Yellowjackets season 1 finale: Unraveling the ending’s big questions
“If someone’s digging, we are all fucked.” That was the pledge that originated from Shauna (played as an adult by Melanie Lynsky) at the end of very first episode of Showtime’s Yellowjackets. 10 weeks and a great deal of digging later on, we have — well, more concerns.
It needs to come as not a surprise that a secret box program with 5 seasons or two of plot prepared didn’t use much by method of description at the end of season 1. In a manner, the ending seemed like a verification of the program ending up being a “New Lost” — that it’d brazenly hoard its exposes the method the group needs to keep food for the winter season. We still understand really little about the situations of Travis’ death, or where the remainder of the Yellowjackets are, or what occurs to the child.
However when all is stated and done, Yellowjackets is more about the flight than it is the conclusion. Some huge concerns remain on, however the season likewise included some standout set pieces, and with season 2 verified fans (ideally) don’t need to fret excessive about responses coming (some day). Therefore we’re assessing that season ending and the concerns that will continue to haunt as we wait for the next installation.
[Ed. note: As you might have surmised, this post will be spoiling the end of the first season of Yellowjackets. Read on at your own peril.]
Zosha: Even with all the contrasts to other programs of its ilk, Yellowjackets felt particular versus the television landscape, the best bleak location to leave to, in the nick of time for the holiday. I don’t believe the writing was constantly the best, however it was plainly clever adequate to construct a secret that might stand up to some waiting time. So kicking us off: What shocked you most in the last episode of the season?
Joshua: This is going to sound unusual however … Taissa winning her election? Among the more fascinating aspects of Yellowjackets fandom is that the contemporary story is not as commonly talked about, not from what I’ve seen, a minimum of. It makes good sense: When you begin with a lot of teen women doing cannibal shit, that type of uses up all the oxygen in the space. However the majority of Yellowjackets hasn’t returned to that! A great deal of the program is smaller sized, individual things, and my surprise is where the contemporary Yellowjackets wind up — I type of presumed their lives would start breaking down, however Taissa is prospering (although independently things are not kosher) Shauna appears to be holding her household together in spite of eliminating a man, and Misty is … Misty. The someone who appears to be bearing the most is Nat, who is abducted minutes prior to trying suicide. We’ll get to the past in a minute, however I need to know: Where are you at with the contemporary things?
Zosha: The contemporary things is on the entire not my favorite. It has absolutely nothing to do with the starlets — they are all excellent, and draw out not just fascinating brand-new stress of their characters, however fascinating echoes of their past — however rather that I want absolutely nothing more than to see all the characters bouncing off each other. So while the 1996 Yellowjackets timeline provides the pledge of unusual creepy cult shit that causes cannibalism eventually, it’s likewise simply enjoyable enjoying the different factions kind and reform. For me, the present-day picked up speed in the back half of the season, once we got the reveal that Taissa was also “the bad one” in the tree that her son was seeing, and the remaining Yellowjackets came together to (try to) stop a blackmailer.
So I guess my biggest surprise from the finale is that we didn’t get any more of that! All season everyone I know has been fancasting the adult versions of the other surviving Yellowjackets, and I guess I really convinced myself that we’d see one of them at the reunion, considering how built up that was as an end of season event. (Despite Taissa and Shauna saying there was “still no sign of the others” for months in the pilot.) That being said, was it all worth it for the reveal that Lottie seems to be still alive and wielding more influence than ever? Maybe.
Joshua: I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly care for piecing together the mystery on shows like this. I’m in it for the ride. Stuff like Jeff saying “There wasn’t a book club?!” or an ill-advised seance deep in the woods. I think you are right though: The 1996 story is just packed with plot and character in a way that makes the present-day story feel a little slack in comparison. I like the focus on Shauna’s marriage, but it comes at the cost of the other present-day Yellowjackets, and any scenes of them interacting. Maybe this is by design: Perhaps next season will focus on Nat more, and so on. But none of it has had any momentum since Travis’ murder, and the show spending a whole season withholding who else may have survived feels coy in a way that’s unnecessary. Are you a big fan theory person though, Zosha? Who do you think is still alive?
Zosha: I am not usually a big fan theory person, and even with Yellowjackets I find myself not as all in on the puzzle box parts of the show as others. But the delight of a communal viewing show like Yellowjackets is that you suddenly find your brain is filling in things differently than the people around you — like how and when the group might fragment (or whittle down) in the woods, or who is still alive. We knew Jackie didn’t make it, but the revelation that she died because she stubbornly refused to sleep inside on the night a snow storm blew in (Coach Ben wyd man, you’re the adult) is neat: Eventually we know the Yellowjackets will be more intentional about who lives and who dies, but every loss is tragic at this moment. And this is the best way to make sure that Shauna really feels it.
But to answer your question, I am holding out hope that Van is alive. So far she is unkillable, and (maybe cult-indoctrination aside) I think I hope she didn’t come to the reunion because she’s living in some cabin in the woods, having found contentment unlike the rest of them. But so much of it ends up feeling kind of foolhardy; after all, we know that eight of them partake in a cannibalistic ceremony back near the crashed plane at some point during their time out there. Things got bleak! But I guess at this point the biggest mystery for me is the overall narrative that’s formed around them: The reunion reception was pretty rosy overall, but who else made it out? In what state were they discovered? How much does the general public know, and which parts are being kept to themselves?
Joshua: Yeah and this is the strength of the way Yellowjackets is telling its story: The walk to cannibalism is a slow one but it starts with stuff that’s already there! Like you, I think it’s very smart that it’s just a regular old falling out that results in Jackie’s death, and that the Doomcoming ultimately didn’t end with them killing anyone. They’re all capable of dreadful things, and it makes every step closer to what we saw in the premiere that much more horrifying. That said, I am curious about the decision to make its most sinister characters the two prominent nonwhite Yellowjackets — something that is only underlined by its overwhelming interest in white ’90s nostalgia. This ties into another tricky line Yellowjackets is walking — what’s going on with Lottie? I know the creators and actors are aware of some of this stuff, but how do you think it’s handling it all so far?
Zosha: Pretty much any plot line that deals with “is it supernatural or is it mental health?” skeeves me out. I think the success of Lottie’s storyline so far is that there isn’t a therapist in the narrative who tells her to ignore what turns out to be a very real supernatural entity; instead it’s the teammates sort of acquiescing in their own way to her just … being eerily right when she says things. Especially as they’re all weakened by hunger, trauma, and hopelessness, they might just feel like they need something a little more.
But as a friend put it to me recently: There’s not usually a ton of payoff in not telling your audience something just for the sake of hiding it! And as you say, the longer the show refuses to unravel the mystery the more the narratives calcify around what we know in unusual ways. It certainly seems like whatever cult (Lottie’s cult?) kidnapped Nat in the present is the one responsible for killing Travis. But we still don’t understand why, or what he thought she was right about (and it seems like Juliette Lewis has actually some thoughts about what we owe to Nat’s character, if only for her own sanity).
What’s the one thing that will haunt you until Yellowjackets season 2 premieres?
Joshua: That goddamn puppy head. What the fuck, man. (No but truly: Please keep the messed-up stuff coming, I love it.)
Zosha: For me it’s Nat’s bleached hair — the fact it hasn’t grown out after months in the woods appears like the strongest case up until now for some supernatural meddling.
You can now view all of season 1 of Yellowjackets on Showtime.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.