“I appreciate you trying to teach me forgiveness. It’s a nice idea.”
We’re not sure about you, but we’re still working on forgiving the “Yellowjackets” showrunners for that gut-wrenching Season 2 finale. We’ll never listen to “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” the same way again, and it’s already been living in our heads rent-free since the finale aired.
Heavy is the head that wears the (Antler Queen) crown. Sometimes, it’s a little too heavy to bear, as we saw with Natalie Scattorcio (Juliette Lewis). Our resident rebel, huntress extraordinaire, and the moral compass of the wilderness timeline met her end at the hands of her biggest supporter in a tragically ironic twist of fate (Will Misty [Christina Ricci] ever forgive herself? A topic for another day!). What struck us most, though, was seeing the parallels in Natalie's rise and fall, all in the same episode.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of, you know,” Javi (Luciano Leroux) tells Nat in her final moments. How incredibly heartbreaking it was to see that she never managed to forgive herself for allowing Javi to die in her place. This, combined with a vision of her teenage self (Sophie Thatcher), saying this is exactly where she belongs, that she’s been there for years, hit us right in the heart like one of Nat's gunshots.
It’s clear that Natalie remained haunted by what the Yellowjackets did out there over 25 years ago. In fact, it's Natalie’s guilt over Javi’s death all those years ago that drives her to make that fateful decision decades later to step in between Misty and Lisa, essentially sacrificing herself. She’s not about to let another innocent person die on her watch.
As we see the events surrounding Natalie’s death unfold in the present day, we simultaneously see her rise to power in the teen timeline. Yes, that’s right, folks: It appears as if Natalie may be the mysterious Antler Queen that we see in charge in the pilot episode. Now, Natalie’s character arc and story begin to make perfect sense to us. She accepts the role willingly and graciously, even knowing she’ll have to do unspeakable things in order to keep her friends alive.
Long May She Reign
It’ll be interesting to see the shift in power and the group dynamic with Natalie at the helm of their wilderness ship. As we saw in the finale, not everyone is thrilled at Lottie’s suggestion that Natalie is meant to lead them. Coach Ben watches the “crowning” of Natalie through the cabin window, seemingly devastated he’s losing the only true ally he has left.
Shauna reveals in her journal that she’s pissed it wasn’t her, claiming she was the only one willing to do what was necessary to keep everyone alive. Will this come into play later in the wilderness timeline? Will the crown be passed again, and will that mirror the adult timeline with the death of another surviving Yellowjacket? We have a lot of questions.
Natalie being chosen as the group leader in the ’90s timeline seals her tragic fate in the present day. By taking on the heavy responsibility of leading the group in the wilderness, Natalie carries the brunt of the guilt and the shame that the group collectively feels. It really did seem as if the other adult survivors pawn off their guilt on Natalie, as seen when Shauna makes a comment to Natalie in Season 1 about not dragging everyone else into her endless pit of guilt.
While we've seen all of the adult women struggle in their own ways, Natalie’s pain was palpable from the outside looking in. She misguidedly attempted to find solace through addiction, and what makes her story all the more tragic is that she had become clean and sober before her death. It seemed like she was seeking inner peace and attempting to forgive herself for the things she had done, only to end up dying. What a tragedy.
“You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave…”
We know Natalie’s story is far from over. We have 25 years' worth of memories and experiences to witness (looking at you, 1998 timeline and beyond). Now that we know how her story ends, though, her fate is all the more heartbreaking. Hopefully, we haven’t seen the last of Juliette Lewis. The “Yellowjackets” universe will not be the same without her in it. Meanwhile, we're sadly confident this isn't the last tear-jerking death we’ll witness in the remainder of the series. So, get your tissues ready y’all: Whenever Season 3 arrives, we’re in for an even wilder ride.
Rest in peace, Nat.