It's rare that a show exists where cannibalism is the least interesting thing about it, but Yellowjackets has achieved the seemingly impossible. The breakout show, about a high school soccer team whose plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness, came to an end this week, in a thrilling finale that raised far more questions than answers. Let's dive in, shall we?
Jackie's fate was finally revealed
Although viewers were led to expect Queen Bee Jackie (Ella Purnell) was the girl slaughtered by her teammates and presumably eaten in episode one, we learn that what befell her was a more tragic fate. After a climatic fight with her best friend Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), she sleeps by herself outside and freezes to death. It's a tragic accident that adult Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) carries with her in 2021, leading a life wracked with guilt over the treatment of her once best friend.
And yes, Jackie is definitely dead. Co-showrunner Bart Nickerson told Vulture that she's "dead in terms of our story", although he did hint that she might appear in Yellowjackets season two regardless. "She’s dead, but I think it is fair to question these things because one of the things the show is trying to do is play with the subjectivity of experience," he said. "So I do think it’s fair game to ask whether or not a thing you’re seeing is happening, because there are ways that experience, like past and present and future, can be warped."
Lottie Mathews might be a cult leader?
Yellowjackets takes place across two timelines: 1996, during the crash, and in 2021, where four of the survivors—Shauna, Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Natalie (Juliette Lewis) and Misty (Christina Ricci)—are fighting to keep the secrets of their time in the wilderness buried. So far, we haven't seen any other adult survivors, but the finale hints that's about to change.
The Lottie reveal comes in two different timelines. In 2021, we hear her name via a panicked voice message to Natalie, who has blackmailed a former narcotics anonymous sponsor and senior banking executive into digging into the death of adult Travis. "What have you gotten me into?" the sponsor asks Natalie in the voice mail. "I think someone is following me. Who the fuck is Lottie Matthews?"
Unfortunately, Natalie can't answer, as she's being kidnapped by four people who throw her into a van, adorned with the mysterious symbol we've seen pop up repeatedly.
The episode then cuts to 1996, when we see Lottie's teenage self (Courtney Eaton) offer the heart of the bear she killed in some kind of tribute to the woods, flanked by Misty (Samantha Hanratty) and Van (Liv Hewson).
Co-showrunner Jonathan Lisco (he joined the dual team of Nickerson and Ashley Lyle, who created the series) told Variety they had a few different ideas for how season one would go, but Lottie being a present day cult leader was the frontrunner.
"We’re trying to unpack the creation of a new society, and what that looks like," he said. "And if you want to call it the cult of it all, or Lottie’s attunement to some kind of energetic darkness — let’s just put it that way — or her belief in the supernatural. The idea that that energy is continuing 25 years later, in a kind of sub rosa away, was very fun for us. And we thought that’s a really interesting thing to explore that can shake things up for our Yellowjackets in 2021."
And yes, they've already started thinking about who will play adult Lottie.
Taissa's red eyes
In a stunning upset, Taissa wins her election for state senator. At the same time, we see her estranged wife discover evidence that Taissa has ritually sacrificed their family dog. Some viewers even reckon Taissa's eyes turn red in that moment—and while the showrunners aren't saying that was intentional, it definitely points to something darker going on for Tai than just 'sleepwalking'.
"What we were attempting to imply is that, while she might not literally know the full extent of what she’s been doing while sleepwalking, there is a felt sense of this improbable victory coming from that," Nickerson told Vulture. "I want to stress that it is a sense of her believing there’s a connection between the victory and that thing happening to her—that is not necessarily to say it’s 100 percent true that those two things are connected."
However, the red eyes thing is mostly just a happy accident. Cypress, who has striking green eyes, wears contacts to look more similar to Jasmin Savoy Brown, who plays teenage Taissa.
"It is always easier to go from light to dark, as opposed to the other way around," Nickerson said. "It can look extremely unnatural when you’re putting green contacts on Jasmin Savoy Brown’s brown eyes. And in the case of the reddishness, that is essentially a consequence of the coloured contact situation."
(FYI, Jasmin Savoy Brown is one to watch—as well as Yellowjackets, she plays a pivotal role in the new Scream film.)
And who is that man in the vision?
One of the spookiest moments of the entire show takes place in a dream sequence, shortly before the Yellowjackets in 1996 wake up to a snow-covered ground and their teammate dead. In the vision, Shauna apologises to Jackie and takes her inside, where the entire team are waiting to greet her and warm her up. She's given a mug of hot chocolate, at which point Jackie realises this might not be real. As she looks around the room, she sees a man.
We've actually seen that man before, in the opening credits. It's not the 'No Eyed Man' young Taissa sees in her vision, and it's not Assistant Coach Ben (although they do look similar). However, Lyle says both the man Jackie sees and the No Eyed Man are an "interpretation" of what's happening.
“We’re circling right back into what’s supernatural—what is real and the subjectivity of that,” Lyle told The Hollywood Reporter. “The question becomes is that a real presence?”
In fact, we don't even know if this vision belongs to Jackie or Shauna. "I think it's meant to be open to interpretation," Nickerson told ELLE US. "Because yeah, there is an interpretation where this was Jackie making some kind of transition, and there is an interpretation that this was Shauna subconsciously making a prediction."
Whatever happens, we'll be waiting with baited breaths for season two. It can't come soon enough. In the meantime, Australians can stream the entire first season on Paramount+.
Lead photo: Showtime.