As episode 7 kicks off, morale in the wilderness has never been lower. The girls are still starving, and Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) is – understandably – at rock bottom, traumatized in the wake of her miscarriage and eschewing all attempts to help her. Is this slightly undermined by a needle drop of Nirvana's 'Something in the Way,' which is now – at least in our eyes – eternally tied to images of Robert Pattinson's emo Batman? We couldn't possibly say.
In the present day, meanwhile, the survivors are reunited and Nat (Juliette Lewis) reveals that it's been a week since she tried to take her own life. This means that the entirety of the adult survivors' season 2 storyline has taken place over just a few days and goes some way to explain the glacial pace of the present-day timeline, which still feels at odds with the several weeks or months we've covered back in the '90s. Speaking of slow-paced storylines, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Misty (Christina Ricci), and Van (Lauren Ambrose) are encouraged to pick a therapy session at Lottie (Simone Kessell)'s wellness center, for reasons that don't seem particularly relevant to the plot.
Back in the wilderness, Misty (Samantha Hanratty) overhears two of the girls – unnamed Yellowjackets who have previously not had many lines, so we can only presume it's curtains for them before the season is out – speculating about whether she killed Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman), thereby causing her instigates a hunt for her missing friend (who she knows is actually lying dead at the bottom of a ravine) now that the snowstorm has stopped. There's talk here of "trades" with the wilderness – that the wilderness relented its unforgiving weather in exchange for the life of Shauna's baby. Weirdly, the other girls are acting like Misty is the only person who should care about Crystal, as if she wasn't also their teammate, which feels a bit jarring.
Meanwhile, Shauna returns to the shed where Jackie's body used to be and breaks down, overwhelmed by the burden of two deaths that she feels at least partially responsible for.
Assistant coach Ben (Steven Kreuger) is also struggling and still having hallucinations, although they're getting less and less realistic. "Where do you think you are, Ben?" a flickering version of his ex-boyfriend asks him. "You can't stay here forever." While pretending to look for Crystal, Misty later finds him about to jump off the cliff face where her friend plunged to her death last week, and he asks her to push him. Misty manages to talk him down from the ledge – with unconventional methods, threatening to tell everyone he was gay after they get rescued if he follows through.
The present-day scenes in the compound cult continue to feel a lot like preamble to something, and we're itching to get to the point – whatever that may be. Shauna's therapy starts with taking care of a baby goat and ends with opening up to Lottie, confessing that she's kept teen daughter Callie at arm's length for fear that she'd lose another child.
Misty's therapy, meanwhile, sees her in an immersion tank. What follows when the lights go out is a musical number that features Elijah Wood, John Cameron Mitchell in a parrot suit, and is otherwise beyond words. Elsewhere, Taissa (the 'real' Tai, this time) and Van kiss, and Van reveals that she has terminal cancer and only has a matter of months to live.
Meanwhile, Lottie is back with her therapist, telling her that she thinks the unexpected reunion with Misty, Shauna, and the rest of the survivors is because the wilderness wants them all back together. However, in one of the series' most genuinely spooky moments to date, the therapist morphs into the so-called Antler Queen, asking "Does a hunt that has no violence feed anyone?" before we discover that there's no one else in the room – Lottie has been talking to herself and the therapist may never have existed at all
In the wilderness, Shauna has stopped crying, and she's angry. Very, very angry. After accusing the others of eating her baby, Lottie tells her to take out her anger on her, and Shauna punches and kicks her until she's bloody and unconscious on the floor.
The episode ends with Jeff (Warren Kole) calling Shauna to say the police have found Adam's "remains" – could this finally be the push we need in the present-day timeline? For now, though, it still feels like Yellowjackets season 2 is dangling something in front of us, just out of sight, and the reward is still out of reach.
New episodes of Yellowjackets release weekly on Paramount Plus and Showtime – make sure you stay up to date with our Yellowjackets season 2 release schedule.