‘Yellowjackets’ Season 1: Recap And Ending: A Detailed Summary Before Season 2


Season one of “Yellowjackets” was a binge-worthy watch thanks to a variety of components, including ritualistic sacrifice, letting one’s wild side loose, and of course, a hint of cannibalism. The characters were well-defined, and their development was convincing. From the first scene, it is clear that this is not a series for the faint of heart and that none of the characters can be considered innocent. Getting lost in the wild has been an intriguing subject that has been explored multiple times. It is perhaps the thought of losing sync with human morality and expressing our repressed desires that makes it a great subject. “Yellowjackets” takes this exploration a step further, with the characters returning to their normal habitat. Instead of dealing with the trauma, the characters choose to neglect it. The instincts developed in the wild often rupture into their civilized lives, causing havoc. In this article, we discuss the important events in season one that we must remember before tuning in to watch the next season.

So, How Did The Soccer Players End Up In The Canadian Wilderness?

The New Jersey high school girls’ soccer team was selected to play at the national tournament that was held in Seattle. A few days before the national tournament, Taissa intentionally injured one of the players on the team, Allie. Taissa’s reaction to Allie’s inability to perform was quite extreme. She surely was someone who could go to any extent to get things done her way. The good Christian of the team, Laura Lee, was disturbed by Taissa’s behavior, and it created a brief conflict between the team members. The night before boarding the flight, Shauna Shipman made love to her best friend’s boyfriend, Jeff. Shauna had spent most of her life living under the shadow of Jackie Taylor. She was tired of the perfect life that Jackie tried to build and was desperate to break free and do something she, as an individual, wanted to partake in.

The next morning, as the team boarded the flight, Jackie offered Shauna sleeping pills to help with the flight journey. Shauna was mostly passed out during the time they experienced turbulence. She remembered the desperate cries of everyone onboard. The plane gradually descended into the wilderness, and the tail caught fire. The players managed to survive, but coach Martinez, along with the flight attendants and pilots, died in the crash. Among the lot, assistant coach Ben Scott was the only adult who had survived the massacre. His right leg was completely damaged, and it was amputated by Misty. Misty developed an obsession with the coach as she cared for his injured leg. Misty gloated when her teammates appreciated her efforts in rescuing them. For the first time in her life, she felt wanted by the people around her. When Misty noticed the flight recorder blinking through the foliage, she damaged it. Misty was solely responsible for the nineteen months that the team was forced to spend in the wilderness. She wanted to feel important, but she knew she would lose her status the moment they returned home.

Why Did The Yellow Jackets Reconnect? Did Travis Commit Suicide?

Shauna Shipman, Taissa Turner, and Natalie Scartorccio stayed in touch after they returned home. However, they preferred keeping their friendship a secret. Soon after being released from rehab, Natalie focused on finding the person who had sent a postcard that indicated their knowledge of what had happened during those nineteen months. She doubted Misty because she had always been the weird one in their group. Even after twenty-five years, Misty had not changed. She was manipulative, intrusive, and cold. Misty always appeared to be the jolly nurse at a nursing facility, but behind closed doors, she was quite brutal with her patients. She was a hoarder of medical supplies and had developed an interest in studying chemicals that caused death but remained undetected during autopsy. Clearly, Natalie had all the right reasons to doubt Misty, but as it turns out, Misty had received a similar postcard. The postcard had a symbol inscribed on it. The symbol was previously seen inscribed on trees in the wilderness. It is obvious that the symbol is extremely significant, and the group wanted to keep it a secret.

Natalie tried contacting Travis; he was coach Martinez’s son and was stuck with the girls in the wild along with his brother, Javi. Natalie and Travis developed a romantic relationship during the nineteen months, and Travis continued to be an important part of Natalie’s life. Natalie and Travis resorted to drug abuse after they returned. Even though their relationship was toxic, they continued to be each other’s support system. Natalie decided to find Travis after years of staying out of touch with him. Misty Quigley wanted to join Natalie, so she intentionally pulled the plugs out of her car and offered to help her. Natalie and Misty were later arrested for breaking and entering Travis’s cabin, though Misty managed to bail themselves out. Later, they drove to the ranch where Travis worked and found his dead body. Natalie refused to believe that Travis would kill himself, and she was confident that he was not under the influence of drugs because he promised her that he would stay away from it. She was further intrigued when she came across a note that Travis had written before the murder. He wanted her to know that she was right, but Natalie could not comprehend the meaning of it all. She did not get the time to cope with the death of the person she had loved all her life. She immediately focused on finding the truth behind Travis’s sudden death.

Natalie connected with Kevyn Tan, who was now a police officer, and found out that the police had ruled Travis’s death a suicide. The only person who could help her get access to Travis’s file through illegal means was Misty. Natalie decided to put up with Misty’s personality to find the truth. Misty was part of an online detective forum, and she had contacts who could find the file for them. Natalie threatened her contact and managed to get hold of the file. Misty deduced from the crime scene photographs that the floor had wax marks, and after connecting the marks, they realized that it formed the symbol. Natalie’s fear was confirmed; Travis did not commit suicide; he was murdered. The murder surely has a connection with the time they spent in the wilderness, but they failed to figure out the exact reason. Natalie later found out that someone had emptied Travis’s bank account a day after his murder, further confirming the conspiracy. Natalie later contacted Taissa Turner for help. Taissa was contesting the New Jersey State Senate election, and Natalie believed that she could use Taissa’s influence. Taissa had received the postcard as well, and Natalie deduced that the person behind the postcards was also responsible for Travis’s murder. They involved Shauna and tried to come up with a plan to find the perpetrator. When the blackmailer texted them, asking for money, they placed a tracker in the bag. They tried following the man, but they eventually lost him, and the tracker was left behind by the perp.

Who Was The Blackmailer?

Shauna married Jeff after returning from the wilderness. Their marriage was far from perfect; the teenage attraction was long gone, but they were working on making it better for their daughter. Shauna started to doubt Jeff when she came across a text from a woman named Bianco. She followed them to a hotel, and her suspicions were confirmed when she saw them walk out together. The moment she realized that her husband was cheating on her, she decided to do the same out of spite. She had recently met an artist, Adam Martin and his presence and appreciation for her made her feel more confident than usual. The physical connection was intoxicating, and the thought of doing something she was forbidden to do made it all the more exciting for Shauna. The night she followed the blackmailer with Natalie and Taissa, she returned home to find Adam waiting in the driveway for her. She wanted to stop him, but she simply could not resist his charm. The next morning, Shauna asked Adam to hide inside the closet when Jeff entered the house. While Jeff did not find out about Adam, Callie did. She knew that her mother was having an affair, and she had tried searching for Adam online. But surprisingly, Adam had no online presence. She planted a seed of doubt in Shauna’s head.

Shauna contacted the university that Adam graduated from, and she realized that he had never enrolled there. Later, when she looked closely at her closet, she noticed glitter on the floor. The perpetrator was covered in glitter when they chased him down that night. The journals that she kept hidden in her safe were all gone. Shauna was confident that the perpetrator was her boyfriend, Adam Martin. She knocked on his door and inquired about the journals, but Adam pretended not to know anything about them. Shauna’s temperament was shifting; she was disappointed in herself for trusting a random man she met, she was furious that he tried to take advantage of her trust, and she was desperate to put an end to it. Shauna had repressed her urge for blood all this while, and she could sense the line between human decency and her wild desire blurring. The moment she discovered a few magazines related to the plane crash, she was overcome by complete madness. She was unable to think rationally and stabbed Adam with a knife. At that moment, she felt connected to the teenage Shauna, who had mastered the art of carving meat.

When Shauna returned home after the murder, she was shocked to find the journals in the safe. She realized that she had murdered the wrong guy. Her husband was the blackmailer all along. She questioned Jeff, and he readily admitted everything. He explained that his furniture store was suffering from extreme losses, and he had borrowed money from loan sharks to keep the business afloat. They were threatening him for money, and he decided to blackmail the Yellowjackets, knowing that they would pay any amount to keep it all a secret. He never wanted Shauna to get involved in the blackmail. His target was Taissa all along, but clearly, his plan did not work out the way he intended it to. Shauna confessed to murdering Adam and came clean about her affair. She realized during their conversation that Jeff had never had an affair in the first place. The woman he met at the hotel was part of the gang he borrowed money from. Jeff was ready to take the blame for the murder, but he realized that if Shauna convinced the Yellowjackets that Adam was the blackmailer, they would find a way to take care of the body. Natalie wanted answers, but now that Adam was dead, she had no way of knowing if he had murdered Travis. Shauna convinced Natalie that she was overcomplicating Travis’s suicide. Even though it was difficult for Natalie to accept, she was gradually losing all hope of finding the truth. Meanwhile, with the body now taken care of, Jeff and Shauna were back to working on their marriage. They did not have any secrets between them, and Shauna realized that Jeff loved her even after knowing her entire truth through the journals. Their marriage was better than before, but surely Adam’s ghost will haunt them till the very end.

Was Jackie Murdered By The Group?

Coach Martinez selected Jackie Taylor as the captain of the team because of her ability to influence those around her. Jackie tried her best to fit into her idea of a perfect woman. She enjoyed the drama of breaking up and getting back with her boyfriend, Jeff. She surely was not in love with him, but she liked the attention. She wanted to blend in with the other college students, and that was the only reason she considered sleeping with Jeff.  Jackie often neglected her feelings to check on all the goals she had in mind.

Shauna Shipman was Jackie’s best friend. Shauna admired Jackie, but at the same time, she often felt belittled by her. She could never be honest about her feelings around Jackie, and most of the time she simply pretended to be the kind of person Jackie wanted her to be. We later learn that Shauna had been with Jeff during the time Jackie broke up with him. Shauna was simply tired of repressing her emotions and being the perfect sidekick to Jackie. Jealousy surely dominated Shauna’s emotions, and she felt in control while making love to Jeff behind Jackie’s back. While Shauna never wanted Jackie to find out about her affair with Jeff, it became impossible for her to hide when she missed her period. Shauna tried to abort the pregnancy, but she stopped the moment the pain became unbearable, and the fear of losing her life in the process started to set in. The truth eventually surfaced when Jackie read Shauna’s journals. She was devastated, and her desperation to lose her virginity became stronger. Her faith in love and friendship was lost, and she realized that nothing truly ever mattered. She believed that waiting for the perfect time and moment had done her more harm than good. She was ready to have sexual intercourse with Travis even though she knew he was in love with Natalie. Travis had distanced himself from Natalie when he found out that she had lied to him about her partners. Jackie used the moment to her advantage and convinced Travis to make love to her. 

Jackie was the only person who had not consumed the soup made from magic mushrooms. She realized Travis was hallucinating after intercourse. The rest of the girls were overcome with madness as a result of the drug. They were determined to punish Jackie for sleeping with Travis. The girls hooted and screamed like our wild, primitive ancestors and marched to the cabin. They confined Jackie to the storeroom and engaged in a sexual act with Travis in the center. The sexual desire was dominated by the need to consume Travis, and eventually, the cannibalistic instincts kicked in. Travis ran for his life while the girls followed. This scene, in particular, was brilliantly executed, with primal wildness surfacing for the first time. The desire for sex and consumption intertwines, and morality dissipates. The madness was so freeing that the girls never truly regretted doing what they did that night. They got hold of Travis, and Shauna was about to bleed him out, but Natalie stopped them. Travis chose not to address the trauma that he experienced that night.

The next morning, the entire group chose not to acknowledge it, but Jackie could not forget what she had seen. She wanted the rest of the group to take accountability, but no one felt the way she did. They started seeing Jackie as the outsider, someone who did not know what it felt like to lose complete control. They blamed their actions on Jackie and maligned her for sleeping with Travis. But Jackie was not ready to take the blame, and she could not help but point out the irony when Shauna criticized her. Jackie hoped Shauna would apologize to her, but instead, she was humiliated for being a self-absorbed person. Jackie tried to hold her ground and asked Shauna to leave, but Shauna was done obeying her. 

Jackie decided to stay outside the cabin that day, and nobody stopped her from doing so. Jackie’s moral high ground led to her seclusion. She struggled the most in the wilderness, and she contributed the least during their stay. She always had a sense of superiority and believed that she deserved to be treated differently. But that day, nobody came to her rescue. It took her hours to light a fire, and she hoped that someone would step outside to take her back into the cabin. That night, she dreamed of being treated with warmth and affection by her teammates. She imagined drinking her favorite beverage and sitting next to the fireplace. But the dream started to blur, and she suddenly saw the previous occupant of the cabin. He added that he was glad that Jackie was finally joining him. The next morning, Shauna woke up from a nightmare and rushed outside to bring Jackie in, but it was all too late. It had snowed that night, and Jackie had died in the cold.

Who Was The Black Spirit?

The Senate election affected Taissa’s marriage to Simone. She was mostly distracted with her office work and barely had time for her family. Their son, Sammy, struggled to make friends and showed signs of hallucinations. He would often imagine a woman in black watching over him as he fell asleep. He preferred keeping the curtains drawn to avoid her. Taissa was worried about her son’s sudden change in behavior. There was a darkness in him that she did not know how to deal with. While watching her son struggle, she was reminded of her childhood when she came across a man in black with no eyes for the first time in her life. As a little girl, she believed that the man had taken her grandma away from her. When she tried to open her grandma’s eye, she noticed that her iris was gone. Sammy was facing the same demons that once haunted Taissa. Taissa’s doubt was further confirmed when she saw her son’s doll left in a mutilated condition. While Simone and Taissa focused on improving Sammy’s mental health, Taissa gradually realized that she was the problem.

One night she came to her senses while sleepwalking and realized that her hand was covered in blood and soil. The trauma that she experienced in the wilderness continued to haunt her in her sleep. Feeding on soil had become a part of her ritual. She realized that she was responsible for the death of their dog, and she was worried that she would hurt her wife and Sammy. She asked Simone to move out of the house to protect her family from her subconscious instincts. It became obvious that the woman Sammy saw at night was Taissa. He had started to believe that his mother had two sides, and he was afraid of the woman she became at night. Sammy’s social skills started to improve when he moved out of the house with Simone. Later, on the day of the Senate result announcement, Simone went to their apartment with Sammy to take along some essentials she had left behind. As she walked into the basement, she noticed blood spots. She opened the metal cage and realized that there was a pathway. She walked through it and entered a room. She was petrified to find the head and heart of their missing dog, along with Sammy’s toy, on an altar. The symbol was drawn with blood on the wall. Did Taissa consciously participate in the rituals? Was she a member of the cult, or was it her alternate personality that continued to believe in it?

And Finally, Who Is Lottie Matthews?

Lottie Matthews suffered from schizophrenia and was troubled by her visions from a young age. Some may consider her visions to be a blessing because she could often predict the future. It all comes down to what one might choose to believe, but evidently, her visions got out of control without her medication. She could tell there was something wrong with the cabin the moment she saw it, and they eventually discovered the body of the man who used to live there. Lottie was convinced that the spirits of the wilderness had used their magic to force the man to stay there. When the girls conducted a seance at the cabin, Lottie was possessed by a spirit. The spirit was hungry and demanded blood. While the girls did not take what the spirit asked for seriously, they were extremely scared after what they had witnessed.

Laura Lee brought light into Lottie’s life when she was consumed by her dark thoughts. She baptized Lottie and eventually became her only friend. Laura respected Lottie’s visions and believed that it was God’s way of showing her more than what her eyes could see. When Vanessa prepared to leave with Taissa to search for help, Lottie warned her about the red river and the danger that they could face during the journey. After being attacked by wolves beyond the red river, Vanessa started to believe in spirits and the visions of Lottie. She could not forget the spirits she saw when she was between life and death. After returning to the cabin, she started to believe completely in Lottie.

Lottie further proved the power of her vision when she predicted that they would soon be fed, and the very next morning, a bear came to their cabin and almost surrendered its life to Lottie. Lottie offered the heart of the bear to the trunk of the tree. Van and Misty kneeled down as Lottie offered a prayer to the spirit. Lottie was the leader of the cult that she started in the wilderness. Van and Misty were her first followers. The cult explains the reason why they might have sacrificed human lives. They did whatever the spirit asked of Lottie. In the end, a group of men and women stormed into Natalie’s hotel room as she was about to commit suicide after losing all hope of finding out what truly happened to Travis. The group members were followers of the cult Lottie started. Natalie’s ex-sponsor, Susie, had found out that Lottie Matthews had emptied Travis’s bank account. Just as she called to inform Natalie about it, Natalie was taken away by the cult members. Susie’s life might also be in danger, considering she is already being followed.

So, what happened to the other members of the team? Is Van still alive, and does she continue to be an integral part of the cult? Does Taissa continue to be a loyal follower? Is her “normal” life just a pretense? How did the cult attract more followers? And, what happened to Javi? Season one of “Yellowjackets” left us with too many unanswered questions, and we can’t wait to find out more about the cult and the nineteen months that the girls had spent in the wilderness.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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