Scaachi Koul: Should we talk about the most important part first: How did we feel about everyone’s high school reunion looks?
Elamin Abdelmahmoud: With all due respect to Shauna’s new dress and Taissa’s catwalk, it was, in fact, Misty’s look that carried the day. I mean, what a way to say, I’ve moved on. I’ve become so much more than whatever it is you think of me. As for the finale delivering: personally, yes I think it did! But I am extremely on board with occult shit. I literally lose sleep over it. The little evil glance Tai gives as she is crowned the winner of the election, the cut to the head of the dog, the way it’s Misty and Van behind Lottie in the flashback scene as she gently sets the heart of the bear down? I am in. Did it work for you?
Shannon: The fucking head of the dog!!!! Horrifying and perfectly revealed.
I also loved Tai’s little glance. Her turning out to be seemingly evil was a really satisfying way to end the season, I think. We still have no idea why the hell girl’s eating dirt, but now we’re faced with the possibility that maybe Taissa isn’t possessed by something evil, but choosing to do wicked and torturous things. Or at the very least: She might not be the ally Shauna thinks she is.
One of the show’s greatest mysteries is whether the girls in the woods are spiraling into a death cult because they’re so severely traumatized, or they’re being haunted by sinister and potentially supernatural forces — or, what I feel is most likely after that finale, some combination of the two. Where do you guys currently land on the question of how much, if any, of the plot is driven by something magical or otherworldly?
Scaachi: Tai’s glance! I wonder if the show is setting her up to fully dissociate from how she’s behaving at night. It really didn’t seem, initially, that she knew that she, I dunno, ate that fucking dog.
I think it seems clear that the girls are indeed dealing with something supernatural here, even if a lot of it is being guided by Lottie, who turned out to be…a lot.
Here’s another question: Where is grown-up Van? AND WHERE IS GROWN-UP LOTTIE???
Elamin: Grown-up Lottie is running a cult of some sort with very cool matching outfits and necklaces, because if you really put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t achieve! OK, a big part of the fun of this show has been reading fan theories — from the plausible (“Adam is Javi???”) to the unhinged (“Jackie is a time traveler???”). But one theory that I dismissed out of hand in the middle of the season but now seems entirely in play after that finale is: When the girl dies in the woods at the start of the show, it’s not a flashback, but actually a flash-forward. The theory is that actually, Callie, Shauna’s daughter, has been taken in by people who are re-creating “what happened out there,” and maybe to commemorate eating Shauna’s first baby, they’re about to do it again? Anyway: My mind! It’s broken. I have to say I’m usually someone who does not indulge in fan theories in such an excessive way, but this show has drawn me completely into that universe.
Scaachi: It’s not Callie!!!!!! I rewatched the first episode after the finale, and it just really doesn’t look like Callie. Plus, Callie is very much alive, giving her parents disapproving looks because they clearly killed a dude or whatever.
I do love that this show is turning everyone into tinfoil hat wearers. I, for example, am convinced Tai ate the rest of the dog. You cannot prove me wrong. She ate that fucking dog.
The Misty of it all kind of remains a mystery to me (get it?). It’s clear she followed Lottie when they were in the woods, but is she not a disciple now? The girls would have good reason to be cautious with her, but they keep calling her to get out of jams.
Shannon: Misty remains my least favorite character, I think. Obviously Cristina Ricci is divine, but I want more. Why is she…the way that she is? I suppose we have any number of seasons left to find out!
As someone who’d have rather watched this story in a super-tight, thrilling miniseries — I have been enjoying it, but I’m not nearly as obsessed as a lot of the sleuths online — I hope this all doesn’t get dragged out for too long. There is still so much we don’t know.
But I’m glad we learned some pretty major things by this finale, namely: Lottie is the antler queen, yes? And she’s still alive in the present day, and probably killed Travis?!
Elamin, I think you’re totally spot-on that there’s another modern-day cult who are trying to re-create whatever happened out there in the woods. Presumably that’s where adult Natalie is getting dragged off to at the end.
Elamin: In many ways, I think this is the success of the show: It is so sick and yet so inviting for audiences to have any number of theories on what they just saw. I certainly did not guess that the “lady in the tree” would end up being Tai herself, and that scene disturbed me, but I took great joy in analyzing Tai’s kid’s drawings.
I think given how well Yellowjackets showed the deterioration of civility and cooperation between the people who crashed, there’s bound to be some people disappointed in the decision that it went Full Occult on us. Because there is already a lot to mine — what are their relationships like after they are found? Do they separate quickly, or does it happen over time? Did they ever play soccer again? All rich areas of plot exploration, now perhaps overshadowed by the presence of a powerful adult Lottie. Does the occult payoff work for you?
Scaachi: Honestly, I was kind of hoping there wasn’t an occult element to the show, or at least not as much as it’s clearly tipping toward in the finale. I thought it was interesting, the way the show was talking about trauma and how it manifests, and I was thinking that was the cause for these girls (and later, women) experiencing such strangeness and spookiness.
I wonder where those cult followers are taking poor Juliette Lewis, whom I love very much.
What do you guys think about the Travis thread? Are we just accepting that he did indeed kill himself? Or did Lottie (or one of her followers) empty his bank account, and why?
Shannon: I suspect our answers to those questions are still far away. I definitely don’t think Travis killed himself — too simple. For one wild moment when Natalie was clearing off her pictures of the crime scene, I thought maybe she did it. But now I guess it’s Lottie?
TBH, I’m still not sold on whether or not all this is gonna pay off in the end!! However far away “the end” is.
Scaachi: I did really enjoy the show when it dug into the politics of female friendship and how popularity might translate into a Lord of the Flies situation. Who’s behaved worse: Shauna or Jackie? (Other than Shauna almost eating Travis, or whatever.)
Alternatively, I feel like this show is giving mushrooms a bad name.
Also, wait! Who is the guy Jackie saw in the back room while she was freezing to death??? He’s in the intro to the show, but I always thought it was Coach!
Was the fake-journalist-in-the-basement subplot that necessary if she just…dies at the end?
Elamin: Excellent death, five syringes-in-cigarettes out of five, to be honest. I agree that her death rendered that whole subplot unnecessary, though maybe there’s room to elaborate on how she got involved in later seasons.
The Travis plotline is my biggest annoyance about the finale. Travis’s death is with us for much of the show: Who killed Travis, why did they do it (and in such an ornate fashion!), and why did they empty the bank account? Great questions to keep me entertained and coming back! But then you have the duty to answer them. They answered one: Lottie is behind the bank account (and, presumably, the murder). But why? Why!!!!!!!
The why of the thing is not a cute cliffhanger — it’s a crucial payoff to what you’ve been building all season, and to me, leaving that unanswered was a misstep.
Shannon: I hated the journalist-in-the-basement subplot! How useless for her to just die.
It’s almost criminal that we still barely know anything about what happened to Travis.
Scaachi: I really thought Jackie was going to somehow still be alive, mostly because of all those journal entries viewers and redditors realized listed stuff that happened after the date of the plane crash. Were those really just small production errors? The show feels pretty well crafted, I’m surprised that slipped in.
Elamin: What a profoundly unpleasant death! If I may bring up something more unpleasant: Her death had me wondering who will be the first person they eat. I know they just ate that bear and all, but winter is here, and she’s just frozen solid. You know, like a freezer. You know, where you keep meat you’ll eat in the future. Guys, I’m trying to ask: When the cannibalism comes, will Jackie be the first meal?
Shannon: Ooooh. Would make sense. I can’t believe she’s dead already!! I wonder what wilderness witch brought all that snow on. And why??
Scaachi: Any thoughts for what we might get in Season 2?
Elamin: Judging by Shauna’s baby bump, it has been about four months since the crash, and we’re already at “let’s get high on shrooms and attempt a murder.” They spent 19 months in the wilderness.
Shannon: Oh my god, there’s so much time left. We could be in for years of this. It better all be worth it!!! ●