Samantha Hanratty and the showrunners talks to ET about the big Misty episode and what it means for her moving forward.
Warning: Spoilers for Yellowjackets season 2, episode five, "Two Truths and a Lie," directed by Ben Semanoff and written by Katherine Kearns & Sarah L. Thompson.
When it comes to describing young Misty Quigley, the overly zealous equipment manager on the high school soccer team, Samantha Hanratty says that "a lot of her stuff is extra." The 27-year-old breakout star adds, "She can be a very heightened human." And what goes down at the halfway point of Yellowjackets season 2 is an example of just that, with Hanratty revealing she was "quite giddy" when she read the script for "Two Truths and a Lie," aware of where things were headed for Misty since the beginning of the season.
During episode five, things are starting to get even more desperate for the young survivors in the past timeline. While the girls fight over what to do with Javi (Luciano Leroux), who was miraculously found at the end of the last episode and has since refused to open up about what happened to him, and Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) becomes more distraught over the impending birth of her baby, Misty finds herself caught up in a whole new problem after revealing a long-held secret about the plane crash.
After Misty and her new bestie, Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman), are forced to empty the bathroom buckets, the two start confiding in each other about various secrets from their past. What starts off innocent enough soon turns serious when Misty confesses that she destroyed the plane's emergency transmitter -- the very thing that could have led to their rescue immediately following their horrific crash.
Upset by this revelation, Crystal blames Misty for them still being stranded in the wilderness. In response, Misty threatens to kill her if she ever told the rest of the team. And during their intense confrontation, Crystal slips backward off the cliff where they've been emptying the buckets. Although Misty attempts to revive Crystal, she's dead -- and when she returns to the cabin alone, she says that their teammate has gone missing in the snowstorm.
Reflecting on those final, "vulnerable" moments between Misty and Crystal, Hanratty says, "There's a certain moment of just this betrayal." To Misty, destroying the transmitter is what led to the two of them becoming best friends. "I think Misty's kind of thinking in that moment, 'I made this happen. Like, I am the reason, you know?'" the actress says of the character not thinking there would be any negative consequences to sharing her secret out loud.
But almost immediately Crystal turns on her best friend, even shoving everything else Misty has done back on her, which in turn, enrages Misty. "Why she's so taken aback by Crystal's reaction is because it wasn't really something that she was nervous about saying. I don't think she ever saw it coming to this point," Hanratty explains.
"Every time she said that my heart dropped. Like, I felt like I was getting yelled at by a friend," she continues, adding, "I'm not a Method actor but, like, just that feeling, it felt icky and I hated it."
So, Misty immediately goes into fight-or-flight mode. And it's not long before she's "grasping at all these straws," the actress says, explaining that "I really don't think she intentionally meant to do what she does." Misty may have eventually done something terrible to Crystal later, like "tie her up," but she was not about to push her off the cliff.
While it's easy to blame Misty for Crystal's death, co-creator Ashley Lyle says they "talked about this a lot in the writers' room." And in the final shot, "if you watch carefully, she doesn't touch her," she adds.
But co-creator Bart Nickerson points out that Misty "threatened her, which is assault," while showrunner Jonathan Lisco adds that the young soccer player is "certainly negligent in some way" even if "her intention is not to kill her." And that's why all three creatives stop short of calling the incident a murder. "It doesn't surmise to that level," Lisco explains.
Hanratty, however, adds that although Misty views the whole thing as an accident, that's also an issue. "I think that's part of what makes Misty so dangerous. She doesn't really take responsibility for the things she does. Like, the same thing with the mushrooms… She doesn't own up to things, which makes her so scary."
"There doesn't seem to be any limits to what she may or may not do in terms of protecting her secrets or her status. She has very little to no boundaries," Hanratty continues. "She doesn't think about consequences... She's very impulsive in the moment and that's what makes her so dangerous."
What this all means for Misty moving forward remains to be seen. But some of those repercussions are already playing out in the present timeline, with the adult version of Misty (played by Christina Ricci) struggling to maintain her relationships with the other adult survivors and even her newfound friend, Walter (Elijah Wood).
"Misty is a person who is sort of defined by her intense desire to be seen, to be loved, to be appreciated. And you know, the first time that happens is with Crystal and it goes terribly wrong because she makes a single miscalculation of trust," Lyle says, with Hanratty adding that what happened in that moment in the past "will forever affect Misty."
So much so, that "we can see that directly in her burgeoning relationship with Walter," Lyle says. And in the same episode, audiences see the cracks in the dynamic between the two adults after the two disagree and Walter insinuates she is capable of murder.
"It's so interesting, the parallels between young Misty and adult Misty with these new friendships. We've got these new relationships with Walter and with Crystal/Kristen," Hanratty says.
Co-creator Bart Nickerson, meanwhile, adds that Misty is living many people's worst fear. "That if you saw the real me, you would reject me," he explains. "And so now, she has unassailable proof of that fact that she would be rejected. So, when someone does see her, it starts a countdown in her mind until rejection."
And considering that the revelation about the transmitter led to this major rejection from someone who Misty loved so much, don't expect her to ever share that intel again. "I don't see her ever sharing that again. I do not see that ever being something that she is open with again," Hanratty says.
Even more frightening is how slippery the slope seems to be for Misty, who was first seen in the series' pilot preparing to feast on human flesh of an unidentified girl who had fallen into a pit. If people think this episode was chilling, the worst of Misty is still yet to come. "To her, it's kill or be killed," Hanratty says of the character's future. "Just so you know, we'll see a certain battle this season and Misty is... You know, she's Misty," Hanratty teases with a laugh.
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.
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