There’s a kind of TV series that I like to think of as “mysterious symbol” shows—shows full of mixed-up timelines, secret identities, and enigmatic glyphs that pop up again and again. The 2000s had Lost; the 2010s had Westworld; and now there’s Yellowjackets, Showtime’s buzzy new drama, which is due to wrap up its first season next Sunday night. The series toggles between 1996 and the present, telling the story of a talented high school soccer team whose plane crashes in the wilderness en route to the nationals tournament. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, the survivors struggle against the elements and with each other. In the present, the now-adult Yellowjackets are still dealing with the fallout of their 19-month-long fight for their lives.
Like any respectable mysterious symbol show, Yellowjackets heads to the season finale with a lot of balls still up in the air. We talked to some of the series’ stars about a few of its biggest secrets—and it seems like they’re just as transfixed by the mystery as the rest of us. “We got the scripts last minute all the time, which was nice because it kind of kept us and our characters in the present,” Sophie Nélisse, who plays young Shauna, told Jezebel. “We have no idea where this is headed.”
Math class tells us that the smart-mouthed teenager living in 2021 Shauna’s house is very unlikely to be the baby she was pregnant with 25 years earlier. So what exactly happened to that first kid? Like the rest of us, Nélisse is still wondering: “I don’t even know what happens to her pregnancy,” she told Jezebel.
As 1996 Shauna is currently starving in the woods with a seriously disturbed alumna of the Red Cross babysitter training class as her OB-GYN, it seems like the odds are stacked against the fetus surviving. (But, notably, Van was able to survive being mauled and burned alive, so anything’s possible.) Then there are those dreams Shauna’s been having, in which she gives birth to a rotisserie chicken and instantly digs in to eat it. Are they going to… eat the baby? And speaking of—
Yellowjackets reeled us in with a promise of two things: some of the best actors of the ‘90s, and teenage cannibals. The show implies early on that the girls have eaten one of their own after trapping and killing and stringing her up like a deer, but it hasn’t actually confirmed what or whom is being eaten by whom.
The series has more than delivered on the Juliette Lewis-Melanie Lynskey-Christina Ricci front, but we still haven’t found out whether or not the Yellowjackets ever chowed down on people-meat. Samantha Hanratty, who plays young Misty, doesn’t know if we’ll be seeing her character indulging anytime soon. “I feel like it’s probably going to happen, but I have no idea,” she told Jezebel. “I am a vegan, so it would be Beyond Meat.”
At the end of episode eight, present-day Shauna is pretty convinced that Adam is the person who’s been blackmailing the surviving Yellowjackets. But it’s still no sure bet, and whether or not Adam was behind the menacing postcards, there are other pressing questions about his identity. One of the most popular theories is that Adam is Travis’ little brother Javi, all grown up. It makes a lot of sense, as both have a bond with Shauna and share an artistic bent. Then there was the whole business of Travis giving Javi their dad’s ring, which feels like something that’s going to pop up again before the season’s out.
One of the many very exciting things about Yellowjackets is that while we know the fates of some of the survivors of the 1996 crash—Shauna, Natalie, Taissa, Misty, Travis, and poor Laura Lee—there are many more whose post-crash lives are unknown and will presumably be revealed in time. We don’t know what’s become of Van, Lottie, Coach Ben, or again, Javi, but the show has strongly suggested that Jackie doesn’t make it out of the woods. So what happened to her?
Given her rapidly declining popularity, many fans think that Jackie could be the girl who was hunted down by the rest of the group in the season premiere. “There are a lot of things that we don’t even know the answers to,” said Jasmin Savoy Brown, who plays young Taissa. “Like, I do not know who the girl is that falls in the pit at the beginning of the season.” This doesn’t mean that there’s no chance we’ll find out before the season’s over, as Hanratty was the only member of the main cast to actually appear in the creepy ritual feast sequences. Stunt coordinators were apparently deployed in the animal skin getups, which means that even the show’s stars don’t know everything that went down out in the woods.
While the identity of the girl killed in the series opener is still a mystery, we also don’t know much more about the people who were behind her murder, thanks to the creepy improvised masks they donned while hunting her down. Presiding over the ritual was a figure sporting an antler headdress and some sort of mesh veil—a character that’s been dubbed the Antler Queen. The only person we’ve seen take off their murder mask was Misty, and she wasn’t wearing the antlers. Jackie was certainly the queen bee of the team before the crash, but her stock has fallen fast during the team’s time in the woods, so it seems unlikely that she’d be heading up the (cannibalistic?) feast. These days, one of the Yellowjackets most often tipped for Antler Queen status is Lottie, who’s either descending into psychosis or is a genuine clairvoyant and whose apparent tendency to predict the future is garnering her more and more respect amongst her teammates.
The actors couldn’t reveal too much, but they suggested that, in the proud tradition of its fellow “mysterious symbols” shows, Yellowjackets will solve some of its mysteries in the season finale, while still leaving plenty of intrigue for season two. “All I have to say is, there’s going to be some questions answered before season one is over,” said Hanratty. “And there’s going to be a lot of questions unanswered. And I think that there’s going to be a lot of mixed emotions coming up very soon.”