Yellowjackets Episode 1 Recap and Ending, Explained

The Showtime horror-drama series ‘Yellowjackets’ is dark, disturbing, and sinfully delicious. The narrative shifts between 1996, when a group of young soccer players was forced to spend 19 months in the inhospitable snowy landscape, and 2021, when the survivors of the ordeal are still dealing with the ramifications of their experience.

In the series premiere, a woman claiming to be a reporter comes snooping to Shauna Sheridan’s (Melanie Lynskey essaying the adult and Sophie Nélisse as the teen) doorsteps in 2021, but she rebuffs the attempts. Natalie (Juliette Lewis as the adult version and Sophie Thatcher as the teenager) leaves rehab and decides to find her old friends. Taissa Turner (Tawny Cypress as the adult and Jasmin Savoy Brown as the teen), an aspiring politician, wants to put her past behind her.

In 1996, the group suffers a plane crash in the middle of nowhere. The girls are left to fend for themselves, and soon, the inner monsters come out from within them. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Yellowjackets’ episode 1. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Yellowjackets Episode 1 Recap

Episode 1, titled ‘Pilot,’ begins with an indistinguishable girl running through the snowy woods, chased by an invisible group making animal noises. She steps into a trap hidden under the snow and is killed. In 2021, the woman claiming to be a reporter interviews several people who knew Shauna and her teammates before visiting Shauna herself. She claims that she is Jessica Roberts, a reporter at Star-Ledger, and offers the other woman her help writing a book, pointing out that people still want to know what happened during those 19 months.

Shauna vehemently refuses the offer and later calls Taissa on a secure line. The two of them meet at a diner. Shauna explains that she has looked up Jessica on Google but didn’t find anyone working for the Star-Ledger under that name and tells Taissa to take care of it.

In 1996, Shauna is the best friend of Jackie (Ella Purnell), the captain of the Yellowjackets soccer team of Wiskayok High School. They win the New Jersey state championship, earning a place in the nationals. They are the most successful athletic program of the school. As a result, they have become the most celebrated athletes in the town.

But there is a palpable undercurrent of tension between various characters. Fiercely competitive Taissa feels that Allie, a freshman, isn’t giving her 100% in the field. To teach the younger girl a lesson, Taissa tackles her hard and ends up breaking her tibia. The show initially leads the audience to believe that Shauna is romantically attracted to Jackie before subverting it and depicting that she and Jackie’s boyfriend Jeff are having an affair.

Natalie’s issues with drugs and alcohol started when she was a teenager, and it only devolved after she spent 19 months lost along with her friends. She has been in and out of rehab since then. In episode 1, we see her leaving the latest rehabilitation center and asking her taxi driver whether he takes some of the passengers to the nearest bar. If there is any temptation on her part, Natalie overcomes it and travels back to her old town. She later picks up her car and a hunting rifle from her storage unit and begins stalking Misty, the fourth survivor of the ordeal.

Yellowjackets Episode 1 Ending: Is Jackie Dead?

In 2021, among the four survivors, Jackie is noticeably absent. As mentioned above, she is the captain of the Yellowjackets, chosen for the position by the coach for her ability to influence other girls. After the plane crash, she is likely to continue playing that role, leading the girls in their desperate attempt to survive in an unfriendly environment. And yet, it is heavily implied that the girl who gets killed at the beginning of episode 1 is Jackie. The victim has the same heart-shaped pendant around her neck that Jackie gives Shauna before their flight to Seattle takes off. And we know that it can’t be Shauna as she is very much alive and married to none other than Jeff.

The episode reveals that some of the girls hung their victim upside down and drained her blood before roasting and eating her. It’s possible that the victim is indeed Jackie, but as it has become apparent, the show creators are masters of misdirection. So, while they might want you to believe that Jackie is dead, the reality can be completely different. From what Taissa says to Shauna at the diner, we can glean that there are probably more than four survivors, and one of them can potentially be Jackie.

Read More: Is Yellowjackets Based on a True Story?