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The Ending Of Yellowjackets Season 1 Explained

This article contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of "Yellowjackets."

There's no denying the buzz surrounding "Yellowjackets" since the Showtime series debuted on November 14. The show, all about members of a championship high school female soccer team who survive a plane crash and wind up stranded in the Canadian wilderness, has already cultivated a rabid fanbase evidenced by the countless Reddit threads discussing the dark coming-of-age drama. News of "Yellowjackets," created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson ("Narcos"), being renewed for a second season, broke on December 16, one month ahead of the Season 1 finale (via The Hollywood Reporter).

The series unfolds through alternating timelines, jumping back and forth between the 1996 crash survivors and their 2021 adult counterparts: recovering drug addict Natalie (Juliette Lewis), bored housewife Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), ambitious politician Taissa (Tawny Cypress), and the sociopathic Misty (Christina Ricci). Trouble emerges from all sides, threatening to unearth the ugly truth about what happened during the 19 months the women and their teammates go missing.

Season 1 includes many plots and subplots, but a few key mysteries drive the narrative forward. Do Jackie's (Ella Purnell) teammates kill and eat her? Who's the creepy French guy who lives in the cabin before the girls? Who's threatening the present-day survivors? Who kills Travis (Kevin Alves)? Is there a supernatural presence in the woods? Is Adam who he claims to be? The finale solves some of these mysteries but introduces several more. We're here to break down the end of "Yellowjackets" Season 1.

The mystery surrounding Jackie's death in Yellowjackets is solved

In the finale of "Yellowjackets," a freezing Jackie believes she's being welcomed back into the fold, but encouraging words from Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) alert her that something is amiss. Also present is the "Hunter" (via Decider), presumably the dead man in the attic, who tells Jackie, "We've been waiting for you." Teen Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) awakens as if startled and discovers Jackie's frozen body. 

In an interview with Vulture, Purnell confirms the events unfolding are from Jackie's perspective. However, the show's executive producer Jonathan Lisco told Decider, "You realize that this is actually Shauna's dream from which she wakes to find Jackie dead." So is the dream a premonition of Jackie's sad demise or Jackie's transition into the afterlife? In an interview with Elle, Nickerson stated it's "open to interpretation."

Queen bee Jackie represents the old social hierarchy, and her death signifies the start of a new one. The least compelling character, Jackie redeems herself somewhat in the finale. She tries to get her teammates to accept responsibility for their actions while under the influence of psychedelic mushrooms. However, petty jealousies and drama overshadow her efforts, and she's shunned as a result. Her teammates' lack of empathy and mob mentality foreshadow what's to come.

Lottie rises to power

Of all the girls in "Yellowjackets" Season 1, Lottie's (Courtney Eaton) evolution is the most transformative. Prone to strange emotional outbursts and prophecies, she's either coddled or dismissed. It remains unclear if Lottie, who has been under psychiatric care and medicated for years, possesses real power or if she's just mentally unstable. In Episode 7, "No Compass," Van (Liv Hewson) offers Teen Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) examples of Lottie's intuition pre-crash, but they aren't compelling. However, Lottie's cryptic predictions continue to bear fruit, and when the bear lays down in front of Lottie, essentially offering itself as a sacrifice, it's hard to conjure up a reason that isn't supernatural.

During an interview on The Hollywood Reporter's "TV's Top 5" podcast, Nickerson said, "People have experiences that are beyond what we'd call normal reality. What exactly those experiences are is something you can debate ... What exactly is happening is as much about the character and the audience's belief system, however it may shift or change, as it is about what is actually happening" (via The Hollywood Reporter). Teen Lottie is the primary architect (so far) of a belief system based on sacrifice and rituals that promises to engulf the camp. Even the pragmatic Teen Taissa becomes a believer, most likely swayed because of her relationship with Van. In the finale's final moments, it's obvious Lottie has already supplanted Jackie as group leader.

The show has a big cult reveal and shows Taissa's alter ego

The finale of "Yellowjackets" reveals that Lottie is alive, and the belief system she subscribes to while stranded is also thriving, evidenced by the group of people clad in lavender wearing the symbol Teen Lottie finds carved into a tree. Lottie is the one responsible for closing Travis' bank account and is almost certainly in some way culpable for his death. The emergence of the cult raises a ton of interesting questions such as why would she murder Travis, what do they want with Natalie, and what is Lottie's endgame moving forward? During a conversation with Taissa, Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma) mentions that others are living "off the grid." Is Van still one of Lottie's acolytes?

Taissa eating dirt and hanging out in a tree outside her son's bedroom while sleepwalking is one thing. However, decapitating the family dog and building a shrine in the basement shows a side of Taissa that is something altogether more insidious. The sleepwalking Taissa and her conscious self aren't mutually exclusive after all. "A part of her is very aware that that altar exists. Her alter ego knows it keenly. She is repressing the knowledge of it, but she definitely knows about it," Lisco told Decider.

The show establishes in Episode 1 that Taissa will break a teammate's leg if it means winning, and that's before 19 months of trauma, murder, and mayhem. Now that she holds some legitimate power, is she beholden to Lottie, and what will Taissa do to keep it?

Yellowjackets highlights the legacy of Adam Martin

The prevailing fan theory among fans of "Yellowjackets" that Adam Martin (Peter Gadiot) is (or was) Javi Martinez (Luciano Leroux) was squashed by the show's creators (via The Hollywood Reporter). Why would Javi have books about the crash when he experienced it firsthand? What's most disturbing about Adam's story is how little the brutal slaying of her lover affects Shauna. As a woman who lives in a constant state of paranoia and distrust, she's able to justify her actions because she believes he betrays her on some level, even though he isn't the blackmailer. Adam's murder is simply a byproduct of Shauna's trauma.

"Yellowjackets" spends a lot of time exploring the effects of trauma and how each survivor processes it differently. Natalie gets it right when she tells Taissa and Shauna they are just as screwed up as she is, they just do a better job of hiding it. "There is no right or wrong way to experience or process or manifest traumatic experiences. We certainly tried to do some research; we want to be very respectful. Hopefully people feel that there's a truth, in some way, shape or form, to how we're presenting it on this show," Lyle told the Los Angeles Times.

Whether or not Shauna will face any consequences for her actions remains to be seen, but Javi's fate is still very much up in the air, as he's MIA in the finale.