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Yellowjackets Theory: The Answer To The Antler Queen Lies In First Nation Mythology

A huge question has haunted Showtime's "Yellowjackets" since the beginning: who, actually, is the mysterious Antler Queen? 

The cannibalistic leader of the girls' soccer team has her grasp on many of the girls, including — unsurprisingly — Misty Quigley (Samantha Hanratty). But with her shrouded face, fans are chomping at the bit to uncover this murderous queen's identity. It may be fun to guess which girl will end up donning the crown, but the answer may be spookier than that.

The storyline of "Yellowjackets" has long been teetering toward the occult without actually dipping its toe in. We have seen seances and dead birds littering the cabin, but we have no idea what force rules the woods. The longer viewers go without an answer, the more that the identity of the Antler Queen is looking less and less like a "who" and more like a "what." There has been speculation of some sort of forest gods at work, and while nothing is confirmed at this time, it does appear very probable that there is some supernatural force at work here — and we need only look at the geography of the plane crash and the resonant themes to find an answer. 

Deep in the wilds of Canada, the myth of the wendigo has long been told by the people of the First Nation. What is this terrifying creature, and how does it connect to our starving girls? The mythical beast of Algonquin legend, pop culture, and social taboos holds the answer.

The wendigo is the result of cannibalism

Horror has long used the wendigo as inspiration on screen — from the film "Antlers" to the disturbing Stag Man in "Hannibal." There is no question about why this figure has been a stand-in for one of the most infamous fictional cannibals of all time: Hailing from the First Nations myth of Canada, the wendigo is a cautionary tale about the dangers of straying from your community ... and, well, cannabalism in general. 

According to legend, a person can become a wendigo (or be possessed by one) when starvation and cold drive them to eat human flesh. Once they have done this, they gain an insatiable hunger for more human meat, as they lose their humanity to the creature's bloodlust. In many depictions in pop culture, they often take on the appearance of a stag-like beast. NBC's "Hannibal" uses the visual of the horned beast to represent Hannibal Lecter's (Mads Mikkelsen) murder and cannibalism. "Antlers" takes a more direct approach to the wendigo by depicting a monstrous creature, almost completely comprised of bone and antlers.

With these details alone, the connection to "Yellowjackets" is clear. The plane crashed in the Canadian wilderness, perhaps close to where this tale originated. The soccer team only resorts to cannibalism once they are cold and desperate, with no other hopes for survival. In a world where Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) sees ghostly figures and Lottie (Courtney Eaton) can make bears come to heel, the threat of the wendigo is an easy leap to make. The conditions are ready for a ravenous spirit to take advantage of the high schoolers.

The wendigo's arrival is all Jackie's fault

Lottie may appear the obvious choice to be the Antler Queen, but at this point, this theory seems more like a red herring. The antler imagery surrounding the young girl has become so heavy-handed that it would be a letdown if she was the one creating a cannibalistic cult. Lottie is a much more interesting misdirect, distracting the audience from the evil lurking in the woods. Because the wendigo represents fears of being separated from the community, the Yellowjackets would be a prime target for such a spirit. Since they crashed, the team has been in conflict. Some blame Lottie for her insistence on praying to the trees, but her faith may just be harmless. Instead, the real danger is — of course — Jackie (Ella Purnell).

Jackie was never supposed to survive in the wilderness, but after she dies, she causes problems for the team one more time. The act of eating her flesh could have summoned a monster to prey on the lives of the remaining teammates. Thanks, Jackie. Now the girls are more vulnerable than ever, perfect for a spirit to take hold. A wendigo could possess one of the girls to encourage them to eat flesh. Or even more terrifying, replace one of them. As we never see the Antler Queen's face, who is to say that such a beast couldn't kill one of the girls and impersonate her, convincing the rest of the team to delve deeper into cannibalistic rituals?

Just because they escaped, doesn't mean it's over

For a group of people who have gone through a massive amount of trauma, the adult Yellowjackets are surprisingly well-adjusted. Taissa (Tawny Cypress) is coping by eating dirt, and Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) has the murder bug, but it could be worse, right? 

Maybe not. These so-called afflictions the women have may not be just the result of trauma. There could be a darker meaning to sleepwalking, addiction, and blood visions. The first red flag indicating a deeper problem was Travis' (Andres Soto) death. Season 2 reveals that he didn't die due to murder, but by his own hand. Convinced that they had brought some dark entity back from the woods, he wanted to be close to death, to see what they had brought back with them. And this was not the only instance of high strangeness.

After overdosing, Natalie (Juliette Lewis) too has a brush with some questionable presence. Seeing visions of death, perhaps something ugly like a First Nations spirit could have attached itself to Natalie ... or anyone else. With the added mystery of who exactly Javi's (Luciano Leroux) "friend" is in the wild, many signs point to a terrifying stag beast. Javi could be the first who consumed human flesh, for all we know. All in all, drinking some of Lottie's blood and praying to creepy symbols doesn't seem all that bad.