the compelling flashback sequence with Nat and Lottie. The way it’s shot feels like a literal trip. 

While I wish we had more time in the wilderness, I still love the present-day sequences and understand their significance. I love how the show transitions between the past and present. I’ll never get over how damn creative it is. 

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

Every Friday the 13th Movie, Ranked

Melody McCune
Follow me!