Let's Explore The Biggest Mystery In Yellowjackets: Who Is The Man With No Eyes?

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul — which is exactly why a creature without eyes can be so disturbing. What else are you supposed to look at when talking to them? How can you guess what a stranger's intentions are, or what they want from you, if you can't look at their eyes for some sort of hint? For all we know, the eyeless man in "Yellowjackets" (played by Brahm Taylor in season 1, and Brody Romhanyi in season 2). doesn't actually have an evil bone in his body, but because he doesn't talk and Taissa's terrified of him, the odds of him being a nice guy admittedly seem slim. 

So, who is the man with no eyes? Is he real, or just a projection of Taissa's own dark half? Much like "Lost," which mastered the art of the puzzle box show, "Yellowjackets" spent its first season playing around with the idea that there's some deeply supernatural stuff at play. But whereas "Lost" eventually veered hard into its sci-fi and fantasy elements, it seems like "Yellowjackets" is sticking to a more psychological, ambiguous route. As showrunner Jonathan Lisco recently explained:

"It's not about an external monster in the woods who is going to eat our teens. And it's not exclusively about some supernatural force in the present which is making them do things. The question of whether or not it is imposed by some dark force — and I'm not saying that's not possible — or whether or not it is alchemically generated by the proximity of these specific women together in the world, I think that's a really interesting question to continue to mine."

We might not ever know if Lottie's psychic powers are genuine, just as we might never know for sure if the man with no eyes is an real entity that can interact with the living world. But much like Misty, I'm happy to use my citizen detective skills to figure things out. 

'Nothing to be afraid of...'

The first time we see the strange figure (outside of the "Yellowjackets" opening credits, at least) is in a flashback to Taissa's childhood in the show's third episode, "The Dollhouse." The first flashback establishes that young Taissa had a strong, loving connection with her sick grandmother, who taught her to have a fairly comforting view of the afterlife. "Dying is nothing to be afraid of," she tells young Taissa. "The Lord gives us our time here, then he calls us back." Back to where? "To him. To heaven ... With the angels."

In the next flashback, though, things take a darker turn. First, Taiss's grandmother freaks out at some unseen presence in the room. Taissa asks if the angel is there, but her grandmother responds to the presence, "Don't you come over here. I mean it, stay away." When Taissa asks her who she's talking to, she says, "That man with no eyes! Don't let him take me! Don't let him take my eyes!" 

In the final flashback, we see Taissa approaching her grandmother's casket and curiously prying open her eyelid, only to discover that her grandmother's eyes are gone ... or at least, so it appears. What Taissa actually sees is an eye cap, a kind of contact lens that funeral homes use to ensure the eyelids remain closed and reduce the sunken appearance of the eye. But between her grandmother's horrid vision and the grim discovery at the funeral, it's no wonder that Taissa is haunted by the idea of a man with no eyes.

Everyone's afraid of death, but death is even scarier if you experience what seems like clear-cut confirmation that the afterlife is real, and it's horrible. Instead of the comforting idea that angels come to peacefully take the deceased away to heaven, this moment seems to confirm for Taissa that the afterlife is a far, far darker place than the living world.

Real or not real?

Considering how the latest episode of "Yellowjackets" features a seemingly sentient gust of wind dropping a bunch of snow on Jackie's funeral pyre, it's easy to imagine a version of the show where another character ends up seeing the man with no eyes too. But for now? It seems more likely that the man with no eyes is a personal demon rather than a literal one.

The big piece of evidence in favor of this is that Taissa doesn't actually see the man until her grandmother describes him to her; the first time Taissa looks across the room, expecting an angel, she doesn't see anyone at all. This implies the eyeless man is a figment of Taissa's imagination, something her young mind creates as a result of her grandmother's genuine terror. If someone you love and trust insists there's a man with no eyes in the room with you, it's easy to see how your mind could see what you're told to see, if even just for a moment. 

The rational explanation for what happened is that her grandmother is having a vision of her own, and it scares Taissa to the point where the idea of a spooky eyeless man ingrains itself into her mind. But why did something like this stick with Taissa for so long, even into her middle age?

Taissa's biggest fear

Van and Taissa have the most wholesome relationship in the show, but sleepwalking issues aside they've got one big problem: Van believes in otherworldly things, and Taissa does not. As Lottie's cult-like influence on the group grows and grows, this is likely to cause more friction between the two, and could be the main reason they aren't together in the present-day storyline. But why is Taissa so adamantly against the idea of the supernatural? 

Perhaps it's because if she acknowledges the supernatural exists, she'll be forced to grapple with the implications of that horrifying childhood memory. If Van truly saw a glimpse of the afterlife during her near-death experience, then maybe there was more to Taissa's grandmother's words than just a confused old woman seeing something that wasn't there. 

This all points to the idea that the eyeless man is the personification of Taissa's fear of death — or maybe just her fear of not being able to have any control over the world around her. There's a comfort in believing that you're the one who decides how your life ends up, but the existence of the supernatural — not to mention the statistically improbable incident of the plane crash in the first place — serves as a painful reminder that control is just an illusion. It's an unpleasant yet undeniable fact, and one that only reveals itself to Taissa in short, terrifying bursts. 

A family ghost

There's also the possibility that the man with no eyes simply represents generational trauma, which Taissa inherited from her grandmother, and which she is now passing down to her son. This is just one way in which Taissa and Shauna mirror one another: they're the only two survivors (so far) to have had kids of their own, and they're both doing a questionable job at it. Just as Shauna accidentally ends up dragging her daughter into her own messy extramarital affair (and now, the aftermath of Adam's murder), Taissa has unknowingly traumatized her son Sammy many times when "the bad one" took control of her body.

Neither of them intended to harm their child, but both of them brought some darkness back from their time in the wilderness, and their kids are paying the price for it. Sammy is seemingly aware of the man with no eyes as well, as evidenced by the drawings on his window. The mixed time settings of the show emphasize that the events of the past are always lurking under the surface of the present, and Sammy is not safe from them. If he ends up with his own sleepwalking problem down the line, it wouldn't be a huge surprise.

In the second season of "Yellowjackets" season 2, the connection between Sammy and Taissa's demons deepens when she comes home to discover her son has snuck out of school and is waiting for her ... or so it seems. When Simone arrives to pick him up, Sammy is gone, and a stern call from his school confirms that he never left. The vision creates an opportunity for Taissa to get into a car crash, incapacitating Simone and leaving the real Sammy with no one to protect him from Taissa's mysterious, malevolent alter ego.

What will make it go away?

If "Yellowjackets" was simply about how trauma is an endless cycle that only gets worse and worse, that would be a little too depressing, even for a show about cannibalism. With several seasons to go before the show concludes, it seems likely that Taissa will eventually figure out a solution to this issue before it completely wrecks her life beyond repair. But how?

Although their exact relationship with each other still isn't clear, it seems like "the bad one" and the man with no eyes are deeply linked. If Taissa wants to get to the bottom of the eyeless man, she'll have to get to the bottom of her sleepwalking self. But if we've learned anything from other shows and movies about characters with alternate personalities, it's going to take a lot to take care of this. Whether it's with Kevin from "The Leftovers," Elliot from "Mr. Robot," or the narrator of "Fight Club," getting rid of the personality that takes over your body in your sleep requires some drastic measures. 

Luckily, adult Taissa has something none of those other characters had: childhood friends who know about her issues, who can help her without the usual judgment she'd get from other people. As we've seen so far, teenage Van is a pretty ride-or-die girlfriend, someone completely uninterested in judging Taissa for whatever the other Taissa gets up to. With the reveal between seasons that adult Van will be making an appearance, it seems likely that the answer to Taissa's problems — adult Taissa's, at least — lies partially with Van. 

New episodes of "Yellowjackets" premiere in the Showtime app on Fridays and air Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.