Yellowjackets Secret Bonus Episode Explained

The mysterious bonus episode of Yellowjackets is the fandom's worst-kept secret. Here's everything we know so far about its existence.

Teen Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) stands in the cabin in Yellowjackets season 2
Photo: Kailey Schwerman | SHOWTIME

Due to WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike-related delays, Yellowjackets fans will have to wait until 2025 at the earliest for the show’s third season. But that doesn’t mean that fans will be spending the next year without any new episodes whatsoever. You read that right. In the interim, at a yet-to-be-determined date, Yellowjackets has a not-so-secret bonus episode just waiting to be released.

The Yellowjackets bonus episode has been a topic of immense speculation for fans of the show, even before season 2 premiered. Around mid-March of 2023, series co-creator Ashley Lyle tweeted that season 2 would have nine “main” episodes rather than 10 like season 1 did, specifically putting “main” in quotation marks. This, of course, led fans to ask why she would phrase it like this. To which Lyle replied “never say never to bonus eps” followed by the winking kissy-face emoji.

Fans first thought that this bonus installment might be a holiday or Christmas episode that would air later that year, or even a musical episode (these young women are slowly losing their minds in the wilderness, anything could happen). But as season 2 came and went without new information on the bonus episode, it began to feel like its existence was just a fever dream.

However, interest was renewed during the WGA strike when Lyle officially confirmed the existence of the bonus episode, and that it would come between seasons 2 and 3. Since then, the prevailing theory is that this episode will be a flashback to the original owner of the cabin that the crash survivors have sought refuge in since season 1, or as they affectionately call him, “Cabin Daddy.” The story of “Cabin Daddy,” a.k.a the dead body the girls found in the attic surrounded by weird symbols, has been an intriguing mystery in the series since season 1. A lot of fans have been eager to learn what happened to him, why he was in the wilderness in the first place, and if he was haunted by the same sinister forces that they are.

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There’s no official evidence yet to support this theory, but it seems the most likely. And we potentially already know who plays him. In late 2022, it was announced that Jason Ritter (the husband of series star Melanie Lynskey) would be joining season 2 as a guest star in an undisclosed role. But despite the actor’s connection to one of the show’s leading ladies, Ritter was nowhere to be found in any of season 2’s nine episodes. 

Now of course this doesn’t automatically mean that Ritter is playing “Cabin Daddy” or is involved in the bonus episode at all, but his absence from season 2 feels bigger than just having his one scene cut. It seems doubtful that they would bring on the spouse of a lead actor, or anyone of Ritter’s caliber, for more than a cameo if there was even a chance it wouldn’t make it in any of the episodes.

Regardless of what this bonus episode is about, it’s proven to be a fun mystery for Yellowjackets fans to try and solve outside of the show itself. While we still don’t quite have a release date or much knowledge on what exactly this episode will entail, Ritter’s potential involvement supports the theory that this episode was filmed at the same time as season 2, and therefore not delayed by the strikes. Between that and Ashley Lyle’s promise of the episode coming between seasons, there’s a very good chance that it will come at some point this year.