‘Yellowjackets’ Season 2 Episode 2 was Tawny Cypress’ least popular
Yellow jackets went from zero to 100,000 very quickly this week, with a much more shocking, compelling (erm) episode than the season premiere. With all the darkness descending on our favorite former soccer players in Episode 2, it’s no wonder star Tawny Cypress (Adult Taissa) can hardly bear to talk about it.
“This is my least favorite episode,” Cypress said in a phone interview with The Daily Beast’s Obsessed ahead of Sunday’s premiere. But that’s not because of what happens in those terrifying final moments, which understandably might put off anyone with a sensitive stomach. What Cypress struggled most was her own character’s increasingly disturbing storyline.
(Warning: spoilers for Yellow jackets Season 2, Episode 2 to follow.)
In Episode 2, adult Taissa finds herself on the brink of a serious breakdown while continuing to grapple with her troubling power outages. (In the past, she’s woken up in a tree, chewed on her own hand, and chased after an imaginary wolf.) Determined not to fall asleep, she drinks coffee like it’s a part-time job. The hope is that by staying awake, Tai can refrain from things like murdering her new dog and adding his head to her spooky basement altar.
If she can fix her dangerous sleepwalking, perhaps Tai can be reunited with her wife Simone (Rukiya Bernard) and son Sammy (Aiden Stoxx). In fact, in Episode 2, it seems Sammy has made peace with his mother and is stopping by for a surprise visit after school. As happy as she is to see her son, Taissa knows he shouldn’t be alone with her right now, so she calls Simone to pick Sammy up.
But when Simone comes by, Sammy is nowhere to be found. The women get in the car to find the son, who they assume has now run away. Simone steams in the passenger seat while a dazed Taissa drives. But it turns out that Sammy didn’t visit Taissa in the first place: Simone gets a call asking her to pick Sammy up from school.
Taissa then descends into her darkest place as Simone demands that her wife start reckoning with her total detachment from reality. But their conversation is cut short when a dissociating Taissa eventually gets the couple in a horrific car accident.
This was an emotionally difficult scene for Cypress, she says, especially given her off-screen friendship with Bernard.
“I hate what that other Taissa did to our Tai, you know? I know there’s a reason for this, but the whole thing with [Simone]- that wasn’t cool. not cool. I am in love [Bernard] so much. … In the first season we spent so much time together that we became very close, so it was harder than doing anything to hurt her or her character [killing the dog in Season 1] For me.”
However, portraying Taissa as two different people—one a haunted survivor, the other a ruthless politician—helps Cypress gain a little more emotional distance in these scenes.
“I try to definitely differentiate between the two,” she says. “Our Taissa” — as in the adult version of caring, selfless teenager Tai (Jasmin Savoy Brown) in the 1990s timeline — “dissolves into a shadow of itself, while the other Taissa has no moral compass at all. It is really only her that needs to be done, without any consequences whatsoever. She has all the power.”
Other words Cypress uses for the “other Taissa” are “narcissistic” and “manipulative,” someone desperate to achieve the kind of success that gives her power and privilege over everyone else. “Taissa really needs her image to look perfect,” she says. “It’s how she fights what happened to her when she was young, you know? … [Everything she does] is all from a very selfish place no matter who or what she thinks she loves. If I were friends with Taissa, I’d say, ‘This family of yours, they’re just props, aren’t they?’”
The dominant Taissa’s decision to divide her pain in favor of her professional pursuits (and by the end of Season 1, her family) was clearly unsuccessful. It’s also likely why her sleepwalking side ran amok so dangerously last season, leaving her in a broken, almost catatonic state. It’s also what leads directly to this car accident, says Cypress – which will send Taissa on her journey to reconcile her two halves.
“I find [the car crash] is the real beginning of the end for them,” she says. “That’s when she begins a journey of trying to get rid of that other Taissa and surrendering herself to other humans to take control and teach her how to get rid of that other Taissa.”
Hopefully Tai will make a stop along the way to pick Sammy up from school – even if she has to get a new car first.
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