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Series / Yellowjackets

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"I think it'll be good to... reconnect with some old friends."

"All I know is that what happened was a tragedy, a terrible tragedy. I probably shouldn't say this, but some of these kids? No real big loss if we're honest. But those girls were special. They were...they were champions."

Yellowjackets is a Showtime original thriller drama series created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson. The series premiered on November 14, 2021, though the premiere was released in advance freely on YouTube on November 5 of that year.

The show tells the tale of the Wiskayok High School Yellowjackets, a team of talented teenage female soccer players. In 1996, the team is headed to Seattle for nationals as champions of their home state, New Jersey. Though they appear to be a cohesive unit on the surface, tensions are bubbling, just waiting for the right spark to boil to the surface.

The team ends up getting that spark and a lot more when the private plane taking them to nationals crashes in the dangerous wilderness of Canada. Though they first wait for a rescue which fails to materialize, they are eventually forced to scavenge and scheme, with those who survive ultimately spending a total of 19 months in the woods before help comes.

In 2021, 25 years since the crash, the survivors do their best to carry on, weighed down by their experience in the woods. But the past will not stay buried, as it quickly becomes clear at least one is out for revenge and several members of the team begin receiving threatening notes.

On December 16, 2021, Yellowjackets was renewed for a second season while still in the middle of its first season run. On December 15, 2022, the program was given an early third season renewal.

The initial teaser for the second season was released on January 13, 2023. The season later premiered, as announced, on March 24, 2023 on streaming and on demand, with the broadcast premiere occurring on March 26.

The third season was delayed by the strikes of 2023. However, it began filming in the summer of 2024, shooting for a premiere in early 2025.

"Buzz, buzz, buzz!"

Yellowjackets provides examples of:

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Coach Scott is extremely put out by Misty's crush on him, not just because she's underage and his student, but also because she's extremely creepy and aggressive, and also because he's gay.
  • Academic Athlete:
    • Best friends Shauna and Jackie are both elite soccer players who received excellent grades and were accepted to prestigious universities.
    • After surviving both the plane crash and the time in the woods, Taissa went to Howard pre-law with a double major in history and philosophy. She made first string on their soccer team, graduating first in her class. She then went to Columbia Law and landed an internship in one of the biggest firms in the city.
    • Akilah is seen studying for the SATs while in the wilderness, the only one of the survivors who seems to be studying anything at all while there. She also seems to have the most practical knowledge of anyone there when it comes to wilderness survival, having been a Girl Scout.
  • Accidental Murder:
    • Misty tells Crystal about sabotaging the black box, and when she is horrified at this, Misty threatens to kill her if she tells anyone, but while only intending to threaten her, she accidentally pushes her off the cliff they are standing on.
    • Shauna doesn't mean to kill Adam, but he rushes her while she's holding a knife, and causes her to have a flashback to gutting animals (and people) during her time in the wilderness. She stabs and kills him on instinct.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Taissa was called "Tai" sometimes by her friends and her girlfriend.
    • Her dad Jeff usually calls Callie "Cal".
  • All Just a Dream: A long sequence involving Shauna giving birth and taking care of the baby turns out to be a dream, and in reality the baby was born dead. The survivors eating the baby is only a nightmare she has.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Jackie lampshades the trope when suggesting that Travis is living every boy's dream to be stranded "with a bunch of babes".
  • All There in the Manual: How the girls (including Travis and Javi) decide on who's going to kill for food, with drawing cards and the hunt (including all details), is extracted from Season 2. Ashley Lyle confirmed that there was an explanation of the process of drawing cards, but that it was deleted from the series.
  • Alternate History: The series features a fictional town: Wiskayok, New Jersey, and the scenes with the main cast as adults are set in 2021, with no sign of any pandemic; however, it otherwise features things that are present in real-life. For example, Taissa, who is running for state senator, is called the "queer Kamala" by a photographer, and the Andes flight disaster is mentioned, a true-life story on which the series is based. It's clear that many people who know about that believe that the Yellowjackets resorted to cannibalism, even if the surviving Yellowjackets themselves won't admit it.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Misty: Cats. In the past, she is seen wearing a sweatshirt with an adorable kitten in the front. In the present, she wears scrubs with a top in a cat print and cat-themed accessories (kitty ears and tail) for Halloween, and she loves Cats.
    • Taissa: Wolves. She makes shadow puppets for Sammy but one of them turns into a realistic wolf silhouette. Then at the party where she hopes to meet donors, she sees a wolf wandering around the mansion. Later, she sees one outside her own home and when she goes to investigate, she finds the word "SPILL" in red paint on her doors. Savage Wolves make their appearance later, when they attack Van.
    • Shauna: Rabbits. We see her collection of rabbit figurines around her kitchen and she also wears pajamas with a rabbit design on them. But we also see what she does to the rabbits menacing her garden.
    • Lottie has deer. She has visions of deer, is framed by antlers in the cabin, and becomes the medium of the cult wearing a pair of antlers and a veil.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Coach Scott gets his leg cut off by Misty after it's injured during the crash, to save his life.
  • Arc Symbol: Resembles an impaled female figure, with a hook coming out the bottom. In 1996, it appears carved in a tree and on the attic floor of the cabin. In 2021, it appears on the postcards that are mailed out to the survivors. In "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, the symbol also appears scrawled in blood on a wall by Taissa's altar and on a medallion worn by Natalie's abductors.
  • Arc Words: "Spill, spill, spill" for Taissa's arc.
  • Artistic License: The second episode ends with Misty finding the plane's flight recorder and sabotaging it to prevent them from being found immediately, and when she reveals this to Crystal, the latter is horrified and declares that everything is Misty's fault. Except, a flight recorder is used to determine why a plane crashed, and it doesn't transmit a location signal at all. Of course, the characters could mistakenly believe this in-universe too.
  • Artistic License – History: In the first episode during a montage of New Jersey in 1996, the Freedom Tower is clearly visible in the background.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: In "The Dollhouse," Taissa's opponent for New Jersey state senate, Phil Bathurst, releases one of these accusing her of supporting education by "cannibalizing your tax dollars," using the Photoshop Filter of Evil on her and showing Taissa tearing into some meat that viewers are supposed to believe is human flesh. In return, Taissa gets a hold of some info that Bathurst buried his daughter's arrest for drug possession and warns him she'll use it against him if he tries something like that again.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals:
    • Misty calmly watching a rat drown before the plane even took off is shown to be an early indicator of her low empathy and willingness to resort to violence.
    • In the present, Shauna smashes a rabbit to death with a spade and dispassionately dresses it, hearkening back to the first scene where some Yellowjackets kill, cook and eat one of their own. Possibly averted as Shauna isn't killing rabbits for no reason. The rabbits Shauna kills are destroying her garden and then she then uses them as food.
    • Biscuit, the Abara-Turner family dog, goes missing and his head turns up on Taissa's altar on the Season 1 finale.
    • Played with by the multiple animal deaths at the camp. They're brutal and violent, but it's clearly shown that the girls have no other option but to eat animals.
  • Bail Equals Freedom: Misty and Nat get bailed out of jail for trespassing in New Hampshire and never mention needing to deal with the consequences again.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Towards the beginning of "Saints," Shauna is seen approaching a shady motel when she get discovered by Randy from high school. We're clearly supposed to think she's heading to the motel for more hanky-panky with her lover Adam. Instead, she's there to meet Natalie and Taissa to discuss the blackmail.
    • Natalie is shown with a long gun in 2021. In 1996 she handles a rifle well and flashes back to holding her abusive father at bay with a shotgun. She has a dream about her father with half of his head blown off, implying that she shot him. It's ultimately revealed that she did try to shoot her father, but the safety was on. He accidentally shot himself after disarming her.
    • In 2021, Natalie is introduced meditating beside an ocean view in a manicured garden and receives a message from an attendant, implying that she's filthy rich. In reality, she's just attending a high-priced rehab facility that Taissa is paying for.
  • Bears Are Bad News: A bear shows up when the girls and the Coach are all outside the cabin. Ultimately subverted. Lottie approaches the bear calmly while it acts oddly docile and ultimately submits to her, allowing her to kill it.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • The Yellowjackets don't look particularly disheveled after many weeks of living in the wilderness with very limited food. Besides messy hair and armpit hair, they all look like they've simply been camping for a few days. Coach is unexpectedly the biggest example. In spite of his grievous injury, he looks more or less identical to how he looked in school.
    • In addition to some Hollywood Healing, Van benefits from this trope suffering a grievous injury that leaves her with little more than a few red lines on her face.
    • Lisa, one of the cult members, ends up with three tiny scabs near her eye after Natalie attacks her with a fork while trying to escape her captivity that do not detract from her good looks.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Natalie and Travis squabble mightily for a few episodes before becoming lovers.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Natalie has two main love interests: Kevyn Tan, who was alternative in his youth but is now a straight-edged cop, and Travis, who was an addict with whom she had a toxic relationship, though his death ends any possibility that they might "get together" long-term.
    • Taissa is stuck between her wife, Simone, who is clearly wealthy, intelligent, and refined (the Veronica), and her first girlfriend, Van. Van is more butch, fiery, and was in the wilderness with Taissa, where she was a member of Lottie's cult.
    • See Betty and Veronica Switch for another example.
  • Betty and Veronica Switch: Shauna appears to be stuck between her husband Jeff (the Betty, a nice but dim possible cheater) and Adam, a mysterious, hot-blooded younger artist (the Veronica). However, after Shauna embarks on an affair with Adam, she realizes that Jeff is the blackmailer, while Adam is, at worst, using her for her fame, and at best, a mysterious but ultimately pretty normal guy who was interested in Shauna's life. Though she kills Adam, she becomes much more interested in Jeff after finding out that he's a blackmailer.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Downplayed. In the 2021 portions, Shauna is now plus sized, but is still considered attractive to Adam for him to pursue an affair with her. Jeff likewise sincerely loves her, and was not cheating on her. Melanie Lynskey even refused the network's suggestion of losing weight, to show that a bigger woman could still be considered desirable.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Misty Quigley. In 1996 she is shown watching a drowning rat in a pool just before the teams' flight takes off. And as she says to Jessica Roberts, the reporter actually a private detective hired by Taissa to ensure no undesirable information leaks who is nosing around the surviving Yellowjackets:
    I know you don't see someone that you should be afraid of, but you're wrong.
    • Diane Rafelson, the wealthy lady at the party Taissa attends in the episode "Bear Down". Their conversation is going well, and it seems she is going to contribute to the campaign. And she will, if and only if Taissa spills the beans to her about what happened after the crash. When Taissa refuses, Diane's attitude changes and she tells Taissa to watch her tone.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Discussed by Van, who jokingly tells Taissa she will be the first to die. Taissa guesses that it's because she's black, but Van counters that it's actually because she's a skeptic. The irony of Van actually being the first to die is teased but ultimately subverted, as she's believed to have been killed by wolves but is still actually alive. Ultimately, the first crash survivor to die is Laura Lee, a white girl.
  • Blackmail Backfire: Callie wants her curfew removed and other privileges in exchange for not telling her father about seeing her mom with Adam. Shauna explains the likely outcome: having to use Callie’s college fund to pay a divorce lawyer, spending weekends with a lonely dad, and watching him date girls her age. Callie is left with no choice but to back down.
  • Bland-Name Product: Played straight with Lottie's prescription of Loxipene. Real-world Loxapine is often prescribed for schizophrenia.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: In flashbacks, Natalie and Misty are blonde. Taissa, Shauna, and Lottie have dark hair. Van has red hair.
  • Casting Gag: Three of the four future survivors and main characters are mostly played in their adult iteration by young breakout stars of The '90s (when the flashback sections are set, showing the girls as teenagers), especially those known for villainous roles note :
  • Catfishing: Misty catfishes Kevyn by pretending to be Natalie. Nat is not pleased when she finds out.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Lottie has an incredibly mean Kick the Dog moment after the crash where she taunts Travis with his Embarrassing Nickname and has to be reminded that his father literally just died protecting her that can seem incredibly at odds with her softer spoken and shyer persona that comes out down the line, even if you try to hand wave it as her being stressed out from the crash. Perhaps an even bigger one is later in Season 1 when she (tripping, but still) leads the charge to rape and kill Travis on Doomcoming. After that, she's shown having a warm relationship with him, and he's even implied to be attracted to her.
    • Shauna and Javi share a connection in Season 1, with the latter functioning as something of a Morality Pet to her as her friendship with Jackie dissolves. Come Season 2, Shauna is the first to let him drown so they can cannibalise him, and she even carves him up herself.
    • Mari's first focus moment in the pilot is playfully teasing Akilah before getting along with her. Every episode after would show her as an out and out Jerkass, and something of a ditz.
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: The case for every single person who died in the woods, because they survived the plane crash only to later succumb to something else. So far, that's confirmed to cover Laura Lee, Jackie, Crystal, and Javi. Travis and Natalie may qualify, considering they survive long enough to be rescued, only to die as adults.
  • Cheater Gets Cheated On: Shauna and Jeff cheated behind the back of Jeff's girlfriend and Shauna's best friend, Jackie, in the 1990s. In present day, Shauna and Jeff are married, but Shauna is apoplectic when she suspects Jeff is cheating on her. He isn't - but she's already started cheating on him, with Adam.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lottie has minimal lines or screen time in early episodes, but the pilot establishes that she's on medication and some attention is given to her running out of the pills in the wilderness. She properly enters the plot when it's revealed she may be psychic, and becomes the cult leader in the finale.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Younger Lottie ends Season 1 by wearing the Antler Queen headdress and summoning "the darkness to set them free" in French for Misty and Van. Come Season 2, she doesn't wear the veil, her pursuit of the "darkness" is no deeper than guided breathing in the woods, and Misty has minimal interest in the burgeoning cult. Ultimately, it's Van who falls deepest into the cult, and triggers the first cannibal hunt while Lottie is recovering from her injuries.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After Jeff reveals that he was the one responsible for the blackmail, Shauna reveals to him in turn that she was cheating on him with Adam, mocking his belief in her repeated excuse about attending book club. His response:
    Jeff: What? There's no book club?!
  • Cope by Pretending: When the hungry teens decide to eat Jackie, they envision themselves as part of a bacchanal feast to deal with the trauma of what they're doing. In the present storyline, Shauna is of the opinion that the entire Wilderness cult was this, pretending to serve and appease a deity so they could blame something else for their descent in cannibalism.
    Shauna: There is no "it", okay?! It was just us!
  • Copycat Cover: The poster has a near-identical composition to that of the first posters for Euphoria, both showing the left side of a distressed teenage girl's face and being heavily color-saturated, the former with blue and purple colors and the latter with yellow.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover shows the deer-antlered Yellowjacket reflected in Jackie's eye, but Jackie dies before Lottie ever starts wearing the veil. She also never has any interaction with actual yellowjacket insects.
  • Cringe Comedy: The adult Allie at the reunion. It's not a reunion for her own graduating class, as she was a freshman in 1996. She talks on and on about the Yellowjackets' experience, healing and "their" trauma bond, even though she was a poor player and her injury prevented her from getting on the plane and the whole ordeal her teammates went through.
  • Crowd Chant: The Yellowjackets have "Buzz, buzz, buzz!" in imitation of the buzzing of actual yellowjackets.
  • Danger — Thin Ice: When Natalie and Javi are running from the others who are trying to kill Natalie, Javi falls through ice into the water below and drowns.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Coach begs Nat in 1996 to not tell anyone he's gay, fearing the public backlash. But these days, parents might be reassured that the man in charge of coaching a team of teenage girls is gay.
  • Dictionary Opening: In-Universe. Not only does Ally make the prosaic decision to start her high school reunion speech with a definition of "reunion," but she cites it from "".
  • Diegetic Switch: The Offspring's "Come Out and Play" blares triumphantly on the soundtrack as the Yellowjackets make their Team Power Walk into the reunion. Toward the end, it transforms into tinny diegetic music playing over the party speakers.
  • Disposable Pilot: Not a single member of the flight crew survives.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Averted in both cases, as Misty tries to force herself on Ben and he's completely sick of her, and Travis goes through a twofer of a sober Jackie pressuring him while he was on shrooms, and the other girls molesting him. He cries to Natalie in the next episode that he didn't want it.
  • Dramatic Irony: Young Shauna tells Jackie that she's peaked and will always become an embittered housewife, always looking back at her high school days with wistfulness. Jackie dies mere hours later. Meanwhile, Shauna appeared not to go to college, instead becoming a stay-at-home mom and fulfilling the prophecy she made about Jackie.
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: While running from the other Yellowjackets who intend to kill her, Natalie is accompanied by Javi, who falls through the ice into the water below. Natalie stops to try to rescue Javi even though this allows the others to catch up to her. This ends up working in her favour, due to Javi being a decent replacement meal for the Yellowjackets.

  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The Title Montage sequence doesn't start appearing until the third episode.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: Taissa, as seen both in 1996 and 2021, does this while sleepwalking.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Early scenes in the first episode establish a number of characters:
    • Older Shauna is first shown masturbating to pictures of her teen daughter Callie's boyfriend, in Callie's bedroom, establishing how frustrated and stuck in the past she is.
    • Jackie is told that she holds influence over the team and later uses the influence to stop a fight and get her teammates to resolve their issues, establishing her good nature and the leadership position she'll lose in the forest.
    • Shauna models outfits for Jackie but isn't fully receptive of her advice, establishing Shauna's role as the reluctantly passive member of their friendship.
    • Jackie is also first shown with Shauna turning off her music and mocking her for her poor taste, asking her if she was really listening to it
    • Taissa suggests "freezing out" a lagging member of the team, establishing her ruthless streak.
    • Natalie is introduced drinking and throwing bottles at cars, but is also the only one wholeheartedly against freezing out Allie and sticking up for her, establishing her as a rough-around-the-edges troublemaker who nonetheless has a good heart.
    • When Allie is injured, Misty is first on the scene trying to apply first aid, establishing her desire to be helpful and her interest in medicine. Misty also hurts Allie in the process, demonstrating that she cares more about being the hero than the people she helps.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • When they have to break the news to Shauna that her baby didn't survive the birth, even the Jerkass Mari looks shaken.
    • At the "intentional community" compound, Shauna is put in charge of a baby goat, so that she gains insight from the sacrifices involved in caring for it, according to the acolyte in charge. Later on, she is frustrated when he refuses to tell her if eating rope is bad for the goat: "Because it is one thing if I stab this goat later, but there's no fucking way it's dying while I'm supposed to be watching it." She has convinced herself that she is expected to kill the goat, but she is not.
  • Eye Scream: A few examples involved around Taissa:
    • The eyeless ghost seen by Taissa's dying grandmother's hallucination and grandmother's false eye at her funeral. She herself sees it at the press conference.
    • Sammy's doll had its eyes removed as it's been destroyed, a recurring motif for his drawing
    • A fully decayed corpse seen with Lottie when she finds her in the attic.
  • Facial Horror: Downplayed, with Van surviving the initial attack from some wolves but having been mauled so badly that her teeth are visible through the left side of her face.
  • Fake Guest Star: Courtney Eaton is only a guest star in the first season, despite appearing in every episode, and Lottie playing a major role in the plot. By Season 2, she's billed as a regular.
  • Fake Period Excuse: After weeks out in the wilderness, the girls' cycles synchronize. All of them get their periods at the exact same time, except a secretly pregnant Shauna. So that nobody finds out, she dips an improvised menstrual pad in deer blood.
  • Faux Shadow: Across both seasons, there's a lot of evidence pointing to Lottie being the Antler Queen seen in the opening, including her association with deer, her being framed by antlers, and even donning the Antler Queen's headdress during "Doomcoming". In the second season finale, however, it's revealed that Natalie, not Lottie, was crowned the Antler Queen after Lottie convinced the others that she'd been chosen by the wilderness. That said, the show's past timeline has yet to catch up to the opening, leaving the possibility of Lottie becoming the Antler Queen later on.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Laura Lee, who's a deeply devout Christian, is convinced that the crash is actually God's punishment for thinking (not saying) her piano teacher's a "cunt" while frustrated during a lesson. The other girls all just stare at her a moment and then burst out laughing over this. They then start sharing their own misdeeds — for example, Lottie has the habit of stealing awful clothes from T.J. Maxx, then returning them all for credit she never uses. "I have thousands of dollars in T.J. bucks."
  • Fingore: In "Bear Down," Travis Martinez tries to dig up the corpse of his father Bill in order to secure a ring (See Tragic Keepsake below) that belonged to his grandfather to give to his little brother, Javi. He's unable to complete the job, so Natalie does it instead, but has to cut off the finger the ring is on to do so.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Shauna and Taissa become especially close in the wilderness, especially bonded by the fact that they share the secret of Shauna's pregnancy.
  • Flashback B-Plot: The plot is divided into a present-day story and a flashback story about when the Yellowjackets crashed in the wilderness.
  • Foreboding Carcass:
    • On the morning they go to Nationals, Misty watches a rat drown in her swimming pool. Her Lack of Empathy and dispassionate response foreshadow that she's about to become one of the brutal cultists when they get stranded in the wilderness.
    • When the team hikes through the woods early in their stranding, they see a dead animal. Taissa asks Coach Ben how it could've happened and he tells her that "wolves can kill anything if the pack's big enough." This serves as foreshadowing for Van getting mauled by a wolf, maimed, and nearly killed shortly thereafter, the team easily overpowering, sexually assaulting, and nearly killing Travis while tripping at Doomcoming, and their later ritualistic hunts.
    • Though it happens at the end of Season 1, the disappearance of Taissa's dog Biscuit, and Simone's discovery of his head on a makeshift altar in her home on the night of the election victory, sets up the Cliffhanger that Taissa is still involved in some sort of black magic that allowed her to succeed. In Season 2, Simone uses Biscuit's death and decapitation as a reason that Taissa shouldn't be around Sammy and tries to force her to get psychiatric help. Taissa (or the Bad One) responds by causing a car accident that places Simone in a coma throughout the rest of Season 2.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Given that they all feature in the present-day storyline, the audience knows that Shauna, Taissa, Natalie, Misty, and Travis survive their ordeal in the woods. Lottie and Van can be added to this list as of the first season finale.
    • Shauna is pregnant in 1996, but has a teenage daughter 25 years later and no apparent second child, so it's a given that something happened to her first. He's revealed to have been still born in the middle of Season 2.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the pilot, Taissa convinces several of the other Yellowjackets to "freeze out" their underperforming teammate Allie so she won't be a liability to them in the Nationals, and Jackie tells them off for doing it. In the Season 1 finale Jackie gets literally frozen out when her pettiness and refusal to make herself useful gets her kicked out of the cabin and she ends up dying of hypothermia during a sudden cold snap.
    • In "Saints", Van complains about Taissa's dirty fingernails. Taissa is later revealed to shovel dirt into her mouth while sleepwalking.
    • Jessica Roberts mentions that several survivors live off the grid, so they're hard to track down when Taissa asks her to. Which makes some sense as to why Van and Lottie aren't tracked down until Season 2.
    • Jackie is shown miming a "throat slitting" action in the credits. She dies at the end of the season, although not through a slit throat.
    • In "Blood Hive", when Lottie stands in the water, she tells Jackie that she "thought it would be warmer". Jackie dies having gone outside to sleep, until an unexpected cold snap causes her to freeze to death in hours.
    • In "Blood Hive", when Nat wakes Jackie, she says that she's "so cold". Jackie later freezes to death mere metres from safety.
    • In "Saints", Natalie says that she can't "magically conjure up a deer". Lottie seems to have some power over animals, especially deer.
    • In Lottie's vision, Laura Lee has a glowing bright halo around her head that comes from fire in the sky. Laura Lee later dies in another plane crash while trying to rescue the girls.
    • Taissa tells Shauna that she feels disconnected from all of her major accomplishments, like they happened to someone else. We later learn that, in Taissa's fugue states, she is committing blood sacrifices that seem connected to the cult and may be earning her success.
    • Callie suggests that Shauna's status as one of the surviving Yellowjackets helps attract hot guys after seeing her with Adam. Shauna insists that Adam doesn't know, to which Callie scoffs that if he knows her full name and has access to the internet, of course he knows. Callie's right on both counts.
    • In Doomcoming when everyone is first feeling the effects of the mushrooms, Javi is laying flat on the ground besides a log, when the camera pans over him, the shadow from the log makes it look as if he's laying in a grave. He eventually dies next season. This is also the same episode Adam dies and is left in a similar position, earlier drafts of the script having planned for Adam to be revealed as adult Javi.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Taissa and Simone take Sammy out for trick-or-treating. He is wearing a sandwich costume. They bring along their dog Biscuit, who is in costume as well as a hot dog.
    • Coach Martinez is impaled on a tree branch, and— after much debating on what the safest course of action was and whether he was even still alive— Travis decides to try to climb the tree and get to him. When he reaches the branch and starts to reach out toward his dad, the branch breaks and falls down, impaling him further. A brief shot shows Coach Martinez reaching out toward Travis shortly before the ranch snaps— showing that he was still alive before Travis accidentally broke the branch.
  • Genius Loci: Many of the girls come to believe that "the wilderness" is a kind of deity, which chooses certain people for death, whom they then eat.
  • Genre Mashup: The series is promoted as being a mix of different genres. Among these are survival horror, psychological horror, teen sports drama, adult drama, thriller, mystery and even some dark comedy. As the series progresses, it incorporates increasing amounts of Folk Horror.
  • Gleeful and Grumpy Pairing: The pairing of Perpetual Frowner Natalie and overly eager Misty when they take a road trip to find Travis.
  • Glitter Litter: In the present, Shauna and her former teammates try to catch their blackmailer. In the process, the guy gets covered in glitter but escapes. The next morning, Shauna finds glitter in her closet. She assumes her lover left it there when she had him hide from her husband, who was the actual blackmailer.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Shauna begins an affair with Adam when she sees Jeff going into a hotel with another woman, and assumes he's cheating. She had turned down Adam's advances beforehand. It turns out Jeff wasn't cheating, and Shauna gets Easily Forgiven within minutes of the revelation; Jeff even being willing to take the fall for her murder of Adam.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted, as Shauna wants to have an abortion (because she's pregnant from her best friend's boyfriend, plus the wilderness is a terrible place to have a baby) and Taissa doesn't object to that, but rather a dangerous self-induced method that could kill her. She ends up helping Shauna, but stops when it's hurting her too much.
  • Gratuitous French: All instances from Lottie, who is not fluent in French.
    • In "Blood Hive", during the séance, she mutters in French that "it wants blood".
    • "Versez le sang, mes beaux amis"translation, in "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" as she prays.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The finale of the first season is titled "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi," which translates as "Thus passes worldly glory," or alternatively, "Thus Passes the Glory of the World." The phrase was once used in Papal coronation ceremonies and is intended to serve as a reminder of the transitory nature of life and earthly honors. As expected, this does not bode well for the Yellowjackets, specifically Jackie, who dies frozen in the woods, the worldly glories that she experienced as homecoming queen, well-liked in high school, etc., thrown in her face by Shauna. The title may be a pun, as the episode also features the death and funeral arrangements for a woman named Gloria.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo:
    • Bubbly, spoiled Jackie is blonde, while her best friend, the gloomy, intelligent, and secretive Shauna has dark hair.
    • Adult Misty is enthusiastic and creepy with light gray curly hair, while morose adult Natalie has long dark hair.
    • Lottie is close friends with Laura Lee. Laura Lee has blonde hair to reflect her angelic purity, while Lottie has dark hair and is more introverted and unsure.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: While Shauna, Taissa, Natalie and Misty have different hairstyles as adults to when they were teenagers, when Van is revealed to be alive in the present, her hair is exactly the same length and style (albeit better groomed since she's not in the wild anymore). Justified since her character is pointed out to be still stuck in the past.
  • Heal It With Fire: Misty, having already chopped off Coach Scott’s mangled leg, comes back later and cauterizes his wound with a heated axe blade.
  • Helpful Hallucination: When Lottie is unconscious while outside in the woods in winter, she has a hallucination which involves Laura Lee telling her to wake up or she'll freeze to death.
  • Holding in Laughter: In "F Sharp" the plane crash survivors are waiting to be rescued. Just then, a contrite Laura Lee confesses that the plane crash is all her fault and God is punishing them all for her thinking (not saying) an evil word about her piano teacher during a lesson. Her teammates ask what the terrible word was, and shamefaced, she admits it was "cunt". They try not to laugh but they fail miserably. Even Laura Lee has to chuckle.
  • Hollywood Healing: Played straight.
    • Van's teammates work together to stitch up the nasty wounds she got from a wolf attack. When Doomcoming celebration comes, though, she has visible scars but nowhere near what you might expect for someone whose molars were visible through the gash on her cheek.
    • Coach Scott makes a quick and easy recovery after having his leg chopped off in the middle of the woods.
  • Homage:
    • In "No Compass", Lottie runs in her nightgown through a series of underground passageways lit by candlelight. The shots look nearly identical to Tina's opening dream of being chased by Freddy in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
    • In "Flight of the Bumblebee", Jessica grabs Misty's pet bird, Caligula, and threatens to wring its neck to persuade Misty to let her go in a homage to Catherine doing this to Buffalo Bill's pet dog in The Silence of the Lambs.
    • In the Season 2 credits, older Misty is shown cackling with laughter like BOB in the Red Room in Twin Peaks. The scene is taken from "Burial", where Misty has a vision while on a sensory deprivation tank of a singing and dancing Caligula.
  • Hope Spot: In "Flight of the Bumblebee" the situation for the survivors has become increasingly desperate, with Laura Lee electing to fly south on the decrepit (though virtually intact and fueled) plane the survivors discovered and get help. With no flight experience but having studied the plane's manuals for weeks, she and her teddy bear manage to get aloft over the lake to the delight of the other survivors... only for her bear to catch fire on the passenger seatnote  and the plane exploding outright quickly thereafter.
  • How We Got Here: The 1996 storyline is constructed this way. The first scene in the series is one of the Yellowjackets being hunted down, slaughtered and eaten by her classmates, who have descended into some sort of barbaric cult. We then flash back to before the plane crashed, and the plot carries us toward that shocking destination.

  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • The first episode reveals that several Yellowjackets eventually degenerated into an outright Cannibal Clan. The survivors come under constant public pressure to reveal "what they had to do out there," with the assumption that they ate each other, but none of them will admit to it. Taissa's political opponent tactlessly alludes to the rumors in a political ad.
    • By Season 2 the food situation for the survivors becomes increasingly bleak with the arrival of winter. Shauna is the first to engage in outright cannibalism, eating an ear accidently removed from Jackie's (frozen and well preserved) corpse. In "Edible Complex" Lottie discovers a noticeable bite taken out of Jackie's wrist, and a later attempt to finally cremate her goes awry leaving a now well-cooked corpse. After some initial hesitation, all the girls and Travis start hungrily digging in, with the freaked-out Coach Scott as the only holdout.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Jackie's parents, obviously still mourning her loss, describe her as having been the best of all her classmates, and they sympathize with Shauna for how hard it must have been to live in Jackie's shadow. Shauna tolerates the unintended insults, but her husband ultimately comes to her defense.
  • Interrupted Suicide:
    • In the first season finale Natalie is about to shoot herself, when Lottie's cult followers abduct her in the nick of time.
    • In "Burial", Coach Ben tries to end things by walking off a ledge. The Sociopath Misty, of all people, manages to talk that person out of their plans.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Of the people whose college education we know, 2/3 were set for the Ivy League:
    • Shauna got into Brown, but didn't end up going after her ordeal in the wilderness.
    • Taissa went to Howard (a prestigious HBCU) for undergrad, then to Columbia to study law as a graduate.
    • Only Jackie was supposed to be going to Rutgers (although her death put paid to that).
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Jackie became increasingly unpleasant and vindicative after the crash, but in her final confrontation with the other survivors she lampshades that none of the girls are even trying to acknowledge that they came very close to murdering Travis in their drugged haze.
  • Last Day of Normalcy: Downplayed in the pilot. The Distant Prologue shows the girls turning to a Cannibal Clan in the wilderness, while half of the pilot is also set in the present day (showing the known survivors). The main 1990s timeline, however, shows the Yellowjackets having their last normal day. It ends with them boarding the plane that will crash and strand them in the Canadian wilderness.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: In 1.2 "F Sharp", Misty is looking for something to disinfect Coach Scott's wound.
    Van: Guys, how about this? (holds up bottle of Sea Breeze astringent from Jackie's bag)
    Jackie: Hey, that's m...
    Van: (Death Glare)
    Jackie: Uh... A great idea, Van.
  • Lesbian Jock: Van and Taissa, two of the title Yellowjackets (a girls' high school soccer team) are both lesbians who have a relationship.
  • Lingerie Scene: When the girls reach the lake, many happily strip to go for a swim in their underwear. Later while they get intimate Natalie is shown in her underwear with Travis as well for a long scene.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Taissa and her wife Simone in the 2020s are both very femme, with long hair while wearing feminine clothing like nice dresses frequently.
  • Loan Shark: Jeff is the blackmailer, and the reason he is doing it is because he is secretly deeply in debt to "bad people."
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places:
    • Taissa and Van have sex in the woods together.
    • Jeff and Shauna go to Adam's studio and find it full of portraits of her in various mediums and styles. They proceed to have sex with their clothes still on.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Van is a butch lesbian who has short hair and masculine clothing, while her girlfriend in the 1990s, Taissa, wears her hair long initially with a more feminine dress style.
  • Maternity Crisis: Shauna goes into labor while she is out in the woods with Taissa during a blizzard.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: During their ordeal in the woods, the plane survivors experience a number of strange occurrences and weird phenomena. There are generally mundane explanations for most of it if not acknowledged as much In-Universe, particularly that the girls are increasingly descending into desperate paranoia. However, Lottie's hallucinations and predictions have a great deal of truth in them, and several of the others increasingly believe that she's some sort of seer. There's also a bear wandering up to the cabin and basically allowing Lottie to kill it and Laura Lee's bear mysteriously catching fire.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: A twofer is caused by Jeff's blackmail scheme:
    • The other survivors end up enacting a Crime After Crime response while trying to figure out who the blackmailer is and how safe the secret is, which results in multiple equally minor crimes… but also Shauna and Misty killing two people.
    • Meanwhile, Natalie's Properly Paranoid investigation (with the unwanted assistance of Misty) uncovers the death of Travis, which is heavily implied to not be suicide… and either way seems to get the attention of a Cult that worships the same symbol haunting the survivors’ memories, and that then kidnaps Natalie, heavily implied to be led by a still alive Lottie.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: One shot in "Old Wounds" has the majestic Rocky Mountains in the background. In New Jersey.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Shauna spends a lot of time talking to Jackie's body after she dies while imagining Jackie is talking back.
  • Murder by Mistake: After Lisa discovers the Yellowjackets about to apparently kill Shauna, she threatens them and Misty lunges forward to stab her, but Natalie gets in the way and ends up killed. Misty is horrified by what she just did.
  • Mushroom Samba:
    • At the party before the crash, Natalie and her two buddies have some LSD. She ends up seeing one of them with unnaturally huge eyes and the other with a Psychotic Smirk.
    • In Episode 1.9, "Doomcoming", Misty gathers mushrooms with the intent of poisoning the Coach again, but she leaves her bundle unattended by the kitchen, and the mushrooms end up in the stew. Everyone except Jackie ends up tripping balls.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: Jackie still hasn't lost her virginity (in the sense of sexual intercourse at least) and is insistent that she won't die as a virgin, convincing Travis to sleep with her.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: In spite of their obvious mutual attraction, Travis has a real problem with Natalie's sexual promiscuity. After they get into a fight over one of her past lovers, she concludes that she's not the girl Travis wanted her to be. They do reconcile afterwards, however.
  • Near-Death Clairvoyance: Travis believes he was able to see the unknown god or being inhabiting the wilderness he and the Yellowjackets were trapped in when he almost dies. According to Lottie, he later died due to trying to hang himself to the point of unconsciousness to invoke this trope again, but Lottie couldn't figure out how to release him in time.
  • Never My Fault: When the group realizes they ate shrooms, Misty admits she was going to give them to the Coach and accuses him of tricking her into falling in love with him.
  • Never Suicide: Natalie and Misty start to believe this about Travis.
  • Newhart Phone Call:
    • Taissa has one with her bank in "Saints" in which she tries to convince them to allow her to withdraw $50,000 for her and Simone's joint bank account without Simone's signature. She complains that she shouldn't need her wife's signature to make a withdraw of any amount, but the response she gets is obviously not to her satisfaction and she hangs up.
    • Natalie calls up Travis's bank in "Flight of the Bumblebee," wanting them to give her information about who emptied Travis's bank account after he died. We hear her say that she knows she's not family, but she is a friend, but this clearly doesn't hold water with them. She then rages and tosses the phone, then breaks down sobbing, cursing at them and begging them to just help her.
  • No Clear Leader: The Yellowjackets have this problem from the minute they crash-land in the Canadian wilderness.
    • Season 1: The lone surviving adult, Coach Ben, tries his best but he's missing a leg and whatever authority he had is stripped away by having to rely on Misty and falls into Sanity Slippage after Laura Lee overrules his authority in her escape mission and gets blown up. Jackie is used to being The Leader as the head of the cheerleading squad, but instantly crumbles under the trauma of the plane crash and being stranded. Upon finding out that Shauna is pregnant by Jackie's boyfriend, Jeff, Jackie attempts to pull her authority on Shauna but Shauna, who has gained authority, fights back. All of the Yellowjackets either turn on Jackie or abandon her, leaving her to be frozen to death in the first snowfall. Lottie becomes the de facto leader of a section of the team who comes to believe that she has mystical abilities. This puts her at odds with natural leader Taissa, especially since Taissa's girlfriend Van becomes one of Lottie's true believers.
    • Season 2: Lottie is revealed to be deeply uncertain about her "powers" and pushed into them by the increasingly desperate group, unwilling to take on any more serious role as The Leader. Natalie, meanwhile, has turned against Lottie, annoyed that her role as hunter is not appreciated or grants her any authority, which alienates her more from the rest of the group. Due to starvation, Taissa is unable to take on any meaningful leadership role. Shauna craves more leadership and is deeply traumatized from her Tragic Stillbirth. These factors coincide in Shauna nearly killing Lottie, taking her out of commission. Lottie resigns herself to her death, seeming almost relieved...only for the rest of the group to decide that Lottie can't die. Instead, they decide to use a hunt to find a Human Sacrifice to take Lottie's place.
    • After this, the Antler Queen is revealed to work like this. Lottie is the first, and has a leadership role because of it. After having her life narrowly saved by the hunt, she resigns her position and chooses Natalie instead on the basis that she survived the card draw and the hunt. Although this happens in the Season 2 finale, there are already strong hints that not all of the group appreciates Lottie stepping down from leadership. Shauna, for example, is shown ranting in her diary about how she should be queen.
  • No Name Given: Akilah and Mari may be there as background characters, but at least they are given names unlike their Living Prop teammates, credited as Yellowjacket #1 and Yellowjacket #2. This ends in Season 2, when YJ #1 becomes Gen, and YJ #2 is recast and becomes two characters, Melissa and Crystal.
  • No Party Given: Neither Taissa Turner nor her state senate opponent Phil Bathurst are mentioned as being members of a specific political party. However, Bathurst is described as a "wannabe Mitch McConnell," while Taissa is compared to Kamala Harris, making it clear that he's a Republican and she's a Democrat.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: While the main cast didn't initially intend to eat Jackie after her death, inadvertently cooking her during a failed cremation proves too tempting an opportunity for the starving team.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted at first, since one episode involves the girls' synchronized menstrual cycles, though played straight later on. This is justified, however, since by the second season starvation has become an issue (malnutrition can stop menstruation).
  • Nobody Poops: Jessica Roberts is chained to a bed and left unattended for upwards of 8 to 12 hours at a time while fully clothed and without access to a bedpan. There's no sign of mess.
  • Nurse with Good Intentions: Allie, the weakest player, is injured during a scrimmage at practice and breaks her leg, complete with Sickening "Crunch!" and the bone poking through the skin. Misty runs in and announces that she will apply direct pressure to control the bleeding. Allie does not react well to Misty's clumsy fumbling. However, the second episode shows that she actually is capable under pressure, though her intentions are questionable at best.
  • One Phone Call: In "The Dollhouse," Misty and Natalie each get one phone call after being arrested for breaking into Travis's place. Natalie calls Taissa Turner, only for Taissa to tell her that she's not going to help her out this time. Misty calls detective Kevyn Tan and gets her to bail them out by pretending to be Natalie, who he's into.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Whenever the police question Shauna or Jeff about Adam's murder, they imply to the couple that they shouldn't need to consult a lawyer if they have nothing to hide. In spite of increasing signs that they're primary suspects, no one in the family asks for a lawyer until after repeated and exhaustive interrogations.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Possibly the whole WHS Yellowjackets team, but Jackie stands out for mocking a restaurant sign that praises the boys' baseball team despite the fact that they were under .500 all season, whereas the girls' soccer team is going to the nationals. As of the season 1 finale, Shauna is the only explicit exception, revealing that she never even liked soccer, and just went along with what Jackie wanted them to do.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Misty is literally munching on popcorn as she spies on Natalie and Taissa via the camera hidden in the cheesy aroma diffuser she gifted Natalie. The fun stops when she overhears Natalie calling her a "conniving, poodle-haired, fucking freak!"
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Diane, a guest at the party, offers to donate to Taissa's campaign in exchange for the truth as to what really happened after the plane crash. Taissa declines, and the woman tells her to watch her tone. Taissa's response?
    Taissa: I'll perfectly calibrate my tone... as I tell you to go fuck yourself.
    • Laura Lee is a sweet, soft-spoken, deeply Christian girl. So when she drops one, everyone listens up.
    Laura Lee: If I don't do this, we're all... we're all gonna fucking starve.
  • Quivering Lip: Shauna's daughter Callie went out with "Jay", who turns out to be an undercover detective named Matt trying to get information about Shauna. In "It Chooses" Matt arrives to Callie's home with a search warrant. As he searches her bedroom, she records him and she threatens to accuse him of taking advantage of her during his investigation, complete with strategic lip trembling.
    Callie: All a jury needs to hear is how you, an old-ass man, seduced me, a teenage girl. (Matt moves from searching the dresser to the closet) How you... (lip quivering) preyed on a child.
  • Reflective Eyes: In the poster promo at the top of this page you can see Lottie, wearing her antlered veil, in Jackie’s eye.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Shauna and Jeff's marriage is pure Dead Sparks initially. His blackmail scheme, while it's utterly disastrous and leads to Shauna committing manslaughter, brings them back together, allows them to be more honest with each other, and leads to the rekindling of their marriage.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Crystal is introduced in Season 2 as part of the team that had been there since the crash, but was never seen or mentioned before.
  • Retcon: Season 1 ends with Lottie donning the Antler Queen veil and chanting "let the darkness set us free", accompanied by Misty and Van. Come Season 2, Lottie has no interest in being the Antler Queen and is only shown trying to help others in their despair in the wilderness, and Misty has been replaced by Mari as Lottie's main follower who isn't Van.
  • The Reveal:
    • In "Blood Hive", Shauna is pretending to have her period to hide that she did indeed get pregnant from having sex with Jeff.
    • "Saints": Taissa is the "lady in the tree" that Sammy has been seeing.
    • "Doomcoming": Having fearfully murdered "Adam" believing him to be the blackmailer, Shauna discovers her husband Jeff was actually responsible. He was never cheating on her, instead consumed by financial troubles with his store and in desperation taking loans from very bad people that the blackmail was to pay back (the woman Shauna saw him with at the motel being involved with them).
    • "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi": Travis's bank account was emptied by a seemingly alive Lottie.
    • "Qui": What happened to Shauna's teen pregnancy? A sad Mundane Solution. The baby was stillborn in the wilderness.
    • “It Chooses”: The mouse that Akilah befriended and made a pet of was Dead All Along.
    • "Storytelling": After a lot of implications otherwise, it's revealed that Lottie wasn't the Antler Queen, or at least she wasn't the only one. After waking up, Lottie convinces the others that the Wilderness has chosen Natalie as their leader, and they all pledge their loyalty to her.
  • Roadside Surgery:
    • Misty does a half-decent job of amputating Coach Ben's leg.
    • Attempted unsuccessfully in Shauna's case. She tries to terminate her pregnancy by herself with the wire from a bra. Taissa takes over, but Shauna is in too much pain for them to finish.
    • Akilah stitches up Van's horrible facial wounds after the group managed to get Van back to the cabin.
  • Secret Relationship:
    • Taissa and Van turn out to be a couple in 1996, which they keep from the others. They eventually come out in "Doomcoming."
    • Travis and Natalie also started a relationship in 1996 that they kept a secret, though only briefly.

  • Shame If Something Happened: Misty is keeping Jessica Bound and Gagged in her basement. She casually mentions the name and address of Jessica's father who lives in Florida, and that she spoke to his nurse... while injecting fentanyl into chocolates. Which Jessica's father loves, by the way.
  • Shipwreck Start: The 1990s plot starts with the survivors being marooned in the remote Canadian wilderness (though the crash itself happens in the second episode rather than the first) due to a plane crash. There's another plane there, but that also crashes after Laura Lee tries to fly it away.
  • Shout-Out: The girls make a lot of references to media from The '90s.
    • Two Yellowjackets discuss who their favorite Spice Girl is.
    • Van describes the plot of While You Were Sleeping as a campfire story. In 2021, Misty watches the film. When Taissa goes to find Van, her vintage video store is called "While You Were Streaming."
    • Shauna flips through Jackie's diary, which includes lists of her favorite movies and characters. Her favorite film is Fear (1996).
  • Sinister Deer Skull: In the pilot episode, a girl in a headdress made out of deer antlers and a veil leads others (all wearing identity concealing masks) in a cannibal ceremony. In a later episode, the maybe-psychic Lottie Matthews dons the headdress.
  • Slut-Shaming: Natalie says she's been with a few guys after Travis asks as they get intimate, and gets angry when he doesn't like this. She points out that a guy at their school has been with many girls and no one cares. Travis claims it's different as she's a girl.
  • Snow Means Death: The first snow in the wilderness precedes (or really, causes) Jackie's death.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In "F Sharp," the cheery "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips plays as Misty Quigley sabotages the flight recorder, causing herself and her fellow plane crash survivors to be stranded in the wilderness of Canada for 19 months. Those few that survive the experience, that is.
  • Spoiler Opening: Even if viewers didn't know who Lauren Ambrose was or who she was playing, the Season 2 opening credits show her as a red-haired woman with a scarred face, clearly cluing them into the fact that she's playing adult Van, almost four full episodes (nearly halfway through the season) before she's reintroduced to the story. She appears in person in the Cliffhanger ending of episode 4.
  • Tagline:
    • "There's no 'I' in team, but there is in 'survival'."
    • "The truth may come crashing down."
  • Taken During the Ending:
    • Season 1 ends with Natalie, about to commit suicide, being kidnapped from her motel room. It turns out to be at Lottie's behest, and Natalie spends the whole of Season 2 at Lottie's (now called Charlotte's) compound.
    • Season 2 ends with Lottie/Charlotte being forcefully recommitted after Natalie is sacrificed during the adults' hunt.
  • Team Power Walk: Shauna, Taissa, Natalie and Misty walk this way as they enter their 25th year reunion.
  • Their First Time:
    • Jackie convinces Travis to have sex with her as she doesn't want to die a virgin.
    • Apparently the case for Taissa and Van, who get it on out in the woods, although they might have earlier.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Taissa's attitude after she and Simone take Sammy for an appointment with a psychiatrist.
  • Those Two Guys: Akilah and Mari. The plotlines don't involve them directly, at least through Season 1
  • Through the Eyes of Madness:
    • We see Lottie's hallucinations as she sees them.
    • In 2021, certain things we see later turn out to be hallucinations, such as Shauna's empty safe and Sammy at Taissa's house.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: A necessity, given the 25-year span between the 1996 crash and the 2021 plot.
  • Title Montage: The opening title sequence, "No Return," is largely a montage of clips from the show itself. By the sixth episode, most of the clips have been seen on the series itself, though viewers are still left to puzzle over certain clips and the significance of certain ones.
  • Token Religious Teammate:
    • Laura Lee leads the team into prayer before practice. She's the only who seemed to really be religious, talking of her faith a lot.
    • Van appears to take up this role after Laura Lee's death, particularly after her second near-death experience and the events of Doomcoming. She asks the group to say grace, turns to Lottie for guidance and prays before a shrine along with Misty as one of the first members of Lottie's new cult.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • The ring Coach Martinez was wearing when he was killed belong to his grandfather. Travis and Natalie retrieve it to give it to Javi.
    • Shauna bumps into her daughter at a dance club, wearing what she thinks is Shauna's old Yellowjackets uniform. It's Jackie's, a gift from her parents to Shauna on what would have been her 40th birthday.
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • Taissa is Black and a lesbian, like her future wife Simone.
    • Lottie is a biracial girl, with a white father and East Asian mother as shown in her flashbacks. She also has precognitive abilities and implied schizophrenia.
    • Coach Scott's a gay man in a group of (mostly) teenage girls. He can even be considered as a "threefer" considering that he's the only surviving adult in a group of teens.
    • Travis and Javi are Latino boys in a group of mostly white teen girls.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In "Blood Hive", the girls improvise rewashable menstrual pads and refer to used ones as "bloody soldiers," apparently a twist on "fallen soldiers," a slang term for empty beer bottles.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: In "Doomcoming," the snack that Natalie tries to buy from the vending machine outside the motel where she lives gets stuck. She shakes it a bit, then returns with a fire extinguisher and smashes it. She then takes only the one snack that she paid for and walks away.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Natalie in the opening sequence. Coach Scott after drinking poisoned tea.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: In "No Compass," Taissa has led a group on an expedition to try to find help. She volunteers to take an evening watch, but ends up falling asleep. When she wakes up, she finds herself up a tree with no memory of having sleepwalked there and the others below trying to fend off a pack of wolves.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Season 1 Ep 10 "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi": In the past, Jackie confronts the group on their recent craziness and argues viciously with Shauna, the majority of whom in turn mostly express Never My Fault and she sleeps outside, ultimately found frozen to death. Javi has worryingly disappeared, and Lottie becomes a cult leader with Van and Misty as her first full converts. In the present: Taissa wins the senate race while Simone finds the head and heart of their dog Biscuit along with the strange symbol painted in blood in their basement; Misty releases Jessica but the latter succumbs to fentanyl-laced cigarettes; Lottie is revealed to be the one who emptied Travis's bank account; and the mysterious group who kidnap Natalie are all but stated to be her current cult followers.
    • Season 2 Ep 2 "Edible Complex": In the past, Jackie's body is given a proper funeral by fire. While the group sleeps, a large amount of snow falls on top of it, leaving the body cooked. The smell eventually wakes up the starving Yellowjackets, and they (with the exception of Coach Scott) start to devour it.
    • Season 2 Ep 6 "Qui": In the present, Shauna admits to the police that she slept with Adam but not that she killed him; the adult survivors (that we know of) are reunited at the cult compound. In the past, Shauna finally has her baby. After a vivid dream of breast feeding her child and seeing her fellow survivors eating him, she wakes up to learn it was a Tragic Stillbirth.
    • Season 2 Ep 9 "Storytelling": In the past, the Yellowjackets eat Javi. Lottie defers her leadership position to Natalie. Coach Ben deserts the group to live alone in the cave that Javi found, but not before he burns down the cabin with everyone inside. In the present, Walter murders Kevyn and frames him for the deaths of Adam and Jessica. Misty accidentally kills Natalie after Lisa threatens her, and Lottie is taken away in ambulance, likely about to be committed to a mental hospital.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Hello, Misty, you crazy fucking bitch."
    • From Season 1 Ep 10, "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi": "Look, I did what you asked. I dug into Travis's bank account and found out who emptied it. I think someone's following me. Who the fuck is Lottie Matthews?"
    • From Season 2 Ep 7
    Adult!Van: “I have cancer.”
    • From Season 2 Ep 9, when Shauna tells Lottie that there is no entity stalking them, but rather the darkness came from them.
    Lottie: Is there a difference?
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: When Shauna tries to get back her minivan, she threatens to shoot the person in charge of the garage and he tries to call her bluff, to which Shauna responds by describing detail what it's like to remove the skin from a dead body to show she's being serious.


Video Example(s):


All Those Things

In "Flight of the Bumblebee" from "Yellowjackets," Shauna asks Taissa if she ever thinks about what she would have done with her life if not for the plane crash. Taissa talks about how she would have gone to Harvard pre-law with a double major, made first string on the soccer team, graduate at the top of her class and then land an internship at a prestigious law firm. Shauna points out that this is exactly what she *did* do.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / AcademicAthlete

Media sources: