If we look at ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen’ as setting the table and the end of ‘Edible Complex’ was the horrific breaking of bread. For many episodes throughout Yellowjackets, we have heard the characters hint at the horrific things they did in the wilderness. Now, we’ve gotten to see it and sit with it. Younger Taissa is in staunch disbelief that they picked Jackie’s bones clean. Did she go into a fugue state of hunger, and is it tied to her sleepwalking? It’s an interesting wrinkle I’ll circle back to.
Jeff’s terrorized face was the last thing we got to focus on. So it’s only fitting that “Digestif” starts with a flashback of his life pre-crash. When not taste testing for his boyfriend Paul, they discuss moving in together. Jeff's obligation to see the girl’s soccer team juxtaposed with moving in with Paul is a point of contention.
Firstly, it’s sad that this is even a choice he has to make, given his sexuality and how people would perceive it. 1996 wasn’t as accepting of the LGBTQ+ community as it is now. The final flashback almost feels like an illusion of the outcome if Ben had said yes to Paul. Now Ben is missing a leg and holed up in a cabin with cannibalistic teenagers. Now, he’s lying in bed with regret.
Speaking of regret, everybody in the cabin doesn’t need breakfast – Shauna in particular. How do you come back from eating your dead best friend? In terms of Lottie’s influence and her connection to the woods – it’s growing. Young Natalie is not having it and goes off with Jackie’s remains by herself. However, people are starting to believe the hype. What better way to cleanse the foulness of cannibalism than having a baby shower?
Within the 1996 timeline of this episode, there is some good development with secondary characters. Akilah talks with young Taissa about her nephew and how much she misses him. Young Missy and Crystal’s relationship deepens to an unsettling degree. Crystal mentions “eating” her identical twin in the womb and feels she can channel her. It’s a conduit in which she acts, which fascinates Misty (where she does a hilarious, but spirited performance of a Steel Magnolia scene for the shower). These principles have carried on to her present life.
Misty can be a chameleon when finding out information and blending in. However, it also feels like she’s starting to lose what little she has of herself. This is why Misty clings so hard to discover mysteries and tries to befriend Natalie. The forest is one instance where she felt it necessary. Crystal states her acting coach says the biggest truth of all is that we’re made of lies. It could be a metaphor for this entire series and the current situation between Misty and Walter. While a hilarious interrogation scene occurs with Randy as they extract information about the cult, there’s something deeper at play.
Misty and Walter want to help each other, but both hold their cards to the vest. Misty, who gets to the bottom of everything, is shocked to know Walter did not bring his mother into the facility. Now, she likes Walter, but the constant need to put up a mask is getting in the way of making a deeper connection with him.
We are starting to see (perhaps) some of the links between Taissa’s sleepwalking troubles. In 1996, she broke out of the restraints from Van and walked into the woods to a particular tree with the symbol. Unknowingly, she draws the symbol on Simone’s hand while in the hospital. Whatever this is, it’s getting worse. Taissa notices another version of herself in the mirror this time. There must be some grounding process to where she can even this out. If not, there’s no telling who will get hurt.
According to the lore and Lottie, the stick symbol is meant to be a talisman of protection. Instead of spelling it out, “Digestif” instills more mystery. Why did a big white moose attack Natalie after she made the speech to Jackie’s remains on the plane? When young Shauna has a nosebleed on the blanket, there seems to be an offering of birds falling out of the sky. Is this coincidence, or is there something more to it?
It’s even more interesting when you consider the last scenes of this episode. Present-day Lottie talks about constructing a bee hive and what happens to the queen. It’s a metaphor for how her “wellness retreat” is set up – of course, Lottie will squash any opposition that will threaten her control. However, she hallucinates blood in the boxes of bees. Lottie was in a mental institution for a bit and can be seen as an unreliable narrator. It’s very well possible that the girls in 1996 are experiencing some mania. For example, Mari complains about hearing a dripping noise nobody else can hear.
For as taut the relationship between young Lottie and Natalie is (mostly over jealousy), it seems to be softening in the present. Present Natalie is still rightfully suspicious of Lottie, but it’s good to see the emotional breakthrough with Lisa during the session. Who knows – maybe Natalie can start to forgive herself for things.
Within all these emotions and revelations, Jeff is questioning his spontaneous nature. Sure, he plays it safe – he works at a department store and doesn’t prefer a particular gag gift. But he plays Papa Roach in the car! There’s something to that fight as the SUV gets carjacked. Jeff is noticeably freaked out, but Shauna is all for the dangerousness of it. While all this takes a macho turn when Jeff confronts Kevyn in the gym, it’s different with Shauna.
If anything, she’s addicted to it. Even more highly unsettling is Shauna's speech to the shop owner at gunpoint. You understand that Adam is not the only person she’s killed. Shauna describes impending detail in such great depth that this dark side feels as if it’s who she is as a person.
Viewers might be looking for more answers, but in Yellowjackets fashion, it gives you more questions. Coming off an action-packed second episode, “Digestif” dials things back to the mysterious elements of the series. The show provides enough character exploration to justify keeping everybody apart – but there has to be some hook to bring them together soon.