As the second season of Yellowjackets careens toward a wild finish, a simple declaration from an on-the-mend teen Lottie (Courtney Eaton) charts a path forward for the teammates still stranded in the Canadian Rockies in the show’s past timeline: “The wilderness chose who fed us. It’s already chosen who should lead us.”
While viewers have long theorized that Lottie is the group leader for the 19 months the team is stuck in the wilderness, it’s revealed she is actually referring to Natalie (Sophie Thatcher). In the previous episode, Natalie is spared from being hunted down and turned into the team’s most recent meal thanks to Javi (Luciano Leroux), who offers to help her find safety before falling through the ice of the frozen lake and drowning. The tragic turn of events is either a horrible coincidence or the result of some sort of supernatural intervention—and the Yellowjackets, with the exception of Coach Ben (Steven Krueger), certainly see it as the latter. According to them, the wilderness wants Natalie to live and lead.
But teen Natalie’s pseudo-coronation as the group’s new queen wasn’t the only surprise that the finale had up its sleeve. Titled “Storytelling,” the ninth episode of Yellowjackets season 2 also featured a too-tidy wrap-up of some loose ends, a shocking death, and a cliffhanger ending.
Closing the Adam Martin case
The finale brings all the major players in Yellowjackets‘ present-day timeline to Lottie’s (Simone Kessell) compound as Detective Kevyn Tan (Alex Wyndham) and his partner Matt (John Paul Reynolds) close in on Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Misty (Christina Ricci), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), and Natalie (Juliette Lewis), determined to catch them for the murder of Shauna’s former lover Adam (Peter Gadiot) and subsequent cover-up of the crime.
Luckily for the group, Walter (Elijah Wood) also shows up—just in time to help Misty and her friends get out of dodge. Posing as a member of Lottie’s cult, Walter slips Kevyn phenobarbital in a cup of hot cocoa, poisoning him. A darkly hilarious scene follows, as Kevyn drops dead just as Shauna’s husband Jeff (Warren Kole) delivers a false confession to Adam’s murder, in yet another attempt to save his wife. (Is Jeff the show’s true MVP?)
The ever-helpful (and suspiciously skilled in matters of murder) Walter lures Matt back to Kevyn’s car, where he has hidden Kevyn’s body in the trunk, along with his phone. As Matt unlocks the trunk to find the body, Walter runs up behind him, grabs his gun, and fires several times into the trunk, before presenting Matt with a choice. He can go along with a new narrative, spun up by Walter, that he shot Kevyn after uncovering his involvement in not only Adam’s murder, but also that of private detective Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma), who Misty memorably killed in season 1. Or, Walter can arrange the bank and phone records he has set up to frame Kevyn to point to Matt as the perpetrator. Matt—glory-hungry and decidedly not a good guy—goes with the first option.
Just like that, Walter takes care of the Yellowjackets’ involvement in two unsolved murders.
As Walter handles the police, the adult Yellowjackets are in a different part of Lottie’s compound, busy recreating their old, deadly rituals. Lottie is not doing well—as previous episodes revealed she is having visions again, and even hallucinated her psychiatrist as the Antler Queen in disguise. She has become convinced that they need to return to the Russian Roulette-esque ways of the wilderness, when they would draw from a deck of cards to determine who would be hunted and eaten, believing once again that they need to sacrifice one of their own to a supposed supernatural entity.
The others in the group separately agree that Lottie needs medical help, and pretend to go along with her idea while they plan a psychiatric intervention at the same time. But as they draw cards, just like they used to, things grow muddled. And when Shauna draws the dreaded queen of hearts, the game becomes all too real.
Lottie, Misty, Taissa, Natalie, and Van (Lauren Ambrose) don masks, grab weapons, and start to chase Shauna through the woods. But Shauna’s daughter, Callie (Sarah Desjardins), snaps them back to the present when she steps out from behind a tree and shoots Lottie in the arm. Taissa and Van reveal they have called off the psychiatric team, blaming the group as a whole for Lottie’s mental instability. Lottie, meanwhile, still insists the supernatural entity is with them. And then, another woman with a gun appears: Lisa (Nicole Maines), who lives on the compound and has bonded with Natalie, arrives to save Lottie.
As Natalie attempts to calm Lisa down, Misty takes the situation into her own hands. She charges at Lisa with a syringe of phenobarbital. Natalie shoves Lisa out of the way just as Misty is about to stab her, and Misty kills Natalie instead.
Natalie, who becomes the group’s leader in the 1990s timeline, meets her end in the present. As she dies, she has an out-of-body experience in an empty plane as visions of Javi, her younger self, and young Lottie appear. “It’s not evil. Just hungry, like us,” young Lottie says, indicating that Natalie believes she is finally being sacrificed to the wilderness. “Just let it in.”
Natalie’s story may be finished in the present timeline (Juliette Lewis will be missed!), but we still have much to learn about how she spent her time on top in the wilderness. Could it actually be Natalie who was the Antler Queen all along?
Going up in flames
A major character’s death may be a big enough note on which to end a finale, but back in the wilderness, there is another significant twist. After discovering Javi’s secret hideout in the previous episode, Coach Ben returns to camp to find the girls butchering Javi’s body. Horrified by witnessing them eat another person, he contemplates a box of matches sitting on a pile of wood outside the cabin.
In the episode’s final scene, teen Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) is writing in her journal as smoke suddenly filters into the cabin. A massive fire is blazing outside. Thanks to some quick thinking by Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), the girls escape with their lives—and some of their possessions—but lose the cabin to flames.
Without shelter from the cold or elements, the stakes for survival can only grow more dire for the team by the time season 3 begins.
Correction, May 30
The original version of this story misstated the name of the actor who plays teen Lottie. It is Courtney Eaton, not Charlotte Eaton.
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