Season 1 of Yellowjackets starts not simply with a bang, but with an antler-wearing, throat-slitting, trap-setting, howling, cannibalizing cult. Of all the body horror headed our way throughout the first 10 episodes of Yellowjackets—the dreams of rotisserie-chicken babies and visions of land-use lawyers in business-casual blouses chowing down on dirt, plus all the bear stabbings, Biscuit beheadings, maggot munching, berry boozing, and nonconsensual leg cauterizing—the series debuted its most brutal imagery right at the top. But the image of a teenage girl running for her life through the snowy woods only to suddenly fall through a trap and be impaled on a series of sharp sticks left there by other teenage girls isn’t just terrifying in a vacuum—it is the genesis of the series’ most horrifying and central questions.
Yellowjackets’ most enticing mysteries don’t hinge on whether these girls became cannibals after being stranded by a plane crash in the Canadian Rockies—“Did you, or did you not, eat the goalie?” is a pretty simple yes or no question—but on how the girls reached the feral point we find them at in the premiere: the point of Antler Queens, tribal hierarchies, ritualistic hunts, and teammates trapped, killed, strung up, drained, and eaten with bare hands. Yellowjackets starts with a question, and that simple question snakes its way throughout the next 10 episodes, spawning sub-questions, paranoia, conspiracy theories, and whole new timelines in which we can wonder what the hell is going on.
Was it supernatural? Was it a trauma response? Or was it some perfect hormonal teenage cocktail of the two? “There’s a solution for everything, an explanation for everything,” Taissa, one of the more logical de facto leaders of the Yellowjackets, declares in the woods when Lottie—the more clairvoyant and occasionally French Canadian–possessed de facto leader of the Yellowjackets—starts correctly predicting rivers of blood and handing out protective amulets. Sure, by the end of Season 1, the logical Taissa is in a position where she must explain why there’s a shrine of a dead dog and a mutilated baby doll in the crawl space of her basement, but to an extent, she’s still right. Over the course of 10 episodes, series creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson deliver answers to many of Season 1’s most curious mysteries: Lottie is the Antler Queen, Jeff was behind the blackmail scheme, Adam was just some guy who had the unfortunately timed hots for Shauna, Jackie dies from the cold, and a sleepwalking Taissa is the lady in the tree, freaking out her own son.
But in Yellowjackets, for each explanation we get, five more mysteries spawn. They span multiple timelines and offer countless opportunities to fracture off into delusion because we’re viewing this reality through the same distrustful, paranoid lens as the traumatized teenage girls who introduced us to it at their lowest (or, as certain Antler Queens may say, highest) moment. “All this time, you’ve been looking for some bigger conspiracy,” Shauna says as she scolds present-day Natalie when she’s unsatisfied by the reveal that it was Shauna’s lover blackmailing them and not some larger cabal responsible for Travis’s death. “But what if the truth is that we’re all just fucked in the head from what happened to us, and you’re searching for answers that don’t exist?”
Of course, Shauna is lying to Natalie at this moment. She’s actively chopping up the body of a man she killed because she thought he was blackmailing her former teammates, when it was, in fact, her own husband. And now, she’s covering up that familial oopsie by gaslighting Natalie into believing that the mystery has been solved, and the questions she’s been asking are nothing more than a conspiracy theory. So how can viewers be expected to know which questions we’re asking have an overly logical, Taissa-like explanation and which are just classic cases of Natalie-level head-fuckery?
We can’t. At least not until the series finale a few years down the road. But the fun of Yellowjackets isn’t just in the slow, bloody reveal of answers—it’s also in the asking. So, heading into Season 2, here are all the lingering questions that haven’t yet been answered in Season 1 and the other 200-plus questions they’ve spawned.
Who is Pit Girl?
What we know: She’s not Jackie, because Jackie died at the end of Season 1.
What we don’t know: If it’s not Jackie, then why is Pit Girl wearing Jackie’s golden heart necklace? Did Jackie die in her necklace after Shauna gave it back to her? Will someone take it off her body? Is that someone Shauna? Is Jackie’s necklace the opposite of Van’s bone totem necklace? Is it cursed to get you killed by your hungry teammates? If Pit Girl is a Yellowjacket, why doesn’t she really look like any of the Yellowjackets we’ve met? Could she be Mari? Could she be another brunette teenager we haven’t met yet? Is there a world where there’s an Antler Queen other than Lottie, making Lottie—the only other long-haired brunette—Pit Girl? Do we have enough characters out in the woods who aren’t alive in the 2021 timeline to even provide a Pit Girl? Could Pit Girl be someone who didn’t arrive in the wilderness on the Yellowjackets’ plane? Could the flashbacks to the pit-related cannibalism actually be flash-forwards? Is Pit Girl Shauna’s kind-of-awful daughter, Callie? How would I feel about Callie getting eaten? Should I feel worse about it?
What will happen to Jackie’s body?
What we know: Jackie froze to death after fighting with Shauna and getting kicked out of the cabin during the unexpected first snow in the wilderness.
What we don’t know: What happened to that “influence” Coach Martinez was so excited about soccer captain Jackie having in the premiere? Is the wilderness really so resistant to the high school constructs of popularity that Jackie’s inability to start fires or make menstrual pads completely trumped her clear ability to plan a party? How did the other girls turn on Jackie so quickly? And how will their feelings toward her during her last day alive affect the way they experience her death? Will she be an easy first foray into cannibalism, given that she died of natural causes? Wait, did Jackie die of natural causes? Is it normal to go from being able to run around outside in spaghetti-strap homecoming dresses one night to being fully blanketed in snow the next night? Is the wilderness on its supernatural bullshit? Is the scene that prefaces the reveal that Jackie has not been invited back inside the cabin a dream sequence? Is it somehow a shared dream between Jackie and Shauna as Jackie is dying? If the man in the dream who tells Jackie “We’ve been waiting for you” is the same man who died in the cabin before the Yellowjackets’ arrival and has seemingly been haunting said cabin during the Yellowjackets’ stay, does that mean that Jackie can now haunt the cabin too? Does maybe-ghost Jackie want to haunt the other Yellowjackets from the increasingly crowded spectral plane of the wilderness? Can Jackie’s former love for Shauna outweigh Shauna’s betrayal in the afterlife? How much did Jackie love Shauna? Like … what kind of love? Do you see what I’m saying? Did you also see the way those two looked at each other? And how much did Shauna love Jackie? Enough to not eat her body when there’s still so much perfectly good magic bear meat available? Enough to keep the others from eating her too?
What happens to Shauna’s pregnancy?
What we know: Shauna conceived with Jeff the night before crashing in the woods on the way to nationals. Assuming the crash was sometime in May and the girls celebrate Doomcoming sometime around October, Shauna is probably in her second trimester at the end of Season 1’s 1996 story line. The present-day timeline takes place in 2021, which would make Shauna’s wilderness baby around 25 years old. Shauna’s daughter, Callie, is no older than 18 when we meet her.
What we don’t know: Does Shauna’s baby make it out of the woods? If not, does Shauna successfully terminate her pregnancy after failing to do so with Taissa’s help? Does she have a miscarriage? If the baby is born and does survive, where is that 25-year-old baby now? Why haven’t the present-day Yellowjacket survivors mentioned a wilderness baby? Is it possible the grown-up baby is with other Yellowjacket survivors we haven’t encountered in Season 1? Is the grown-up baby in maybe-Lottie’s maybe-cult? Speaking of Lottie, why did she touch Shauna’s pregnant belly and say, “We won’t be hungry much longer,” while everyone was on mushrooms? (Are mushrooms bad for babies?) Is there any chance—and I don’t want to have to ask this—that someone or something ate that baby? Is there any significance to the fact that teen Shauna tells teen Jeff, “If you come inside me, I will raise the baby out of spite and train it to become a killing machine that eventually hunts you down,” on the night they conceive? Will Shauna’s baby become a killing machine, searching book club after book club until they find Jeff?
What will happen to Coach Ben?
What we know: Coach Ben is gay, missing part of his leg, not great at safe-sex talks, and rapidly losing any amount of authority that being a few years older than these girls once granted him.
What we don’t know: How will the girls devolve into full cannibal cult status if there’s still an adult in the room? Does Coach Ben have to die for the scenes we see in the premiere to happen? How likely is it that Misty will kill Coach Ben in the wilderness after finding out he’s in love with his boyfriend, Paul, and not her? Are the two times Misty actively tried to poison him while believing he loved her a good sign or a bad sign for his survival? Is it better to be loved by Misty or scorned by Misty, homicide-wise? Did Coach Ben lose his last shred of authority when Laura Lee told him he couldn’t stop her from flying? Or was it Lottie ordering him to stay out of the dispute between Shauna and Jackie that landed Jackie outside in the snow? If Coach Ben couldn’t save Jackie, is there any way he can save himself? What are the odds that Coach Ben could survive the wilderness uneaten? At this point, would he rather just be eaten?
Where did the stick-figure symbol come from?
What we know: The first time we see the stick-figure symbol in the series is when Pit Girl is running through the woods, but the first time we see it in one of the timelines of the series is the day of the crash, etched into the tree that Coach Martinez ultimately falls out of. The last place we see it is etched onto the necklace of one of the cult members who kidnap Natalie.
What we don’t know: Who first carved this symbol in the woods? Was it the man who died in the cabin? Did he carve it in the floor of the attic where he died? Or did someone—or something—else carve it, and that’s why he died? Is it possible the symbol didn’t predate the girls’ arrival in the woods? Could one of them have carved the first etching in the tree where the plane crashed without anyone seeing? Did Lottie carve the symbol in the attic floor after she discovered the dead body up there? What does the symbol even mean? Why does the stick-figure girl have a hook leg when the only person in the woods with the potential to have a hook leg is not a girl, but Coach Ben? Or does the hook represent hanging upside down by a hook, like when Shauna drains an animal of its blood or when a ritualistic wilderness cult drains a brunette girl they captured? At what point did the girls notice this symbol was etched into every wooden surface in the wilderness, and when did they adopt it as their own? Who were the people wearing the symbol that abducted Natalie? Did anyone outside of the Yellowjackets (and journal-reading Jeff) know about the symbol? Exactly how long do you think it took Jeff to figure out how to draw that symbol on a Nokia keypad for his blackmail text?
What happened in that séance?
What we know: A very strong wind opened the window during Episode 5’s séance. Lottie said, “It wants, it wants, hungry,” in French and then slammed her head against the window, drew blood, and received an impressively long-lasting forehead scar.
What we don’t know: Why did Lottie do any of those things? Was she truly possessed by a spirit? Did Jackie want this séance to work for real, and that’s why she told Shauna to put the candles on the creepy wilderness symbols? Is Jackie trying to translate a dead person’s French through Lottie—who Jackie says sucks at French in one of the funniest moments of Season 1? If Lottie really was possessed, was it by the guy she found dead in the attic? The guy who was probably French Canadian? The guy who Natalie randomly mentions was missing fingers? That probably won’t come back up, right? Is possession by the cabin’s previous owner what makes Lottie (allegedly) more in tune with the wilderness after the séance? Or is it that she gives the blood she says “it” wants? What does the “or else” in “You must spill blood, or else” mean? Could this spirit be any more vague?
Are the woods magic?
What we know: At least one man has died in these woods, despite having a plane with a tank full of gas to get him out. At least one plane has crashed in these woods, stranding a group of teenage girls who ultimately—at least partially—turn to ritualistic cannibalism to survive (nay, thrive).
What we don’t know: Why does Lottie keep talking about the cabin guy and saying things like, “It didn’t want him to leave”? No, really, why does Lottie keep turning to pregnant Shauna and saying things like, “It’s in you already”? What is “it” Lottie? And why is it “in all of us”? But also, if most of the indications that the woods are supernatural come from Lottie, then is it necessary to believe that Lottie is supernatural to believe that the woods are independently scheming against the Yellowjackets? And do any of Lottie’s warnings explain why Laura Lee’s teddy bear seemed to light on fire as soon as she was airborne in the cabin guy’s plane? And not for nothing, but why does this cabin have a deck of cards with no queens and enough blankets and loose mattresses to accommodate an entire soccer team? Basically, why did the Yellowjackets’ plane crash in the first place, and do these woods have anything to do with it?
Is Taissa haunted?
What we know: In both the 1996 timeline and the 2021 timeline, Taissa is sleepwalking—well, really sleep-climbing trees and sleep-eating dirt—seemingly without any memory of what she does in her unconscious state.
What we don’t know: Why has Taissa been seeing visions of a man with no eyes since early childhood, and was his presence passed down to her by her grandmother? Will she pass his presence down to poor Sammy? Does the man with no eyes have anything to do with the various other supernatural elements the Yellowjackets experience in the woods, or is Taissa just exponentially haunted? Did the man with no eyes tell Taissa to take the eyes out of Sammy’s poor baby doll? And, hey, let’s get into it: Why does Taissa start eating dirt in the woods? Is it nutrition-deprivation-induced pica in 1996 and stress-induced pica in 2021? Why is she only inclined to eat dirt when she’s asleep? And why does she always end up climbing trees, where there is not necessarily a ton of dirt to eat? Is Taissa’s logical brain so stubborn that she can only do illogical things in her sleep? Does she truly have split personalities, whose actions are completely independent of each other? Is it possible that when Taissa wakes up in a tree clutching Van’s safety totem and comes down to find that Van is being attacked by wolves, she’s hallucinating the wolves, just as she hallucinates wolves outside of her house in the present-day timeline? Could that mean that Tai is actually the one who mutilated Van’s face with an axe? If we’ve mostly seen Tai come to while up in a tree or down on the ground eating dirt, when exactly did she make a shrine in her basement (as discovered by her poor wife) consisting of the stick-figure symbol, Sammy’s mutilated doll, her pet Biscuit’s severed head, and a heart that, frankly, looked a little to big to be Biscuit’s? And how does that shrine relate to the devilish smile that took hold of Taissa’s face when she found out she’d won her senate race in a surprise twist? Also, do adult Taissa’s eyes sometimes look red because Tawny Cypress has to wear colored contacts to match Jasmin Savoy Brown’s eyes … or because Taissa is occasionally super, super haunted?
What, exactly, is Shauna’s deal?
What we know: Shauna seems like a typical suburban mom with slightly less-haunted tendencies than, say, Taissa … but she is also constantly doing the strangest shit, and she’s a lot more secretive about it than the rest of her present-day Yellowjacket pals.
What we don’t know: Why is one of the very first things we see grown Shauna doing in the pilot masturbating in her daughter’s room while looking at a photo of her daughter’s boyfriend? Why does nothing like this ever happen again? What does it mean? Why does teen Shauna start sleeping with Jeff when she doesn’t seem to like him at all? Is she really as covetous of Jackie’s life as Jackie (and later, Jackie’s mom) says she is? Does she feel as sorry for Jackie as she says she does? Or is there something in between those two feelings that results in her coming back from the woods and marrying Jeff? On that note, can one man really be enough of a wife guy to hold up both sides of a marriage? Why is Shauna so bad at lying? Why is she even worse at hiding journals that hold literally all of her deepest, darkest secrets? Why does Shauna collect bunny figurines? Why does she seemingly get horny from killing a rabbit, butchering it, and feeding it to her unsuspecting family? Why does she seem so chill about killing Adam, a man she claimed to care about and who did nothing worse than quote Kurt Vonnegut in a hotel bar? Why does Shauna compulsively harm the people she cares about most? Is Shauna OK?
Is Misty casually a serial killer?
What we know: Misty deliberately destroyed the black box from the Yellowjackets’ plane because the woods were the only place she ever felt appreciated. Misty has made it her life’s work to cosplay the 1990 film Misery at all times.
What we don’t know: Is Misty truly a sociopath? Does the escalation of watching a rat drown in a pool as a child, to Munchausen-by-proxy-ing her wilderness crush (an adult man) as a teen, to kidnapping and then poisoning a woman she thinks is threatening people she believes are her friends indicate that the answer to that question is “yes”? Did Misty put fentanyl in Jessica Roberts’s cigarettes, and is Jessica Roberts dead as a result? If so, is this the first time Misty specifically murdered someone or the 15th time? Will Misty murder Coach Ben now that he’s been clear he doesn’t love her, or will she simply keep poisoning him and kicking his crutches out from under him? Why is Misty’s the only face we see during the pilot’s cannibal ritual? Why does Misty keep a rabbit-foot in her car and still eat beef jerky as a snack in the present-day timeline? Is Misty OK? Are other people OK around Misty? Who will take care of Misty’s bird, Caligula, if Misty gets kidnapped (cult-napped?) herself? If Misty is, in fact, involved with the kidnapping cult, will Caligula get a tiny jumpsuit?
What do the others owe Natalie?
What we know: Taissa paid for Natalie’s rehab (and maybe multiple rehab stints) because, as she tells Shauna, “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her, so I do what I can, not just for her, but for me.”
What we don’t know: Would Taissa and Shauna not be here without Natalie because Natalie kept them fed as the most skilled hunter in the woods? Or is it because of something else? Is Natalie part of the reason they were able to escape the woods? Is she a part of helping them escape the cannibalistic cult, either as prey or participants? Is Natalie a leader in the growing fracture between those who recognize Lottie as having some sort of gift and those who see Lottie’s ways as dangerous? And if so, why does Natalie seem most haunted by whatever they did out in those woods for 19 months? Can someone please hug Natalie?
Who killed Travis?
What we know: Travis survived 19 months in the woods and made it out alive. In the present-day timeline, he was found strung up on a crane, looking like he’d hanged himself. But Natalie believes he must have been murdered, because they promised one another they would never take their own lives.
What we don’t know: Do we trust Misty when she puts together the crime scene photos of Travis’s death and traces the outline of the stick figure from a few spots on the ground beneath him, despite it looking almost nothing like the stick figure before or after she outlines it? Do we trust Jessica Roberts as the original source of the information that Travis’s bank account was emptied the day after he died? If the answer is “no” to both, is it possible that Travis did kill himself, and the conspiracy is a red herring? If it’s “yes” to both, then was the cult that kidnapped Natalie trying to save her from killing herself or stop her from exposing who really killed Travis? And either way, what did Travis’s final note—“Tell Nat she was right”—mean? And who did he give the actual note to since we only ever saw the words in an imprint on his notepad?
What happened to Javi?
What we know: Javi disappeared the night of Doomcoming after a feral Shauna growled at him to “RUN.” By the end of Season 1, he still hasn’t returned to the cabin.
What we don’t know: Does Javi make it out of the woods alive? If so, why doesn’t anyone mention him when Travis is found dead? Could he have survived that snowy night alone when Jackie could not? If someone emptied Travis’s bank account after he died, could that person have been his younger brother, Javi? And if so, could Javi still be a faithful Lottie follower? What happened to that little wooden wolf Javi made in the woods? Has anyone checked the 2021 basement shrines?
How does Van keep surviving?
What we know: Van made it out of the burning plane after being stuck under her seat and abandoned by Jackie. Van escaped a wolf attack with nothing more than a few Magic Marker scars. Van seemingly comes back to life while her friends are, once again, trying to let her burn in a fire. Van was legitimately supposed to die in Season 1 (a few times), but the series creators couldn’t kill her off because they liked Liv Hewson’s performance so much.
What we don’t know: How is Van surviving all of these near-death experiences? Is it really because of the bone amulet Lottie gave her? Is it because she believes in Lottie’s powers? Because she believes in the powers of the woods? Did Misty’s Red Cross babysitting training not teach her to check for a pulse before DIY cremating someone? Or was Van legitimately dead when they lit her funeral pyre after the wolf attack and something brought her back? What does Van mean when she later tells Taissa about what she saw while she was in between life and death—that “Something was out there with us”? What happens between Van and Tai such that they both survive the woods but are no longer connected? Where is Van in the present-day timeline, and has she remained a faithful Lottie acolyte? Did Akilah eventually get accepted into a plastic surgeon residency on the sole basis of the incredible reconstructive work she did on Van’s gaping face wounds with nothing more than a needle, thread, Old Spice antiseptic, and a Girl Scout badge in sewing?
Who was Adam?
What we know: Adam really was just a younger man interested in having an affair with Shauna, and not a grown-up Javi, as the showrunners explicitly confirmed to Variety.
What we don’t know: OK, but was Adam really just some guy? Would a man with that swoopy of a haircut really not be regularly posting on Instagram or making shirtless TikToks of himself painting giant canvases to the tune of a Billie Eilish song? And why did Adam have such a distinctive back tattoo? Was it just a coincidence that the tattoo was a large mountain landscape? Is that mountain tattoo less because Adam was related to the Yellowjackets’ crash in some way and more because a distinctive back tattoo is an excellent way to identify a body and point back to the last person that body had an affair with? Is it a problem that Shauna’s daughter, Callie, knows what Adam looks like, knows that he’s missing, and knows that her mom could be connected? Will she narc? Will she try to blackmail Shauna again? Will she get a later curfew out of this? Will she get sent into the Canadian wilderness to be hunted by a cannibalistic cult for this? (Full circle, baby!)
Who—or what—the fuck is Lottie Matthews?
What we know: When the Yellowjackets crash in the woods, Lottie has a dwindling supply of Loxipene, a prescription medication for schizophrenia. In a flashback, we learn she was put on the medicine as a child because she was having hallucinations—y’know, like the one where she screamed bloody murder and saved her parents from a deadly car crash. As Lottie runs out of her meds, she begins to receive increasingly frequent visions and warnings about the wilderness surrounding them that often prove true. This seer ability puts her in a leadership position among the Yellowjackets, which comes with an antler headdress during the Doomcoming mushroom trip, suggesting that she is the Antler Queen we see leading the cannibalism ritual in the pilot. When Natalie is abducted by people wearing necklaces etched with the stick-figure symbol and signature cult jumpsuits, the woman she blackmailed into investigating Travis’s bank account activity is leaving her a frantic voicemail that ends with the words: “Who the fuck is Lottie Matthews?”
What we don’t know: Does Lottie Matthews have actual supernatural abilities? When she says, “We won’t be hungry for long,” and the next day is able to approach a bear, which basically bows down to her so she can stab it in the neck, what exactly does that suggest? Can Lottie see the future? Or can she say whatever she wants and then make it come true? If the expedition group had heeded her warning about the bloody river like everyone except Tai thought they should, would Van have escaped mutilation? Can Lottie only see warnings, or can she harness the wilderness in some way? Is the attempt to do the latter how Lottie’s unusual leadership abilities go from sort of predicting the future to coordinating ritualistic cannibal killings? Was the stick pit really necessary? At some point during Season 1, does it seem like Lottie gets taller?
I’m sorry, but I have some more quick questions before we move on to Season 2: Is popularity always about power, even in the woods? Especially in the woods? And does Lottie’s newfound power make it out of the woods and into 2021? Is she involved with the cult that kidnaps Natalie? Is she the leader of the cult that kidnaps Natalie? Is her family still private-plane rich, and does that help her become the Gwyneth Paltrow of antler-related wellness retreats? How does she know to put the bear’s heart in the tree-trunk altar, and also, where did that tree-trunk altar suddenly come from? When did Lottie’s wilderness translations go from “It wants, it wants” to the much more participatory “And let the darkness set us free”? Who the fuck is Lottie Matthews, and what the fuck is she capable of? How many of these questions can Season 2 of Yellowjackets address, which ones have no answers at all, and can the darkness really set us free?