Yellowjackets Season 2 ending explained – Who is the Antler Queen?

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
Sophie Thatcher as Natalie in Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets Season 2 premiered its final episode this week, and we’re all really shocked by that ending. But what does it mean?

2021’s first season of Yellowjackets became a smash hit, with multiple Emmy nominations in 2022, and a greenlight for Season 2, which has now just premiered its final episode.

Fans had been waiting eagerly for said second season, which continues the story of a soccer team that was stranded in the wild for a year after a plane crash, and the ensuing trauma that lives on into their adulthood. Thankfully, the second season is easily living up to the first, bringing comedy, drama, and an intense feeling of dread.

This dread culminated in the final episode of this season, which answered some questions and left a lot open for the next season. So, what happened in the finale? Read on to find out, but first, Warning: Major Yellowjackets spoilers ahead!

The Yellowjackets go full cannibal in Episode 9

The final episode begins with the group cooking and eating Javi, who froze to death last episode. Some show more remorse than others. Van seemingly doesn’t care, but Lottie is reluctant, with Misty pushing her to eat Javi’s remains. “You started this, so you better not start making people feel bad about it now,” she says. Travis is, of course, heartbroken, but agrees to eat his brother in order to survive.

Coach Ben decides to leave the group at this point, heading to the burrow where Javi hid for most of the season. He asks Natalie to come with him, but she is wracked with survivor’s guilt at Javi’s death, and decides she belongs with the rest of the Yellowjackets.

Thankfully, no one else dies in the 90s timeline this episode, however the same can’t be said for the modern day storyline.

Who dies in the ending of Yellowjackets Season 2?

This finale isn’t without its carnage, and while there have been plenty of deaths so far this season, this ending brings some shocking final scenes for some characters.

For starters, there’s Kevyn Tan, the police detective tasked with figuring out who murdered Adam last season. The Yellowjackets, specifically Shauna, have been doing their best to avoid him all season. However, new character Walter gets involved, as he knows that Misty has something to do with it. He guides the police to where all the Yellowjackets are, that being Sunshine Honey, aka Lottie’s cult.

Kevyn meets Walter in the kitchen of the compound, where Walter offers him some hot cocoa. During this scene, Jeff arrives and tries to save Shauna by confessing to Adam’s murder. However, before Kevyn can do anything, he passes out, as Walter had put something in his drink. Walter and Jeff put Kevyn in the trunk of his police car, and when Detective Saracusa finds him, Walter grabs his gun, shoots Kevyn’s body multiple times, and then blackmails Saracusa into pretending that he himself killed Kevyn due to police corruption.

But the big death this season is older Natalie, who dies at the very end of the season. Like in Episode 8, the women draw cards, and whoever gets the Queen gets hunted. The Yellowjackets had initially planned to call mental health services on Lottie, who was going full Wilderness psychic again, and were simply using this pretend hunt to distract her. However, Van convinces Tai to call the services off, arguing that they won’t help her.

So, when Shauna picks the Queen card, and the others put on masks and start chasing her with knives, things begin to feel actually dangerous.

See, everyone starts getting caught up in this hunt. Natalie, Van, Tai, Misty, and Lottie all chase Shauna, but Callie shoots Lottie in the arm to defend her mom. Then, as the girls are bandaging Lottie up, Lisa, a member of Lottie’s cult, also comes in with a gun, as from her point of view, it seems like they’re all about to murder Lottie, as they’re all holding weapons.

This conflict escalates to the point where Misty goes to stab Lisa with a syringe filled with phenobarbital. However, Natalie, who still feels guilty about letting Javi die in her place, jumps in front of the needle to protect Lisa, and ends up dying in Misty’s arms. Misty doesn’t go to prison for it – they frame it as a drug overdose – but she is heartbroken after killing her “best friend.”

The modern timeline ends with all of the Yellowjackets and their families looking on in regret as Natalie’s body is carted away. But, according to visions that Natalie has of herself on a plane, along with visions of her younger self and Lottie, she at least dies with a feeling of peace.

Who is the Antler queen?

According to the ending of Yellowjackets Season 2, the Antler Queen could be Natalie, but this isn’t made official.

A big question mark for the show is the truth about the supernatural Darkness in the Wilderness. While it still hasn’t been revealed whether or not this Darkness is real – adult Lottie adamantly claims that it is, and states that Natalie’s death satisfied it – we do know one thing now. It’s not malicious; it’s hungry, just like the Yellowjackets.

Not only that, but in the 90s timeline, it’s revealed that Lottie isn’t the leader of this Darkness, she is simply a messenger. After the group eat Javi, Lottie explains how an actual leader has been chosen for the Yellowjackets. And surprisingly, she points to Natalie.

See, Natalie doesn’t bow to peer pressure, she’s a good hunter, and even Coach Ben states that she’s different from the rest of them. This could make her prime leader material, but what pushes Lottie to this descision is the fact that Natalie is still alive. Despite them all trying to kill her, the Wilderness protected her, killing Javi in her place. Because of this, she is set to be their leader, and she, along with everyone else, accepts this new title.

Ultimately, this could hint that she is the Antler Queen, which has been one of the major mysteries since the very beginning of the show. Some have theorised that the Queen isn’t a fixed person, and could either be the person the group plans to sacrifice, or some kind of Dark entity. But obviously this lineage had to start somewhere – the Queen card could equal Antler Queen – and the position could change according to the adult storyline…

How does the ending set up next season?

If we believe that Natalie is the Antler Queen of the past, the modern timeline could be setting up that Shauna is next in line. We see a parallel here: like Natalie, who had Javi die in her place after cards were drawn, Shauna was the one to draw the Queen here, but Natalie died instead. The Wilderness chose to spare Shauna, and in turn perhaps chose her as the group’s new leader.

However, this isn’t necessarily a win for Shauna. Natalie admitted back in Season 1 that the Wilderness gave her a sense of purpose, which we can now assume was due to her position as a leader. But this then led her to deep drug abuse and suicidal tendencies in the modern day, so who knows how this could all effect Shauna should she follow that same path.

The finale ends in a blaze of glory, literally. The girls and Travis sleep in their beds, as Shauna contemplates why she wasn’t picked as the leader in her diary – foreshadowing, anyone? However, she then realises that the cabin has sporadically caught on fire, similarly to Laura Lee’s teddy bear last season. The group all manage to grab their things and escape through stuck doors unscathed, but now they can do nothing but watch their home burn down in front of them.

Coach Ben in gone – though suspiciously enough the last time we see him he’s grabbing some matches and looking on in resigned horror as Natalie accepts her place as leader – so the group is left without shelter, or any adult supervision. This seems prime fodder for the girls going full savage, like how they are in the pit girl scenes. It’s astounding how none of them have actually murdered anyone yet. But that’s all yet to come.

As Season 2 draws to its ending, we are still left with many a burning question, be it the official identity of the Antler Queen, or if anyone did find Crystal’s body. Considering how many people have died so far in the adult storyline, it’ll be hard for the Yellowjackets to evade the law for much longer. But that’ll all have to wait for Season 3.

Yellowjackets Season 1 and 2 are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, which you can sign up for here.

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