Yellowjackets editor Jeff Israel answers your burning questions, including how that medieval feast came together and what happened to Steve the dog. *Spoilers Ahead*
If there’s one show that leaves you with a lot of questions, it’s Showtime’s Yellowjackets. But one person who holds the secrets is Jeff Israel, the editor behind some of the buzziest episodes of the season, including Episode 2 “Edible Complex,” Episode 6 “Qui,” and the Season 2 finale.
I had a great chat with him about his editorial choices, where he confirms (and denies!) some of the darkest fan theories and speculation.
How Did Production Land on Radiohead’s ‘Climbing Up The Walls’ for Jackie’s Feast?
Israel and the Yellowjackets editors are very clued-in to the music for the show (in fact, Israel has a Spotify playlist for seasons 3 and 4!).
“Just about every song we use is for purpose, not just to drive the scene. There’s always an underlying meaning. With the end [of the episode], we tried lots of things. I thought, ‘This Radiohead works pretty well.’ Often, I go and look up the meaning of the song, and ‘Climbing Up The Walls’ is about when Thom Yorke was working in London at a mental hospital and the screams and the chaos. And I thought, ‘This builds pretty nicely because it gets to the screaming at the end.’ I put it in, and I cut to that song because it tells me how fast it should get; it escalates and gets faster and faster—and that’s the way it was written. When I look for a song, I try to find something that matches that. Then, we kicked it back to Nora [Felder] (music supervisor) and asked, “Can you beat this?” What’s so great about ’90s songs is sometimes you hear one you forgot about. Thom Yorke’s lyrics don’t overshadow the moment; it’s just there underneath driving it forward.”
Was There Network Pushback with Episode 2’s Ending?
Surprisingly, Showtime wanted more!
“We’re always very careful not to sensationalize or make it trauma porn, so we started out with our most compact version of that scene, and then the network was like, you can add a little more! So we added a few more shots in. We kept adding! I ended up using just about everything we had.” Except for one particular scene (see below!).
Is There Footage of Teen Tai (Jasmine Savoy) Eating Jackie’s Face?
“I believe we removed biting the face at some point. I think it was a little much.”
What is the VHS-type Static that Appears when Cutting to Coach Ben’s and Other Characters’ Dreams?
Israel calls them “glitch rolls,” something his assistant editor Genevieve Butler came up with.
“It started in Episode 2 when Adult Lottie is confronting Adult Travis about how he needs to do something because the darkness is speaking to him. At that moment, we thought this could be a good time [to add them in]. It wasn’t scripted, but we could show some of Lottie’s trauma from the past. We show her getting electroshock and cutting her hand, which doesn’t happen until a later episode. So there are a few flash-forwards in there that not everyone has picked up on. There’s even a flash-forward in Episode 2 for Episode 8 that no one commented on. The glitch rolls are supposed to show repressed trauma. I personally don’t think all of [the characters] remember all the details. You wouldn’t naturally.”
Is that Jackie’s Voice Calling Shauna in Episode 6?
The darkness isn’t messing with your head: That WAS Jackie’s (Ella Purnell) voice you hear after Shauna gives birth in Episode 6.
“Jackie says, ‘Shauna? Shauna?’ And it’s like she’s calling her to the other side. That wasn’t scripted. My assistant suggested that! We were working on the sound design and transitioning from this scene to the next, and she said, ‘We could put Jackie’s voice in there!’ They do have this connection, and it fits very well. On Yellowjackets, we’re very collaborative, and they’re up for all ideas.”
Last But Not Least, What Happened to Steve the Dog?
Episode 2 might be the last-known sighting of Tai’s (Tawny Cypress) new canine companion.
“Steve is not dead. I don’t think we could get away with killing two dogs. Steve’s fine!”
Yellowjackets is streaming on the Showtime app.