And just like that, Yellowjackets’ second season has come to a close, and did it ever go out with a bang. After the events of last week’s episode, the stakes are high and so are emotions, and the season finale never lets up once. It is painful, tense, and utterly heartbreaking, but it is masterful all at once. Yellowjackets has never been an inherently happy show, but Season 2 goes down the darkest route possible countless times, leaving us to wonder how we move on from here.
Lottie Crowns a New Antler Queen
The demise of Javi (Luciano Leroux) was dark and twisted just like so much of Season 2 has been, and that’s exactly where we pick up here. Backed by a needle drop of “Zombie” by The Cranberries, Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) arrives back at the cabin in shock. Travis (Kevin Alves) smiles when he sees she’s alive, but his happiness lasts only mere moments before the rest of the team comes through the clearing carrying Javi’s body. Travis immediately breaks down, crying in disbelief and grief as he cradles Javi’s body.
When Misty (Sammi Hanratty) checks in on Lottie (Courtney Eaton) Lottie asks her why Travis was screaming, and Misty stoically tells her it’s because they’re going to eat Javi, adding that “we didn’t even kill him… exactly.” Lottie is immediately unnerved by this revelation and Misty tells her that the team needs her, so they can’t let her die, even if it means they’d be able to use her body to survive. She then tells her about the card drawing and the hunt of Natalie, and how Javi died during it. Misty tells her this is good and that they have food now, but Lottie protests that this isn’t what she wanted. This is when the darker side of Misty jumps out when she says, “You started this. It’s done, and it’s going to save all of our lives, so you better not start making people feel bad about it now.” She then heads back down to the rest of the team and lies through her teeth, saying that Lottie is pleased with the wilderness’ choice.
Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) apprehensively picks up her knife and walks outside, preparing to dress Javi’s body for food. Travis is still crying and clinging to his brother and apologizes to him before laying him down in the snow and storming back inside, unable to watch or believe what is about to happen. Shauna, Van (Liv Hewson), Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and Natalie take to creating a makeshift workbench where they lay Javi’s body and undress him. Though Natalie does put a piece of burlap over his body to give him a sense of dignity even in death. Shauna pulls her hat down over her eyes as she raises her knife, feeling around until she finds his neck. It’s a long, tense moment, and her hands shake as she struggles to do it. Eating Javi may save them from starvation, but deep down they all know what they did and that his death wasn’t entirely an accident — he was saveable.
Arriving back at the cabin, Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) sees the blood on the ground and Shauna prepping some sort of meat. He seems relieved at first until he gets closer and realizes it isn’t an animal being prepped, but a person. Natalie comes through the clearing behind him and asks him where he’s been, but he ignores her and asks what’s happened, telling her he figured out where Javi had been hiding and that they could survive the winter down there, just the two of them. He tells her she doesn’t have to stay there at the cabin; she’s not like the rest of the girls. Natalie tearfully tells him she’s worse because she let Javi die in her place before echoing Coach’s words back to him, telling him he’s a good person, and he really doesn’t belong in this place. Inside the cabin, Van and Travis are talking and he tells her that she should be ashamed, but she doesn’t agree, saying: “I’m glad I’m alive, just like you are, and I don’t think that any of us who are still here should feel ashamed for that. Ever. Let your brother save you, Travis. After everything he went through out here, don’t you owe him at least that?”
Shauna later walks in with a slab of Javi meat, his heart in the center of it all. Eerily, she picks up the heart and calls Travis over, handing it to him. It’s an odd moment, to begin with, but gets even more uncomfortable when Travis bites straight into it — raw — before placing it in the frying pan along with the rest of the meat. Misty brings Lottie some and practically begs her to eat it, telling her the team needs her. Lottie says that she thought the wilderness wanted what was best for them, but now she’s not so sure, and this leads us to one of the biggest surprises of the episode: the crowning of a new Antler Queen.
Joining the team downstairs, Lottie sits and listens to Van telling everyone a story that begins with “Once upon a time, there was a place called the wilderness,” but before she can finish she’s interrupted by Lottie, who says she never wanted to be in charge and that she thinks the wilderness chose her because she was the only one who knew how to listen. Now, she can’t hear it anymore, but the rest of the group has learned how, and maybe what the wilderness wants for them now is a leader who can help them survive for the rest of the time they’re out there. The wilderness chose who fed them, and it’s chosen who should lead them, too: Natalie. She reasons that the team tried to kill her but “it” wouldn’t let them, so how else can they explain that? Lottie then bows her head and kisses Nat’s hand, and the rest of the team follows suit. Shauna is the only one who hesitates, but eventually, she relents, though you can tell she’s upset with the choice.
This is proven as she writes in her diary later on in typical angsty teenage fashion: “How could it not have been me?” Her scribbled rant is quickly interrupted when she smells something burning. Looking down the ladder from her place up in the attic, she screams for the team to wake up downstairs as smoke begins to billow through the cabin. Grabbing any belongings they can manage, including the gun and remaining bullets, they try to escape — only to find that all the doors are stuck, and they’re trapped. Eventually, Tai breaks the front door open with an axe and the team makes it outside, safe but watching as their cabin — and only source of shelter — burns down in front of them.
The Survivors Mourn One of Their Own
Last episode, Lottie (Simone Kessell) had prepared six different glasses, with one containing a phenobarbital solution which is most often used to euthanize animals quickly and painlessly. Since she believes the wilderness has to choose the sacrifice and not them, she devises a Russian roulette-style way of doing so. But before she downs one of the glasses, she’s stopped by the group. Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) says they should give it what they want the way they used to, via a hunt. Misty (Christina Ricci) says they’ll need masks and weapons, while Natalie (Juliette Lewis) makes a dig about needing a deck of cards with a single queen in it. Shauna then tells Lottie to make sure her people stay far away, and does this to give her and the other women a moment alone to figure out what to do with Lottie. Misty says, given her history, it wouldn’t be that difficult to get her committed to a psych ward again. Taissa (Tawny Cypress) agrees with this, saying that she’s a danger to herself and others, and they can just keep it calm and discreet. But Van (Lauren Ambrose) and Nat are the only two who aren’t on board. Van says it isn’t just about her mental illness, and that they all know what she went through out there because they went through it too. Natalie interjects by saying that they got over it, but Lottie thinks it’s talking to her again, and asks if they’ve forgotten where that leads.
Misty manages to find a prescription with Lottie’s doctor’s name on it but still continues to root around the place, even breaking into a locked closet where she finds a gun and a box filled with everyone’s phones. She hears footsteps approach and hides, but her phone buzzes, which only draws attention to her. Luckily, it’s only Walter (Elijah Wood), who has come to help her. Tai and Van are working on making masks, and Van tells her she doesn’t feel good about this plan. But Tai reminds her that Lottie is sick. Van however doesn’t agree and says that if Lottie is sick then so is Tai. She says they’ve all felt “it” in some way and suggests that they may be able to reach Lottie, but being in a psych ward won’t help her. She then says they’ll handle it themselves because they promised to protect each other. Taissa later calls the hospital and tells them that the psych team is no longer needed because they’ve calmed her down, and they’ll bring her in themselves. Natalie also shares a moment with Lisa (Nicole Maines) where she tells her something is happening that night and that she should leave while she still can. She tells her to get some regular clothes and go have a life, and then says: “I appreciate you trying to teach me forgiveness. It’s a nice idea.”
While this is going on, Callie (Sarah Desjardins) and Jeff (Warren Kole) have been driving to find Shauna — but when they pull up to Camp Green Pine they see purple people walking their way and immediately drive off, opting to find another way in. Behind them is another car that pulls up to the gate next, and it’s revealed to be Kevyn Tan (Alex Wyndham) and Matt Saracusa (John Paul Reynolds). The pair enter the camp at some point and Kevyn walks into the kitchen where Walter is singing as he stirs something on a stove. He fangirls upon finding out Kevyn is a real detective and offers him a cup of hot cocoa he’s just made. Walter says he knows why Kevyn is there, but it’s not just Shauna — there’s practically a coven of them all up to no good. As they’re talking, Jeff and Callie nearly run into them, so Jeff tells Callie to go find Shauna and let him handle this. He walks in and asks Kevyn to arrest him, claiming that he killed Adam Martin (Peter Gadiot) and that it was a crime of passion after finding out about the affair. But Kevyn never gets the chance to arrest him, because he suddenly drops to the floor, seemingly at random. As Jeff starts to panic, Walter simply says, “Phenobarbital.” He remarks that it’s crazy how fast acting it is before telling Jeff that he’s a friend and everything is going to be fine. He just needs help hiding the body.
Callie has been walking around looking for Shauna and bumps into Saracusa. She secretly has a gun — which she keeps behind her back, just in case — but before Saracusa can do anything, he gets a phone call. The call is from Kevyn, only it isn’t really him, Walter had recorded him talking and plays it over the phone, which naturally panics Saracusa, and he leaves Callie to go find Kevyn. Saracusa looks all around for him and eventually hears his phone ringing from inside the trunk of a car. He opens it, but before he can even do much as gasp, Walter runs up and takes his gun, shooting Kevyn’s already dead body. He says he’ll give Saracusa a choice, explaining that “When the police dig in, they’ll find a wealth of bank and phone evidence connecting your partner to not only the murder of Adam Martin, the investigation of which he was trying to impede, but also of political operative Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma).” Walter continues to blackmail: “You’ll be a real hero to the community, unless you’d rather those phone and bank records pointed to you.” This is the wrap-up to the season-long murder case of Adam and while it feels quite hollow, the bright side is that Shauna is no longer in danger of being caught.
Back to the ladies, everyone has gathered around the fire, awaiting Lottie, and when she finally comes out she’s jittery and seemingly manic. She sets down her knife and picks up a deck of cards, saying that it’s time. She shows off the Queen of Hearts card and then shuffles the deck. Shauna asks if she can shuffle the cards some more, wanting to buy time because she believes the medical team is on its way, as Tai and Van haven’t told anyone they called them off. Van offers to start, pulling the first card and tossing it in the fire after showing the team, and then passes the deck to Taissa, who asks her if this is what she wanted to happen. Lottie asks Taissa if she’s refusing the draw, saying that she knows what will happen if she does, and so Taissa pulls a card. Misty follows, then Shauna, then Natalie, and finally Lottie. But not a single one of them pulls the Queen of Hearts, which forces them to draw again until finally, Shauna pulls the dreaded card. Everyone puts on their masks — which shocks Shauna, as she didn’t think they were being serious. Lottie tells her she can submit, or she can run, and Shauna fires back, saying, “You’ve all lost your minds. There’s no it. It was just us.” Lottie chillingly replies, “Is there a difference?” Shauna then starts to walk off but is quickly chased through the woods by the women, a haunting parallel to the previous episode.
Their chase is cut short when Lottie is suddenly shot in the arm by Callie, who tells the rest of the group to get away from her mom. Lottie is stunned to see Shauna’s daughter and her entire demeanor changes. She tells everyone to listen, saying that “it” is here, that it’s still with them, and that it’s never left — and then tells Natalie she was always its favorite. This only angers Natalie, who raises her knife, but she’s interrupted by Lisa, who comes out of hiding with a gun of her own. She starts fearfully yelling at Natalie, and as she grows more and more erratic, Misty pulls out a syringe and charges toward her. In a brutal twist, Natalie jumps in front of Lisa, taking the Fentanyl-filled syringe to the chest.
We then flash to Natalie on a plane in some sort of twisted limbo, as everyone in the real world yells in panic. They can’t call anyone because they don’t have their phones, and Tai asks what they can do — to which Misty says they can’t do anything. It’s too late. Limbo Natalie is then visited by Javi, who tells her there’s nothing to be afraid of, but she says she’s not supposed to be here. The teen version of herself appears as well and tells her that this is exactly where they belong: “We’ve been here for years.” Natalie begins to cry, and a hand reaches out to touch her chest — it’s teenage Lottie. “It’s not evil. Just hungry. Like us. Just let it in.” So with one deep breath, Natalie does just that, and we say goodbye to a beloved fan-favorite.
When the ambulance and police arrive, it’s revealed that they believe Natalie to have died of an apparent drug overdose, which only makes the loss harder to stomach because she had finally turned over a new leaf in life. Walter tells Misty he’s taken care of the Adam situation, but she can’t so much as breathe a sigh of relief and instead crumbles in his arms after tearfully admitting, “I just killed my best friend.” Jeff and Callie reunite with Shauna, and he tells her that it’s going to be okay. Taissa and Van approach Lottie, who’s sitting in the back of an ambulance presumably destined to return to that hospital in Switzerland. Lottie hauntingly closes the present-day timeline by saying, “We gave it what it wanted. It is pleased with us. You’ll see.”