Showtime’s ‘Yellowjackets’ tells the story of a New Jersey high school girls’ soccer team that gets stranded in the Ontario wilderness after a plane crash in 1996. Those who survive are forced to make certain choices to keep living. Twenty-five years later, those who made it out of the wilderness alive are still haunted by their past actions. If the series creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson used the first season to set up the characters and the narrative, the second season is about the wild direction the plot naturally goes in this show. If the events of episodes 2 and 3 of the second season of ‘Yellowjackets’ have made you wonder whether the survivors ate Jackie Taylor (Ella Purnell), we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Did the Survivors Eat Jackie?
Yes, the surviving Yellowjackets team members eat Jackie. Since the beginning of the series, two things have been apparent: Jackie died in the wilderness, and the survivors became cannibals. For a while, it was widely believed among the fans that the girl we see die in the woods in the pilot episode is Jackie. But that was later proven to be incorrect.
When surrounded by civilization, Jackie was a natural leader of the Yellowjackets. But after they get stranded, it gradually becomes apparent that Jackie is unfit to survive in the wilderness. While the others contribute in one way or other to their makeshift society, Jackie struggles and complains. Eventually, she and Shauna have a falling out, something that has been brewing throughout the season because Jackie’s boyfriend, Jeff, cheated on her with Shauna, and Jackie found out about it. With all the other girls having grown frustrated with Jackie, they throw her out into the cold. That night, snow falls, and Shauna and the others wake up the following day to discover that Jackie has frozen to death.
As the second season begins, we learn that Shauna often spends time talking to Jackie’s corpse. They couldn’t bury her because the ground is frozen solid, and the cold has preserved her body even though two months have passed. As the season premiere ends, Shauna eats Jackie’s ear, which had fallen off.
Since the advent of winter, food has become scarce. Nothing grows on the frozen land, and Nat and Travis haven’t spotted a single game in weeks during their hunting excursions. The food they already have is rapidly running out and has been severely rationed, leaving the survivors often hungry even after a meal.
In episode 2, Taissa insists that they have to cremate Jackie so they, especially Shauna, can move on. The survivors then build a pyre, place Jackie on it, and set it on fire before going inside the cabin for the night. Unbeknownst to them, a deluge of snow falls on the pyre, tuning it down to a simmer, which roasts Jackie’s body. The survivors wake up to the smell late at night. When they see what is before them, almost none of them dwell on the question of morality. Among those who do, all save one find an excuse in the notion that Jackie would have wanted it for the betterment of the community, which is quite ironic, given the biggest problem the other survivors had with Jackie was her lack of contribution.
As the survivors begin feasting on Jackie’s flesh, it is contextualized through a vision-like scene where we see them dressed in Greek or Roman clothing, enjoying their food. The implication here is sacrifice, though the victim is not entirely Jackie. The survivors sacrifice their morality and humanity for their lives. The person that doesn’t partake in the feast is Coach Scott. With one of his limbs missing, he knows when the others get hungry again and will not have a dead person to target, the chances are that they will come after him.
The following morning, Taissa is horrified after realizing what she and the others have done. Even though she was the one who ate Jackie’s face, she was sleepwalking at the time. Eventually, Nat volunteers to take Jackie’s remains to the plane. Jackie wasn’t Nat’s friend in life, but that animosity is behind both of them now. Like Scott, Nat also knows this is only the beginning, and it will get worse from here, so she can’t help but comment wryly that even in her death, Jackie found a way to make others jealous.
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