Did you all hear they killed MTV News? I know, kind of a dour note to start on, but I promise I'm going somewhere with this. My youth in the '90s was bookmarked by world events covered by the infamous news segment between videos of my favorite Nu-Metal bands on Headbangers Ball and episodes of Daria. It was how I got news on my own, and I'm sure it's how many youths kept up with the world in the days before the internet was commonplace. MTV News was such a staple of the '90s that it was used to market Yellowjackets this season.
Showtime fully recreated an MTV News segment with host Kurt Loder reporting on the missing Yellowjackets. It was a wonderful piece of marketing and totally fit with the entire ethos of what Yellowjackets is: an angry, cathartic look at growing up/moving on and the expectations that come with it. As an angsty youth who relied on MTV News to keep me grounded in what was happening in the world (while waiting for the next Korn music video), I want to take a moment to salute all that they did. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Man, Lottie got the absolute snot beat out of her by Shauna last episode in what was easily one of the most shocking moments in the entire season. Not surprisingly, her recovery is going to take a lot of effort. The episode opens up with Misty and Mari helping Lottie to the attic of the cabin, and in a shocking reveal of just how severe her injuries are, it's revealed she is urinating blood. There's no doctor out in the woods so Misty is starting to panic. Meanwhile, Akilah is still talking to her rodent companion, whom she found near the start of the season, when Taissa notices her. Tai is shocked to realize that the rat is actually the dried remnants of a rat and was never really alive in the first place. Akilah, of course, doesn't take this too well, and is horrified to realize she is suffering from visions most likely brought on by hunger.
Jumping to the present day, Shauna received bombshell news from Jeff that Adam Martin's remains were uncovered in the state park. Not wanting to cause a panic, Shauna attempts to tell Tai, Misty, and Nat in a way that won't alert Van and Lottie. While making up the excuse that he was a close family friend, she tries to leave Lottie's compound to deal with it. Not buying Shauna's cover story, Van confronts Tai and asks if she knows more about what's going on, to which her body language and response confirm the truth. Not wanting her to run off without being truthful about their role in Adam's death, Van throws Shauna's keys into the woods to prevent her from leaving. As they all argue, Lottie tells them to continue the conversation in the sharing shack where all truths will be revealed.
Back at the cabin, tensions are tense amongst the group. Shauna is treated as a pariah after the beatdown she gave Lottie. Shauna doesn't regret what she did to Lottie, but she doesn't want her to die either, so it's a socially complex situation. Nat is catching up with Coach Ben and mentions she saw Javi worshiping a tree near the creek, which Ben takes as a hint this tree is quite possibly the shelter Javi used while he was away from the group. He goes through Javi's bag and finds sketches of large roots hinting that this could be a potential safe haven away from the group. Mari, on the other hand, is haunted by visions of blood leaking from the walls. Is this a supernatural phenomenon or starvation-induced hallucinations? Hard to say! I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.
In the present, Kevyn and the police have a search warrant for Shauna and Jeff's home. Though there's nothing to find there, Kevyn and Jeff get a bit confrontational. Kevyn's partner then shows Jeff crime scene photos highlighting the precision and care taken while disposing of Adam's body (they even took a cheese grater to his tattoos). They could only identify him through a bone marrow test, which horrifies Jeff at the idea Shauna is capable of this. As the police leave, Kevyn warns Jeff that it's not too late for him and Callie to get out and save their family.
Meanwhile, at the Sharing Shack, reveals galore are happening. These range from Shauna sharing the blackmail and her affair with Adam, Taissa hiring a private investigator to keep tabs on the remaining Yellowjackets, and Misty kidnapping and killing said private investigator. I know catching up with long-lost friends is a great feeling, but my head would explode if I were in this situation.
In the past, Misty sees Ben using a knife on his crutches. After last episode's suicide attempt, she lets him know that she cares about him and is worried that he may still be having those thoughts. He assures her that he's just making his crutches more snow-worthy. Meanwhile, Nat is helping Javi with his gloves as Travis watches. When Javi leaves, Travis apologizes to Nat for his actions and tells her she's a good person. They sit and hold hands, rekindling their relationship. Coach Ben heads out to the woods by himself to search for Javi's tree, not telling anyone he's leaving. Finally, as Misty takes care of Lottie, Lottie tells her that she doesn't want her body to go to waste if she dies.
At the Sharing Shack, Misty begins piecing together bits from every story and soon realizes that Randy was involved in the blackmail. With his involvement confirmed, the truth comes out that Jeff was the actual blackmailer, which gets Shauna in hot water with the group (especially because she didn't tell any of them once she found out). We get a brief moment with Walter where he learns that Adam's remains have been discovered, and he contacts the police department telling them he has info that will help with their investigation. He never did get Misty's message from the last episode, did he? Elsewhere, Jeff has a gory nightmare about Shauna and is starting to realize he might fear her after all. After waking up in a cold sweat, he walks out to see Callie enjoying a beer, where he tells her about the child that Shauna lost in the woods. In a very sincere moment, he tells her that his and Shauna's burdens aren't for her to carry.
The group at the cabin begins to panic as they realize Lottie's life might be in danger. A fair amount of them confess that they wouldn't have made it as far as they did without her guidance. They decide they must sacrifice to the woods. A life for a life. The problem is there are no volunteers, so they decide to use the next best method: drawing cards. The card that will decide the sacrifice is the Queen of Hearts with her eyes crossed out (something we saw in one of Lottie's visions earlier this season).
Back at the Sharing Shack, realizing all the bad situations they've put themselves in, Lottie decides to act. She suggests that they need to make an offering in an attempt to appease "it", and their problems might begin to solve themselves. The group is apprehensive as it's a life they left behind in the woods, but Lottie insists this is the best course of action. To decide the sacrifice, she poisons one of the teacups and allows them to pick one randomly, leaving it entirely to fate.
Everyone at the cabin begins drawing cards to determine the unlucky choice. In a cruel twist of fate, Nat draws the death card and is chosen as the sacrifice. Shauna puts Jackie's necklace on her (a mark of death) and holds a knife to her throat to slice it open. After a standoff between Nat and Shauna, Travis tackles Shauna so that Nat has a chance to escape. She runs from the cabin, and the rest of the group gives a terrifying chase while a few remain behind to hold Travis down. Javi runs after her after Travis asks him to help her.
Out in the woods, Ben finds Javi's tree marked with a Sigil and finds shelter inside past the roots and a stream of water. He finds a pile of bones that shows this is where Javi was when he was separated from the group, solving the season-long mystery. While evading the feral group of girls, Javi finds Nat and tells her about his hideaway and how nobody knows about it. He promises to lead the way, and they make a run for it cutting across the frozen lake. The group finds them out in the open and gives pursuit when the ice begins to break, and Javi falls into the freezing cold water. Unsure of what to do, the group decides to let him drown and watch in horror as he dies, retrieving the body for Travis and ending the episode.
Oh, man. What an absolute bummer to end on. After his unknown fate in season one and his mysterious reappearance this season, I had hoped that things would be looking up for Javi. Instead, he was dealt an undeserved fate. This penultimate episode seems to be building towards a lot with its modern-day storyline as well. Who drinks the poison? Will that sacrifice help their situation? Will the police truly uncover what the Yellowjackets did to Adam Martin? Will Jeff sell Shauna out because he's starting to fear her? I feel we'll get many answers in the finale next week, but we'll likely have a batch of new questions leading into season three.
Needle Drop of the Week - Bullet With Butterfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins
Song of the week goes to another angst anthem of the '90s. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" is an anthem for misunderstood teens everywhere with its energetic vocals by frontman Billy Corgan and ripping guitar parts. Its use in Yellowjackets is excellent, representing the group going absolutely feral. After all, when the world is a vampire, aren't we all just rats in cages?