[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 3, “Digestif.”]
“I didn’t have to do a whole lot of acting honestly. It was pretty scary,” Steven Krueger confesses about the scene in episode three where his character, Coach Ben Scott, hallucinates that one of the Yellowjackets (Mya Lowe) is foaming at the mouth and preparing to eat him.
That very scenario is what fans of the thriller have been anticipating with dread since Coach chose not to partake in the group feast on Jackie. Rest easy, Ben fans. Krueger joined our The Buzz on Yellowjackets aftershow and revealed that the nightmare won’t become reality anytime soon. Instead, tonight was a key turning point in his character’s intriguing season-long arc.
“He’s ostracized, pushed aside as an authority figure. Now he’s left to his own devices. A lot of times that means his own psyche, which can be your own worst enemy. Once his identity as coach and protector is stripped away, what does he have left? It leaves a raw mess of a person who doesn’t know who he is. That ends up having some pretty dire consequences,” Krueger reveals. “As we get beyond Episode 3, you start to see more and more of what Ben is going through in his own mind and how that connects with the past that he left behind.”
The flashbacks to Ben’s pre-crash life with boyfriend Paul were something Krueger was happy to see in the script. The actor did lots of research to get into the headspace of what it was like to be a gay teacher in the 1990s. “One of the things that stuck out was: not only am I a closeted gay man, I’m [also] a teacher. What did that mean in that time period? Why was it such a secret? The reason: my life and career would have been over if this was revealed. The laws in New Jersey…they didn’t pass a law until much later that would have protected me as a gay teacher. I easily would have been fired and potentially prosecuted.”
Check out the video to hear more fascinating details about how that hallucination sequence was shot, more from Krueger about getting into character (and getting around set on crutches); plus what’s next in Coach’s friendship with Natalie (Sophie Thatcher), the one Yellowjacket who seems to “get” him.
“He spends a lot of this season realizing he can’t trust any of these girls, as much as he would like to,” the actor says. “A lot of his story is seeing him come to that realization, and grapple with what that means.” Could there be an antler king?
Yellowjackets, Sundays, 9/8c, Showtime (and Fridays on On Demand and Streaming)