Showtime’s ‘Yellowjackets’ tells the story of a New Jersey high school girls’ soccer team on its way to the nationals getting stranded in the Canadian wilderness after the plane the girls are on crashes. As winter arrives and the condition rapidly worsens, the survivors are forced to make certain drastic choices, including cannibalism. Twenty-five years later, those who have made it out of the wilderness alive are still haunted by what they did.
Supernatural has always been present in the narrative of ‘Yellowjackets,’ though in a subtle manner. And you can always explain things categorized as “supernatural” in the show with a more rational option. The same thing can be said with what happens in season 2 episode 3. Toward the end of the episode, several birds die mid-flight and hit the roof of the cabin, startling the girls. If you are wondering the reason behind it, here is what we think. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Why Did the Birds Die?
This episode, titled ‘Digestif,’ depicts the aftermath of the consumption of human flesh for the girls. Interestingly, not many of them feel that they did anything wrong. Some have made up an excuse that they needed this and that Jackie (Ella Purnell) would have wanted it. Others, such as Misty (Misty (Christina Ricci as adult and Sammi Hanratty as teen) and Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman), appear to be gleeful about the experience. Crystal even confides to the other girl that this is not the first time she has consumed human flesh, revealing that she absorbed her identical twin while she was in the womb.
Out of all the girls, the only one to acknowledge the horror of what they have done is Taissa (Tawny Cypress as adult and Jasmin Savoy Brown as teen), but that is only because she was sleepwalking when it happened and doesn’t remember eating Jackie’s face.
Animal imagery has a prevalent presence in this episode. Venturing out to the plane to leave Jackie’s bones there, Nat (Juliette Lewis as adult and Sophie Thatcher as teen) encounters a moose. Later in the episode, Lottie (Simone Kessell as adult and Courtney Eaton as teen) has a vision of dead bees and blood honey involving the hives she has on her property.
That scene and the dead birds scene feel like bookends of Lottie’s journey as the leaders of the Yellowjackets. In 1996, with Jackie gone, that position was officially vacated. When she was alive, she was perhaps the only person in the group that struggled to adapt to their new circumstances, or at least the one who struggled the most. But she was still there, the uncrowned queen of the Yellowjackets. With her death and the almost ritualistic consumption of her flesh, the proverbial scepter has been effectively passed to Lottie.
As the girls enjoy Shauna’s impromptu baby shower, they hear the thuds on the roof, rush out of the cabin, and see the dead birds. Their deaths are yet another mystery added to the narrative of ‘Yellowjackets.’ Misty posits the theory that the iron content of the ground must have confused the birds’ magnetoreception, and that’s as good a theory as any.
Another possibility is the involvement of something supernatural. If the entity of the wilderness is indeed real, and it wants Lottie to lead the group, this incident manifests its wishes. Most of the girls pick the dead birds up and place them at Lottie’s feet, effectively declaring her their leader.
However, as we know, this veneer of peace isn’t going to last long. The winter will continue, and the survivors will get hungry again, and soon there will be tribes among the survivors, intent on killing members of the other tribes and surviving on their flesh. For every disturbing thing Lottie has done, she seeks to keep everyone safe, but it will soon be impossible. It will be interesting to see how she responds to that and what excuses she might find.
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