The following contains major spoilers for Season 2 of Yellowjackets.
We’ve all got that friend. The one who tries a little too hard, smiles just a little too wide, and jumps at the chance to help you with the tiniest problem, sometimes even before you know you have it. The Misty Quigleys of the world are painstakingly pleasant and prepared. They spend their lives desperately trying to make themselves essential in order to earn the validation they can’t seem to give themselves. Misty doesn’t have any friends when the team’s plane goes down in the Canadian wilderness, but the Yellowjackets equipment manager quickly proves to be one of the most resourceful survivors. Unfortunately her level head and wealth of random survival tips hides a pattern of going to psychotic lengths for approval.
Played by Samantha Hanratty in the 90s timeline and Christina Ricci in the present day, Misty is a wildcard who continues to shock us with the lengths she will go to get what she wants. Both terrifying and relatable, she’s also the show’s best character. Sure, she’s just as likely to save your life as kill you, but when you’re down and out, Misty is the one character in the Yellowjackets world you definitely want in your corner.
Before boarding the plane for nationals, Misty is a social outcast. She spends her evenings fending off harassing phone calls and her days crushing on assistant coach Ben Scott (Steven Krueger). Aside from the harrowing crash, getting stranded in the woods may be the best thing ever to happen to Misty. Her extensive knowledge of edible plants and first aid make her a natural leader among the shocked survivors. She’s finally getting the respect she’s spent her life pursuing and an overheard conversation between two of her teammates tells her their gratitude is genuine. Thrilled to finally be popular, Misty makes a horrifying decision to keep herself in the spotlight. Having found the plane’s tracker in the woods, she removes the wiring, an act of sabotage that dooms her new friends to months lost in the wilderness and essentially kills those who will not survive the stay.
Misty wins the admiration of her teammates when she saves Ben’s life by severing his mangled leg at the knee. The future nurse follows this crude surgery by smothering her crush with attention, tending to his wound and patiently nursing him back to health. When Ben grows stronger, Misty takes drastic measures to keep him dependent on her care. She causes a dangerous fall then poisons Ben’s food when he rejects her romantic advances. Planning to poison him a second time, she inadvertently spikes the food of the entire group and unleashes a dangerous psychedelic trip that becomes the team’s first step towards cannibalism. Ben doesn’t fare much better in season two. Depressed and starving, he plans to throw himself off a cliff to escape the torturous dreams about the life he could have had if he hadn’t boarded the plane. Ironically it’s Misty who saves his life. In a stunning moment of honesty, she drops the brave facade and reveals how scared she is to be in a leadership role. Ben walks away from the ledge to keep Misty from having another death on her hands.
Season 2 finally gives Misty a true friend. She bonds with fellow outcast Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) who annoys the rest of the team by constantly singing showtunes. The shy girl offers to be Misty’s vocal coach and the new friends quickly become inseparable. Crystal may be the first person to ever show Misty kindness she hasn’t had to earn by being useful or unobtrusive. When sharing secrets, Crystal confesses to absorbing her twin in the womb and that her real name is Kristen. It seems “Crystal the Pistol’ was so enamored with her first nickname that she’s been reluctant to correct her teammates for fear of losing this newfound popularity. Unfortunately Misty makes a grave error with a confession of her own. She tells Crystal about destroying the plane’s tracker and admits that she’s the real reason they’re still stuck in the woods. She’s shocked when Crystal responds with horror and outrage and learns a hard lesson about who to trust with her psychotic secrets. Misty “accidentally” causes her only friend to fall off a cliff to her death, the secret of her sabotage once again safe.
Misty takes a similar approach to a mysterious journalist attempting to blackmail the now adult Yellowjackets. In the present day timeline, she drugs Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma) and holds her prisoner, using her nursing skills to coax out a confession. After threatening to murder Jessica’s father with fentanyl-laced chocolates, Misty learns that she is simply a fixer for the political campaign of a fellow Yellowjacket doing opposition research on the remaining survivors. Jessica preys on Misty’s desire for approval and promises to get her an exclusive book deal to tell her story. But it seems all these years of manipulating others have given Misty the unparalleled ability to sniff out a lie. Jessica drives away, believing herself to be free, but succumbs to whatever poison Misty has injected into her cigarettes.
As if the Yellowjackets weren’t in enough trouble with the onset of winter, the impending arrival of a baby adds a massive complication to their survival strategy. The team decides to throw a bare bones baby shower for Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), hoping to pass the time and relieve the stress of the looming delivery. With Crystal as her coach, Misty prepares a gift for the ages: a dramatic performance of the graveside monologue from Steel Magnolias. Though slightly cringe at first, Misty channels Sally Field’s iconic attempt to reckon with the grief of losing a child and inadvertently opens up a channel for the other girls to confront their own emotional pain. The monologue concludes with Misty proclaiming that she wants to hit someone to alleviate her misery, eerily foreshadowing the beating Lottie (Courtney Eaton) will later invite from Shauna. Despite this ominous conclusion, the monologue turns out to be a moment of unexpected unity and exactly what the girls need to hear.
Misty may have taken the babysitter’s certification course twice, but she’s never delivered a baby. With Shauna’s impending arrival, she leans on her memory of a birthing documentary from health class and prepares to care for mother and child. Unfortunately Shauna goes into labor shortly after Crystal falls to her death and Misty spends hours staring into the snow, too depressed to help. She’s eventually able to put aside her own grief to focus on Shauna and guides the young mother through the most terrifying moments of her life. The baby boy does not survive, but given the cabin’s primitive equipment, Shauna could very well have died as well. She survives due to Misty’s determination and medical know-how. Taking the lead on Shauna’s delivery is not only the bravest thing she’s ever done, but a sure sign of Misty’s character. She may be a dangerous psychopath, but if she cares about you, she will do anything to save your life.
Misty proves to be equally helpful in the present day timeline. Though her methods are unorthodox (and occasionally criminal), she vows to protect her friend and fellow Yellowjacket Natalie (Juliette Lewis). Misty uses her sleuthing skills to track down the love of Natalie’s life and tries to shield her from the sight of his dead body. Fearing that Natalie will relapse on drugs, Misty hides a camera in her friend’s hotel room. When Natalie does indeed buy cocaine, Misty bursts through the door and snorts the entire pile (for the first time!) to save Natalie and her sobriety. Texting another ex-boyfriend disguised as Natalie and sabotaging her car so that they have to ride together are less pleasant manipulations, but Misty tells herself that she does it all for Natalie’s own good. She may have issues with boundaries, but there’s no doubting Misty’s dedication to the well-being of whomever she decides to take under her wing.
The penultimate episode of season 1 reveals Shauna (Melanie Lynskey)’s husband to be the person blackmailing the Yellowjackets. Unfortunately she doesn’t learn the truth until she’s already killed her lover Adam Martin (Peter Gadiot), whom she suspected of the crime. With a dead body on her hands, the adult Yellowjackets turn to the one person they know will help them without judgment. A prominent member of an internet sleuthing community, Misty happens to have extensive knowledge of body disposal techniques. She guides her friends in dismembering Adam’s body and cremating the identifiable appendages along with the remains of her cranky patient from the nursing home. Misty later throws a small party to guide Shauna in ways to avoid police suspicion, writing helpful hints like “I want my lawyer” in frosting on a giant cookie. Once again, Misty comes to the rescue armed with essential wisdom and tasty treats.
Season 2 introduces the adult versions of Lottie (Simone Kessell) and Van (Lauren Ambrose), slowly building up to the exciting moment when all six women reunite at Lottie’s self-help retreat center. While drinking and reminiscing, Misty brings up a minor incident from their time in the cabin. She’s quickly chastised and reminded that none of them want to talk about that. However, moments later someone else starts to share about those months in the wilderness and they all begin to open up. Misty ignores the slight, but it’s a microcosm of how she’s been treated for most of her life. Because of her overbearing personality–and yes, occasional psychopathy–Misty’s bright ideas are often ignored or scorned until someone with more social clout brings them up. She is an essential member of the group, a selfless protector, and a never-ending source of helpful information, but she’s continually mocked for trying too hard. Misty may have committed more than her share of questionable and even murderous acts, but it’s not hyperbole to say that many of the surviving Yellowjackets would be dead if not for her friendship. And viewers are better off for her presence as well. We love to watch this fascinating character and really, couldn’t we all benefit from someone like Misty in our corner?