Just when it seems Yellowjackets couldn’t get any more sinister than “Doomcoming,” the Season 1 finale proves otherwise.
Hungover and exhausted from their trippy, makeshift dance, Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), Lottie (Courtney Eaton) and the rest of the survivors awake to grapple with the violence of the night before. Shrugging off his near-death experience is Travis (Kevin Alves), who gives a concerned Nat (Sophie Thatcher) the cold shoulder and declares that he’s going to search for younger brother Javi, who seems to have gone missing amid the chaos of the previous evening.
In the present Misty (Christina Ricci) meets up with Nat (Juliette Lewis) to help Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) and Taissa (Tawny Cypress) get rid of Adam’s body. Misty, eerily calm at the site of Adam’s murder, walks her fellow survivors through the process of discarding the body, with Shauna taking up the responsibility of cutting Adam into pieces. Helping her is Nat who questions Adam’s involvement in the attempted blackmail and Travis’ murder. To save her own skin, and Jeff’s (Warren Kole), Shauna tells her friend that a search for a grand conspiracy behind Travis’ death might be futile. That the dark experiences of survival in the Canadian woods might be what drove Travis to ends his life. Once again touting her concerning knowledge of how to get away with murder, Misty explains that she’ll get rid of Adam’s identifiable limbs. She later hides the body parts in a former patient’s casket, which burns to ashes in a crematorium. Later that evening, Shauna, Taissa, Misty and Nat attend their high school’s 25-year reunion, where they’re obviously the center of attention.
Back in the past, the girls all confront Misty (Samantha Hanratty) about accidentally drugging them, until the bickering is interrupted by a bear roaming closely to the cabin. But Nat, Travis and the gun are nowhere to be found. Instead, Lottie carefully approaches the bear which then seems to present itself to for slaughter. With a full bear ready to skin and roast, Lottie once again delivers the prophecy she proclaimed the episode before.
When preparing the bear, the boiling tensions come to the surface with Van (Liv Hewson) revealing a vision from her near-death experience and Jackie (Ella Purnell) confronting Shauna about the events of the Doomcoming and her baby with Jeff. With any power dynamics before the crash now out the window, Shauna finally stands up to Jackie.
“The rest of us, we’re just extra’s in the movie of your f**king life,” she tells her supposed best friend. Shortly after, the girls exile Jackie from the cabin, forcing her to sleep outside.Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME
In the present Misty recalls the reunion to hostage Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma), who tells her kidnapper that “she’s a fixer that cleans up messes for the rich and powerful.” After Jessica floats some ideas of how Misty can gain national attention if she comes forward with her story of survival, she’s free to leave. At this point, viewers should expect that not all of Misty’s good deeds are of pure heart. As Jessica drives away from Misty’s, it becomes clear that she tampered with her cigarettes. She veers out of control and passes out behind the driver’s wheel. Elsewhere, Nat begins to accept Travis’ death and Shauna’s daughter Callie (Sarah Desjardins) grows suspicious when news about a missing Adam Martin interrupts election coverage. While Taissa’s learning that she’s won her race for New Jersey state senate, Simone (Rukiya Bernard) and Sammy (Aiden Stoxx) come home to grab some more stuff. Simone descends into the basement where she finds a disturbing alter comprised of Biscuit’s severed head and a mysterious body part built around the ominous symbol that appeared both in the cabin and at the site of Travis’ murder.
To keep the adrenaline going, the show goes back to Nat all alone in her apartment with a shotgun in hand. Just when she’s about to pull the trigger, strangers wearing amulets inscribed with the same symbol barge into her room. Suzie calls revealing what exactly she found when digging into Travis’ bank account.
“What the hell have you gotten me into? I did what you asked…I think someone’s following me. Who the f**k is Lottie Matthews?,” she demands.
Back in 1996, Nat catches up to Travis and they profess their love to each other. Shauna has yet another bad dream where Jackie’s back in the cabin but sees a resurrected Laura Lee and her dad. Disturbed by what she dreamt, Shauna rushes out the cabin to find Jackie dead and covered in snow. The ends with a scene viewers can chew on until the Showtime series returns for its sophomore season: Lottie, joined by Misty and Van, approaches a hollow tree trunk and offers up what looks to be the bear’s heart. She whispers a few indistinguishable words in French before the season’s final bone-chilling line.
“Now let the darkness set us free,” she prays.
Yellowjackets co-creators and showrunners Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson spoke to Deadline about the wild ride that was “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi”. They tease a “darker” and “weirder” Season 2, debunk certain speculations and more. Read the conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, below.
DEADLINE: “Doomcoming” was such an apt title for the previous episode because there certainly was lot if doom in the finale. Walk me through the process of coming up with this insane episode.
ASHLEY LYLE: A lot of it was sort of predetermined very early on in the process. I would say that of all the episodes, the finale tracked the most closely with our original plan so that was really satisfying to us. It always really helps when you’re telling a story to know where you’re going then to have the flexibility to let things change, and grow, and evolve, and deepen as you’re going about actually executing that story.
There were certain things that, for instance, Jackie’s death and the nature of Jackie’s death, that were actually in our original pitch for the show. We knew early on that we wanted there to be a high school reunion because it just felt so apt for the characters and the premise of the show. For a few certain things, we just knew that we had to answer a certain number of questions or else we would try the audience’s patience more than we wanted to.
DEADLINE: One of the big reveals is that Lottie is probably still alive. The feast in the pilot shows six survivors. Is it safe to say that she’s the sixth there?
NICKERSON: It’s safe to say that Lottie is still alive. I don’t think it’s really a spoiler to say that she will kind of figure prominently into season two.
LYLE: I don’t know we should assume that these survivors that we see at the feast are the only survivors.Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME
DEADLINE: What exactly is finally happening in Lottie’s final ritual?
NICKERSON: We’ll break it down as much as kind of we can. One of the things that we’re trying to explore in the show is this idea of the supernatural or the spiritual or the things that are beyond our understanding. What those things are or like what those things are sort of pointing to and what it would mean for them to be real.
Like a person who is possessed, there is a specific phenomenon of that, and there are multiple people who have experienced the same thing and there is an overlap in that kind of phenomenon. The subjective experience of it is, in a sense, objectively real. What is happening and what is the cause of that is obviously something that people kind of do interpret along a pretty wide range, calling it a genuine sort of like religious adjacent experience or some kind of psychotic break.
So, these are things that have, regardless of their origin, they have a life of their own. A lot of the supernatural – the thing that can be interpreted. To be quite frank, we in the writer’s room often have this debate about what these things are or could be and I think that there are different interpretations and I think the audience will have their different interpretations.
DEADLINE: You previously brought up Jackie’s fate. What is the larger symbolism behind her dying exiled in the snow?
LYLE: There’s certainly the symbolism aspect where if Jackie ultimately represents the societal structures that they become accustomed to, that they were socialized with back in the “civilized” world, that truly and definitively falling away is going to be very meaningful for these characters. On an emotional and person level, there is arguably a certain amount of complicity that not just Shauna but the entire team has in her death – this ultimately unavoidable tragedy.
What that means for our characters, how they feel about it and how they process the hand that they had in her death is something that felt important to us in terms of, their slow evolution or devolution, depending on how you’re looking at it, over the course of their time in the wilderness.
DEADLINE: Can we expect to see anymore of Ella as Jackie in season two, in flashbacks? Is Jackie for sure dead?
LYLE: It’s so funny to me watching how viewers and fans are reacting to the show and the strenuousness to which they will adhere to what they want to happen and the skepticism. I will say that in case there is any doubt, Jackie is very much dead in that scene. You’re not closed off to the possibility of seeing Ella in the future.
DEADLINE: It also seems that Shauna’s heart necklace has some kind of meaning, given that anyone else who’s worn it has met an unkind fate. What’s behind that?
NICKERSON: We definitely want the necklace to be a sort of bouncing ball that the audience is keeping an eye on. Like you should certainly keep your eye on it. The details and a lot of things that are threaded in are often kind of intentional. Sometimes the payoff of them will be sort of character-based or thematic as opposed to all of these pieces coming together in a final plot way.
LYLE: I think that one thing that we’re very interested in exploring and interrogating with this show is belief and what we believe in and how that shapes our world for you and how it shapes our actions, our behavior. There are a couple talismans in the show and I think that Jackie’s necklace is one of them and Van’s bone necklace. The bone necklace is really a talisman as well. Objects can hold meaning in a number of different ways, whether it is the meaning that we ascribe to them, the context in which you came into possession of an object, we care deeply for objects in our lives in many different ways and they mean different things to us, and so, that is something that we’re kind of playing with in terms of these things on the show.
DEADLINE: The finale had a pretty big moment for Taissa in that she wins the election, which coincides with the return of her alter ego. How might this manifest in her life as a politician, but also her life as a mother and a wife? Also rest in peace, Biscuit.
NICKERSON: Yeah. Poor Biscuit. That final shot of her seeing the win of the election seat to us was really about an epiphany on her part that there is a connection between this force or presence in the wilderness and this very surprising and sudden win in kind of the election. For her to sort of like grapple with and reckon with what that means for her career as a politician, as a person, will very much be something that we’ll be trying to sort of like explore in season two.
LYLE: I think that in terms of Sammy and Simone, Taissa cares for her family very deeply but has found that there’s this sort of growing disconnect and divide between the life that she wants to have and the person she actually is. I think that discomfort and that tension will continue to be something that she has to reckon with in the future.Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME
DEADLINE: Season one was already pretty graphic and intense. How might season two compare, considering the team’s survival in winter, the supernatural aspects and now the appearance of this mysterious cult that kidnaps Nat at the end?
NICKERSON: I think what the show always kind of aspires to do is continue to evolve and become more itself but also have a tremendous continuity with what came before. We are watching the emergence of a religiosity in ’96 and seeing the ramifications of that and the rebirth of that in the present day. I think that that kind of trajectory will continue to hopefully keep the show – you don’t have to completely start from scratch each season. Hopefully, this sort of the tone and the feel of the show will continue to become fuller and more itself.
DEADLINE: Given the reception of Yellowjackets, especially online, there’s probably incentive for you to kick things up a couple of notches for Season 2.
LYLE: When we first pitched the show, we said we wanted to make a show about the best and the worst that people are capable of. Ultimately, whenever you’re telling stories, you’re really trying to examine, and to some extent, interrogate yourself. I think that ideally this premise gives us a lot of room to really investigate that concept and to do it in a way that is hopefully really fun as opposed to kind of academic or overly intellectual.
I think that we’re just so excited to keep playing in this world. There are a lot of opportunities where we’re going and where we’ve been planning to go get darker and get weirder. We’ll likely get a lot more of both of those things but hopefully we can keep it fun.
NICKERSON: I do think it would be a good bet to say the show will grow in all the directions that Ashley was pointing to. I also know that that is not necessarily the point or the driver of kind of that expansion as much as it is being prepared to go where the show takes us. Our intention is not necessarily to be kind of provocative and surprising, but we try to not be hemmed in as we explore all the fun stuff that is in this stew that is Yellowjackets.