Yellowjackets Bears Down With A Filler Where Nat's A Killer

Huddle up, team. If you're not caught up on Showtime's "Yellowjackets" yet, get your life together because we're crash landing with our first individual episode recap. This week's episode, "Bear Down" comes to us from show co-executive producer Liz Phang and Deepa Mehta and it's a very Nat-centric episode. Hurray for Juliette Lewis! Hurray for Sophie Thatcher! Hurray for all of us to get to enjoy it!

After a quick recap of last week's episode, we're back inside the plane during the crash, and checking in on our favorite bleached blonde pile of teen angst and smoky eyeliner, Natalie Scatorccio. It doesn't take long before things take a serious WTF turn, as Nat seems to hallucinate her drunk dad seated next to her, with half of his head blown out like the ghost in "The Sixth Sense" who talks to Haley Joel Osment about where his dad keeps his gun. Alas, it's just a nightmare, but whatever happened with Nat's dad has clearly been plaguing her ever since, just like Lottie with the dead body last week, who Nat sees sitting straight up and staring at the ladder to the attic while everyone around her sleeps.

Back in 1996, Misty continues to be the most unhinged character on television as she inches toward Annie Wilkes territory after she tries to help Coach Scott take a poop in the woods (since he can't hover on his own with one leg) by singing Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Good news, I'm still obsessed with her.

Ready, Aim, Fire!

Good news, the weird cabin they found in the woods has a gun and a survivalist's stock of bullets. Bad news, only Coach Scott knows how to use a gun and he's currently re-learning how to walk again with an amputated leg and a makeshift crutch. He decides to test out the team's shooting skills, and turns out Travis has decent aim, but Natalie is an emo, burnout Annie Oakley. She and Travis are tasked with hunting food for the rest of the crew as their rations of Snackwells and Corn Nuts have finally bit the dust. Travis has a major attitude problem, but he and Natalie's chemistry is fantastic.

Before they focus on their mission, Travis heads back to the crash site to dig up his dead dad, looking to snag a family heirloom off his finger to give to his grieving little brother. Naturally, he yaks upon seeing his decomposed dad, so Natalie does him a solid and gets the ring for him, which includes having to cut off his finger with a pocket knife. The duo bond over being members of the Dead Dad's Club and eventually track down a deer that Natalie strikes with one shot. They bring the deer back to camp where Shauna volunteers to bleed it out, pissing off Misty who enthusiastically volunteered but was ignored by Coach Scott who is very fed up with her weirdness. The team devour the venison cooked on sticks, with barbaric chomps reminiscent of the cannibalism implied in the pilot. Ooooh, foreshadowing!

Shauna's Reliving Her Teen Years

After sneaking around with the mysterious but CLEARLY sus Adam, it's confirmed that Shauna definitely cheated on her lame husband with this equally lame guy. As we've seen from her teen years, Shauna clearly gets off on cheating and this sparks some high school nostalgia feels, and she invites Adam to help her experience the rambunctious teen milestones she didn't get to have. They convince some guy to buy them booze even though they're of age, they intentionally hit mini-golf balls into a neighborhood just to prove they can, and eventually they jump off a bridge into some water, but not before Shauna is haunted by the image of Jackie (!) telling her "Someone's going to get hurt." Is this confirmation Jackie doesn't survive? Regardless, she ignores her and the couple celebrate their evening of debauchery by screwing in the back seat of a car. Ah, high school! Melanie Lynskey is captivating as always, but no offense to actor Peter Gadiot, but in a show with this much gay energy, the last thing I give a single f*** about is a man trying to be charming.

We don't see a lot of teen Shauna in this episode with the exception of her volunteering to bleed out the deer and delivering the slowest throat slit imaginable. She's not at the "rip a rabbit's skin off in a single swoop" level that we'll see as an adult, but this is obviously the start of something to come. Does this mean Shauna is the one we saw in the pilot draining the blood out of a captured teammate? Or is she the mastermind who nods and gives the go-ahead?

Taissa's Not Great at Schmoozing

Teen Taissa isn't seen a lot in this episode either, with the exception of some continued playful (AND GAY) banter with Van. The two of them, Jackie, and Laura Lee are foraging for greens when they come across a small plane in the woods. Van is nearly hacked by its propellers when Jackie saves her ass, but hey, now they've got a functional plane at their disposal ... one that Lottie thinks is definitely cursed or something.

In the present, Taissa is trying to impress some rich donors for her campaign at a fancy dinner. Her opponent made an attack ad implying she's a cannibal, so she's gotta schmooze it or lose it. She has some hallucinatory freak-outs where she imagines the roasted pig they're serving is a deer head, and we find out that Taissa is now a vegetarian as a trauma response to surviving the woods. She finally has a private sit-down with a fancy rich lady who tells her she'll only give her the campaign funds if Taissa tells her all the juicy details about what happened in the woods. She snaps back and rightfully calls this white savior out for being a performative a-hole. We're still not 100% on what the public at large thinks happened during their 19-month hell, but it's clear that everyone assumes they all turned into teenage Alferd Packers even if it wasn't said so on record.

Natalie's in Her Own Personal Hell

Following her and Misty's brush with the law after finding Travis dead, Natalie returns to the trailer home she grew up in to find her bitter mother as resentful as she was during her teen years, and Nat's room looking exactly the same as she left it. Coming home brings a little sense of comfort as she digs through old mixtapes, but is a painful reminder of the abuse she endured long before the plane crash. She has dinner with her high school best friend Kevyn who has exchanged his Dead Kennedys shirt for a police badge, and manipulates his feelings for her in order to get a copy of Travis' toxicology report, as she's convinced he was murdered and didn't actually take his own life. Nat isn't the most reliable narrator, but she's a straight-shooter, and I think she's right on this one.

As '90s Nat approaches the deer in the woods, we're given flashbacks as to what really happened to her dad. Kevyn was over and the two were listening to music while she painted his nails black (awww!) but her dad storms in belligerently and keeps calling her "a little slut" while beating the crap out of her mom for nodding off and "allowing" it. Nat pulls a gun on him in self defense, but he mocks her when she goes to fire and the safety is on. This move would prove futile after he trips with the gun in his hand and blows off his own face, right in front of Natalie. She didn't pull the trigger, but to her (and her mom), she might as well have been the one to do it.

Misty's Still Doing Misty

Adult Misty calls up Natalie to check on her, with an online article pulled up titled "What to (and Not to) Say to Someone Grieving a Suicide." No one really wants to talk to Misty because, well, she's an absolute lunatic, so she steals one of the old ladies from the facility she works at to be her dinner date while she spies on Natalie and Kevyn. While at the restaurant, she notices the reporter Taissa hired and confronts her by saying, "I know when you look at me, you don't see someone you should be afraid of, but, uh ... you're wrong." Considering we've already seen Misty effortlessly chop off a leg with an axe, sabotage the group by breaking the rescue communicator, sing to someone while they're trying to take a s***, pull the cables from cars to force them to go places with her, deny patients pain medications out of spite, and trip Coach Scott's crutches because he didn't pick her to bleed out a deer ... uh, yeah. 

The episode ends with Misty calling up Shauna who expressly states that she asked her to never contact her again (WHAT DID SHE DO FOR THEM TO ALL SAY THIS TO HER?!) but she announces that Travis is dead and Shauna looks mortified. We know why Travis and Natalie have a special bond, but this indicates something went on with him and Shauna too, and my imagination is currently going full Pepe Silvia as I try to figure out why she's this upset.

Buzzworthy Moments and Additional Thoughts

Ultimately, this feels a bit like a filler episode, but even a filler episode of "Yellowjackets" is better than 90% of anything else on TV. Questions still remain unanswered, and now we've got half a dozen more to add to the list. Misty's elderly dinner date saying to her, "You remind me of my granddaughter. No one really likes her, either," is hands-down the best quote of the episode. Close behind is Natalie telling Misty, "I hate to break it to you, but we're not Rizzoli and Isles," in the moment before. Honestly, anytime someone is telling Misty to F-off, there's bound to be a great zinger.

  • I find myself holding my breath every time Lottie is on screen knowing that she's out of her antipsychotics. It's not a matter of "if" she's gonna lose it, but "when." I'm scared.
  • Move over, coconut La Croix. Adult Misty can now add "chocolate martini" to her continued list of liking the absolute worst form of a specific drink.
  • Jeff is a total moron if he thinks Shauna's "book club" lasts that long. I know that he's a straight guy who married his high school girlfriend's best friend he was cheating on her with, but come on.
  • Teenage Van and Taissa need to just tell each other they're in love already. Quit pussyfooting around, ladies. We see you.
  • My resentment toward Adam might be due to my own jealousy of wanting to go mini-golfing with Melanie Lynskey. I should probably ask my therapist about that one.
  • I can't take my eyes off of Sammi Hanratty as teen Misty no matter if she's the focus of a scene or not. She's always pulling some weirdness in the background and I'm fascinated by her.

"Yellowjackets" is on Showtime every Sunday. Showtime app users can watch the episode early, but the channel broadcasts at 10 P.M. PST/7 P.M. EST.