The Antler Queen of the Damned: Breaking Down the Mythology of Yellowjackets (Part One)

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Since its premiere in 2021, the Showtime series Yellowjackets has proven to be a major hit. Employing  a double timeline and drawing from Lord of the Flies and Alive, this combination of horror, the supernatural, suspense, and teen angst has mesmerized its viewers.

In 1996, a group of female high school soccer players in New Jersey are flying cross country for a competition when their private plane crashes, stranding them deep in the Canadian wilderness.  The rest of the story takes place 25 years later, which follows the returning survivors and their attempt to continue to keep all the horrifying occurrences that happened during their nineteen months of captivity secret when someone (or something) threatens to expose them. 

I came late to the party and have just spent the last few days binge-watching every single episode, including the one last aired as of this writing, “Two Truths and a Lie”.  Like so many others, I have read countless articles and watched many videos regarding theories about the characters and plot before I really started, but now that I have (and love it!), I have come up with a great deal of observations and ideas of where Yellowjackets is going and what specific themes, notions, and works the scripts have borrowed from.  I will be doing all my analyses in several segments, so buckle up as I rip apart (pun intended) the Yellowjackets universe.

Please note that if you haven’t watched the show or are not up to date on the latest episodes…

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(photo courtesy of Openverse on WordPress)

THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD

YE BE WARNED

All right, kids. First things first. The burning question as to the identity of the Antler Queen keeps circling around, so I think that…

THERE IS MORE THAN ONE ANTLER QUEEN

With her psychic powers fully igniting in part from what looks to be her (at that time) uncontrolled mental illness, the notion that a) Lottie Matthews is the Antler Queen and b) the only Antler Queen is entirely too simplistic for such a complex and intricate storyline.  Sure, everything is set up throughout these two seasons for viewers to logically come to that conclusion, but in  “Two Truths and a Lie” there was a shadow resembling a deer’s head with a large set of antlers creeping across the floor after Lottie and Natalie’s hypnosis/regression session, and a “blink and you’ll miss it” shot of Natalie donning what looked to be the veiled, horned headdress and white outfit that the AQ is seen in, that solidified my opinion that a single, solitary Antler Queen is not possible because…

THE ANTLER QUEEN IS ACTUALLY A POSITION

I know what you must be thinking. What? A position?

There were two points that popped into my head when I came up with this.

Since I think that there is more than one Antler Queen, this reminded me of how in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s retelling of Arthurian legend, “The Mists of Avalon”,  Merlin is not the given name of a powerful wizard that mentors King Arthur, but is a title. The title of Merlin is given to the head of the Druids in Avalon, a highly respected position. There are two characters who take up that position in the novel, Taliesin and Kevin. 

If you have ever learned about Neopagan groups, for some, there is often a High Priestess or High Priest who takes a leadership role, including heading rituals taking place. We’ve already seen the AQ in a major place of power in the pilot, with another figure bringing the tray of human meat forward and putting it in front of the AQ first.  Only after the AQ nods their head do the rest start eating. Their identities are not revealed at the time, except for one, which I go into later. Thus, several individuals could step in at any time.

With that being said, I believe that the cannibalism will continue to be a major plot point, but it will remain more ritualistic rather than survivalist.

By that theory of the AQ being a title and position, which is based on whoever takes that spirit into themselves,  I think that not only have there been several AQ’s before the one depicted here, but there will be more after as…

“PIT GIRL” MAY BE THE SOON-TO-BE FORMER ANTLER QUEEN

While many fan theories claim that the girl in the pilot episode who is chased, falls to her death in a trap, strung up, bled out, cooked, and ritually cannibalized by characters disguised in animal skins and clothing remnants is Mari (who I think is quite an insufferable character, so big applause to Alexa Barajas for her wonderful job in making her such a huge pain in the ass) , again,  that’s just too easy.  Of note, “Pit Girl” is wearing the gold necklace that will be shown to be worn by both Jackie and Shauna in Season One, and it has yet to show up again.  Wouldn’t it be a bit more fun to have another plot twist?

Going back to the previous heading, I think that “Pit Girl” is the outgoing Antler Queen. As whoever takes in the spirit of the AQ into themselves would change,  it would make sense that the one who must relinquish the position (either by choice or force) be the ultimate sacrifice. With that in mind, my wheels keep turning since…

THE “PIT GIRL” SCENE MAY TAKE PLACE IN THE FUTURE

I actually have a few separate takes on who the players are in the “Pit Girl” scene and when and where it occurs.

1. In the 2021 timeline, the group goes back to the wilderness to face their past and try to conquer the wilderness once and for all. While Teen Misty is the only one revealed, the group regress back to their teenaged selves in their own heads and the darkness takes them over completely. 

2.  Staying in the 2021 timeline, Lottie is, in fact, “Pit Girl” and the group about to engage in the ritual are an entirely different set of people, possibly members of Lottie’s cult. They are the next ones to perpetuate the cycle to appease/honor the new Antler Queen: Lisa. 

3.  The same idea as point #1, with Lottie as “Pit Girl” and the group taking up their former positions, with either Taissa or Shauna stepping into the role as the new AQ, and Javi taking up his brother’s former spot. 

Note: Javi is not shown to have been one of the survivors that make it back to civilization as of yet, and the theory that Adam is Javi is pretty much a no-go. Assuming he is still alive in the 2021 timeline, this would be one interesting twist.

But, if this part remains in the 1996 timeline, and assuming Mari is “Pit Girl”, she could be the final sacrifice the wilderness will require before it will allow the group to leave. Does this sound familiar?

In Part Two, I will examine how Greco-Roman Mythology is a major influence on Yellowjackets, which specific myth shows up over and over again, what I think happens to Shauna’s baby, and what 1988 novel I believe could have also inspired the show’s writers.

Stay tuned!

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