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Yellowjackets' Most Shocking Moments So Far

Showtime's hit series "Yellowjackets" offers unique twists and terrifying moments that captivate audiences, and the show quickly gained popularity with critics and fans alike. By the end of its first season, the series became the second-most streamed show in Showtime's history. The show opens with a high school girls' soccer team (the Yellowjackets) en route to a national tournament when their plane crashes in the Canadian mountains. Supernatural obstacles prevent the team's escape, and the girls take brutal measures to survive until their rescue 19 months later. Unfortunately, not everyone makes it out alive ... and no one emerges unscathed. The show's mysterious narrative takes place on two timelines — set in the present and in 1996 — and slowly begins to fill in the gaps of the crash's aftermath.

Co-creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson spoke with Deadline about the origins of the show. Lyle said Nickerson shared with her the basic premise of the series, which she was immediately interested in. "It sort of took on a critical mass at a certain point," she said. "We would take these long walks together and just talk about different characters and different ideas." Television shows focused on plane crashes often culminate in mind-bending supernatural drama: From "Lost" to "The Wilds" to "Manifest," plane crash survivors confront their own dark character flaws along with otherworldly threats. "Yellowjackets" digs deep into these tropes and offers compelling results. Are your favorite shocking moments from "Yellowjackets" on our list?

A girl is chased to her death

In the opening scene of the "Yellowjackets" premiere, a barefoot girl runs for her life through frozen, darkened woods. We don't see her pursuer, but it's readily apparent that she's prey. Breathless, she passes tree trunks carved with odd symbols and runs underneath weird stick figures hung from branches. Disembodied female voices mimic bird cries, howls, and whispers. Panicked, the girl stops in the middle of the woods, unsure of where to turn. Sadly, her path leads to her demise and she falls through a hole in the ice. Unmoving, she lies impaled on multiple spears. A creepy masked and cloaked figure wordlessly stands above her. A few scenes later, the girl's naked body is hung upside down from a tree branch. More cloaked figures gather, and one slices through the girl to begin a blood-letting ritual. Yikes.

The scenes have no dialogue and no initial context, and the girl's identity is never revealed. However, even before "Yellowjackets" unfolds its major plot points, the chase paints a foreboding picture of what's in store for the series. The cloaked figures show up again as the episode winds down, to cook meat over an open fire and eat it; ostensibly, this is the flesh of the doomed girl. Double yikes. Cannibalism, cultish vibes, and murder — all in the first episode.

Misty destroys the flight recorder

On "Yellowjackets," nerdy teenager Misty (Samantha Hanratty) serves as the team's equipment manager. Often overlooked by her peers, Misty struggles to find her place. However, in the hours after the crash, she proves her worth. In Season 1, Episode 2, severely injured Assistant Coach Ben Scott (Steven Krueger) writhes in pain with a mangled leg and the girls don't know how to help him. Sans hesitation, Misty grabs the plane's emergency ax and cleanly amputates the coach's lower leg before working to triage the rest of the wounded. As noted on Reddit, when a teammate asks her about her qualifications, Misty somberly replies, "I took the Red Cross Babysitter Training Class. Twice."

Alas, when the survivors later gather around a campfire, Misty once again feels pushed out of their camaraderie. Yet when she overhears the others talking about her value, she makes a rash decision. She finds the plane's black box flight recorder — perhaps their best chance for rescue — and smashes it to oblivion.

Both Hanratty and Christina Ricci (who plays the adult Misty), portray the character with nuance that allows viewers to understand her actions, if not empathize with them. Hanratty spoke to Teen Vogue about her character's opportunistic nature and shared, "There's no way Misty would let an opportunity go where she could be the provider ... the first thing that's going to hit her mind is like, how can I help but also, how can I insert myself in this really big news?"

Travis suffers a gruesome death

Travis Martinez (Kevin Alves) is one of only three male survivors of the plane crash on "Yellowjackets." The brooding eldest son of abusive Coach Bill Martinez (Carlos Sanz), who perished in the crash, Travis holds a burning anger against his father and struggles to assimilate with the other survivors. As he waits for rescue, he falls in love with Natalie (Sophie Thatcher). In Season 1, Episode 3, an adult Travis (Andres Soto) has moved far off of the grid, and Natalie (Juliette Lewis) is determined to find him. With help from Misty, she finally tracks him down, only to discover his dead body hanging from the rafters of a barn.

Although Natalie doesn't believe Travis committed suicide, his suspicious death comes as a shock to the character and to the audience. The onscreen romance between the younger Travis and Natalie unfolded authentically, and it was easy to root for a reunion between the adult characters. In an interview with Awards Daily, Lewis discussed Natalie's relationship with Travis: "I feel like all the worst of her is coming to at home," she said. "Then you add a death, one of the most profound meaningful relationships, and then we're off and running." She went on to explain the characters' post-rescue romance, and said, "I think [Travis and Nat] keep coming back to each other." The untimely death of Travis leaves unanswered questions and deep heartache for Natalie.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Teenage Shauna's pregnancy

The teenage Shauna Shipman (Sophie Nélisse) appears to be one of the most solid characters on "Yellowjackets." The dutiful best friend of soccer team captain Jackie Taylor (Ella Purnell), Shauna doesn't make waves. However, she stands up against Taissa "Tai" Turner (Jasmin Savoy Brown) when Tai purposefully injures a teammate, Allie (Pearl Amanda Dickson), reaffirming her honest and loyal persona. However, we soon learn that Shauna holds scandalous secrets. In 1996, Shauna carries on an intimate relationship with Jackie's boyfriend, Jeff Sadecki (Jack DePew), and keeps her betrayal from Jackie.

In the show's fifth episode, stranded in the Canadian wilderness, Shauna discovers she's pregnant. Desperate to keep this unwanted news from her teammates (and especially from Jackie), Shauna fakes her period by smearing blood from animal carcasses in her underwear. It's a gross and shocking moment that reveals Shauna is willing to take measures beyond the pale to keep her secrets. Ultimately, Shauna shares her secret with Tai and attempts to give herself an abortion, but she fails and emotionally breaks down. The shocking pregnancy and Shauna's palpable fear remind viewers that no matter how off-the-rails the girls become, they're still teenagers. When we meet adult Shauna, we discover she's now married to the grown Jeff (Warren Kole). They share an insolent and snarky teenage daughter, Callie (Sarah Desjardins), but Shauna's baby, who would now be fully grown, is nowhere in sight and is never mentioned.

Lottie becomes possessed

On "Yellowjackets," Lottie Matthews (Courtney Eaton) experiences visions even before the plane crash. She's heavily medicated — a fact she keeps from her teammates — and generally quiet. Lottie's fearful of the abandoned cabin the team finds for shelter but eventually enters, which sparks the slow fire of her personality transformation. Her medication runs out, and her visions grow stronger. In a shocking turn in Season 1, Episode 5, Lottie appears to become possessed by a malevolent spirit during a séance. Séances in abandoned, remote cabins are never a good idea, but in an ill-conceived attempt to lift the girls' spirits, Jackie rallies the troops to participate. In a terrifying moment, Lottie begins screaming in French, "You must spill blood. Or else," before banging her head hard against the window. She struggles against the encroaching darkness but ultimately gives in to her visions. In later episodes, Lottie takes the position of the "Antler Queen," the spiritual leader for the now-cultlike team.

"Yellowjackets" fans have questions and wild theories on who Lottie is and what pivotal role she plays in both timelines. One Reddit thread even posits that Lottie died in the crash and an evil supernatural creature has taken her place to terrorize the survivors. Although the first season doesn't show an adult Lottie, the final episode proves she is still very much alive. Regardless of how her future story unfolds, Lottie's dark journey takes a decidedly dark turn at the séance.

Shauna gives birth to rotisserie chicken

It's not often that onscreen mothers give birth to literal meals, but a scene in "Yellowjackets" depicts just that with truly disturbing results. In Season 1, Episode 6, teenage Shauna and her fellow survivors are starving. Some time has elapsed since the plane crash, and food is scarce. Shauna tosses and turns as she sleeps in the cabin and dreams ... she's given birth to a fully cooked rotisserie chicken. The chicken cries like a newborn and is attached by an umbilical cord as it wiggles and squirms. Jackie and Misty assist with the birth and hand Shauna her baby (or meal). "He's so beautiful. Just like his father," Jackie exclaims. Of course, Shauna rips off a chicken leg and starts chowing down before she's startled awake. The horrifying imagery works in its shock factor, yet the psychological implications of Shauna's dreams are murky.

Some fans on Reddit wonder if Shauna's dream was prophetic and whether the baby will fall prey to the survivors' cannibalistic habits. Thankfully, in an Entertainment Weekly preview of Season 2, Tawny Cypress, who portrays the adult Taissa, assured the publication that there will be no onscreen baby consumption. "They're not going to eat the baby," she said. However, "Yellowjackets" co-creator Bart Nickerson did admit to the vital role cannibalism plays in unfolding storylines. "An early encapsulation of the idea was, 'What if the kids from 'Dazed and Confused' became the Donner Party?'" Nickerson said.

Wolves attack Van

On "Yellowjackets," Vanessa "Van" Palmer (Liv Hewson) has a tough exterior and displays resilience but shows a tender side through her secret, passionate romance with Taissa. In Season 1, Episode 7, when Taissa decides to venture south and look for help, Van quickly agrees to go with her. Along with a small crew of teammates, the couple heads out on the journey. Their compass malfunctions, and they come upon a red river (that Lottie warned them they'd find). Are supernatural forces preventing their escape?

After the group settles down for the night, a small pack of wolves attacks. Taissa sleepwalks to safety into a tree but looks down to see a wolf with its sharp fangs clamped down on Van's face. Taissa kills the wolf that's ripping her girlfriend apart, but the damage left in the wake of the vicious attack is truly appalling. The left side of Van's face is mostly gone, exposing her teeth and bone. The ferocity of the attack terrifies the group, who carry a gravely wounded Van back to the cabin.

On a Twitter ode to Van from the official "Yellowjackets" account, users commented to sing the character's praises. One commenter shared, "Van Palmer is truly a survivor and the best comic relief" while another stated, "Van is immortal. She's not allowed to die." According to Variety, Lauren Ambrose, of "Six Feet Under" and "Servant" fame, plays an adult Van in the second season of "Yellowjackets."

Laura Lee blows up with the plane

Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) has a deep faith in God and an innocence that helps provide a flicker of hope for her teammates on "Yellowjackets." She means well and provides a voice of reason for the other girls, even if her innocence seems over-the-top at times. For instance, when Lottie is possessed by a French spirit, Laura Lee throws a Bible at her, and Lottie snaps out of her trance. So in Season 1, Episode 8, when the Yellowjackets find an abandoned small plane, and Laura Lee volunteers to fly it and find help, the flames of collective hope are stoked. Although the odds are against her, Laura Lee's faith that her attempts will prove successful has her teammates almost believing it too. However, just after the plane takes off, it explodes over a lake, taking Laura Lee down with it. The remaining survivors are devastated, and although the plot point makes sense, it's jarring in its abrupt finality.

Widdop's performance gives Laura Lee genuine likability — rather than play her as a two-dimensional stereotype, Widdop fleshes out her character and helps her motivations to make sense. In an interview with Collider, Melanie Lynskey disclosed that Laura Lee wasn't supposed to make it past the first episode. "Jane, who plays, played Laura Lee, they were supposed to have one line in the pilot and then they were so good [that their screen time was extended]," Lynskey said.

Shauna murders Adam

When we meet the adult Shauna on "Yellowjackets," she's living a shell of a life. Shauna's past threatens to crash in on her, her marriage to Jeff is falling apart, and she believes he's having an affair. Her stereotypical teenage daughter, Callie, sasses her and seethes with resentment toward her. And when Shauna has a "meet cute" with the younger, fun Adam Martin (Peter Gadiot), her decision to get romantically involved with him makes sense. However, Adam is hiding a multitude of secrets. In Season 1, Episode 9, after an intimate meeting with Shauna, Adam drops an ID that reveals he has been misrepresenting himself, and Shauna discovers her hidden journals about the plane crash are missing. Later, she believes Adam's after the survivors and confronts him on his lies. She has a right to be angry, but rather than wait to hear the truth, Shauna plunges a knife into Adam's stomach and stabs him to death.

Melanie Lynskey plays her character with such even-keeled subtlety that Shauna's gruesome murder of Adam comes with no warning. Lynskey spoke to Variety about her character's motivation behind her actions and shared, "It's partly this deep embarrassment of having fallen for it, so she goes over there to confront him with this shame about, 'How could I have believed that you would look at me and find me desirable?' She's living in this place of self-loathing and shame and all these horrible things."

The girls get high on shrooms

As time passes for the survivors on "Yellowjackets," circumstances take a toll on morale. In Season 1, Episode 9, in an attempt to hold onto her leadership role, Jackie suggests that they throw a party, the girls agree, and they deem the party "Doomcoming." They decorate the area around the cabin, don dresses dug out from remaining luggage, drink fermented berries, and unwittingly trip on Misty's psychedelic mushroom stash that finds its way into their beef stew dinner. Rather than allow the girls to laugh and let loose in positive ways, the mushrooms bring out their most base instincts.

Travis and Jackie sneak off to have sex in the cabin's attic when the group notices they're gone. Lottie steps into her "Antler Queen" role and directs the girls to find them. They lock Jackie in the pantry and suggestively paw Travis before he makes a run for it. The ensuing chase showcases one of the series' moments most reminiscent of "Lord of the Flies," as a disturbing hive mind causes the tripping girls to hunt Travis like prey. Their voices are deep and distorted, their faces transform into demonic animals, and Travis almost gets his throat slit before Natalie saves him. Ameni Rozsa, the co-writer of the first season's penultimate episode, told Vanity Fair that she "was very excited to write everyone losing their minds." The end result is a heart-pounding, wild, and scary ride.

Jackie dies in frozen exile

As the first season of "Yellowjackets" progresses, Jackie realizes she's losing favor with her teammates. Her team captain status doesn't matter as much as she thinks it does, yet she's determined to still come out on top. After the team discovers Jackie having sex with Travis in the ninth episode, she becomes persona non grata. In Season 1, Episode 10, Jackie decides to confront Shauna about Jeff and her pregnancy, hoping to shift the girls' disdain from herself. Unfortunately, the encounter backfires, and Jackie is kicked out of the cabin and forced to sleep alone outside. Regardless of the girls' feelings about their captain, this punishment seems especially cruel. The distress continues the next morning, when Shauna discovers her former best friend frozen to death underneath a blanket of snow.

Many fans are desperate for a twist that allows Jackie to still live, and reeling from the shock of the finale's revelation, they've come up with theories to point toward the character's resurrection. One theory on Reddit believes Jackie is still alive and somehow connected to the mysterious postcards the survivors receive in the present, while another theory speculates that the adult Misty is Jackie in disguise. Sadly, Ella Purnell told Vulture, "When I signed up for the pilot, they told me, 'This is a one-season deal. Jackie will die in the finale."

Taissa's house has a secret cult lair

Compared to Misty, Natalie, and Shauna, adult Taissa has emerged from her time in the wilderness relatively unscathed. She's married to Simone (Rukiya Bernard), has an adorable son named Sammy (Aiden Stoxx), and she's running for state senator. Sure, there are cracks in her marriage. Sammy draws creepy pictures and talks about a woman who hides in a tree outside of his window. Taissa's dog, Biscuit, goes missing, her apartment is vandalized with spooky graffiti, and she's back in her post-crash sleepwalking habit. Is she being hunted by Lottie's cult? Until the series finale, it seems so. However, when Simone heads down to the couple's basement, she stumbles upon a bizarre altar, adorned with candles, Sammy's doll, Biscuit's dismembered head, and an actual heart (whether human or animal isn't disclosed). A cult symbol, drawn in blood, covers the wall behind the shrine. Simone's horrified reaction is understandable.

Has Taissa hid her cult activity from everyone? Has she been an unwitting participant? Showrunner Jonathan Lisco spoke to The Daily Beast to clear up some of these questions. "I will say that for most of Season 1, we've seen Taissa not even aware consciously that she's the lady in the tree, and so she's been doing a good job — in classic Taissa-esque fashion — of suppressing her distorted alter ego, or even repressing it and not being aware of it," Lisco said.

Natalie gets kidnapped

Adult Natalie Scatorccio still possesses the tenacity seen in her younger counterpart on "Yellowjackets." However, she still struggles with the same demons too. Fresh out of rehab (paid for by Taissa), Natalie has a chance encounter with Misty that leads to the discovery of Travis' death, and she's caught up in the same unresolved trauma facing her fellow survivors. After she attends her 25th high school reunion in the Season 1 finale, four people (wearing weird amulets likely tied into the cult) burst into her room and, shockingly, kidnap her. Simultaneously, Natalie's friend Suzie (Colleen Wheeler) leaves her a voicemail and says she fears she's being followed. Suzie then asks, "Who the f*** is Lottie Matthews?" Did Natalie's sleuthing into Travis' death come too close to exposing the cult's secrets? Natalie's fate at the hands of her kidnappers is left as a cliffhanger for Season 2 to resolve.

In an interview with the New York Times, Juliette Lewis, who portrays the adult Natalie with a nuanced mix of strength and vulnerability, reflected on her character. "Natalie is written as that, I guess, toxic strength," she said. "But she completely devolves to where she goes into weakness and propitiation around the girls, and it's strange where she ends up. I didn't see it coming."