Showtime’s obsession-worthy Yellowjackets has been one of the best slow-burn series of this new year. Following both the traumatic events of a plane crash of teenage soccer players in 1996 and what the survivors are up to 25 years later, the show has been a fascinating, frightening, and wholly engrossing journey. With its Season 1 finale, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” (“thus passes the glory of the world,” thank you Google), the series answered a few questions, but predictably raised many more. Below are some of the key uncertainties haunting us as we wait for Season 2:
One of the most arresting moments from Yellowjackets was its very first: A barefoot girl runs desperately in the snow wearing only a slip, strange sounds echo in the woods around her, and ultimately she falls through a trap and is impaled. We never see her face, but there is an implication afterwards that the other survivors ritualistically carve her up and eat her.
The prevailing theory on the girl’s identity has always been Jackie. She was the first to really alienate herself from members of the group, her hair is the same as the girl in the opening scene, and most tellingly the girl who was impaled wore a heart necklace that Jackie showed off very early on. And yet, one of the biggest reveals in “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” is that Jackie died from exposure on a random night. (But she did not die a virgin!)
Now, you can argue that there’s a chance Jackie isn’t really dead, but I feel pretty confident not just because of the state of her blue, snow-buried body, but because of the scene prior to that where she dreamed of being warmed by the fire, sipping hot chocolate, and being greeted by Laura Lee and others who died there. (Anyone who knows the story of “The Little Match Girl” knows that freezing to death can apparently feel warm). If that’s true, then who is the sacrifice who gets eaten?
Based on hair alone, my guess is Mari. We know it’s not Lottie, who also has straight dark hair, because she is alive (see question #2) in the present timeline. But that also raises a lot of other questions about how the survivors get to that point, and why Mari (or whoever it ultimately is) gets chosen to run a gauntlet of death before being potentially cannibalized.
Another big bombshell revealed in “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” was the name of the person who emptied Travis’ bank account after his death, long suspected as being the person who also killed him. As Natalie’s bank contact confirmed in a voicemail, it’s Lottie!! Which raises a whole host of questions: The women surely know Lottie is alive, but what has she been up to? Why did they completely break ties with her?
At the end of the finale, we see teenage Lottie placing a heart at a shrine of sorts in the woods. This comes after both she stabbed a bear in the brain and prayed thanks to the dirt and the sky and whatever else. Lottie can’t be dismissed as losing her mind though; the show has continuously shown how her visions become reality, often in dark ways, and that she is vulnerable to possession by spirits. In the finale, she seems to be establishing a kind of religion around the forces at play in the forest, something both Van and Misty appear ready to accept and serve. We know Misty is often willing to go along with anything where she might feel included, so it’s surprising in a way that she wouldn’t still be close to Lottie after they returned home. Of course, Misty could very well be in contact with Lottie and even working with her currently; that chick contains multitudes.
Still, the initial question here looms largest: Did Lottie kill Travis? And more importantly, why?
Many of us were hoping that the high school reunion that took place in “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” might reveal a few more surprise survivors, but Yellowjackets is rarely a predictable show. The reunion was actually pretty tame (other than that glorious slow-mo power strut), and didn’t reveal anything new about the team or potential survivors. Instead, it was the last-minute voicemail message saying Lottie was alive that raised more questions about who might still be out there, what they are up to now, and why our core group of Taissa, Shauna, Natalie, and Misty don’t seem to have anything to do with them (again, Misty is a wild card but still).
Natalie, of course, did not get the voicemail about Lottie because she was busy being kidnapped by people who looked like The Guilty Remnant from The Leftovers. Are they connected to Lottie? Is she running a cult? Did she have Natalie kidnapped because she was too close to the truth about Lottie’s involvement with Travis’ death? Or does she want to explain? And again, why would Lottie kill Travis? How long will it take the other women to find Natalie, and will they recover her phone to get that telltale message? Nothing but questions here!!
With her tree climbing, midnight dirt eating, bloody fingernails, and her visions of the Man with No Eyes, Taissa has quietly been one of the scariest Yellowjackets. Though often the level-headed one in the teenage group and clearly a put-together figure in town, Taissa’s demons are legion. Not only has she traumatized her son with her nocturnal activities, now her wife Simone has uncovered yet another secret: a bloody shrine. Taissa claims that she sleep walks and doesn’t remember any of these things (she thinks she accidentally opened the door and let the dog out, but in the finale we see that she decapitated it and put its head and heart on a shrine table with other freaky offerings)—and this could well be true. But whether these actions are manifestations of trauma, evidence of possession, or a clear-headed decision to keep practicing the forest voodoo that the girls seem to have gotten into back in 1996 is unknown. However, the decision to cut back to Taissa’s calm and in-control smile when she won the election just after we witness Simone’s blood-curdling screams and shrine discovery was an editing choice that hardly seems accidental.
It always felt a little unlikely that Jessica Roberts (fixer, “journalist,” kidnapping victim) would have so easily convinced Misty to sell her story for fame, and that Misty would let her go from her chains (!) and abuse to ride off free into the sunset. Misty ain’t nobody’s fool, and she knows she messed up in kidnapping Jessica… she also knows how to dispose of a body in chillingly efficient terms. But why get messy with a murder when you could just poison a cigarette and have your victim die randomly on the road in their car with no evidence? I’m not completely sure that Jessica is dead, but what is Misty going to do, kidnap her again? Or is she just showing how she can control her? Regardless, Misty is a full trip and a half so who can know? If you come at Caligula you best not miss.
Readers, I am worried. Travis’ poor, traumatized younger brother took off from the campfire the night that he was dosed with psychedelics and witnessed the girls hunting and almost murdering his surviving family member in the forest. As if this child hasn’t been through enough!!
Javi was one of the leading candidates for the true identity of Adam in the current timeline, but as far as we know that’s not the case (Adam wasn’t really “Adam,” but he doesn’t seem to have actually been Javi, either). We don’t know if Javi survived the wilderness, but it seems unlikely. In all of their investigations into Travis’ death, including breaking into his house and finding out about his bank accounts, not one of the women ever mentioned Javi. One would think that if his brother had been murdered, someone would have reached out to him (or he would have found them).
In 1996, Javi’s whereabouts remain a key mystery. He never returned after the night of the Doomcoming, and in the finale we see Travis calling out for him frantically. Again, as far as we know, he did not coming back before the snowfall that killed Jackie. So where is he? And will the revelation of his whereabouts fracture the group even further?
Yellowjackets will return for Season 2, but not as soon as we’d like.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
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