Every Yellowjackets Main Character, Ranked

Showtime's surprise smash hit series "Yellowjackets" follows a New Jersey high school women's soccer team in 1996 as they head to the national championships, only to crash land in the remote Canadian wilderness and fight for their survival. While the girls are talented soccer players, they each have to learn how to come to terms with their new roles after the crash and work together to survive.

The series also flashes forward to the remaining survivors 25 years after the crash, resulting in a complicated and fascinating mystery box of past and present. Part sendup of '90s teen movies, part domestic horror, and part psychological thriller and survivor epic, "Yellowjackets" is a gripping show unlike any other with an ensemble cast of incredible women at its center. With so many moving pieces involving a rich company of dynamic characters, we've ranked all of the complex and nuanced "Yellowjackets" main characters from worst to best.

15. Jackie

By virtue of the show's structure and point of view, Jackie's identity is intertwined with Shauna's. Like many of the "Yellowjackets" characters, Jackie (Ella Purnell) fulfills a clear archetype from the beginning of the series. She's seemingly the perfect, popular soccer player, with the perfect, popular boyfriend, Jeff. Before the crash, Jackie's can-do spirit and optimism holds the team together. Though she's a bit rebellious and sardonic, she's largely depicted as straightforwardly sunny, the mediator for every conflict between her friends and teammates. 

However, things change after the crash as Jackie's selfishness comes to the surface. In the midst of a shared trauma, Jackie's nonstop whining and menial contributions to the group's survival efforts quickly cause her teammates to lose respect for her. The shifting dynamics also highlight the underlying lies and tension between Jackie and her loyal best friend, Shauna, for the first time as Jackie discovers Shauna's secret pregnancy and the father of her child. 

To make matters worse, Jackie takes out her frustration with Shauna on innocent victims, spoiling Natalie and Travis's burgeoning romance by doing the same thing to Natalie that Shauna did to her. As the rest of the team becomes more primal, the simmering anger between Jackie and Shauna leads to a fight that would forever change their fates ... while also revealing that Jackie may not have been the perfect best friend she seemed to be.

14. Adam

Adam (Peter Gadiot) meets Shauna after she hits his car, an encounter that should have been the end of their relationship. However, Adam begins to doggedly pursue her, offering to fix her car for free if she'll go to dinner with him. As Shauna becomes more convinced Jeff is having an affair, she becomes more willing to engage in one with Adam. Initially, Adam seems to be an embodiment of every bored housewife's fantasy; he appears to be everything that Jeff isn't, a sophisticated artist with an exciting life who, most importantly, is enthralled with Shauna. 

However, as the affair heats up it becomes clear that Shauna doesn't know as much about Adam as she thinks she does. Worse yet, Adam continues to break boundaries and pressure Shauna, showing up uninvited to her home and risking her family and marriage for his own short-term gain. While Shauna's suspicions don't end up being correct, Adam is still a selfish liar whose intentions were ultimately unclear.

13. Callie

Callie's (Sarah Desjardins) origins are incredibly difficult. Born to teen parents who began their relationship in an affair, it's understandable that Shauna and Jeff's teen daughter would be sulky and spoiled. There is also a lot about Callie that we still don't know (for example, how much of her life she experienced in the wilderness). What we do know about Callie, like many of the other characters, is introduced through Shauna's eyes as a stereotypically ungrateful teenager. 

Interestingly, the more we get to know Callie, the more her perspective is understandable. Her parents are in a rocky place with their marriage (which they don't hide well), and her mother's traumatic past is still very much a part of their present. As Shauna and Callie lead weirdly parallel lives, acting out and partying, Callie expresses a rare moment of empathy towards her mother, hinting at a deeper maturity. It's also clear in that moment that Callie sees much more than Shauna realizes. Yet Callie is one of the rare characters on "Yellowjackets" that feels largely one-dimensional, seemingly focused on partying over everything else.

12. Jessica

Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma) is one of the more fascinating and enigmatic characters of the series. Initially introduced as a kind of audience surrogate in the pilot episode, Jessica interviews several people connected to the Yellowjackets before showing up at Shauna's house uninvited to discuss the 25th anniversary of the crash. This incident propels much of the action in the present storyline, as Shauna calls Taissa to have her squash the story. Of course, Taissa doesn't ... as Jessica is, in fact, a private investigator she hired as part of her senate campaign to see if any of the Yellowjackets have talked and are a liability. 

Things only grow more complex for Jessica when Misty (Christina Ricci) calls her to meet up and talk and instead drugs and kidnaps her. As Misty's captor, Jessica has to play a calculated game of chess figuring out how to deploy the information she has and when. Jessica is clearly intelligent and gutsy, but unfortunately for Jessica, she underestimates Misty in multiple ways, leaving her fate up in the air.

11. Jeff

When we first meet Jeff (Jack DePew), he's Jackie's devoted boyfriend and seems to be the perfect high school guy. We don't know much about him beyond that, causing him to be a bit one-note at first ... until he gives Shauna a ride home and we learn the two are having an affair behind Jackie's back. In the present day, Shauna and Jeff (Warren Kole) are married and live with the burden of the past — including Jackie's ghost — between them. Jeff is distant, spending every night away from home to go to the store, leading Shauna to believe he's having an affair. While he and Shauna are in couples therapy, through Shauna's eyes, Jeff seems to be disengaged from his own marriage and family. 

As the season goes on, though, flickers of Jeff's personality appear, first when he defends Shauna to Jackie's parents, and later when the truth finally erupts between Shauna and Jeff. Because we know Jeff purely through Shauna's perspective, learning the truth about his affair is a paradigm shift. Jeff isn't a cheater, but simply doing what he can to protect his family, even if those choices are twisted in their own way. Jeff may not be the most effusive or passionate man, but he does stand by Shauna and love her despite all of her baggage and flaws.

10. Kevyn

Unlike many of the other "Yellowjackets" characters, we see more of Kevyn (Alex Wyndham) in the present than the past. As Natalie's loyal best friend who harbors unrequited feelings for her, Kevyn witnesses the abuse and dysfunction in her home when they're young. When they reunite as adults, it's under troubling circumstances: Natalie and Misty have been arrested for breaking and entering into Travis's home and Misty, posing as Natalie, calls Kevyn, now a cop, to bail them out. While Natalie is still hung up on Travis, especially after his apparent suicide, Kevyn is ready and willing to explore a relationship with her as an adult. 

Natalie takes full advantage of Kevyn's kindness, using him to get more information about what happened to Travis with Kevyn falling right into Natalie's trap. Kevyn fits into an archetype, too, of course — the best friend with an unrequited crush — and as a result, has to accept Natalie's feelings (or lack thereof) and move on after Natalie crosses a line. Kevyn is not particularly complex, but he is heartbreaking because of the way he treats Natalie (with pure unadulterated understanding and love) and the way she uses him in return.

9. Ben

The only surviving adult, and one of the few surviving men of the crash, the Yellowjackets' coach Ben Scott (Steven Krueger) has a harrowing journey, waking up with a piece of the wing crushing his right leg. After Misty amputates his leg below the knee (without his consent), Coach Ben has to navigate a new relationship with his team, teaching them how to shoot and prepare the animals they kill. However, he also has to deal with an unexpected and uncomfortable crush from Misty, his overeager nurse. 

While Ben initially tries to maintain his teacherly demeanor with the girls, and especially Misty, Ben's role shifts when they realize they aren't getting rescued anytime soon. As the girls grow more powerful after the crash, Ben has to relinquish control and let them take the reins. This allows other dynamics to form, including a surprising friendship with Natalie, who offers a nonjudgmental space for Ben to be himself — a gay man. After Ben admits the truth to Natalie, including his relationship, he also offers a heartfelt toast to Taissa and Van's own public expression of their love. While Ben's fate is unclear, his commitment to coach the girls in whatever way he can is endearing.

8. Lottie

At the beginning of the series, Lottie (Courtney Eaton) is one of the quieter characters, seeming to fade into the background amidst the more prominent and vocal Yellowjackets. Lottie is primarily framed through her wealth; her father pays for the private plane the team takes to Nationals that leads to their eventual crash. As the season continues, we learn more about Lottie, and her backstory that builds to the mystery about who she really is. 

When the girls are first sorting through the wreckage in the immediate aftermath of the crash, Lottie finds her suitcase including a bottle of pills, presumably some sort of anti-psychotic, with only a few left. We later discover that Lottie has been plagued with seemingly prophetic visions for most of her life. After spending more time in the wilderness and running out of her medication, the visions return with shocking accuracy, terrifying Lottie until Laura Lee baptizes her and reassures her the visions are a gift. 

With renewed self-assurance, Lottie becomes confident in what she sees and believes, spearheading a literal manhunt through the woods. As winter approaches and things take a disastrous turn, Lottie leads the girls with unnerving calm and foresight. Lottie's role in the present is more questionable aside from a brief mention in the finale that links her involvement to the larger puzzle of the season, but her mysterious presence is alluring and frightening.

7. Laura Lee

Like many of the characters in "Yellowjackets," Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) originally appears to be a shallow archetype before the series reveals more under the surface. Unlike the rest of her teammates, Laura Lee is very religious, asking to lead the team in a prayer before a practice scrimmage. Laura Lee's unwavering faith initially makes her a bit naïve, leading her to believe she caused the crash for going against God's will by calling her mother a bad name. 

Yet as the season continues, Laura Lee's resilience is surprising, as she's always aware of the dangers of the situation she and her teammates are in. She also forms a close bond with Lottie, assuring her that her visions are a gift from God through a baptism. When the Yellowjackets find the cabin they set up camp in, they also discover an abandoned airplane. Laura Lee asserts herself then, deciding she can learn how to fly it based on her childhood experiences with her pilot grandfather. 

While Coach Ben and many of the girls try to talk her out of flying the plane, Laura Lee's faith propels her forward. Incredibly, she is actually able to fly — until the plane explodes mid-air. Laura Lee's final moments are heartbreaking as she makes peace with her death and her purpose, cementing her as a brave and loving character.

6. Travis

Despite being such a large ensemble cast, Yellowjackets largely introduces characters through the perspectives of one of the Yellowjackets, as is the case with Travis and Natalie. Surviving the crash with his younger brother after the horrific death of their father, Travis (Kevin Alves) is introduced as a sullen, grieving teenager with a bucket of daddy issues. As the two best shooters in the group, Travis has to learn how to work with and trust Natalie on their hunting expeditions. 

The first major bonding moment between them occurs when he leads Natalie off course and back to the crash site to collect a ring from his father's corpse. When he can't stomach the job, Natalie does it for him, bringing the two closer together. After that, Travis is more willing to open up to Natalie and the two forge a tender romance that follows them both into the present. While Travis has many insecurities that lead him to make hurtful decisions regarding his relationship with Natalie, Natalie's experience in the present storyline showcase how profound their connection is.

5. Van

The bubbly class clown of the group, Van (Liv Hewson) is easily one of the most likable Yellowjackets. We know little about her life outside of the team, aside from a brief interaction with her mother the morning before the crash. In keeping with the structure of the series, Van is mostly filtered through her relationship with Taissa, a formative first queer love. While the two are not fully out, Taissa especially, Van's attachment to Taissa leads her to make decisions she may not otherwise. 

Van is driven to survive like everyone else, but also because she wants to take Taissa on a real date in New York City when they make it out. When Taissa decides to search for civilization, Van goes with her, even though she doesn't seem to fully agree with the decision. This trust leads to disastrous consequences for Van who is brutally attacked the first night of their quest. While Van is self-conscious after the attack mars her appearance, she still maintains her sarcastic and optimistic demeanor. Van also has an air of mystery, joining Lottie in a conspicuous prayer in the final moments of the season. Van's complicated mystical view of the world and deadpan humor make for a winning and endearing character. 

4. Misty

The Yellowjackets' requisite weird girl, we know little about Misty's (Samantha Hanratty) life before the crash other than that she has a lower social standing than her teammates, getting prank called and bullied by random mean girls. Of course, like her teammates, Misty evolves into a different person after the crash, spurring into action thanks to her Red Cross babysitter training and triaging the aftermath of the crash. While Misty was relegated to the sidelines by her teammates before the crash, they soon find her indispensable to their survival, leading her to make the deadly decision to destroy the emergency beacon from the plane. 

Misty's desperate need to be loved and belong also leads her to attach to Coach Ben, an understandable but embarrassing crush that drives her to make more bad decisions like drugging Ben and the rest of the team with wild mushrooms. Perhaps more than any of the other Yellowjackets, Misty's (Christina Ricc) teenage tendencies follow her into adulthood as a nurse who casually torments her patients and ruthlessly drugs and kidnaps Jessica in an effort to be part of the team. Somehow, despite her behavior, Misty is eminently likable and empathetic because of why she does what she does, in no small part due to her intelligence, grit, and sunny disposition.

3. Natalie

Messy but endlessly empathetic, Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) is the black sheep of the Yellowjackets and her life beyond. A grungy, stoner burnout, Natalie's abusive father and unhappy home life lead her to party with a very different group from her teammates — like her best friend, the nerdy goth Kevyn (Charlie Wright). As somewhat of an outsider, Nat adopts a wry observant sensibility, generally the only one of the group who can call everyone out in equal turn due to her deep, but hidden, compassion for others. 

This leads to a transformative relationship she begins after the crash with Travis, the son of their coach who died in the crash. Thrust together for hunting expeditions, the two soon bond over their shared traumas and sarcastic demeanors and form a real and deep bond that lasts a lifetime. Like the others, Natalie's (Juliette Lewis) past informs her present, including her habitual substance abuse. In the present, Natalie's addictive personality and desperation to learn what happened to Travis lead her to treat everyone else around her horribly, using Kevyn and Misty to get what she wants. However, Natalie's pain and vulnerability still make her empathetic even as she manipulates and lies.

2. Taissa

Our first introduction to Taissa (Jasmine Savoy Brown) is an unforgettable moment of clarity. When the team is practicing their final scrimmage before Nationals, Taissa's fierce competitiveness boils over as she declares one of the junior varsity players isn't ready for game time. When no one else listens to her, Taissa takes matters into her own hands on the field and injures her during a play. Taissa's same single-minded determination carries through after the crash. While the team sets up camp at an abandoned cabin, Taissa fears that they're giving up hope of ever leaving. Determined to find a chance at rescue, Taissa leads a risky expedition in search of human life, leading to disastrous results that cement the team's need to stay in place.

Taissa's (Tawny Cypress) perseverance and, at times, questionable doggedness persist in the present where she is running for state senate. While Taissa has a picture-perfect family with her wife Simone (Rukiya Bernard) and son Sammy (Aiden Stoxx), the tender threads of her life slowly begin to unravel as the past resurfaces. Taissa's mysterious and creepy sleepwalking habits persist throughout her life even as she disavows any possibility of the supernatural, making her slightly hypocritical and frustrating. However, Taissa is also kind and generous in her relationships with Van and Shauna, the latter of which persists into the present as the two discover they are the only ones who can understand each other's pain.

1. Shauna

With a sprawling ensemble cast like "Yellowjackets," there isn't one main character, but Shauna comes the closest. When we first meet Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), she's introduced almost entirely in relation to Jackie. The two have a strong friendship, but it's clear Shauna also harbors quiet bitterness about the power dynamics between them. After the crash, these resentments are heightened in both directions as Shauna grows into her own person and discovers she's pregnant with Jeff's baby, understandably keeping the secret from Jackie. When Taissa discovers Shauna's secret, she and Shauna grow closer, further driving a wedge between Shauna and her once best friend. 

These dynamics haunt Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) in the present day, where she is married to Jeff and questioning whether he really wants to be with her, or would rather have been with Jackie, leading her to embark on a risky affair with Adam. Shauna is a reclamation of a specific kind of archetype — the main character's best friend. With so much airtime given to the Jackies of the world, Shauna's voice is refreshingly smart, heartfelt, and incisive and one that television has been missing for far too long.