Yellowjackets season 1 recap: Most important things to remember before season 2

Sophie Thatcher as Teen Natalie in YELLOWJACKETS, “Pilot”. Photo credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME.
Sophie Thatcher as Teen Natalie in YELLOWJACKETS, “Pilot”. Photo credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME. /

One of the most thrilling shows currently on TV is finally back. Yellowjackets returned for its highly anticipated second season on Showtime this weekend, premiering on streaming on Friday, March 24. The first episode will also air on linear for fans watching via cable on Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET. But don’t worry if you haven’t watched yet; we’re not getting into any spoilers for the second season here! Instead, we’re breaking down all the biggest plot points in the first season and reminding you of everything you need to know before starting the new installment.

The horror-mystery has a star-studded cast that viewers love, and the first season received a ton of critical acclaim including numerous Emmy Awards nominations. If you aren’t watching Yellowjackets, what are you waiting for?

Yellowjackets season 1 summary

The first season of Yellowjackets follows a group of high school girls traveling from New Jersey to Seattle for a soccer tournament. Along with their coach, his two sons, and their assistant coach, the team’s plane crashes while flying over Canada, leaving the survivors stranded in the wilderness for 19 months. The series goes back and forth between the ’90s as we see what lengths the group goes to in order to survive, along with present-day 2021 where the grownup survivors deal with their traumatic past.

The Yellowjackets crash while flying over Canada in 1996

The biggest moment of Yellowjackets season 1 to remember, of course, is the plane crash. This is the catalyst for the rest of the events to follow, including the relationships formed in the wilderness and the shocking behavior they take part in. The main characters, who survive the plane crash, include Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), Jackie (Ella Purnell), Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), Misty (Sammi Hanratty), Nat (Sophie Thatcher), Lottie (Courtney Eaton), and Travis (Kevin Alves).

As the survivors begin to navigate their new reality in the wilderness, we also learn where several of them are now, with adult Shauna played by Melanie Lynskey, adult Taissa played by Tawny Cypress, adult Misty played by Christina Ricci, and adult Nat played by Juliette Lewis. Jackie, Travis, and Lottie are nowhere to be found in 2021, but their absences are explained as the season goes on.

Present-day Shauna begins an affair with Adam

The present-day story focuses on Shauna’s story the most, as we learn she’s now married to Jeff (Warren Kole), who happened to be her best friend Jackie’s boyfriend in high school. The two share a teenage daughter together named Callie (Sarah Desjardins). Although her life might seem happy on the surface, she struggles with what happened when she and her classmates were stranded in the wilderness and she begins an affair with a man named Adam (Peter Gadiot).

Shauna reveals she’s pregnant

Meanwhile out in the wilderness, teenage Shauna reveals she’s pregnant. Although she lies to Jackie about who the father is, she eventually comes clean to Taissa and confesses it’s Jeff’s baby. Later on, in the season, Jackie reads Shauna’s diary and discovers the truth. This creates a major rift in their relationship because they’re best friends.

Present-day Natalie, Shauna, and Taissa chase a blackmailer

In 2021, some of the survivors start receiving a mysterious postcard with a weird symbol on it and believe someone’s coming after them for what they did in the wilderness. Natalie, Shauna, and Taissa band together and agree to give their blackmailer $50,000 to shut them up, and a chase ensues once they see the disguised person. But before the blackmailer gets away, they fall into a box of glitter, potentially compromising their identity.

Yellowjackets season 1
(L-R): Melanie Lynskey as Shauna and Peter Gadiot as Adam in YELLOWJACKETS, “Flight of the Bumblebee”. Photo credit: Michael Courtney/SHOWTIME. /

Present-day Shauna kills Adam

Fans at home watching had so many theories as to who the blackmailer could be. Some thought it could’ve been Van, Jeff, Misty, Adam, or even Taissa. As for those being blackmailed, Shauna becomes convinced that Adam is the one coming after her, after realizing he asked her a lot of questions about the plane crash when they first started seeing each other. When she goes to his apartment to confront him, she also discovers magazines about the plane crash in a drawer and he tries to explain. He claims he didn’t know she existed before they met, but Shauna doesn’t believe it. She stabs him and kills him.

Shauna enlists Nat, Taissa, and Misty to help dispose of Adam’s body.

Present-day Jeff reveals he’s the blackmailer

In the penultimate episode of season 1, we learn who the blackmailer is… and it turns out to be Jeff! As he reveals to Shauna, his furniture business is failing and he needs extra cash, so he figured they would be an easy target. He explains that the woman Shauna caught him meeting with earlier in the season was a loan shark. And to make matters more complicated, Shauna then tells him she killed Adam over it. Now, they have to come up with a plan to keep Shauna from getting caught.

Jackie freezes to death

Back in the flashbacks, Jackie tells the whole group that Shauna’s pregnant with Jeff’s baby and yells at everyone for their behavior the previous night. Angry, she decides to sleep outside that night, but it ends up snowing, and when Shauna awakens the next morning Jackie’s already frozen to death. We don’t get to see Shauna process Jackie’s death in season 1 as it happens in the finale, but she’ll carry that grief and guilt with her for a long time.

Yellowjackets season 1 finale (ending) recap

The finale of Yellowjackets season 1 sees the ladies of present-day attending their 25-year high school reunion, while Taissa’s wife Simone (Rukiya Bernard) makes a horrifying discovery in their basement. She finds their dog, dead and decapitated, along with one of their son Sammy’s (Aiden Stoxx) dolls in some type of weird shrine.

After finding Travis’ body earlier on in the season and not making much progress on what really happened, Nat decides to take her own life, placing a gun inside of her mouth. But suddenly, a group of people break into her hotel room and kidnap her before she can pull the trigger.

As they’re dragging her outside, private detective Jessica (Rekha Sharma) calls up Nat and we hear her voicemail as the episode comes to a close. Sounding very alarmed, she asks who Lottie Matthews is, suggesting she’s the one who emptied Travis’ bank account. Though we still don’t find out in season 1 whether Travis died by suicide or someone else killed him, we do know Lottie was somehow involved.

Yellowjackets season 1 ends on a cliffhanger, and fans still had so many questions after watching. Fortunately, we know Yellowjackets season 2 has begun and hopefully we’ll get some highly anticipated reveals. Fingers crossed that the new season delivers, because Yellowjackets season 3 is officially happening!

But for now, you can watch new episodes of Yellowjackets season 2 every Friday on Showtime streaming and Sunday on Showtime linear.

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