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The Antler Queen Leads the Way in ‘Yellowjackets’

Horns up!

Yellowjackets Antler Queen

Yellowjackets may look like a simple horror-drama series, but I can assure you it is so much more than that. The show centers on the members of a high school soccer team called the Yellowjackets that survived a plane crash in the wilderness. The story is split between their adult lives in the present day and how they survived their ordeal as teens during the late-1990s. It’s got everything: badass women, exceptional music, creepy vibes, supernatural mystery, and cannibalism.

One of the biggest ongoing mysteries of Yellowjackets is who on the team survived the trip and who may or may not have gotten eaten. The first episode of the series opened with a ritualistic hunt of one of the teen girls, followed by a scene of the other girls preparing and eating her. However, the predatory girls are all wearing masks, so we aren’t sure who they are. One girl wears antlers and a netted mask to hide her face. She is their obvious leader. But who is this Antler Queen?

Who is the Antler Queen?

From the first episode, we knew the Antler Queen was important. During the first feast, she sat in the middle of the group; a place of power. They presented the meat to her first and no one ate until she gave the go-ahead. Through the entire first season, we all made guesses about who the Antler Queen would be, with many people thinking team captain Jackie would take the helm. However, at the end of season 1, we finally learned that the leader of the wild Yellowjackets is Lottie.

At first, Lottie seemed like the unassuming rich girl whose dad was paying for their private plane to fly to nationals. In the episodes after the crash, we come to know more about her and her past. As a child, she seemed to have a vision and stopped her parents from getting into a car wreck. Soon after, they had her evaluated by a psychologist and put her on medication for schizophrenia. Once the girls crashed in the wilderness, her limited supply of medication soon ran out.

When Lottie ran out of medication, she quickly found herself in tune with the supernatural forces of the forest. She heard the wilderness taking to her, predicting events that soon came to pass. While they were low on food, Lottie promised the group everyone would soon be full. Then a bear wandered into their camp and laid down in front of her like a sacrifice. Since then, she has become like a spiritual guide to the survivors. Lottie “heals” them with her touch and “protects” them with her rituals. They looked to her for direction when they could no longer resist the temptation of human flesh. Now that she has donned the iconic horns, we know exactly who is in charge.

Are the Yellowjackets a cult?

The longer the Yellowjackets are in the woods, it does seem like they are turning into a cult. Lottie has become their charismatic leader, whom no one can question or go against. Almost all of their daily activities need to be cleared by her and require some kind of ritual. Before Nat and Travis go hunting and looking for Javi, Lottie must bless them with her special tea and blood mixture to keep them safe. It all looks very cult-ish to me. You can’t really blame them, though. They are cut off from society in a forest that has some kind of sinister, supernatural stuff going on. A cult feels like their best option for survival.

We know in season 2 that Lottie survived the wilderness. After their rescue, she spent time in a mental hospital undergoing electroshock therapy. When she emerged, Lottie did not try to live a normal life like the other adult Yellowjackets we have seen. Instead, she basically went out and started a new cult to worship and follow her. They live under her rule and obey every order. Her followers wear all-purple clothing (which may be a nod to a real-life cult). She is the only one wearing clothes that make her stand out.

In episode 3 of season 2, Nat noticed a pair of antler horns hanging on Lottie’s cabin, signaling that the Antler Queen was alive and well. Long may she reign.

(featured image: Showtime)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.