Season 2 of Showtime's buzzy horror series "Yellowjackets" has delivered its share of surprises. We've witnessed heartbreaking deaths, teenage blackmail, musical dream sequences, and a devastating delivery. However, the most stunning development of all this season marks the survivors' long-awaited entry into the taboo world of cannibalism. The season begins with a starving Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) popping a severed ear into her mouth, followed by a moonlit feast of human flesh. Another gruesome act of cannibalism bookends the season in a thrilling finale featuring blood, fire, and a newly anointed Antler Queen.
After watching Javi (Luciano Leroux) die in the frozen lake, the girls bring his body back to camp and prepare for their next meal. Lottie (Courtney Eaton) descends from her sick bed and gives up control of the group, pointing to Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) as the next leader. The team signals their allegiance one by one, but her coronation joy is short-lived. Later that night, Shauna notices smoke in the attic and rushes downstairs, barely managing to evacuate her sleeping friends before the cabin goes up in flames. In the present-day timeline, the six adult Yellowjackets convene at Lottie's (Simone Kessell) wilderness retreat and stage another hunt to feed the beast. Hoping to kill an outside intruder, Misty (Christina Ricci) accidentally injects Natalie (Juliette Lewis) with poison, and she dies in the arms of her horrified friend. Despite these shocking developments, the Season 2 finale of "Yellowjackets" raises more questions than it answers. As we recover from this jaw-dropping chapter, let's scrape the meat off the story's bones and examine what this tragic turn means for the show's future.
What You Need To Remember About The Plot Of Yellowjackets Season 2
With no food in sight, the girls succumb to cannibalism by eating Jackie's (Ella Purnell) cooked remains when an attempt to cremate her body goes disastrously wrong. After crossing this line, the survivors find planning the next meal easier to stomach. Trusting their lives to a force they call "the Wilderness", everyone but Ben (Steven Krueger) and Lottie take turns drawing from a deck of cards. Whoever turns over the queen of hearts will sacrifice themselves to feed the rest. Having drawn the card, Natalie runs for her life, and Javi offers to show her a secret cave. As they run across the frozen lake, Javi falls through the ice. Natalie and the rest of the group stand by while he drowns, convinced the wilderness has chosen him to die in Natalie's place.
The Season 2 finale may not take place in a high school gym, but it does feature an exciting reunion. Throughout the season, the six adult Yellowjackets have all been drawn to Lottie's self-help retreat center hidden deep within another forest. Though the roads they've taken to get there vary, the Wilderness seems to have called them together once again. Each of the six women long for something only It can provide, but the cost may be more than they can bear. After a night of joyful reminiscing, Lottie suggests they sacrifice one of the group to the force that still seems to guide their lives.
The Events Of The Season Finale
When Lottie abdicates her position as the group's leader, several of the girls believe they will be the one to take her place. Misty (Samantha Hanratty), Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and Van (Liv Hewson) all seem hopeful, but no one is more discouraged with Natalie's appointment than Shauna. While journaling late at night, she wonders why she wasn't chosen and writes that she'd always believed it was Jackie that made her invisible. Shauna doesn't get to finish her thought, but we infer that she feels overlooked and inferior. The only one still awake, she notices smoke and quickly warns the rest of the group. Shauna's quick thinking saves their lives and provides another reason she should be the one to wear the Antler crown.
In the present day, Lottie suggests they make another sacrifice to appease the wild beast disrupting their lives. Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) suggests a hunt, hoping to buy time and have the self-help guru committed. When this intervention falls apart, the girls draw cards once again, with Shauna turning over the queen of hearts. The other Yellowjackets don their wilderness masks and prepare to strike, but they're interrupted by Lisa (Nicole Maines), who's grown to be a spiritual daughter to Natalie. As Lisa points a shotgun, Misty sneaks up behind her with a drug-filled hypodermic needle. Natalie refuses to let anyone else die for her and dives in front of Lisa, taking the injection for the friend who taught her to forgive.
Natalie Has Always Been The Antler Queen
In hindsight, Natalie was always destined to be the Antler Queen. Not only has she been blessed with sightings of the mysterious white moose, but she's been providing for the group since they first found the cabin. Travis (Kevin Alves) and Natalie, the best marksmen, venture out each day to hunt wild game to feed the survivors. As Travis searches for his missing brother, she scouts the surrounding terrain and slowly compiles a map they can use to escape the forest. Natalie's also been one of the few girls to reject Lottie's cult-like spirituality. She bristles at the blood ritual used to bless their expeditions and fakes Javi's death to refute Lottie's claim that he's still alive. Not only does Natalie guide the group in her own way, but she also subtly rejects Lottie's interpretation of what the Wilderness wants.
Well acquainted with darkness, Natalie has been unintentionally preparing to be Antler Queen from an early age. As a child, she pulled a gun on her abusive father to stop him from beating her mother. After snatching the gun from her hands, he tripped and shot himself in the face, bleeding to death in front of his daughter. This chance intervention may have been an element of whatever force pulled down the plane, protecting Natalie so she could later fulfill her destiny in the Wilderness.
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.
The Wilderness Chooses A New Queen
After everything Shauna's been through, she feels she deserves a chance to lead. As the team's butcher, she does the unpleasant job of separating meat from bone to feed the others. Not only has this forced her to confront Jackie's dead body while butchering the bear, but she also picks up the knife when Natalie draws the queen of hearts and prepares to murder her friend. Later, she dismembers Javi's body and dismisses the others after making the first cut to protect them from the grisly process ahead.
Shauna's feelings of discontent have followed her into adulthood, with both seasons of the present-day timeline showing a housewife desperate to be seen. Her affair has more to do with a hunger to feel desired than any affection for Adam (Peter Gadiot). Her problems with Jeff (Warren Kole) stem from a need to step out of Jackie's shadow and live life on her own terms. When confronting the carjacker in Episode 3, Shauna's hands shake with excitement at finally exerting some control over her spiraling life. Drawing the queen of hearts doesn't mark her for death, but nobility. Like the card's image, she has become the new Antler Queen, finally earning the recognition she's desired for so long. Her reign will be different from Natalie's, but the Wilderness has drawn a ring of protection around her, and she will guide the Yellowjackets through the next phase of their lives.
Misty Acts As An Agent Of The Wilderness
Though Lottie first learns to listen to the Wilderness, Misty becomes its first protector. Shortly after the crash, she destroys the plane's tracker, stranding them long enough to feel the force's pull. Since reuniting with Natalie as an adult, she's dedicated her time to protecting the troubled woman from herself. When we first meet Natalie, she's completing another stint in rehab, having turned to drugs and alcohol to escape the guilt she carries from the horrific task of leading a group of cannibals. Now that we know she's the next Antler Queen, her self-destructive patterns not only make sense but feel inevitable.
Natalie has been trying to destroy herself for 25 years, but whatever force haunts the woods won't let her die. Perhaps acting on behalf of this mysterious "it," Taissa (Tawny Cypress) pays for her rehab, Misty protects her from relapse, and Lottie's followers intervene to stop her from dying by suicide. Now that a new queen has been chosen, the Wilderness demands another sacrifice, and Misty again becomes its agent. Hoping to protect the group from Lisa, Misty accidentally kills Natalie with a lethal injection. She later cries that she killed her best friend, an eerie parallel to her involvement in Crystal's (Nuha Jes Izman) death. After sharing secrets in the woods, Misty forces her first best friend off a cliff to prevent her from sharing the secret of the plane's tracker, a revelation that could throw the group's unity into chaos.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
There Is No Wilderness
When Shauna finally draws the queen of hearts in the present-day timeline, she assumes the symbolic hunt will end. Unfortunately, her five friends have other plans. They pick up their weapons and offer her the choice to either submit or run. Rather than choose, Shauna insists there is no "it." The power they call the Wilderness doesn't exist. It's been the Yellowjackets all along. Lottie counters that there is no difference, a stunning perspective on the mysterious force they worship in the woods.
The girls may have found a symbol carved into the trees and the attic of their cabin home, but Its call has always come from inside themselves. It is their collective will to do anything to survive. Some will fall, but those who listen to the wisdom of the woods accept this fact and vow to let fate decide who to take and when. As Natalie dies, a vision of Lottie calms her with a reminder that the Wilderness is not evil — just hungry. This seems to unlock the guilt Natalie has spent her life trying to shed and allows her to forgive herself for letting Javi die. As the group's leader, she's internalized the blame for their cannibalistic choices, but Lottie reminds her that they were simply listening to the wild and hungry pieces of themselves determined to survive.
Sophie Thatcher On The Ending
Sophia Thatcher reveals in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that she's excited for a juicier role leading the stranded survivors but will miss the presence of her older counterpart and the mentorship provided by Juliette Lewis. As Natalie takes her throne in the wilderness, Thatcher will be tasked with bridging the gap between her portrayal of a lovestruck hunter and the troubled addict we've seen Lewis create. "She's going to be carrying more guilt [as the group's leader], and she's going to continue this journey of self-destruction," Thatcher says.
Regarding that heartbreaking scene on the metaphysical plane, Thatcher remembers an emotional day on set, saying goodbye to the veteran actress and a beloved character. She views Natalie's choice to save Lisa and her relatively peaceful death as a spiritual release. "At first, I read it as her giving up, but it's so far from that because she's already passed that threshold," Thatcher explains. "She's already done everything wrong that she can in life, that I think it's the beginning of a new chapter for Lisa and the end of her chapter." Not only will Natalie be reunited with Travis in the afterlife, but she can finally forgive herself for Javi's death and let go of the guilt she's been carrying since her time as queen of the wilderness.
What The End Of This Episode Could Mean For Season 3
The season finale ends with the cabin crumbling in a blazing inferno. Heavy snow still covers the ground, and Season 1 proves that sleeping outside will be fatal. The remaining Yellowjackets may have a new source of food, but they will need to find shelter if they hope to survive the winter. We know that Javi's secret cave could suffice, but no one still with the group knows its location. Ben is the only living person who can find it, and after setting fire to the cabin, he will likely be unwilling to share this lifesaving information. Perhaps Taissa can tap into the Other, who takes control of her body to guide them to the cave's warmth. Will Ben still be there hiding? And if so, how will the girls react when they find the probable arsonist? They once looked to this man as a leader, but how will they treat him now that he's tried to murder them in their sleep?
The present-day timeline also concludes with big questions. Has Walter (Elijah Wood) successfully framed Kevyn (Alex Wyndham) for murder? Will his partner go along with the citizen detective's risky plan? Showrunners Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, and Jonathan Lisco reportedly have a five-season plan, meaning the upcoming chapter will mark the halfway point in the larger story. If this shocking episode proves anything, it's that no one is safe in the "Yellowjackets" world. Anyone could be the next sacrifice chosen by the Wilderness.
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