The countdown to the first season finale of Yellowjackets begins NOW. If you’re not caught up on all the episodes and my recaps, take the time to do so, because there are many spoilers below! Yesterday, I went on a mini tangent about Greek and Roman art and mythology so, you know, I’m obviously doing super well and not at all too far down the rabbithole of this show or anything!
But in all seriousness, one of my favorite parts of watching this show is talking to people about this show. My girlfriend and I talk about it, no exaggeration, every day. I’m in a group chat with two friends where we solely talk about the show. I’ve had complete strangers DM me their thoughts and theories (and I love it! Never stop!). I can’t wait to host the virtual watch party next week for A+ subscribers. In a different time, I’m certain I would have hosted actual weekly watch parties with my friends. But alas!
One of my favorite recurring conversations to have with people concerns the genre, world, and allegories of Yellowjackets. There’s no denying the show cobbles together a mix of genres, and I love that about it! But where exactly does it fall on the horror scale? Psychological? Paranormal? A mixture? And what is going on with some of the show’s stranger moments? Can Lottie see the future? Who is the eyeless man? What is “it” that Lottie keeps talking about? What was up with that red river and that spinning compass? Why did the wolves disappear so quickly? When and why are people hallucinating? Who the fuck is Adam?
And so, here I am to present both sides of a debate: Is “Yellowjackets” part paranormal or is it completely reality-based? I want to hear your thoughts, so come through in the comments!
The stranger things that happen on Yellowjackets could very well be…abstractions of real things. They’re metaphors come to life but still not literal. They’re mere manifestations and side effects of trauma. The human mind can conjure all sorts of stories and images, especially in extreme conditions. Real life contains coincidences. Real life contains unexplainable things.
There are plenty of things on the show that are spooky but not supernatural or impossible. Like the dead guy in the attic. Like the deck of cards missing its queens. Like the etching in the woods and in the cabin.
It did seem like Lottie was briefly possessed by a French ghost, but she does speak French (not well, according to Jackie, but still!). Have you ever been at a sleepover in suburban Virginia in approximately 2004 and someone pulled out a spirit board and you swear to this day that you weren’t pushing the planchette at all and everyone swore it then, too, but somehow it still moved and you also could FEEL A PRESENCE breathing on your neck the entire time because GUESS WHAT WEIRD AND UNEXPLAINABLE THINGS HAPPEN AT TEEN SLEEPOVERS OKAY and maybe this seance really was just an extreme, bloody version of something like THAT.
Couldn’t the eyeless man just be an imagined monster dreamed up by a tiny Taissa because her dying grandmother scared her? And couldn’t that carry into adulthood, especially if Taissa is experiencing intense bouts of sleepwalking and memory loss? Couldn’t all of the hallucinations and strangeness that the Yellowjackets experience be a result of trauma and hurt and their fractured lives?
I don’t know a lot about science, but I’m pretty sure Laura Lee’s teddy best spontaneously combusting can be explained? Couldn’t it have been the side of the plane that caught fire first and Laura Lee just perceived it as Leonard going up in flames? Isn’t the combustion chamber at the front of the plane, not far from the cockpit on a propeller plane (OK YEAH I LOOKED AT PLANE SPECS; I’M BASICALLY LAURA LEE NOW)?
The hardest things to explain away are Lottie’s visions. It really does seem like our girl can see the future. She has been right about too many specific things, like the “river of blood” and the “cloud of red smoke.” And even if Taissa was able to somewhat rationalize those natural phenomena, still: HOW WOULD LOTTIE KNOW? Her visions seem too accurate to be mere coincidences. But I’ve also seen it suggested that the dreams could be a mix of coincidence and subconscious absorptions of her surroundings. Maybe she saw the deer with bloody antlers because deep down, she knew something about deer shedding their antlers and her mind produced this image.
Here’s where my argument starts to break down, because yes I do think there are weird, impossible, surreal things happening on Yellowjackets, but I also think life contains infinite weird, impossible, surreal things. My sister and I share dreams even when we’re many miles apart, even when we haven’t recently spoken. And sure, I’m sure there is some sort of psychological explanation for it, but it still seems like real-life magic. I guess if the question is more concrete like is there a mythical monster or a ghost or a wicked curse pulling the strings on Yellowjackets, then no, it’s not that simple. But I do think the supernatural can sit inside reality. I do think the woods has a hold over the people it swallows up. Nature itself can be brutal, unrelenting, mysterious.
I like to think there’s real forces at play behind the bad shit that goes down on Yellowjackets: starvation, disorientation, trauma, fear, paranoia, panic. But those forces are so extreme, compounding each other to the point of creating otherworldly effects. Not exactly like Taissa, but I’ve experienced sleeping issues that have felt like a supernatural curse. Real people can be monsters. We can intuit things before they happen. These are possible impossibilities.
I guess this is all my way of saying: What do you think? What’s behind the mysteries of Yellowjackets? Do you believe in ghosts on this show? In monsters and in forces beyond worldly explanation?
The finale is coming. I want to hear all your theories and musings leading up to it!
Also don’t forget: I’m hosting a watch party for A+ members of the finale this weekend.