Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 3 Originally Didn't Have That Standout Coach Ben Scene

This post contains spoilers through the third episode of "Yellowjackets" season 2.

Of all the main characters on "Yellowjackets," Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) is the one we're the most worried for. As the only adult in the group, he's something of a permanent outsider, and the fact that he's lost a leg doesn't help. Not only is he not able to pitch in much to support the group, but he can't even run away if his team decides they want to eat him. He's essentially dead weight who has gradually lost all his authority, and as an adult man, his corpse would make for a far bigger feast than Jackie's. The fact that he hasn't been mentioned in the present-day storyline may not guarantee his death — like with Van and Lottie before season 2, "Yellowjackets" might simply be biding their time with him — but it's certainly not a good sign. 

If the latest episode's any indication, Ben himself is now fully aware of his precarious position. He just watched the girls gobble up Jackie's body, and the only reason why Jackie's dead in the first place is because the girls ignored his wishes and shut her out in the cold. Then of course there's the fact that he's still starving, and even if he does get something non-human to eat there's still a significant chance that Misty's poisoned his meal. The Ben in "Digestif" seems painfully aware that he's probably going to die out here, best shown in the hallucinatory scene where he imagines one of the teammates (Gen, played by Mya Lowe) foaming at the mouth, preparing to eat him. It's one of the most memorable scenes of an episode that was already plenty disturbing, and it almost wasn't there at all. 

A result of an episode 2 acting choice

"That scene wasn't originally in there," Steven Krueger explained in a recent interview with TV Insider. "It was a slightly different version of that scene that didn't have the kind of animal attack hallucination-type vibe to it." 

It turns out that the writers ended up changing the scene thanks to inspiration from Krueger's performance in the previous episode. "For that ending moment of episode 2, when all of the girls are attacking Jackie's corpse and I'm the only one that withholds, I created for myself what Ben has probably had, this nightmare of himself, that he is the one being feasted on by all of these girls," Krueger explained. "[The writers] saw something going on my face [...] then all of a sudden we get the rewrite for episode 3 and they had added in this piece about a girl turning into an animal and wanting to attack me."

Although it's hardly unheard of for writers to change up their scripts in reaction to an actor's performance, this was still a pretty crazy, unexpected experience for Krueger. "It's one of the first times that's ever happened in my career, where I'm doing something just privately as an actor, and whatever it is that I'm doing is translating on screen to the point where they actually change one of the storylines going forward."

Okay, but will they eat Ben or not?

Although everything about this later episode seems to foreshadow Ben's demise, it's still possible he sticks around for longer than we expect. Maybe he won't make it into the present-day storyline, but fans often seem to forget that 19 months is a long time to spend in the wilderness, and the writers are likely hesitant to kill off too many characters too soon. If Ben can make it through the rest of winter this season, there's a good chance he'll be able to stay alive throughout spring and summer. 

As the eldest member of the group and the closest thing to a moral center, it seems like the best time to kill him off in the narrative is right before that second winter hits. This way the group will be at its most desperate, and there'll be nothing to stop them from descending into the vicious cannibals we saw in the pilot's flash-forwards. In the meantime, where does Ben go from here? Krueger gave his take:

"Once his identity as coach and protector is stripped away, what does he have left? It leaves a raw mess of a person who doesn't know who he is. He spends a lot of this season realizing he can't trust any of these girls, as much as he would like to [...] A lot of his story is seeing him come to that realization, and grapple with what that means." 

None of this bodes well for Ben, considering how Jackie died shortly after she lost trust with the rest of the group, but hopefully "Yellowjackets" will take his character in a less depressing direction. At the very least, let's hope he stays off the menu until season 3.