Warning: Spoilers for “Yellowjackets” season 2. Do not read if you have not watched episode one, “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” written by creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer. The creators, showrunner Jonathan Lisco, actor Sophie Nélisse and others break down the season 2 premiere while speaking with ET’s Deidre Behar. 


After a surprise-filled season 1 finale, “Yellowjackets” is finally back with new episodes — and the season 2 premiere did not disappoint, delivering one shocking moment after another. And the biggest one was the return of Ella Purnell as Jackie Taylor, the captain of the soccer team who initially survived the plane crash before freezing to death in the wilderness at the end of season 1.

While the series did not resurrect Jackie, she was fully alive as part of the visions Shauna Shipman (Sophie Nélisse) was having of her late best friend while sitting with her dead body in the meat shed. In the weeks that followed Jackie’s death after Shauna forced her out of the cabin where the remaining teenage survivors had taken refuge, she started spending hours talking to a version of Jackie, who berated her for various indiscretions in her past.

At the end of season 1, both the creators told ET that Jackie’s fate was planned all along, with Ashley Lyle explaining that so much of those episodes were “built around Shauna and Jackie’s friendship and the solution of that.” She added that “oftentimes female friendship, you know, it ebbs and flows, particularly at that age. It can be really volatile, their fights and then their makeups. And we fell in love with the idea that this is a situation that back in the real world would have probably resolved itself.”

But given that the two were stranded in the wilderness with no real signs of rescue, their relationship deteriorated. “And in terms of something that could weigh on Shauna and really change her moving forward, to have Jackie’s death be something that could arguably be her fault or not be her fault — it’s really sort of a mutually assured situation because of their stubbornness and their pride and their refusal to just cross that line and make amends — just felt really heartbreaking to us,” Lyle said.

And according to Jonathan Lisco, Purnell’s return as Jackie was something that just made sense for them. “We did have time at the end of season 1, in the writers’ room, to really think about bringing Jackie’s character [back] because it made such a meaningful difference for like where we would see Shauna at the top of season 2,” he explains now.

“So, it was really, in some ways, about Shauna,” Lisco continues, before noting that even though “Ella Purnell was amazing,” bringing Jackie back was a way “to say this is where Shauna is psychologically at the beginning of season 2. And so, I felt like this was a great device through which to do that.”

Adding to that, Lyle explains that “Ella knew that she had a one-season series regular role. As part of that deal, we had options to bring her back for a few episodes cause we wanted to. And we had this in mind.”

While the scenes were disturbing to watch, for Nélisse it was an opportunity to work with her friend again. “It was such a treat,” she says. “I mean, Ella was one of my closest friends in the first season. And it was really devastating losing her. She just really left such a hole and such a blank space in our group when she wasn’t there.”

She adds, “So, it was nice to have her for a little snippet. But I knew she was going to go away again, so I really cherished every moment we had together.”

As for Purnell, the actress first told ET that she kept “trying to convince the writers” to bring her back in some form. “Like, I’m trying to come up with all these different reasons why they should write me in the next season,” she said at the time, even joking she could come back as a ghost.

When asked about getting to return, Purnell says, “It feels great.” Though, this time around, they filmed on a set versus being on location like last season. “They rebuilt the cabin on a stage and so it was a blast from the past,” she reveals.

Of course, since her return was as a dead person, it was admittedly awkward at times. “It’s weird seeing your dead self right in front of you and everyone’s taking selfies and messing around. It’s like, ‘Please have some respect for Dead Jackie,'” she says.

While the interactions between Shauna and Jackie were “really creepy” to Purnell, it’s nothing compared to the shocking moment at the end of the episode when Shauna eats her dead friend’s ear. And with that, the characters are officially dabbling in cannibalism, a scenario promised since the beginning of the series.

Although season 1 ended without them eating anyone, the creators said that was by design, with season 2 seeing them raising the stakes as the characters eventually go down that road. “Season 1 was always meant to be spring, summer, fall with a sort of ‘winter is coming’ feel to it. And then season 2, winter hits and it’s sort of the apex of everything that we’ve seen building toward,” Lyle explained at the time.

“I would love to reassure all our viewers that we’re not going to drag out cannibalism for five seasons. It is very much coming, but we want to make sure we get there the right way,” she continued.

Even Purnell previously suggested that Jackie may be the first to be eaten. “It’s going to happen at some point,” she said, before teasing, “Let me put it this way: it’s going to be a long, cold winter.” And now that Shauna has taken a bite of her ear, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the body goes.

Yellowjackets” season 2 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime, with episodes also available to stream early, starting Fridays on the Showtime app.

Reporting by Deidre Behar and Stacy Lambe


‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2: The Biggest Questions and Answers (So Far)

‘Yellowjackets’ Star Ella Purnell on Jackie’s Fate in the Season 1 Finale (Exclusive)

‘Yellowjackets’ Creators Talk Season 1 Finale and What’s in Store for Season 2 (Exclusive)

‘Yellowjackets’: From New Characters to Plot, Everything to Know About Season 2