Despite its plane crash plot and supernatural overtones reminiscent of Lost, the show Yellowjackets owes a lot to is NBC’s This Is Us. Like the Pearson clan, the Yellowjackets’ past is an undiscovered country, playing on the audiences’ assumptions to hide twists in plain sight. But fans got several clues in Episode 6 that suggest at least one significant premise viewers hold is incorrect. So, did Jackie survive the wilderness on Yellowjackets? Let’s consider Shauna’s trip to visit her parents.
Warning: Spoilers for Yellowjackets Season 1, Episode 6 follow. To paraphrase A Christmas Carol, Jackie was dead to begin with; there is no doubt about that. Her Yellowjackets uniform was given to Shauna by Jackie’s parents on the occasion of her 40th birthday; her room sits as a shrine to the daughter who is no longer with them. But since the show’s premiere, audiences have assumed Jackie lost her life as a teen in the wilderness. The mysterious girl running through the woods who becomes dinner for the starving high schoolers was wearing the same necklace Jackie sports in the premiere. Years later, Shauna is married to Jeff, Jackie’s high school boyfriend. The obvious inference: Two went in; one came out.
But the girl who was running through the woods looked nothing like Jackie. And Jackie has a habit of handing out that necklace for good luck, as viewers saw in the pilot episode. And now, there’s a substantial clue that indicates Jackie survived her time in the wilderness: her diary.
In Episode 6, “Spirits,” Jeff and Shauna paid their yearly visit to Jackie’s parents. It’s a ritual of self-abnegation in which Jackie’s mother is allowed to passive-aggressively hate on Shauna for the life she thinks Jackie should have had. But when Shauna popped up to the shrine that was Jackie’s bedroom, still sitting untouched all these years later, she picked up Jackie’s pink diary. She looked at the entries detailing Jackie’s top 10 tunes, top 10 movies, must-see movies, and movie characters she would be.
And therein lies the clue. You see, the wilderness storyline is set in the spring of 1996, weeks before graduation — end of May, beginning of June. But the first song on Jackie’s list of songs was “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. If you look up “Wannabe,” you will see it was first released in July 1996 — and that was only in the U.K. It wasn’t released in the States until January 1997. With the internet still in its infancy in 1996, U.K. pop tunes like “Wannabe” didn’t cross into a New Jersey high schooler’s ears until they were released in America. In short, Jackie’s top song — the one the series put at the top of the list so viewers would have time to read it in the few seconds before Shauna turned the page — is one she would not have heard until after getting rescued.
Now, this could be an error in research. But if it is, it’s not the only one.
- On the list of must-see movies is Kingpin — release date: July 1996.
- On the list of top 10 movies is Matilda (August 1996), The English Patient (November 1996), and Scream (December 1996).
- The movie character Jackie wants to be: Rose from Titanic (December 1997).
Even if one fudges the team’s trip to nationals to be late enough in 1996 to excuse everything else on this list, there is no way around Titanic — *everyone* knows it came out in 1997. If the girls’ plane went down in June 1996, it would have been the movie playing in theaters when they were finally rescued 19 months later.
So, if Jackie’s diary is to be believed, she made it home. But what happened after that, be it untimely passing or taking her own life, remains a mystery.
Yellowjackets Season 1 is airing in weekly release on Showtime on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET. Season 2 is already greenlit.