When we asked Christina Ricci how dark and disturbing Season 2 of Yellowjackets goes in terms of its gruesome horror content, she said she audibly gasped when she first read the scripts. “Not in an upset way, but more excited,” she said. “There’s an ear thing in the first episode that reminded me of Reservoir Dogs. That was my favorite movie when I was 14, so I was really excited about that.”
Now that the episode finally aired Sunday night on Showtime, we know what she’s talking about. It’s gross!
(Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2 of Yellowjackets.)
The cannibalism has begun—and not in the way any of us imagined.
The wilderness timeline of Yellowjackets picks up two months after the first season finished. That means that it’s been two months since Jackie (Ella Purnell) froze to death.
After a mushroom-poisoned rave ended with the surviving teen girls attempting to have an orgy with and then sacrifice Travis (Kevin Alves), who had just had sex for the first time with Jackie (this show is wild), best friends Shauna (Sophie Nelisse) and Jackie had an argument in front of the group. The blow-up ended with Shauna banishing Jackie to the woods, after Jackie told the group that Shauna was pregnant with Jackie’s boyfriend’s baby (again, this show…). When Shauna woke up in the morning, the first snow had fallen, and Jackie died while outside.
In the Season 2 premiere, Shauna is clearly grappling with guilt. She has kept Jackie’s frozen corpse in the part of the cabin where the meat is stored, and has hallucinatory conversations with her while sourcing the meat for dinner. Purnell returns to the series to act as the ghost of Jackie. When one of their make-believe conversations gets heated, Shauna pushes the body. Considering this is a popsicle version of Jackie, when the body falls, one ear falls off.
Shauna is mortified. At first, she tries to stick it back on the body. Then, in the last moments of the episode, she does the unthinkable: She eats it.
We knew there was going to be cannibalism eventually in Yellowjackets, but the way it was introduced—a pregnant Shauna chowing down on the ear of her best friend—was certainly a shock.
“I think [the fans] are going to think it’s cool,” Nelisse told The Daily Beast’s Obsessed. “They’ve been wanting it. Asking for it. We’re just giving them what they want. I think they’re going to love it. I don’t think they were expecting it to come so early in the first season. We’re serving.”
“Serving,” it seems, has multiple connotations in this case.
Nelisse was over the moon when she found out that Purnell would return to the series for these scenes. “Ella was my best friend shooting the first season, and I definitely think she left such a hole and such an emptiness in our cast,” she said. “So it was so nice to have her back, but also sad because I knew she was going to go after just a few episodes. So I really cherished every moment I got to have with her. Even if it was just a tiny bit.”
“A tiny bit.” Again, the word choice…
“Shauna is dealing with so much guilt and self-recrimination from [Jackie’s death],” showrunner Jonathan Lisco told us. “She keeps playing it over and over in her head. So she goes into the meat shack to talk to Dead Jackie and Dead Jackie talks back to her. She is reliving things and trying to write a narrative in her head with both of them talking to in some ways process her guilt. But as we know and as we will see, things don’t go completely as planned.”
And why the ear?
“The ear is a very intimate body part in some ways,” Lisco said. “There’s almost an erotic quality to the ingestion of the ear. I think people, I hope, are really going to see that it was about their friendship. Shauna and Jackie loved each other. But Shauna is in Jackie’s shadow in a lot of ways. It’s one of those relationships where you love the person, but also sometimes want to destroy that person. Other times you want to be that person. So what’s the next step? Consumption. So when she takes that ear, it’s both so Jackie can be a part of her forever, in a way. But also to just get it done.”
“I think she put it in her pocket and didn’t think about it, and once it was there, it was kind of like this itch you have to scratch,” Nelisse said. “Once the idea was planted inside her head, she had to commit to it otherwise she wouldn’t stop thinking about it. So she just went for it.”
When we asked cast member Liv Hewson, who plays Teen Van in the series, how she reacted to the way Jackie was, um, incorporated into the premiere, she said, “Sick.” (Presumably, she meant excited, though in this case, there once again could be multiple meanings.)
In any case, as Nelisse teases, this is clearly just the beginning. While she doesn’t say the word “cannibalism” explicitly, she insinuates that there is more traumatizing dining to come as the season continues.
“There was this moment when we were all sitting around the table, around the feast, and we were like, ‘What are our jobs? This is insane,’” she said. “‘I don’t know how I feel about this, but I’m gonna do it anyway.’”
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The post The ‘Yellowjackets’ Cannibalism Begins: Inside That Ear Scene appeared first on The Daily Beast.