‘Yellowjackets’ Boss on Who Took [Spoiler] & That Sacrifice in the Present-Day Timeline
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Yellowjackets Season 1 finale “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.”]
The intense first season of the new Showtime drama wrapped the present-day timeline for the surviving Yellowjackets with a murder cover-up, high school reunion, kidnapping, sacrificial altar, and election results.
In the finale, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Natalie (Juliette Lewis), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), and Misty (Christina Ricci) worked together to get rid of Adam’s (Peter Gadiot) body before attending the high school reunion (where their trauma was a main topic … for a member of the team who wasn’t even on the plane). However, once home, Shauna and Jeff (Warren Kole) learned that Adam had been reported as missing. Meanwhile, Natalie was sitting in her motel room, a shotgun under her chin, when people burst into her room — with that symbol around their necks — and kidnapped her, just as Suzie (Colleen Wheeler) left her a voicemail about being followed and asking who Lottie is.
Co-showrunner Jonathan Lisco breaks down the finale and teases what’s ahead in Season 2 in the present-day timeline. ((Plus, check out scoop on the 1996 timeline here.)
Looking at who took Natalie, there’s that symbol and Suzie brought up being followed and asked who Lottie is. So those people are Lottie’s followers? Some sort of cult?
Jonathan Lisco: It’s a fairly easy line to draw, right, from the end of Season 1 to the last episode vectoring into Season 2. What she says is “spill blood, my friends,” in French and then she says, let the darkness set us free [when Teen Lottie left the bear heart as a sacrifice]. And so she’s obviously latched onto something energetically bigger than herself. Whether or not it’s to protect her from her fear is one thing. But we all know that whatever ritualistic stuff is brewing inside her is meaningful to her at this moment. And many of the members of the team also thinks so because the bear prostrated itself in front of her as if she was some kind of energetic force. So now cut forward 2021. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that what started in the wilderness is still alive 25 years later, but has just been sort of on a slow boil. And now for reasons that we will explore in Season 2, it’s going to explode.
What can you say about why they took Natalie, and how is that going to change Natalie’s mindset? Because she was at a very low point before they burst into the room.
I would say when you’ve got a shotgun on the ground about to pull the trigger at your chin, yes, you are at a low point. And that may be the on-its-face answer: salvation. Somebody knew that Natalie was in distress and essentially wanted to save her from herself, but there may be darker roots to it as well in terms of how they intend to use Natalie on a pragmatic level.
How’s Natalie going to be handling that?
With her usual addictive vulnerability. Probably not well. She doesn’t take to authority very well. Obviously we haven’t broken Season 2 yet and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but we’ve got a lot of notions for what it looks like for Natalie to be a captive.
Then we have Taissa, and assuming I’m reading into that sacrifice and altar and smile correctly, she may be involved in whatever Lottie is or maybe she just kind of picked up something in the woods?
That’s so interesting that you’ve made that connection. That is certainly a connection that is reasonable to make. But in that moment when we’re just on Tawny/Tai and she gives that look when she’s awarded the state senatorship, I think what it says is, “I think now I am becoming conscious of my alter ego. It’s been something that I’ve repressed. I know I’ve been doing it, but now I’m starting to see the advantages potentially of my dark side because essentially it just got me what I wanted.” And so it’ll be interesting to see how Taissa plays with that moving into Season 2. Will she double down on that dark force to try and get things accomplished in her life? Or will she try and suppress it even more? I think that’s the more interesting thing to explore. Whether or not it cross-pollinates with the storyline with Natalie being taken and abducted is something which I’d hate to sort of reveal at this point, but yes, there’s a lot going on there.
Should we assume her marriage is over at this point?
Let’s put it this way. They’re going to need some serious therapy. And I would like to think that if Simone [Rukiya Bernard] realized that she did it unconsciously, if Simone realized that the trauma from the woods was compelling her to do these things, she might not so easily give up on Taissa. So I wouldn’t say that the marriage is over, no, but I think it’s in need of some serious repair.
It looks like Shauna may not get away with murder like she thought, considering the police are looking into Adam’s disappearance. What can you tease about legal ramifications and how Shauna’s dealing with what she did? Because she killed Adam thinking he was the blackmailer.
It’s funny, we could totally see that coming back to haunt her, but we could also see a world in which that’s not a core part of Season 2, because what we don’t want to do is tip the show into a detective story where it becomes about the concrete moves of the plot. That would entail, I think, introducing an entire detective character and then she’d be trying to cover it up and in a way that’s backwards looking, and I think what we’d like to do now is really focus on the marriage — you were speaking of marriage before with Taissa — with Jeff, who I want to say I’m gratified that the audience is starting to see that he’s a good guy or at least has a good heart.
At the beginning everyone’s like, she’s married to such a dope, she’s in a domestic cage. But the truth is we always planned to dramatize their marriage in a really multidimensional way and show that he’s not merely an idiot that she married. He’s actually someone who deeply loves her. And in that moment, I think the audience was really endeared to him or at least I hope they were, when he was going to take the fall for her. So in Season 2, I think the more interesting storyline — obviously they’ll have to evade capture and they’ll have to evade suspicion of the police, should they get onto that, should we choose to walk down that road — will be how that murder and the realization of all her secrets affects their marriage. I think as writers, that’s more interesting to us.
They seemed happier, I think, than we’ve ever seen them when they were on the couch before the news report.
The dark deed completely bonded them together because like so many of these things, it’s exciting. It breaks you out of your domesticity.
Jeff’s “there’s no book club?!” is one of my favorite lines of the series.
I am so glad, honestly. Because we cut the episodes, obviously Ashley [Lyle],Bart [Nickerson], and I, and we’ve seen it like literally 97 times and each time we still give a little giggle because Jeff does such a good job with that. After all that he’s heard, “What? There’s no book club?!” [Laughs]
So was Adam just a normal guy who got caught up in this or should we be thinking that we might learn something more about him in Season 2?
We’re not ruling it out, but what we do want to say is, I think sometimes you should take what we do on face value. And with great respect to our enthusiastic audience who had all sorts of theories about who Adam was, [we look at] what is the most emotional storyline and to have plot tricks or reveals or manipulate the audience is one thing which we’re trying not to do too much of. We’re trying to play it open because we want it to be organic and emotional. And so I think the most emotional version of that story, in our view, is that he was just a guy that she rear-ended, who actually saw her for the first time in 20 years, who wanted to be with her. It’s like what she says to her daughter in that scene: “He wants me, Callie. I know you’re too young to understand that, but what he wants is me.” Then her trauma rears its head in the ugliest of ways and prevents her from having something that could have been somewhat rewarding to her, even though it was extramarital. And I think that’s tragic.
So we can assume that we’re going to meet adult Lottie at some point next season?
We are certainly entertaining that notion, yes.
What can you say about other characters popping up in the present day that we haven’t seen yet?
I think it’s unlikely that we’ve met all the survivors from the crash.
Is the plan for any of them to be major characters? Or would they be more recurring players?
It all depends on the storyline that we come up with, but we could see another major survivor playing a pivotal role in Season 2.
In Season 2, would you say that the biggest struggle is going to be continue to keep the secret of what happened in the woods?
I think that’s one aspect of what’s going to be important in Season 2, but as many ambiguous feelings as they may have about Natalie, she’s gone. Where did Natalie go? I think that’s going to rock the boat for many of our characters, especially in the wake of what’s happened this season. And so I imagine that that will at least propel some of the narrative in Season 2.
Yellowjackets, Season 2, TBA, Showtime