There is no easy way to watch and understand an intense drama about a group of people trying to survive a plane crash and subsequently coming to terms with the fact that it might be a while before people come to rescue them or the group itself will have to find a way to sustain itself and look out for help. “Yellowjackets,” created by Ashley Lye and Bart Nickerson, is all about not just surviving but also getting over the tragedy. Many characters take a hit not just after the crash but also years after they are rescued. A deeply traumatic event has a major psychological impact and all the ramifications that come with it, but many just refuse to deal with it. They all grew up and moved on with life, but the fragments of the memory that these characters wanted to suppress came up and forced them to face it. Who are these characters?
Shauna Shipman, a grown adult woman who is also now a mother, became the person that she is only because of what happened after the crash in the year 1996. Shauna Shipman comes across the nerdy girl who is just a sidekick to the popular girl Jackie, but it turns out she is far more in sync with what she wanted, and she gets it. She got early admission into an Ivy League college, and she had dreams of becoming a writer, but destiny had other plans for her. Shauna and Jackie had been inseparable since their school days, and she remained Jackie’s closest confidante. But Shauna ends up being the opposite of what a friend should be when she decides to sleep with Jeff, Jackie’s boyfriend. Jeff also did not stop himself from being attracted to Shauna. Jackie and Shauna end up in the same situation after the crash, and soon the truth starts coming out, which has a deeply profound impact on Shauna. It is during her time in the forest after the crash that Shauna develops skills for culling the animals and draining the blood out of them to make sure the meat is edible.
Shauna goes from being a shy and coy girl to someone confident enough to cull an animal twice her size, which carried on long after she came back to living with civilization. Shauna was the only one who saw things for what they were and stopped being emotional. This is a trait that has become part of her, even in current times when she is dealing with her daughter or people she does not like. Shauna gets pregnant with Jeff’s kid, but initially, she has no clue how to navigate through the news. Taissa comforts her, but her biggest obstacle is Jackie, and she has no idea how to break the news to her. Even when she does, Jackie becomes the epitome of a good friend, but hell breaks loose when Jackie finds out from the journals who the father of Shauna’s child is. Jackie and Shauna have a story that ends in tragedy. Jackie is asked to stay out of the cottage for the night, but unfortunately for all of them, it snows in, and Jackie dies of the cold. There are times later in the show as an adult when Shauna shows regret towards what happened to Jackie, and it was probably the only time she ever got emotional. Shauna was surely impacted by her stay in the forest, which made her weirdly strong enough to withstand killing. She did not think twice before killing Adam and has since shown no regret in killing an innocent man. Her only concern was to get rid of his body. Shauna, though she ended up marrying Jeff and giving birth to their child, has more to her story in the wilderness, and we are hoping season two will cover that.
Taissa Turner showed a knack for leadership from her late teens on, even though it was Jackie who was made the school soccer team captain. Taissa made sure to prove that she meant business, and her tactics led to a fellow team member getting injured. She had to fly with her team for the nationals. The plane crashes, and she is one of the survivors. Taissa is the person who is the most logical in the group and wants to find a solution to their problem, which is surviving until they are rescued. Taissa finds them the lake and the lake house, even though there was a genuine disinterest among the girls to move to a new place because they hoped the rescue team would come. Taissa, though, is sick of finding comfort in the forest and is willing to take the leap and find out if there is any town around the forest that would help them get back home. Though again, many are initially against it, a few of them, including Vanessa her girlfriend, join her in the expedition.
Taissa, as a politician, is the same person who is striving to do something different for her community. But it is not right to say that the stay in the forest did not change her physically and mentally. The stress of leaving the place surely had an impact, and the fact that they had to ration food and control what they ate also had an impact on Taissa’s mind. Initially, she refuses to acknowledge the fact that she is sleepwalking and eating mud. Vanessa also questions her muddy nails, but Taissa has no answer to that. But she must be the toughest one here so she can make sure they get out of this place before winter hits. Taissa, a politician in the year 2021, is running for the position of state senator, and by now, she has a wonderful wife and a child standing by her side. But there is a dark side to her that comes out unknown to her. Taissa is sleepwalking again, which she claims is the result of the stress of her campaign, but what worries her is the fact that her son has seen a monstrous version of herself. Taissa has some major psychological issues that surface during her stay in the forest that she never bothered to deal with.
After coming back to the city, she moved on with her studies and became a lawyer, but something from her past stayed with her and kept resurfacing thanks to the blackmail and the postcards she had been receiving threatening to reveal what exactly happened in the forest. Maybe the fact that she had to hide her actual sexual identity for a while also made her react the way she did. Taissa and Shauna know there were unspeakable things that happened, which they vowed never to share with the outside world, but not sharing them is probably having an effect that Taissa cannot control. Even though she ends up winning the election, she loses her family and has to face the fact that her wife might know more about her psychological issues. Taissa though, became the leader she always wanted to be, but it came with its ramifications, thanks to the plane crash and the stay they went through as a team.
Misty Quigley was the equipment manager of the Yellowjackets football team, but she also knew a lot about emergency first aid and how to play around with chemicals for the betterment of the people with her, which in this case was the soccer team. Misty comes across as someone who studies a lot and is being bullied for the same. The bullying leads to her becoming a person of a weird nature. She has an obsessive nature, as evidenced by the fact that she likes to play around and read up on chemicals.
During the plane crash, she was the one who did not panic and made sure to rush to all the rescuers and help them with their injuries. She made sure the assistant coach’s leg was amputated so that he survived, and soon she started developing a crush on him. Misty later becomes a nurse working with assistance for older people at home. Here she turns out to be a dedicated worker and someone good at manipulating people. Misty also fixes up a tiny camera inside Nat’s room, hoping to find out what her long-lost friend is up to. Misty is the one who was already in the weird space before the crash, but her stay in the forest pushed her to the limits, especially concerning her love for Ben Scott, the assistant coach of the team. She nursed him to health, but he had a hard time keeping her away.
Ben reveals to her that he is gay, which has a harmful impact on her. There is nothing shown of how she will get back at Ben for leading her on, but Ben has not been shown in the plotline regarding the women in the year 2021. Misty has turned out to be the person she always wanted to be: a person who has too much knowledge of the subject she loves, chemistry, and she makes sure to use it for her benefit. Taissa, Nat, and Shauna used her help to make sure to get rid of Adam’s body, and she was more than ready to do so. She also befriends the so-called “reporter” Jessica Roberts and manipulates her into believing that Misty is on her side. Misty is always shown as one of the girls who ended up eating human flesh, but there is surely more to that story than was led on. Misty may be quirky and weird, but she makes sure Nat stays away from the drugs. Misty always wanted the best for the girls in 1996 and that hasn’t changed by 2021. It is just her true nature; it has never changed.
Natalie, or Nat, was one of the only girls in the group who came from an abusive family background. Her father was physically abusive to her and her mother, and she had had enough of it. Natalie was known for being the one girl who would get contraband, and the fact that she had it on hand was no surprise for the girls at the crash site. Nat, though, has a sensitive side that comes out when she must start dealing with Travis on their hunting expeditions. The adult Nat in the year 2021 is a recovering drug abuser, and all of rehab was paid for by Taissa. Nat comes to know of Travis’s suicide. She has been in extreme pain ever since. Travis and Nat have had a long on-and-off relationship, but she knew he was the one for her, and that he would never leave her alone in the world. She feels there is a connection between his death, the blackmailing, and the postcards, and she asks Taissa, Shauna, and Misty to help her find out what exactly is going on. Nat, too, was the one who was deeply affected by the aftermath of the crash. Her life in the wilderness, her closeness to Travis, and the fact that they both fell in love during their stay in the forest have had a deep effect on her mind and body.
Ever since, she has never been able to get over Travis, by the tales conveyed by adult Nat, there is no way Travis ever chose to stay away from her, but with her last stint at rehab, he managed to disappear off the radar, not before Misty tracked him down. Even with a new name, Travis stayed away from Nat, but there is more to know about this love story and the fact that something happened after they were rescued. Nat was the only one in touch with her feelings and emotions after they were rescued; she refuses to push down her memories and not deal with them head-ons like Taissa and Shauna.
Nat comes across as a rule-breaker, but at heart, she is seeking nothing but love and affection, which she barely got from her mother and father. Nat’s skill with guns makes her different from the rest of the group, which also shapes her personality from then on. Travis and Nat had their issues during their stay, but it was the first time Nat ever fell in love, and it was with Travis. Travis loved her back, but there was something that happened after the rescue that made him take a step back from her. Nat’s drug addiction and frequent outbursts are a result of what she went through in the forest and the fact that the only person who knew her inside and out is no more. She wants to track the person who emptied Travis’s account; she is sure he was killed. But somehow, Shauna convinces that Travis has changed, and that he’d decided to finally take his life because there is unfinished love between Nat and Travis and because of the fact that he probably never got over the life he led in the forest post-crash.
Jackie was not only the popular girl in school but also the captain of the football team. She had a reputation to maintain, which she did with a boyfriend like Jeff. Through the image that she projects, Jackie is a scared teenage girl who is trying hard to live up to the standards she is supposed to have because of her popularity. She is also a virgin and has no intention of losing it anytime soon, unlike her other peers from the school. Though she is pressurized to consider losing it to Jeff, Jackie is taking her time to understand what she wants and what Jeff wants. Jackie is an excellent friend to Shauna and makes sure to be that way for as long as they remain alive and friends.
Even during the crash, Jackie tried to rescue her before anyone else. Jackie may have liked the fact that she was more popular than Shauna, but that did not stop her from lending an ear to Shauna when she revealed that she was pregnant. Jackie was the first to be concerned about her well-being and the fact that she would need medical aid. Jackie, though, never retaliated cruelly when she learned of Jeff and Shauna’s affair. She only tries to make sure Shauna reveals the truth about herself by confronting her. Shauna’s bump starts showing up, and even though thug Jackie is mad, she can’t stop being concerned for her best friend. Shauna, in the heat of the argument, has a tense face-off where she ends up revealing plenty of uncomfortable truths about their relationship.
Shauna has been ticked off due to hormones because of the pregnancy, but she tries to make it up to Jackie, but it is too late. The forest got snowed in, and Jackie died in the cold outside. Jackie was the only one who was hopeful about the rescue team coming to help them, and she was the only one who was not spiraling mentally. She was being as tough as possible for the team, but she was acting jealous when Nat and Travis got together. Jackie makes sure to let Shauna know slowly that she knows of her affair with Jeff. She does not want to create a scene until she does when she stops believing in the visions Lottie has, forcing her to confront Shauna and the rest of the gang. The result of this fighting was to make sure to let Jackie be outside for a night, but it turned tragic by sunrise. Jackie probably did not want to die, but fate had other plans for her life.
Travis Martinez was the son of the head coach of the women’s soccer team, and he was a bit older than all the girls. Travis faces tragedy head-on when his father dies in the crash, and he is the witness to his gruesome death. Martin and Javi are siblings who join their father for the nationals in the hope of helping him. But fate had other plans with the plane crash, and they had to help themselves. Travis is finding it difficult to cope with the death, which happened right in front of his eyes, but he also never had a good relationship with his father, so he is conflicted about how he feels about his father’s death. He pushes Javi to get rid of a piece of gum that his father gave him as the last item he shared with his kid.
Martin is forcing his baby brother to move on from the death rather quickly, but he is the one who is having difficulty dealing with the death. He also steals the ring from his father’s dead body, hoping to give it to his brother, so he does not feel left out. Travis, just like Nat, had a troubled childhood, and they gravitate toward each other. It seems that Travis, is showing signs of someone who wants to stay away from Nat, but they end up falling in love. Travis, though, is dealing with his issues, which the viewers will see more of in the second season. But it is easy to conclude that he has had a deeper impact on Nat than any other person in the group.