Yellowjackets Season 2 Finale: Cheating Death


Image courtesy of Showtime

The Yellowjackets Season 2 finale has now come and gone and well, reactions are going to be mixed. There will be some who feel surprised by the twists. There will be others who take offense to certain narrative choices (and they won’t be wrong). In the ongoing supernatural vs trauma centric debate, people will have feelings on how the show tipped its hand in not only this episode, but the season as a whole. We’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory so if you haven’t seen the Yellowjackets Season 2 finale, entitled “Storytelling”, proceed with caution. You’ve been warned.

Setting the Table

In the Yellowjackets Season 2 finale, we had our 1996 plot line where the girls were dealing with Javi’s death, preparing to eat his body. Lottie was still recovering from her vicious beating at the hands of Shauna and Coach Ben was thinking these girls are crazy and not knowing if he wanted to live or die.

In the 2021 timeline, we have Shauna, Misty, Natalie, Van and Tai still at Lottie’s compound, debating on whether or not one of them needed to die to appease the wilderness that in the opinion of some still controls them. We also have Jeff and Callie still on their quest to free Shauna from her pending legal troubles.


The series has always dealt with themes of duality. On its most basic level, we see the same characters (for the most part) in two different time periods of their life. What happens in 1996 is often foreshadowing for what happens in 2021 and whether we wanted to see it or not, last week’s penultimate episode was heavily foreshadowing for what would happen in the finale.

Last week, we saw Natalie escape being the sacrifice the wilderness demanded, with young Javi being a last second replacement due to human intervention. This week, in the 2021 timeline, Lottie tells her friends that they need to finally give the wilderness what it wants, a sacrifice without interference. The women proceed to take to the deck of cards one more time and go into full ritual mode, masks and ominously large fire included.

The underlying tension here was that the women didn’t want to go along with Lottie. A plan was devised to have mental health professionals show up and intervene but Van called them off. She said that this wasn’t a mental health situation and that they could help Lottie here, so she had the crisis team called off.

To a degree, Van was right. They are the only people who can possibly understand what Lottie is thinking here. But what it looks like we’re seeing in 2021 is a repeat of 1996: Lottie is the first to embrace the unknown and then others follow. In 1996, Van was one of the first to embrace Lottie’s leaning into the unknown. Are we seeing history repeat itself? The implication here in the Yellowjackets Season 2 finale was that we were.

Lottie fully believed that the sacrifice needed to be made. In dramatic fashion, the women went around the circle drawing cards until Shauna drew the Queen of Hearts, signifying that she would be the one to die. As a viewer, this felt like a misdirection right away. With us seeing last week that Natalie was the one who was supposed to die back in the first ritual in 1996, it was easy to jump to the conclusion that she should be the one to die here, like the wilderness was finally claiming her.

We would see several storylines all converge into one here, with Shauna’s daughter stopping the women from stabbing her mother and Lisa showing up to protect Lottie. With Lisa pointing a gun at Natalie, Misty snuck up behind her, prepared to kill her to save Natalie. In a move that could be described as course correction, Natalie saved Lisa and took the lethal injection from Misty.

Natalie alone on the plane
Image courtesy of Showtime


Let’s pause here and get into the death of Natalie. From a narrative perspective, sure it makes sense. Natalie was the person designated to die during the “hunt” in 1996. You can call it the wilderness, you can call it the universe, the darkness or anything else you might want to but whatever that force is, if it truly exists, wanted Natalie dead from that moment and she just kept surviving.

Her death is tragic however and has implications. Starting with the cause of death being ruled a drug overdose, which is just cruel considering her past and her struggles. Her death will be remembered by few as the act of heroism that it was and known by many as a junkie going out the way they predicted she would. It doesn’t feel fair or right, especially considering Natalie’s journey this season towards healing.

Her death also closes the door on the chapter of the story involving her and Travis. I suppose there’s not much more left to that mystery, if you believe Lottie at least, but it doesn’t feel likely that their post returning home story will be fleshed out much more and as a viewer, I’m not sure how I feel about that. Also knowing that now Travis, Javi and Natalie all died tragic deaths just hits hard. It’s supposed to, but it sure does sting.

Natalie’s story was filled with guilt and pain. Not that the other women don’t embody these feelings, but Natalie was the representation of them. She didn’t hide her pain. Simply by looking at her in any given scene, we felt the guilt she had over her actions from the past. Her self destructive nature was a visual reminder of the pain these women carried with them. Moving forward, the show doesn’t have that. These feelings can be encapsulated in other ways, but Juliette Lewis emoted them without saying a word. Tonally, there will be a shift due to her departure.

Natalie with a painful, yet accepting look on her face
Image courtesy of Showtime

In her dying vision, Natalie saw Javi and her younger self, who expressed that they’ve been dead for a long time now, likely all the way back to Javi’s death. It’s interesting to note that Travis wasn’t part of this vision, but Javi was. This symbolizes that his death was truly the point of no return for her, despite the fact that the other girls called her their leader the day they devoured Javi’s dead body.

Looking at it like this, the death of Natalie feels slightly less cruel. She lived a hard life, full of pain. If she has been dead on the inside since that day, maybe it was time for her to be released from her own personal hell. Natalie was the pied piper this season, bringing all of the women together at Lottie’s compound. That wasn’t happenstance. That was for a reason. She also saved Lisa’s life, saving her from a life full of suffering the way she’s suffered since Javi died. We can put an asterisk next to Natalie’s death. This could be a straight shot to the end game of the story, with Natalie bringing out leads together and saving Lisa being a catalyst for future actions to come. Or it may not play out that way and her death might feel like it served less of a purpose. Only time will tell.


Personally, I’m glad the Adam Martin murder case seems to be wrapped up. Shauna dodging police in the 2021 storyline had run its course. I’m ready for Jeff (who has become my favorite character on the show) and Callie to be freed up from the police investigation too. Bringing Walter in to be the one to kill Kevyn was a nice touch and also reinforces that Walter should be sticking around. He’s been a good addition to the cast this season.

The decision to kill Kevyn and not Mullet Cop (that’s his name, let’s roll with it) was an important note. Killing Kevyn adds to the trauma for their high school class. Sure Kevyn wasn’t on the plane, but the pain extended to everyone their age and here’s someone else from their class dead. Plus, even though Mullet Cop has been temporarily silenced by Walter’s plan, let’s face it: He’s going to find a way to be a problem for our characters again.

Shauna prepares to dismember Javi
Image courtesy of Showtime

To me, one of the most powerful images in the Yellowjackets Season 2 finale was Shauna in 1996, preparing to carve up Javi. She didn’t want to do it. Taking on this role for her peers as the one who cuts people up to prevent her friends from starving to death isn’t an easy role to play. Shauna pulled her hat down to cover her eyes before she took the knife to Javi’s lifeless body and in that moment, you remembered that she is a child still. That closing her eyes could somehow make this better. It hurt to see that. It reminded you that while 2021 Shauna is cold and ruthless, it’s all because of what she went through here. And it should break your heart that a child is in this position.


There have long been comparisons between Yellowjackets and LOST and as as someone who has nearly 20 published essays on LOST, I’ve pushed back on those comparisons. Until now. Here in the Yellowjackets Season 2 finale, Lottie fully became this show’s version of John Locke, and whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.

Lottie, like Locke, was the first to believe that where their people mysteriously ended up was “special”—that there was something bigger happening. And both begin dictating their actions based upon these beliefs. Lottie gathered a following quickly in 1996 but here in “Storytelling”, we saw Lottie pronounce Natalie the new leader because the wilderness was no longer communicating with her.

At the beginning of this season, we saw that when the girls finally got home, Lottie was institutionalized. But with where we’re at in 2021, she’s starting to think that perhaps she wasn’t crazy but right all along. Was she though? Van tends to think so. The others, not so much. Seeing Lottie at the end of this season being taken away, treated as a crazy person again played into the season long theme that trauma is the core of our story and the supernatural elements are the side dish. Lottie ends this season very much believing that Natalie’s death appeased the wilderness and almost appears to be in a trance like state as she’s taken away. I’ll admit that I was hoping for Lottie to end the year in more of a position of strength, tipping the balance more to the supernatural but you can make an argument that Lottie was still in the right here. It just did a number on her to go back to this place mentally and spiritually.

The question with Lottie becomes: how is she treated moving forward? Was the wilderness truly done with her in 1996 like she thought? Was her purpose here in 2021 simply to organize a new hunt? Is she a tool used by whatever forces there may be or does she have a larger purpose to that force? Is she advancing the narrative so someone else can take over from here like John Locke, after starting off so strong, or is she the one to lead us where we need to go? Or are they simply traumatized women and seeing the old classmates she experienced all this pain with caused Lottie to break down?

Lottie looks defeated in the Yellowjackets S2 finale
Image courtesy of Showtime

Final Thoughts

The second season of a show that’s dealing with a mythology is hard. The first season is fresh and exciting but the second season has to create the pace. And the second season of Yellowjackets did feel uneven at times. The season finale didn’t quite provide a cliffhanger and in many ways, tied up a lot of loose ends. Even Coach Ben burning down the cabin in an attempt to kill the girls in their sleep provides a fresh start of sorts moving into the next season. (Insert mental image of Shauna carving up his body next season after Misty finds and kills him).

In some ways, the show feels like it rebooted here in the finale. The Natalie / Travis / Javi story is done, in 2021 at least. The cabin is burned down so the girls in 1996 have to start fresh, away from a place filled with painful memories. The blackmail story that lead to the Adam Martin story that’s run the course of the first two seasons is behind us. Lottie is once again going to be locked up. Where do we go from here?

Season 2 focused heavily on what traumatized these girls with subtle hints at a larger mythology behind it all. Where we go from here has to be exploring the darkness, the wilderness, the forces behind it all right? If Yellowjackets is being constructed like a book, we just finished our chapter devoted to the trauma of it all. In Season 3, it might be time to get weird.


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  1. Hey all! I’m sorry I was gone for this last recap – I was away for the weekend for personal reasons and Andrew was kind enough to take over in my absence. I’ll write up my own recap sometime later this week! Thanks so much for being readers. It means a lot 🙂

  2. wait why didn’t the person who usually does these review the finale?? was really looking forward to reading their thoughts:(

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Written by Andrew Grevas

25YL Media Founder

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