Now begin the consequences of last week’s midnight snacking on Frozen Jackie. But this episode also poses a new threat to the show: do we have too many disparate storylines going on in the present?
We’re seeing how none of these women are truly tethered as adults. When Jeff and Shauna get carjacked on the way to Colonial Williamsburg (really, Jeff?), Shauna smacks the gun out of their attacker’s hand and turns it on him. Then, when Jeff lets the guy get away with their old rusty clunker of a minivan, Shauna tracks it with an app (serious Breaking Bad vibes here) and storms into the shady junkyard where it’s located.
Adult Tai is starting to get up close and personal with the entity that intermittently possesses her body (shades of “Bob” in Twin Peaks). Instead, it’s starting to feel more and more like something sinister or otherworldly is happening to her. In the past, Van wakes up to Evil Tai yanking free from her sleepy time tether. Instead of fighting her, Van asks if she can tag along. A flat voice decidedly not Tai’s speaks through her and says, “Yes. Come.” They wander through the woods until Tai makes a beeline for a tree with the mysterious symbol carved on it, almost like she knew it was there.
It’s the same symbol that, decades later, Tai draws on Simone after their accident. Tai has no idea what to do with herself in the wake of the crash, but her shadow self knows. In a satisfyingly creepy mirror moment, Evil Tai mouths the words “go to her” to Tai and then raises her hands to her face in a gesture that recalls the masks from the wilderness. Tai flees the hospital, grabbing the keys to her campaign manager’s car.
While Tai may be headed for a reunion with her old flame, Misty interacts with a new friend. As Walter and Misty get to know one another, she simply refuses to believe someone would seek out her company without strings. Her teenage fear of rejection is still fully intact. It’s heartbreaking to see her balk every time Walter extends what seems to be a genuine offer of friendship but, to be fair, this is Yellowjackets, so he might just have an ulterior motive.
Misty and Walter engage in a comedic back-and-forth as they interrogate Randy about any goings on at the motel the night that Natalie disappeared. Because Misty knows Randy, she can’t be seen. Instead, she hides away in the bathroom and feeds savage lines to the willing, if occasionally reluctant, Walter. They extract some useful information from the once-fearsome bully — he reports a purple-clad group of people hanging out around that time and that they bought all the Fanta from the vending machine — but the scene also reminds us that Randy is harboring Jeff’s blackmail secret.
Perhaps the biggest element introduced in this episode, though, are the combined flashbacks and hallucinations of Coach Ben. I really thought this might be the episode where we bade him farewell. As Ben’s Lost-like flashbacks begin, it starts to feel like his number might be up. Instead, his memories lead up to a moment in which Ben imagines not getting on the plane to Nationals and instead heading into Paul’s welcoming arms. Ben ends up surviving this episode, but given how intensely he’s hallucinating and how much backstory we’re getting on him, it certainly feels like he might not be around for much longer.
Also, when do we get to see Adult Van?