'Yellowjackets' Season 2: Kevin Alves on Travis Losing Javi and Filming That Heart Scene (Exclusive)

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Warning: Spoilers for the Yellowjackets season 2 finale, "Storytelling," directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Ameni Rozsa and created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson

There was no shortage of shocks and surprises in the season 2 finale of Yellowjackets. On the hit Showtime drama about the remaining members of a high school soccer team struggling to survive in the wilderness after their plane crashed, the body count in the past timeline continues to pile up as the teenagers turn to in-fighting and cannibalism.

Among them is Travis (Kevin Alves), whose father was the coach of the team and initially survived the crash along with his younger brother, Javi (Luciano Leroux). But after season 1's "Doomcoming," Javi ran away for fear of his life, while Travis found himself increasingly immersed in the drama of the girls, including losing his virginity to Jackie (Ella Purnell) and growing closer to Natalie (Sophie Thatcher). 

In season 2, with Travis desperate to find Javi, things with Natalie only got more complicated. And even after the group finds his younger brother, the siblings' reunion is short-lived thanks to a new ritual that sees the girls drawing cards to find out who will be sacrificed. When it turns out Natalie has drawn the Queen of Hearts, the two brothers protect her from being hunted down before Javi falls through the ice and freezes to death in the lake. 

As a result, Javi becomes the next survivor after Jackie to be eaten by the group, with a grief-stricken Travis taking the first bite of his brother's heart. "It's quite a finale, isn't it?" the actor says of the emotional and intense episode. 

Yellowjackets Season 2

While speaking to ET, Alves reflects on Travis' journey through season 2, having to eat his own brother and how these actions may have influenced the adult version of his character, who died in an accident when he turned to Lottie (Simone Kessell) for help. The actor also talks about the finale's other shocking death in the present timeline and how that ties back to the past. 

ET: What was your reaction when you read the script for the finale and realized everything that was going to happen?

Kevin Alves: I had to take a break. After reading about Travis eating his brother, I took, like, a solid 10-minute break because I just couldn't believe that that's what happened. It was just really tough for me. And it's kind of one of those things where I understood it from a story perspective, but just the idea of doing it was gonna be so difficult from an actor's perspective because of how much I care about Luciano and how much I care about this character.

You know, at the end of the day, when you live with a character for two years you become kind of close to them in some ways. So, I think that Travis to, one, be put in this position, and two, actually convince himself in this twisted way to go through with it was pretty much heartbreaking 

For sure. I mean, up until this point, it seems like season 2 has been quite a rollercoaster for Travis. I was curious to get your take on what he's been through leading up to the finale. 

Travis opens up the season dealing with so much guilt with Jackie, with Javi disappearing and just with the situation he's in with his dad from season 1. So, it was very interesting to see him battle -- in those first few episodes -- with this idea of faith versus love and the whole Lottie [Courtney Eaton] storyline. I thought that was really intriguing to dive into and really talk to yourself about what you would question in terms of your beliefs the minute you're put in these life altering circumstances.

And so his situation was super complex because he started mixing his feelings between who he actually loves and someone who he's holding onto as a form of hope. So, that was a really complex story that Travis was dealing with. And then on top of that, the shock of having his brother come back at the exact time that he's really starting to buy into these rituals and things can really complicate your psyche. Because, now all of a sudden, you're like, "By me believing in this, is this why my brother's here?" And so, I definitely played into the idea that Travis is maybe only holding on to this ritualistic stuff simply because it brought his brother back, and not that he wholeheartedly believes in it.

But even from episode two, we hear him say to Natalie, "This is about hope. [Lottie] just gives me hope." And so, I've definitely kept that in mind while playing the character throughout the season. And now, to be dealing with this life or death situation with Natalie, he's in this massive final climactic battle between his fight of faith and love where he has to decide which one is more important.

In that moment, he stuck to his faith and he was believing in the process, believing the card drawing. And so, for him to step in it shows his true colors that he only believes in it if it helps him feel better. But the minute it will affect someone that he actually truly loves, he's gonna step in and do something about it, 100 percent.

Given that Travis tried to stop the girls from killing Natalie and then Javi wound up dying while trying to help her, does Travis blame himself at all for Javi's death? Does he have any guilt over that? 

Oh yeah, absolutely. I think there's no question that the reason we see this conflicted Travis in the finale is not only because his brother died, but also he feels completely at fault for his death. His death is a direct reaction to his choice to save Natalie. There's no denying that.

But now, he's stuck in a new position, now that this has happened, "Was I supposed to believe in faith all along? Was I supposed to have faith in the wilderness? Was this the right decision?" Because, now, he has to face the consequences of his decision. 

Yellowjackets Season 2

Then, in the finale, after Javi dies, Travis takes the first bite, which I took as him giving the OK to the rest of the girls to eat his body. What's going through Travis' mind at that point?

Yeah, I think it's just the worst situation… You know, there's the conversation that he has with Van, and the original cut of that was actually a little bit longer. In the episode, we're seeing the tail end of their conversation now. But in that moment, he's being told straight to his face by everyone, "Do you want to die in honor of your brother or do you wanna survive?" That's the decision he's facing with his brother's death. Like, "Is it just gonna be for nothing?"

Because they are starving and there is a chance they're never gonna get outta there. And so, his decision in that case is in many ways him trying to be a little bit closer to his brother. He wants to be a little bit closer to him now cause he feels like it should have been him.

What was it like shooting that scene, and eating that fake heart? 

This was another level for me. It wasn't even just that one scene. That entire week where I find out that he dies and then I'm protecting his body. People will see in that scene where they come over with the knife and he's laying there, Travis instinctively knows that if he chooses to stand his ground, those girls are going to kill him. Like, he knows no one's keeping them from Javi's body.

All those scenes were so heavy. And the scene that we actually had to shoot of him eating the heart, so the heart was made of gelatin, which was super different from the jackfruit [used for Jackie's body]. It had a squish to it that was kind of disgusting in so many ways. Shooting that scene and the decision again, everything always gets a little shorter in cuts, but there were just so many beats of this conflicted human deciding what to do. I think when he gets up from his chair, he doesn't know if he's gonna do it or if he's gonna tell them all to go to you know where. I don't know if he knows in that moment. And so, he walks over and his decision to lay the little wolf on the mantle is in honor of his brother. You know, if you hear very carefully, during every take, I'm saying I'm sorry to him under my breath.

It was just so heartbreaking, the idea of grabbing it and eating him. I don't think there was a single take where I'm not crying as I take that first bite because it was just so hard and so difficult to do. It was really, really tough to shoot. It was really hard to deal with it all emotionally.

And I think the toughest part for Travis in this whole thing is the fact that he doesn't even know that they watched him die. He has no idea. And I think he's living in this world and I think that made it easier for it to be his brother because he thought it was real. He thinks, at that moment, that it's not something he could have stopped. He thinks it wasn't in anyone's control. So, this death felt like it was destiny when in reality, I truly think deep down in all my heart that if he knew how Javi died someone would be paying for it. 

Yellowjackets Season 2

Unlike Coach Ben, Travis has embraced all the cannibalism. Why do you think they've taken such different paths when it comes to surviving among the girls?

There's a sense of belonging that Travis is trying to have in his life. He's never really known these girls beforehand. This has not been an easy year for him. Has he handled it in the best way? Absolutely not. He's been a total dick but he is going through his own pain. He is scared. He is alone out there, especially now that his brother is gone. 

Like, you gotta remember when he ate Jackie, which, first of all, is the person he lost his virginity to, which is still messed up in so many ways, this kid who just lost his virginity to then eat the person it happened with is so messed up. But I think he's doing these things because he wants to belong. He really has never belonged in a group. And I think that's even why he believes in Lottie because he finally felt like he had a place in this group. Also, his relationship with Natalie has not been smooth sailing. There's been so many things that have come up between them that have driven them apart that I think his place in the group, in believing kind of brought him to that. 

And that's what's interesting about this story. This is not a story about a fully grown adult making these decisions. This is a story of adolescence and I think that's what makes ours so interesting compared to most survival shows and stuff that's come out in the past. 

You told ET in another interview how these deaths are informing the trauma that the adult survivors are going through. While we now know that Travis didn't commit suicide as an adult, do you think his actions were a result of what happened to Javi and holding onto all that guilt from what happened in the past?

I think when you pile on this much guilt and guilt for other people's lives, this is why he ended up the way he did in the future. But I do believe just based on seeing where the story feels like it's going, in my mind as a viewer, I still think that there's more going on there. There's more damage to pile on here. This is just the base of it all.

I am just curious, when it comes to adult Travis, why do you think he would turn to Lottie for help? And do you think Lottie is telling the truth about what happened to Travis, that his death was an accident? 

I am the biggest believer in this show having a bunch of unreliable narrative narrators. I don't trust a single thing any of those adult characters say. As I watch as a viewer, I don't trust a single goddamn thing they say. So, I'm gonna go with I don't know if that's the whole story, to me as a viewer.

Now, that might be the truth, but I think that's what's so interesting about that story is that because these characters are so complex in the sense that they're willing to make bad decisions, they're willing to do terrible things, it's fun for us as an audience to watch that unfold, to find out what really was true and what wasn't in many of these cases.

But I do think that the relationship between Lottie and Travis was built on hope. And so, I do think that Travis was probably clinging onto something about the wilderness and about their past, which was probably the crux that brings Travis back to Lottie. If he's starting to think about the wilderness and death, that's probably gonna make him go, "OK, you know, who understands how I feel? It's Lottie, right?"

Yellowjackets Season 2

How would you describe how Travis feels about Natalie, given everything that has happened this season. And where do things stand between them by the end of the finale?

Well, he doesn't know what happened, so they're pretty good. In episode eight, we have a scene where they kind of reconcile in terms of like, he understands that even though she lied to him it was for the right reason. And that he understands that it was to protect him in some way and he would do the same for her. So, he understands this and so I think that makes them kind of get back on the same page. And even though that's tough, that shows some growth between that she can forgive him and that he can understand why she did what she did.

But to have that compounded with what happens at the end of that episode eight, I think they're going into the season where he is trying to believe in her as a leader as well and support her, and we see him grab her hand in the finale the way that Lottie would do the breath on his chest. And I think he's really releasing himself to Lottie, to Natalie now being his support system.

So, I think they're in a good place. But I swear if he ever found out that she watched Javi die, I don't know how in the world he could ever forgive her. I don't know as a viewer whether he ever finds out, but for me, I think he does because I don't know how they'd ever get back together the way that they did off and on throughout the years. If he knew that she'd let him die, I don't know if he'd forgive her or not.

Again, I try not to think about it until it gets written on the page and I have to justify it. Once something gets written on the page from those writers, I sit there and take the time to justify it, and I really try to understand where Travis is coming from. But personally, I don't know how in the world you deal with it.

Given how intertwined those two characters are, what did you think about adult Natalie [Juliette Lewis] being killed off in the present timeline?

Oh, I was devastated. I love Juliette Lewis so much. I think Juliette is the coolest. Like, from day one, she made me feel so much more free as an actor. Juliette has this open and interesting kind of personality where they just kind of say what they want to say. They aren't apologetic for it. And I love that. And it made me feel so much more confident to just do what I wanted to do as an actor with the role. And so, I'm so sad to have Juliette not be a part of the show because I just think the world of them.

But from a storytelling perspective, it was tragic. To have your best friend -- because Misty [Christina Ricci] really did consider Natalie her best friend -- and so to watch them go through that, it breaks my heart. I really love how everything is tied together with the cops, with Misty and Walter [Elijah Wood].

And for Natalie being the original Queen of Hearts, being the original sacrifice and not being killed off in the past and then having to die here…  

It was a really poetic ending for sure. It was kind of beautiful in the most tragic way to know that. You know, this is in many ways for anyone who believes in the wilderness having some sort of power over everybody, this is it catching up to us.

Yellowjackets season 2 is now streaming on the Showtime app before airing Sunday, May 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

[This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.]


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