The 'Yellowjackets' Finale, Explained

The last episode of season one was a feast (pun intended) of gore and shocking reveals.

yellowjackets
(Image credit: Showtime)

If you, like me, woke up on this bitterly cold Sunday morning and thought—oh my God, I'm finally going to find out what happens in Yellowjackets—my friend, you're not alone. The season one finale of Showtime's Yellowjackets, titled "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi"—a Latin expression meaning a farewell to life and other earthly things—was a feast (pun intended) of gore and shocking reveals, and oftentimes both at once. Warning: This post contains spoilers from the Yellowjackets season one finale, as well as references to dying by suicide. Also, murder.

So, let's talk about it. But first, some background: Yellowjackets has already been renewed for a second season, having been initially pitched as a five-season series, a sort of all-female adaptation of Lord of the Flies. While some storylines were deftly wrapped up—Taissa is a state senator now! Jackie died of natural (ish) causes!—the finale ultimately provided more questions than answers, neatly setting up the show's much-anticipated next season.

Jackie died from hypothermia, feet away from the cabin.

The creators of Yellowjackets promised answers with the season 1 finale, and we certainly got that when it came to Jackie's fate. Critics had speculated wildly about whether Jackie was the figure in the first episode who died in a pit of spikes and was apparently eaten; whether Jackie had Travis' baby in the wilderness; or whether a very much alive Jackie would show up at the high school reunion.

The finale teased us into believing that the girls drugged Jackie and killed her, but that turned out to be a dream of Shauna's. When Shauna wakes up, however—hours after the bitter fight with Jackie in the cabin that saw Jackie storming out and trying, slightly pathetically, to build a fire to keep herself warm—she finds Jackie's body, curled up in a blanket, under a layer of snow. We can assume that Jackie died of hypothermia at some point in the night; Jackie is nothing if not stubborn, and we saw  her earlier shivering by the sad little fire, refusing to let herself re-enter the cabin.

The first snow of the season, in addition to killing Jackie, serves as a not-so-subtle metaphor. All of the more horrifying flashbacks that we've seen—the Antler Queen and her minions; the spiked pit; the body hung up, presumably to eat—take place in the snow, signaling that it's during the winter that shit really goes down. Until the snow fell, the girls (and token boys) were engaged in a kind of miserable, extended summer-camp situation, aside from the angry wolves and a blown-up plane, but the winter is when they're forced to embrace their more primal urges.

showtime

(Image credit: Showtime)

Taissa has a secret shrine. Also, she killed the family dog.

As Taissa finds out she won the state senate race, her wife, Simone, stumbles upon a more gruesome discovery. Deep in the basement of their family home, Taissa—or perhaps Sammy, but my money is on Taissa—has set up a macabre shrine to the wilderness gods that Lottie and Van, back in 1996-7, are becoming increasingly obsessed with. Taissa had told Simone that she'd accidentally allowed the family dog to run away, but said family dog is very much still with them—well, its head and heart, at least. (We also have Sammy's eyeless doll in there, just for good measure.) Taissa's present-day extracurricular activities, in addition to hiding out in trees and eating dirt, apparently include ritual sacrifice.

Lottie Matthews is still alive!

The Antler Queen—or at least the person who the show wants us to think is the Antler Queen, a.k.a. Lottie Matthews—is alive and well, people. Nat is in her motel room with a gun to her neck, seconds away from dying by suicide, when she gets a call from the rehab frenemy she's been blackmailing to look into Travis' back account. Turns out, it was Lottie who drained Travis' bank accounts after his death. We haven't seen much, if any, relationship between Lottie and Travis in the wilderness—except when she leads the girls into hunting him for meat, I suppose—so it's anyone's guess how they're connected now. 

The simple answer is that Lottie killed Travis, but why? It's been 25 years, for God's sake; what possible motive would she have to track down Travis, who has been off the grid for years, kill him, and steal his money? We saw from Lottie's background that she grew up with plenty of money, and Travis presumably wasn't well-off at the time of his death.

yellowjackets

(Image credit: Showtime)

Um, where is Javi?

This was only briefly touched on in the finale, but given all the fan theories about Javi, it's worth talking about. A reminder: We have no idea what happened to Javi, although a good portion of the internet believes he's Adam. (Clues to support that theory: Javi is a budding artist, Adam is an established one; Javi looks up to Shauna, Adam becomes her boyfriend.) 

In the season finale, we see that Travis looking frantically for his little brother, who went missing somewhere between the girls hunting Travis and Shauna and Jackie's fight. It's clear that nobody sleeping outdoors could have survived that first snow—Jackie is proof of that—so where the hell is Javi?

We finally see members of the Yellowjackets-inspired cult.

Perhaps the biggest mystery of the finale: Who are the people who kidnap Nat while wearing necklaces with the girl-on-a-hook symbol that underpins the season? We know that just about everybody in the present day wants to know what the Yellowjackets really did to survive in the wilderness, so are they there to demand answers? Or—more likely, perhaps—are they connected to the wilderness itself, to the dead man in the cabin's attic and the creation of the symbol? Whether they're cult members, supernatural believers, or rabid fans, they want answers from Nat, and judging by their aggressive handling of her, they're willing to stop at nothing to get them.

Watch Yellowjackets on Showtime.

Jenny Hollander
Jenny Hollander

Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless.