There's no feeling quite like getting to the mind-blowing finale of a mystery-heavy season of TV and knowing you'll be left to theorize for months on end before it returns. "Yellowjackets" is a "LOST"-level coming-of-age thriller with mysteries so hauntingly good, they may have me scrawling my theories all over the walls by the time the series returns.
"Yellowjackets" benefited from enthusiastically positive word-of-mouth across its 10-episode first season. By the time Sunday's finale aired, the show had become Showtime's most-watched new series in over five years, according to Vulture. In the same article, Showtime's president of entertainment, Gary Levine, said the show will likely return at the end of 2022. "When you have a show that has this kind of a momentum, you don't want to let it dissolve," Levine points out.
With respect to Levine's practicality and the quick turnaround it promises, there's absolutely no chance we'll stop thinking about "Yellowjackets" anytime soon. The finale continued to toe the line between psychological thrills and potentially real supernatural happenings, with most of them — the bear, the shrine, Natalie's kidnappers — tying back to teenage mystic Lottie (Courtney Eaton). While we expect theories around the series' biggest questions to evolve over the coming months, we're ready to get a head start exploring the aspects of the series that'll keep us up at night. Here are a few of our most pressing questions.
Which Other Yellowjackets Survived?
First off, let's start with who didn't. In the finale, Jackie (Ella Purnell) freezes to death outside during the first snowfall after a fight with Shauna (Sophie Nelisse). Series co-creator Bart Nickerson confirmed to Vulture that the group's resident mean girl really is dead, though her influence will continue to be felt. Javi (Luciano Leroux) is also missing at season's end, after having run into the wilderness during the chaos of Doomcoming. There's no sign of him, so he could be alive, but the howling wolves that could be heard in the distance after he ran off aren't a great sign.
As for who's definitely alive in 2021, Lottie seems to be the safest bet. There's a chance she did die in the wilderness, and the creepy-symbol-clad people who kidnapped Natalie (Juliette Lewis) while Suzie (Colleen Wheeler) asked "Who the f*** is Lottie Matthews?" are simply doing culty work in her name. Still, fans have been eager for hints about surviving Yellowjackets all season, and this is the best direct evidence we've gotten that someone else is out there. One of the series' showrunners, Jonathan Lisco, told Variety the team has had "really fun, vivid discussions" about who could play Lottie. Personally, I'm team Tia Carrere.
The 25th high school reunion the Yellowjackets attended in the season finale was careful not to say much about who else may have made it back from the wilderness. A slideshow included group pictures of the whole team, but as prom queen, Jackie was the only person singled out in memoriam. There's a chance that the core four Yellowjackets either don't know about any fellow survivors, or have purposely become estranged from them because of something that went down in the woods. That means it's possible that fan favorite Van (Liv Hewson), background characters Akilah (Keeya King) and Mari (Alexa Barajas), Coach Ben (Steven Krueger), or even poor wolf-bait Javi could have made it back. Fans also have plenty of theories about teammates who may have stayed behind in the wilderness, but there's not much evidence to support that idea yet.
Is Anything Supernatural Really Going On?
One of the biggest questions lingering over "Yellowjackets" is whether or not the show really contains supernatural elements. The series doesn't seem poised to answer this anytime soon, but instead thrives within the gray area of potentially magical spookiness. Weird things have certainly been happening, but several of the series' horror elements have already been revealed to be grounded in reality. "The lady in the tree," for example, is simply sleepwalking Taissa (Tawny Cypress), while the ritualistic Antler Queen attire from the premiere doesn't seem like a far cry from the group's Doomcoming outfits.
The show's most un-ignorable supernatural element, though, is Lottie. The teenager has a diagnosed mental illness, as indicated by her antipsychotic prescription that ran out after the crash. But she also seems to be having visions, the kind that can't be easily explained away. She vaguely predicts Laura Lee's (Jane Widdop) death, the red river, and the appearance of the strangely docile bear. In 2021, her apparent followers also have extremely convenient timing, breaking in to capture Natalie just as she's about to kill herself. Taissa's bloody sacrifice also seems to have lined up perfectly with her stunning defeat in the Senate race. Lottie might simply be an unwell young woman, but her brand of mysticism has drawn followers whose confirmation bias towards her visions lends her greater power. As with other great survival stories, like "The Lord of The Flies," it doesn't really matter if a force is real, so long as people believe it.
Who Was That Guy In Jackie's Final Scene?
There is one supernatural element that seems more explicit than others, though, and it's a dark presence around the cabin. When the group arrived, they buried the cabin's long-dead owner, but he doesn't seem to want to stay gone. We know the guy lived alone and owned a plane, and that his cabin already had the series' ubiquitous mysterious symbol — which looks a bit like a girl being impaled — carved into it by the show's fifth episode. When the group does a seance, Lottie suddenly starts speaking French, a language she supposedly doesn't know. At the end of the season, she brings the bear's heart to a hollowed out log and speaks French once again, saying, "Spill blood, beautiful friends."
So what does this have to do with the guy we saw in Jackie's last moments? Well, maybe nothing. In typical "Yellowjackets" fashion, the show is ambiguous about whether Jackie's hot-cocoa-sipping heaven is in her own mind or Shauna's dream. Either way, it turns sinister when a shadowy male presence in a corner says, "So glad you're joining us. We've been waiting for you." This character is played by William Vaughan, and is credited as "Hunter" in the episode. Since Jackie also saw Laura Lee, it makes sense that he's a deceased character as well. The previous cabin owner is our best bet. But what's his deal? Does he speak French, and did he possess Lottie? I'm inclined to think most of the "Yellowjackets" mysteries can be solved in the realm of reality, but that symbol carved in the cabin makes it clear that whatever is happening in the present day might be directly related to its history.
Who Kidnapped Natalie?
The show seems to pretty clearly tie Natalie's kidnappers to Lottie. One of the men who breaks in while Natalie holds a gun to her throat wears a necklace with the strange symbol that also appears during the seance, on Taissa's shrine, and on the blackmail postcards the women receive. Furthermore, just as she's being taken, we hear the voicemail from Suzie, who says someone is following her and asks if Natalie knows who Lottie Matthews is. If this same group of people is following Suzie, it's not a stretch to imagine they're either working for Lottie or doing acts in her name.
In an interview with TV Insider, Lisco seems to confirm the group is related to Lottie, but is coy about how. "There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that what started in the wilderness is still alive 25 years later," he explains, "but has just been sort of on a slow boil." Natalie's kidnapping and Taissa's election clearly take things up a notch. Also, if there really is some conspiratorial group out there interfering in the lives of the surviving Yellowjackets, maybe Natalie isn't paranoid and Travis was murdered after all.
What Happened To Shauna's Baby?
Shauna is pregnant with Jeff's baby in 1996, but her only daughter in 2021 is a teenager, so the outlook for her first-born is not looking great. Speculation about the death of an infant is pretty dark, especially when the team still has several months ahead of them in the wilderness, but it's hard not to think about this. Though us "Yellowjackets"-loving sickos have already talked at length about the possibility that the baby is sacrificed or eaten (Shauna does dream of giving birth to a rotisserie chicken, after all), there are plenty of other potentially more realistic explanations for its absence in 2021.
The team likely survives not one but two winters in the wilderness, and are exposed to harsh elements and predators. Since people don't naturally want to eat one another, they'll most likely also fall into malnutrition before resorting to cannibalism, so there's a chance Shauna's pregnancy won't be viable by winter's end. I'm also perhaps unnecessarily fixated on the moment in the finale when Shauna, almost in a daze, moves to lick the bear's blood off her finger. Pregnancy can come with weird cravings, and when parents-to-be start craving inedible items, it's a sign they have a nutritional deficiency-motivated disorder called pica. Pica can be dangerous, as those who have it sometimes eat toxic or indigestible materials. If Shauna does have it, the plot point would be a creative way to get survivors to start thinking about all the things — including people — that they shouldn't be eating.
Who Is The Pit Girl?
Finally, there's the question that's haunted us since the show began. In the first episode, we see a girl run frantically through the wilderness, seemingly being hunted, before falling into a trap-rigged pit. Afterwards, the Yellowjackets appear to feast on her flesh. Co-creator Ashley Lyle told Vulture that pit girl's identity is being kept intentionally ambiguous at this point. The team behind the series even went so far as to show several characters sharing the same pair of Converse shoes the girl can be seen wearing. That doesn't mean the team doesn't know who she is, though. We know she has somewhat long, dark hair and somewhat light skin. From what we can tell, she most resembles Mari, who until this point has been a background character. Other possible candidates include Lottie herself (maybe with Shauna as a surprise Antler Queen, in that case) or one of several series extras.
We won't know the answer to this or any of our burning questions until the series returns, hopefully in late 2022.
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