“Yellowjackets” makes “Lord of the Flies” seem like Dr. Seuss — “Old Wounds” goes beastie-mode

Laughing, Ralph looked for confirmation round the ring of faces. The older boys agreed; but here and there among the little ones was the doubt that required more than rational assurance.

“He must have had a nightmare. Stumbling about among all those creepers.”

More grave nodding; they knew about nightmares.

“He says he saw the beastie, the snake-thing, and will it come back tonight?”

“But there isn’t a beastie!”

“He says in the morning it turned into them things like ropes in the trees and hung in the branches. He says will it come back tonight?”

“But there isn’t a beastie!”

– “Lord of the Flies,” – William Golding (1954)

We’ve officially entered “beastie” territory, and with “Old Wounds” nearing us towards the halfway mark of “Yellowjackets” Season 2 . . . the hunt is on. Up to this point, we’ve been busying ourselves with wondering who The Antler Queen is, but from this point on that will seem to take a back seat to the question of “Who is Jack, Simon and Ralph?” once a split takes place and sides are chosen. 

In my primer leading up to this season, I referenced a quote from “Lord of the Flies” author, William Golding that was a source of inspiration for the show’s creators, Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson. In the quote, Golding talks of the decision to center his 1954 novel on the feral unraveling of a group of school boys stranded on an island, rather than a group of girls, because “a group of little boys are more like scaled down society than a group of little girls will be.”

To offer further example of why women, or girls, left to govern themselves as a secluded group wouldn’t commit the same acts of savagery depicted in his most famous book, the author went on to say “women are foolish to pretend they’re equal to men – they’re far superior, and always have been.” In a 2017 tweet, feminist author Roxane Gay agreed with this line of thought, writing, “An all women remake of ‘Lord of the Flies’ makes no sense because . . . the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women.” 

Darkness knows no gender (I know, so woke!) and sees us all as equally shaped doors of opportunity. Some just open a bit easier.

This discourse circulated over five years ago when there were rumblings of a possible Warner Brothers film reimagining “Lord of the Flies” with an all female cast, which never took shape, allowing Lyle and Nickerson to say “hold our beers,” stepping in with an idea for a series that has already proven to be more savage than its inspiration ever was because, contrary to an example of “mandela effect” mis-remembering, there is no cannibalism in the book that, in part, influenced “Yellowjackets.” The girls of the Wiskayok High School Yellowjackets soccer team have already consumed one teammate, down to the bone, and are ready for the second course, proving Golding’s views on women to be so terribly incorrect because he forgot one major element in them. Darkness knows no gender (I know, so woke!) and sees us all as equally shaped doors of opportunity. Some just open a bit easier.  

There was no sequel to Golding’s “Lord of the Flies,” so we’ll never know what happened after Jack, Ralph, Roger and the others were rescued off their island by the Navy. Beyond our imaginations, the closest we’ll get to understanding what life back in society was like for the boys can be found in the present-day lives of Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Misty (Christina Ricci), Natalie (Juliette Lewis), Van (Lauren Ambrose) and Lottie (Simone Kessell) who – after so many years – is tormented by her own “beastie” once again. 

“Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter. “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?”

– “Lord of the Flies,” – William Golding (1954)

Courtney Eaton as Teen Lottie (Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME)

A lot goes on in Episode 4 — Javi (Luciano Leroux) is found in the woods, Van gets a surprise visit from Tai, Natalie puts a live goldfish in her mouth — but what stood out most was Lottie’s journey into darkness, out of it and back again, and how our watching that play out in “Old Wounds” will affect how we view the rest of the season, and the series as a whole.

In the wilderness timeline, we see Lottie (Courtney Eaton) agree to a hunting contest with Natalie (Sophie Thatcher), encouraged by Mari (Alexa Barajas) and a few of the others to prove that her “powers” can produce food better than Natalie’s rifle. Visibly reluctant, but not wanting to break the spell of influence she’s cast over that cabin, Lottie sets off into the snowy woods with only a knife, which she uses to cut herself as an offering to something that not even she quite believes in. While Natalie quickly locates a dead moose frozen in the lake, which could have fed them through the winter had she and the rest of the cabin only been strong enough to pull it out, Lottie flounders in the cold, coming back with nothing more than frostbitten feet. 

With no one watching in her efforts, and no one there to help her convince herself that her powers were anything other than coincidence, Lottie got too close to reality so her mind took over. Passing out in the snow, she envisions coming upon Laura Lee’s (Jane Widdop) plane where she finds her gold cross necklace — a symbol of the faith she inspires in others — and under it, a trap door that leads to a mall, where she seeks comfort in the things any average girl would seek comfort in: mall court Chinese food and a table of friends. As she sits there, broken down to her most basic self, Laura Lee is at her side and tells her to go, pushing her back into consciousness as the vision of goodness that Lottie holds in a part of her that now seems so far removed. She’s not a healer. She’s not The Antler Queen. But she’s not ready to give up on all of this just yet.

Simone Kessell as Lottie (Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME)Present day, with Natalie back in her life, Lottie is once again forced to confront that addiction to “power” and influence that still lives within her. She visits a doctor and asks to have her meds upped because she’s having visions again, but is told not to push them away so she can figure out what they’re trying to tell her.

“Nothing,” Lottie says in exhausted exasperation. “Because they’re not real.”

Back at her commune, left with no option for self-soothing other than to return to her old tricks, she cuts her hand and lets it bleed into the dirt.

“Can this just be enough? Please?” she says.

And just like Simon in “Lord of the Flies,” the sensitive isolate whose character hers most closely resembles, the answer to that will be “No.”

Lottie may not have died in the wilderness like Simon did, but there’s a lot more to come in the series, and she’s not out of the woods yet. 

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 “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”

The sticks fell and the mouth of the new circle crunched and screamed. The beast was on its knees in the center, its arms folded over its face. It was crying out against the abominable noise something about a body on the hill. The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws. 

– “Lord of the Flies,” – William Golding (1954)

As evidenced in politics and pop culture alike, people are too often built up as leaders and influencers only to be energetically torn down by the very ones who championed them. William Golding didn’t see a place for women in all that back in 1954. If only he’d lived long enough to meet the Lord of the Yellowjackets. Is there one main “villain” in this show? Or is it asking the same question that Golding asked in his book, “What if it’s all of us?”


  • Notice that the intro song, “No Return,” sounded a little different this episode? It was sung by Alanis Morissette!
  • Akilah (Nia Sondaya) better keep that little mouse she found in the pantry well hidden. I hope it doesn’t wind up in the chili pot.
  • When Walter (Elijah Wood) and Misty check into the bed and breakfast before going to visit Lottie’s commune, Misty gives the name Lady Mallowan, a name bestowed upon Agatha Christie after her husband Max Mallowan was knighted for his archaeological work.
  • Tai’s “bad one” is doing the most in this episode. 
  • “Here’s your f**king fish,” – Natalie. (By the by, I found a $25 sterling silver dupe of the safety pin necklace she wears in this scene on Etsy. I need help.)
  • Shauna taking Callie to that park seemed like a threat. Right?
  • RIP to Natalie and Travis’ relationship now that he knows she lied about Javi being dead. Also, how was Javi able to survive by himself all alone in the woods for two months?

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