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Yellowjackets season 2 ending, explained

Yellowjackets has been a hit for Showtime, and the series has now moved to Paramount+ following the latter’s announcement to integrate programming. The thriller drama, inspired by real-life events like Donner Party and the Andes flight disaster of 1972, has drawn comparisons to other shows and movies like Lord of the Flies and The Wilds. The story about a high school girls’ soccer team that gets stuck in the wilderness when their plane crashes is terrifying enough. But the gruesome, traumatizing journey they go on has fans talking, especially now that the second season has ended in a fiery, death-fueled blaze.

The story is told in two timelines, during the ‘90s in the wilderness and 30 years later. It’s evident that none of the surviving women has truly reconciled what happened to them and the horrendous things they did while stranded. Despite their efforts to move on, something, or some force, continues to bring them back.

The girls in the wilderness

Misty holding Nat back on the ice in a scene from Yellowjackets.
Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

Season 2 picks up following the tragic loss of Jackie (Arcane‘s Ella Purnell), who froze to death after being left out in the cold. The girls are both trying to survive the frigid winter and dealing with the aftermath of her accidental death. Naturally, Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) is having the most trouble with having lost her best friend, spending days talking to Jackie’s frozen body. The most shocking moment, however, is when the ladies, worried for Shauna’s mental health, decide to burn Jackie’s body. A bank of snow falls from a tree onto it, thus refrigerating the fresh meat. Much to Coach Ben’s (Steve Krueger) horror, the ladies wake up, take this as a sign, and feast. There’s no going back now.

Meanwhile, Taissa’s (Scream 6‘s Jasmin Savoy Brown) sleepwalking continues to worsen. Van (Liv Hewson) literally loses sleep while trying to ensure that Taissa doesn’t hurt herself, or others. Taissa enters such a fugue state that she has no recollection of even eating Jackie’s body. Van begins to track “the other Taissa” and her movements and realizes they all occur in a pattern leading to the same odd symbol.

The teenage ladies running in the wilderness in a scene from Yellowjackets.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While Taissa struggles with her identity, she is soothed by Lottie (Courtney Eaton), who is becoming more and more powerful, convincing the others that she has some sort of sixth sense. They join her in a daily meditation circle. With little hope for survival, what have they got to lose? Their trust in her is further solidified when Javi (Luciano Leroux), who everyone but Lottie believed was dead, turns up alive.

Javi might be alive (for now), but the ladies are still plagued with death. There’s Crystal/Kristen (Nuha Jes Izman), who dies after accidentally falling off a mountain. Coach Ben almost dies by suicide until a distraught Misty pleads with him not to do it. In a heartbreaking episode, Shauna delivers her baby and believes him to be a healthy baby boy until she awakens to realize she had passed out and the baby didn’t survive. The most heart-wrenching death, however, is that of Javi. He falls through the ice and while Nat (Sophie Thatcher) struggles to help him, the girls pull her back and tell her it was meant to be. It chose him. They watch him flail and struggle to come above water, only to perish and become their next meal.

The present-day ladies

Callie and Shauna leaning against the car talking in a scene from Yellowjackets.
Colin Bentley | Showtime

While everything is going on with the young women back in the ‘90s, the parallel storyline is being told in the present day. The women were first brought together to help Shauna (The Last of Us‘ Melanie Lynskey) in her time of need after killing Adam (Peter Gadiot). And their lives continue to intersect.

After Taissa (Tawny Cypress) discovers the shrine she built in the basement while in a fugue state, she’s horrified with herself and realizes “the other Taissa” has returned. She hitchhikes to find Van (Lauren Ambrose), the only other person who knows what she’s going through.

Natalie (Juliette Lewis), it turns out, wasn’t kidnapped after all, but saved by one of Lottie’s (Simone Kessell) followers. Now out of the mental institution, Lottie runs a wellness center where she offers inner peace and enlightenment to troubled individuals. It’s a new version of the wilderness but with access to food, water, and creature comforts. Natalie is at first reluctant to fall for Lottie’s silliness. But after befriending a young woman named Lisa (Nicole Maines) who seems to be managing her depression beautifully, Nat begins to open up to the idea. Lottie, however, is also starting to hallucinate again, convinced that whatever they brought back from the wilderness needs to be “fed.”

Still believing Natalie to have been kidnapped, Misty (Wednesday‘s Christina Ricci) goes on the hunt for her friend, enlisting the help of a young man named Walter (Elijah Wood) who she befriends in a chat room for amateur detectives. Her motives are double-edged, as she knows Walter suspects something about Adam’s case and needs to keep him close to throw him off the scent.

The ladies arrive at Lottie's wellness center in a scene from Yellowjackets.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Speaking of Adam, the authorities are closing in on Shauna. If one good thing comes out of his murder, it’s that it brings Shauna and Jeff (Warren Kole) closer together. It also brings her closer to Callie (Sarah Desjardins), with who she opens up about what she did. Both Jeff and Callie have Shauna’s back, continuously lying to save her. Despite their efforts, which even include trying to fake an affair between Shauna and Jeff’s best friend Randy (Jeff Holman), Detective Kevyn’s (Alex Wyndham) gut instincts keep telling him that something isn’t right. It’s his job, and he has no choice but to pursue it.

The situation gets more complicated when Adam’s remains are discovered, a fact Shauna learns while at Lottie’s wellness center with the other ladies. While there, they try to come to terms with what’s happening in their lives, and what force is driving them. Lottie’s idea is that a sacrifice is needed, fueled by a vision she had of the Antler Queen. The only way to move on, she believes, is to give “it,” i.e. the wilderness, something. In her mind, it should be one of their lives.

How does Yellowjackets season 2 end?

The present day and teen Natalie sitting together on a plane looking at one another in a scene from Yellowjackets.
Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

The ladies prep for their ritualistic sacrifice, led by a card game whereby the one who pulls the Queen of Hearts is the chosen one. They decide to secretly call the hospital to report Lottie, but Taissa and Van call them off, unbeknownst to the others. Shauna pulls the card, and as she runs from the hunt, Callie turns up, wielding a gun to protect her mother. In the fracas when Lisa finds the ladies in the woods, Natalie tries to protect her from Misty and is killed by accident. In her final moments, she sees herself on the plane, talking with her younger self who tells her it’s OK, and this is the way it’s supposed to be.

Meanwhile, Walter has shown up at the center to help Misty and cool-headedly kills Kevyn who followed Jeff and Callie there. He enlists the baffled Jeff to help him get rid of the body. He then lures Kevyn’s partner Detective Matt Saracusa (John Reynolds) to him, blackmailing him with a clever plan. Saracusa is to tell the police that he uncovered Kevyn’s corruption and, in the confrontation, he wound up dead. Kevyn, as Walter suggests, is responsible for both the death of Adam Martin and that of reporter Jessica Roberts (Rekha Sharma). It turns out that Misty and Walter just might be the perfect, twisted pair.

Adult Lottie looking at someone in a scene from Yellowjackets.
Kailey Schwerman / Showtime

Despite being taken back to the mental institution, Lottie believes “it” is pleased with the ladies since they “gave it what it wanted.” While Shauna tries to plead with Lottie that there is no “it” and the “it” was just them, Lottie doesn’t disagree. “Is there a difference?” she asks.

The episode ends by flipping back to the past, when Shauna, while writing a journal entry, is distracted by the presence of smoke. She panics, waking the other ladies who see that the cabin is engulfed in flames. They break down the door and grab whatever supplies they can before exiting to watch their only shelter burn.

One person noticeably missing from the group, however, is Coach Ben. It’s heavily implied that he lit the fire (he was staring at some matches earlier and implored Nat to come to Javi’s hideaway with him because she was “not like those other girls”). Throughout the episodes, Coach Ben is seen doing nothing more than staring at the ladies from afar, clearly thinking they have completely lost their minds. Seeing them treat Javi’s body like a meal may have been the last straw. It’s almost a certainty that he burned the house down and escaped to safety in hopes they would all perish.

With Yellowjackets already renewed for a third season, fans are excited to see how the story progresses. How do they survive without shelter? Most concerning, can the ladies in present-day really move on from the new and resurfacing trauma, and the tragic loss of Natalie?

Yellowjackets season 2 is now streaming on Paramount+ 

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