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A woman looks at something off-screen in this photo by Showtime.
Misty (Christina Ricci) often engages in outrageous behavior, but we can't say we don't understand her motivations. (Image: Showtime Networks)

We’ve all come across the girl who tries a little too hard, smiles a bit too wide, and struggles to fit in. Within the “Yellowjackets” world, that woman is none other than the infamously inappropriate Misty Quigley. The show's casting department knocked it out of the park by bringing on both Samantha Hanratty and Christina Ricci to play the role of Misty as a teen and an adult, respectively. Both have wowed viewers and critics alike with their performances, and Ricci was even nominated for a 2024 Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. We simply can't look away from Misty's sordid story.

Throughout Misty’s experiences in both of the “Yellowjackets” timelines, we have witnessed her commit acts most wouldn’t fathom doing in their wildest dreams or nightmares. Some of these acts were done under duress and some just because — making Misty appear unhinged in the best possible way for a viewing audience. From destroying the plane's black box to killing her pseudo-best friend to saving other survivors' lives, Misty has had quite the journey in the wilderness and since the group was rescued. That journey has shaped her into the MFQ we all know and (most of us) love.

I Just Wanna Belong

A girl is talking on the telephone in this photo by Showtime.
We saw Misty (Samantha Hanratty) struggle with her peers during a prank phone call in Season 1. (Image: Showtime Networks)

From the pilot episode of “Yellowjackets,” it was clear Misty had a hard time figuring out how to fit in with her classmates. As the nerdy and overeager equipment manager for the girls' soccer team, she seemed to be on the periphery of any real social group. We got a further peek into Misty’s social life (or lack thereof) when she received a prank call from a girl named Becky in the second episode. Despite Becky’s bad intentions, Misty entertained the conversation, essentially allowing herself to be bullied while desperately hoping something positive would come from the situation. She seemed willing to endure the harassment if it meant some form of inclusion. Viewers quickly learned her desperation to fit in socially is the driving force behind much of her behavior.

This is no more evident than when Misty made the decision to smash the plane’s emergency transponder to pieces in an attempt to sabotage the team’s rescue. After the plane crash, Misty immediately sprang into action and took charge of the situation medically. Her teammates were both grateful and impressed by her skill set and quick thinking. She even saved Coach Ben’s (Steven Kreuger) life by chopping off that injured leg. Not wanting to lose the experience of being accepted for once, Misty made the decision to destroy the black box, dashing all hope for the rest of the group, just so she could remain wanted and needed. This was a hard-to-watch moment, but it was then that we knew Misty would at least keep things interesting for us as the show went on.

I Just Wanna Be Loved

A man leans on a tree and holds a girl’s shoulder in this photo by Showtime.
Misty (Samantha Hanratty) doted on Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) for much of Season 1, even assisting him in going to the bathroom. (Image: Showtime Networks)

Not only was Misty on the prowl for friendship before and after the plane crash, but her inappropriate feelings for Coach Ben caused quite the fuss throughout Season 1. While it’s true he relied on her to relieve himself and basically stay alive, Misty took his appreciation out of context and to the extreme. As we all saw in Season 1, Misty poisoned Coach not once but twice! The first instance was her attempt to keep him in a weakened state so he would need to keep depending on her for his survival. The second incident, in “Doomcoming,” had similar motivations and much more disastrous consequences.

The group realized Misty's level of instability and unpredictability after the events of “Doomcoming” came to a head. Dosing the entire group with hallucinogenic mushrooms crossed another line. But the craziest part is Misty didn’t see the harm in what she had done. In her mind, the mushrooms were intended for Ben only — but Travis (Kevin Alves) was almost killed, Travis and Jackie (Ella Purnell) had sex, and Javi (Luciano Leroux) ran away — all as a result of Misty drugging everyone. Perhaps needless to say, none of this made Ben fall in love with her.

I Just Wanna Fit In

A woman lies on a bed while another woman watches television in this photo by Showtime.
Misty’s (Christina Ricci) unwavering devotion to the surviving Yellowjackets was on full display when she kidnapped Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma). (Image: Showtime Networks)

Given that Misty wasn’t exactly accepted by her peers, her continued dedication and loyalty to the group are mind-boggling. In the adult timeline, we saw how far Misty was willing to go to protect her “friends” when she kidnapped Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma). Convinced that Jessica was the one blackmailing the adults in Season 1, Misty misguidedly thought she was protecting the survivors by holding Jessica hostage in her basement for a good portion of the first season.

Even after uncovering the truth and learning the blackmailer was not Jessica, Misty still went the distance, injecting Jessica’s cigarettes with a lethal dose of fentanyl. Knowing the smoker would reach for her cigarettes upon being freed, it was almost too easy for Misty to tie things up in a bow — even if doing so involved committing murder.

In Misty’s mind, taking Jessica hostage and then ensuring her death was a completely reasonable course of action. She was a threat to the remaining Yellowjackets and that threat needed to be neutralized. This act showed Misty’s desperate need for acceptance hadn’t faded with age. She was still willing to go to extreme lengths for people who, despite their shared trauma, still didn't seem to like her very much.

I Just Wanna Make Friends

A man and a woman stand side by side staring at something off-screen in this photo by Showtime.
Misty (Christina Ricci) and Walter (Elijah Wood) managed to track down Natalie thanks to Walter’s smart thinking. (Image: Showtime Networks)

Though most of the Yellowjackets don't seem to care for her, we've seen a few friendships flourish between Misty and others; namely, Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) in the teen timeline and Walter (Elijah Wood) in the present day. Crystal came along when Misty needed a friend most, offering to teach her how to harmonize so they could sing show tunes together. The two seemed to bond over the fact that neither seemed to fit in, and they grew close quickly. If only things didn't take a deadly turn.

Misty began to trust Crystal on a level she never quite reached with the others, so much so that she decided to reveal her biggest secret: what happened to the transponder. Crystal, like any sane person, was shocked and appalled by Misty's behavior and threatened to share the information with the rest of the group. An enraged Misty aggressively approached Crystal on a steep cliffside, leading Crystal to plummet to her death. Misty indirectly killed the only real friend she had out in those woods.

Meanwhile, with Natalie’s (Juliette Lewis) kidnapping in the adult timeline, Misty lost the only form of friendship she had in her lonely present-day world, unless you count Caligula. But through the Citizen Detective forum, in Season 2 Misty met her match in Walter. The pair managed to track Natalie down at Lottie’s (Simone Kessell) compound using an arsenal of skills developed through all their internet sleuthing and offline hijinks.

Walter seemed to admire Misty and she was unsure of how to accept the fact that someone liked her despite her obvious flaws. But given the murderous actions Walter himself took in the second season's finale, they really do seem to be psychotic kindred spirits. Walter said he was a bored Moriarty looking for his Sherlock, so we suspect we’ll be seeing him again come Season 3. Might their unique friendship lead to the romance Misty has been longing for, or are things destined to end badly between them given her track record?

I Just Wanna Be Understood

A girl kneels in front of another girl in this photo by Showtime.
Misty (Samantha Hanratty) showed her devotion to Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) quite literally by bending at the knee to the new Antler Queen. (Image: Showtime Networks)

While it's true Misty has a history of disturbing behavior, at the heart of the matter is that she’s a socially awkward girl desperate for some form of acceptance who goes through a series of incredibly traumatic events. We, as viewers, are revolted by some of her acts but also empathize with the fact that she just wants to be understood and included. Misty, for all her misdeeds, is far from what we'd consider a villain.

After all, she may have killed Natalie, but she did that unintentionally and while trying to save her friends from someone else. She is loyal to a fault, and while Misty finds herself in a lot of tragic situations, not all of them are of her own doing. The question is, where does she go from here? Will Misty grieve the loss of one of the closest things she has ever had to a lifelong friend? Or is she incapable of feeling grief?

At least in the teen timeline, we're certain Misty will continue to strive for and seek genuine acceptance from the group. As evidenced in the Season 2 finale, she is clearly more than willing to accept Natalie as the new Antler Queen, so perhaps that will put her in better standing. While we know there isn't an entirely happy ending in store — yes, the girls are eventually rescued, but at what cost? — we can't wait to see the twisted and twisty ways Misty's story continues to unfold.

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