Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears and your hearts. The second season of Yellowjackets is in the books, and good lord, this finale did not disappoint. Many moments in it felt like the writers and showrunners were taking a sledgehammer to the status quo, and they managed to pull off something wholly surprising and special. My anticipation was high for the already announced Season 3, but that's increased with that total shocker of an ending, and I need it as soon as possible (Studios, please pay your goddamn writers)! Shocking revelations, heartbreaking surprises, and jaw-dropping moments were on Yellowjackets' menu. Let's take a look at the final course they served up.
The finale opens up with the immediate aftermath of Javi's death. Travis is happy to see Nat alive, but this feeling is short-lived as he realizes Javi is dead, and the others march his hog-tied body back to the cabin. A distraught Nat explains the events transpired so quickly that no one could do anything once "it" chose him instead of her. Nat liked about Javi's death earlier in the season, and now she's the one to break it to Travis, fully making amends for past mistakes.
Jumping forward, we see the group still in the sharing shack. Lottie just proposed one of them drink a poisoned tea to appease "it" in hopes of solving their problems. The group suggests giving "it" an actual hunt like back in 1996 rather than a submission, but it's a ruse to quietly distract Lottie from doing something drastic in a crisis. They may not be stranded in the woods awaiting rescue, but old habits die hard, I guess.
Flashing back, we learn Lottie is healing from getting the bricks beat off of her by Shauna. It seems the sacrifice of Javi worked, and Misty informs her of this. Misty also tells Lottie that they're going to eat Javi so his body won't go to waste. Lottie is upset, and rightfully so, sure the group ate Jackie BBQ, but that was a spur-of-the-moment thing. This is the first time the group has taken part in premeditated cannibalism. Meanwhile, outside the cabin, Shauna and a few others begin to prepare Javi's body for butchering, but their history with him and the circumstances around it makes it hard to execute in practice. Van urges the other to leave Shauna alone, and she slices open his neck to let the blood drain from his body (a skill she'll use later in life).
Returning to Lottie's compound, Misty is snooping around Lottie's office. For what exactly? We don't know just yet. Just as she digs her cell phone out of a locked cabinet, she hears someone enter the room and decides to hide, but to her surprise, the mystery person is none other than Walter. He lets her know he's there to help and they share a happy moment as they're reunited. As the group prepares for "the hunt," we get brief glimpses of Van and Tai making masks as they discuss how the group always swore to protect each other no matter what, while Shauna makes a new Queen card to determine who the unlucky prey in tonight's hunt will be.
BUT! There's a wild card thrown into the mix as Jeff and Callie show up at Lottie's compound. Here in the car, Callie learns about the gun Shauna stole from her carjacker a few episodes back. After Jeff's slip-up about it, she discovers it's in the glove compartment. They decide to sneak into Lottie's compound, but Kevyn and his partner Matt have been trailing them the entire time. Every thread in Yellowjackets converges onto Lottie's compound, and the results can't be good.
Knowing that tonight's events can get a little dangerous (as they have in the past), Nat has a one-on-one moment with Lisa. Nat has learned a lot from her unexpected friend this season, and she tells her to leave. Not just for tonight but permanently. Nat begs Lisa to go live her life and leave everything else behind. Nat feels like Lisa was an important factor in saving her from herself, so she wants to return the favor. Let's be honest, things may get a bit more feral than expected.
Ben returns to the cabin and is surprised to see the butcher table near the meat shed has been used. Much to his horror, he quickly realizes it wasn't used for deer or bear meat but, instead, a human body. Nat approaches him, and he tells her he's discovered the tree Javi has been hiding in and asks Nat to leave the group behind to take shelter there with him. She breaks down and tells him about Javi dying in her place. Emphasizing that he's a good person who should leave the group behind, but she's right where she belongs.
Crossover of the century as Walter and Kevyn meet face to face in Lottie's kitchen. Walter is seemingly fascinated with finally meeting a real detective and offers him help in his investigation and a mug of hot cocoa. He mentions that all the Yellowjackets are currently on the compound. Their conversation is quickly interrupted as Jeff confronts Kevyn, falsely confessing to the murder of Adam Martin. Much to Kevyn's confusion, he passes out before he can arrest Jeff. Major plot twist: he's dead! It turns out Walter poisoned the cocoa and was serious about helping Misty and her former teammates. We love seeing men support the Yellowjackets in ways we don't expect!
Out in the woods, Ben takes shelter in Javi's tree, which has a cave beneath the roots. I can't help but feel he may come to regret this decision as earlier in the season, Javi mentioned some spooky stuff about his time away. I'm guessing we'll find out where this thread leads next season. Elsewhere, the girls are getting prepared for their feast when Shauna walks in with the world's most twisted meat board, Javi's remains arranged and on display. Convincing Travis that Javi wouldn't want his body wasted, she offers him his heart. Travis takes a big bloody RAW bite from it, and the rest get to cooking his other parts in one of Yellowjackets' most haunting scenes.
Using the only phone on the compound, Van and Tai call off the crisis team they set up for Lottie. Callie is frantically searching for Shauna in hopes of finding her before any harm can come to her. This is where she comes face to face with Matt. Tensions have risen since she found out he was a cop, and he's convinced that Shauna killed Adam. Not knowing she has a gun behind her back, he demands to see her hands until he gets a phone call from Kevyn. Unsure of the garbled message coming through, he sets off to find his partner, and we learn Walter is tricking him using clever phone technology to set him up. Callie is once again saved by the bell.
The moment we've all been waiting for finally happens as all the women gather around the fire to decide who will be the prey for the hunt. In a tense exchange, the group passes around the deck of cards, each drawing and making the pile smaller. It goes around a few times before the card is finally drawn by Shauna. The rest of the group don the masks and grab their knives to begin the hunt. Shauna confronts them, questioning if they're actually going through with this. She then drops the bombshell of a line: "There is no 'it'. Just us," to which Lottie chillingly responds, "Is there a difference?" This is a seriously loaded moment as it seems to imply there is no supernatural element to any of this and more likely a Folie à deux. Before the group can attack Shauna, Callie appears, shoots Lottie in the arm with her gun, and demands they let Shauna leave.
Elsewhere on the compound, Matt continues to call Kevyn's phone and notices the ringtone coming from the trunk of his car. There, Walter ambushes him and stages Kevyn as a corrupt cop Matt uncovered, placing Kevyn's death on him. In doing so, Matt will be hailed a hero, and Walter warns him to abandon his search for the truth about Adam Martin, or something will also happen to him. An inverse of the blackmailing in season 1, this time being used to get the Yellowjackets out of a bind. Matt agrees, much to Walter and Jeff's relief.
Lottie gains her strength in the cabin and finally goes downstairs to rejoin the group. The group is happy to see her strong again and starts to tell her how lost they were without her. This is where things begin to take an unexpected turn. She reveals that she never wanted to be in charge, nor can she hear the wilderness' voice anymore. With the group confused by this, she reveals to the group that Nat is, in fact, the wilderness' chosen one, as no matter what events have transpired, she always makes it out unscathed. Lottie pledges her loyalty to Nat, and the rest of the group follows suit. With this revelation can't help but wonder, was Nat the Antler Queen that we saw in the pilot episode all along? Everything I thought I knew about the past storyline has just been flipped on its head.
Hearing all the commotion at the compound, Lisa confronts the group with a rifle. As she questions Nat, Nat explains why she wanted her to leave. With the rifle pointed at Nat and the situation not diffusing anytime soon, Misty takes quick action and leaps at Lisa with a syringe of Phenobarbital solution (which explains what she was looking for in Lottie's office). After the resulting scuffle, Misty comes to the horrible realization that she accidentally injected it into Nat. The solution acts fast, and Nat succumbs to an overdose. As she's dying, she has one final vision of her on the airplane from 1996 with Javi by her side. She apologizes for what she's done, and her younger self appears next to her and tells her it's okay because they never really left the forest at all, acknowledging the trauma she carried with her all those years. She fades away.
The police arrive at the compound and discover Kevyn and Nat's bodies in seemingly unconnected events. Van and Taissa comfort Lottie as she's taken in by a crisis team promising her that she's going to get the help that she needs. Lottie assures them that the sacrifice of Nat was accepted and they'll see the results eventually, giving Van a look of assurance (could her late-stage cancer be cured as a result?). Walter finds Misty and is happy to tell her they need not worry about the Adam Martin situation anymore but finds her distraught as she laments, "I killed my best friend." You almost have to wonder if she's talking about Nat or taking accountability for what happened to Crystal in the past.
With the power dynamic shifted at the cabin, who knows what will happen next? Shauna begins writing about events that transpire in a journal (one from Season 1) as the entire group dynamic changes. In the middle of the night, she wakes up in a panic and smells something. The cabin is on fire! She frantically wakes everyone else up, and the group is put in a life-or-death situation as the door to the cabin is locked, and they can't escape. Acting fast, Taissa breaks down the door, and they all manage to escape unharmed but are now without shelter in the wilderness as they watch their cabin burn to the ground. What's the best way to get rid of Yellowjackets? Burn their hive.
And with that, Yellowjackets Season 2 comes to a close, and we go back into hibernation. So much happened in that episode alone that I feel like I have whiplash. What felt like a slow start to the season was eventually replaced with an overarching sense of dread as we knew something terrible would happen but were unsure as to what. The reveal of Nat as the Antler Queen was not something I had on my bingo card, but it's also fascinating to see her story in the present end, just as the past is ramping up. Who lit the cabin on fire? Was it Coach Ben? What happened to Crystal's body? Could she possibly still be alive? Ben told Nat where Javi's tree was, is he going to come to regret that decision? There are so many questions we haven't answered, but I can't help but feel satisfied with what went down this season. I'm honestly scared for season 3 because if season 2 taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected, and nobdy is safe.
Needle Drop of the Week - "Sad But True" by St. Vincent
This season's final needle drop honor goes to St. Vincent's hard-hitting Metallica cover. Originally recorded for Metallica's 1991 self-titled album, "Sad But True" was one of the band's heaviest songs due to the guitars and bass being down-tuned a full step from a guitar's standard tuning, producing a unique crunchy sound. St. Vincent, noted Metallica fan and modern-day guitar prodigy, re-recorded the song for a Metallica tribute album and gave it a haunting feel with her unique vocals coupled with the original's down tuning. Big fan of this one, folks!