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Yellowjackets S1E10: “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” (Season 1 Finale)

Jackie stares ahead in Yellowjackets S1E0, "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi"

The following contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Yellowjackets, S1E10, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” (written by Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson and directed by Eduardo Sanchez)

As Allie states so eloquently, a reunion is defined as a union that is happening again, at least according to, which does not exist, though I find it quite fitting to Allie’s character that she would choose such a site, as opposed to say, Merriam-Webster. She clearly has no judgment with regard to such things, and what we see of her in the season finale of Yellowjackets is right in line with what we saw of her in the premiere. At a point in time 25 years in the past. Of course, she talks about how she was supposed to be on the plane as if it were a badge of honor and talks about healing from the trauma that she didn’t actually experience, as though there could be some equivalence between how it was for those whose classmates went missing and for the girls who got stranded in the woods.

Allie, dressed in black with a necklace, at the high school reunion

A bit more disappointing is the lack of other characters appearing at the high school reunion in Yellowjackets S1E10. Since the beginning, the comments our central characters have made have consistently left open the possibility of their being other surviving members of the team we haven’t seen yet. Now that seems like it might have been misdirection.

It’s not just that no one else shows up to the reunion—a lot of people don’t go to high school reunions, and even Natalie surely wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for her deal with Misty—but that everything about what happens at the event seems to indicate that these four are the only survivors. At this point, the lack of mention of others in explicit terms really starts to feel like it rules out their possible survival or, at the very least, it suggests that there was no way they would possibly be coming. I guess the team wouldn’t have consisted solely of seniors, but still.

Allie holds a microphone and gestures as she stands in front of a picture of Jackie projected onto a screen at the high school reunion

With the mention of Lottie at the end of the season finale, in the voicemail Suzie leaves on Nat’s phone, we might be led to think that she’s alive. But surely she would have been mentioned by the others if so, right? From what we’ve seen unfolding in 1996 you’d have to think that she’d be the group’s very first suspect.

So, either Lottie is dead, or they think she is, or they know she is alive but under circumstances that rule her out of their minds in such a way they wouldn’t even mention her. I suppose that could track if she has been committed to a psych ward for 25 years, which would be plausible in terms of her character, but that strains credulity a bit. I think they still would have mentioned her. Perhaps she’s been in a coma? I think they would have mentioned her then, too.

Basically, it seems clear to me that Shauna, Nat, Misty, and Tai must all think Lottie is dead or she would have come up in their conversations at some point over the course of 2021 events in Yellowjackets Season 1. So if she’s not, we’re led to the question of how and why they think she is.

I think it is totally plausible that she is dead, though, and that the men who kidnap Natalie at the end of S1E10 are somehow inspired by her anyway, and acting in her name. We know that Lottie’s family was wealthy, for whatever that’s worth, and that she was medicated from a young age until the aftermath of the plane crash. Perhaps she survived for a while but died some time over the course of the 25 years since they’ve been back to civilization? There are lots of possibilities to play with here as we wait for Season 2.

Shauna and Jackie stand face to face, bickering, while a head with horns hangs on the stone wall behind them

One Yellowjacket we know for sure did not survive is Jackie, as “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” sees her freezing to death in the snow outside of the cabin after a row with Shauna. It seems to me Yellowjackets offers a sort of litmus test with regard to what kind of person you are here, as surely there are those who will be heartbroken at the confirmation of Jackie’s demise, and who feel fundamentally on her side throughout these scenes. I sympathize if that’s you, but that’s not me at all.

Rather, Shauna’s invective against Jackie strikes me as right on the mark. She thought everything was about her, conceived of herself as the center of the universe, and even expected the reconciliation we see her imagine as she dies. Everyone loves Jackie.

The groups stands in a row during Jackie's vision in the Yellowjackets season 1 finale

But everything since the plane crash has shown how increasingly irrelevant she’s been, and how incompetent she was to deal with these circumstances. She could not adapt. She died throwing a temper tantrum.

It’s actually not clear if the scene I referenced above was only in her imagination, though. She starts to realize something is off when Laura Lee appears because Laura Lee is dead. But then, in the background, a male figure appears in the doorway and says, “we’ve been waiting for you.”

A dark and blurry male figure appears in a doorway in Yellowjackets "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi"

This shot is in the opening credits (where it is significantly less dark and blurry), and everyone has kept insisting to me that it is Ben, but I think it is pretty clear here in the season finale that this is not Ben. I think it is the man they found dead in the attic, but of course, younger and “alive”—are there other possibilities I am not thinking of?

If it is Jacques (as the girls have previously called him), then doorway might well represent an opening to the supernatural as a more explicit element in Yellowjackets. I still tend to think the question will remain ambiguous, but to what extent would it make sense to claim this vision to be Jackie’s delusion? It seems less tenable to me than the analogous move with regard to Taissa and the Man With No Eyes.

A man stands in a doorway, looking threatening
The shot of the man in the doorway from the Yellowjackets opening credits

In 1996, Van tells Tai about her own near-death experience, after she was attacked by a wolf. Taissa, Misty, Mari, and Akilah thought she was dead, and so did I. Van suggests in the season finale that maybe she sort of was. It was something…maybe she believes in something. And surely the events of “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” move her further in the direction of such a faith. Lottie said they wouldn’t be hungry much longer, and along comes a bear, as though offering itself to her knife. Let’s thank the ancient gods of the sky and the dirt.

Van, with scars on her face, looks emotionally pained, standing in the attic

Taissa is having none of this, of course, but the events in the 2021 timeline indicate just how much she is repressing. She didn’t just “sleepwalk” and eat some dirt, she apparently killed their dog and made an altar with its head, Sammy’s broken doll, some candles, and the symbol from the woods—at least that’s what Simone finds in S1E10. I believe that she remembers none of this, but have to wonder then how much of what happened in the woods in 1996 she remembers. How much has her mind foreclosed because she can’t contemplate its reality?

In “Doomcoming,” Tai was not one of the girls who went after Travis—she was busy with Van. But surely both must end up in the circle of the Antler Queen. I had thought Tai would even become the Antler Queen, but it seems clear now that this is Lottie. Of course, many previously thought that Lottie was the one who fell into the trap and died in the pilot, and this would rule that out. So who could that be, given what we know now? Perhaps it is one of the extras who’s been in the background. That would be a twist.

Girls stand in a row cheering during Doomcoming

Yellowjackets has already shown that it might make a move like that, if we think about the storyline involving Adam. At this point, all indications are that he was in fact just a guy who lied about going to Pratt and didn’t use the internet. Callie, Shauna, and Jeff see a missing persons broadcast on TV. Poor guy didn’t know what he was getting into.

Shauna is completely cold to it all in that regard. She dismembers his body like remembering how to ride a gross bike, and indeed the look on her face in 2021 tends to be calmly dismissive of emotionality. If Taissa has repressed what happened, Shauna’s move instead has been to accept it as no big deal. And of course, it is and was a big deal, so this response isn’t exactly healthy either.

Misty’s just happy to be included—or, actually, she also seems to be pretty happy to be involved in disposing of a body. She puts Adam’s head and hands into Gloria’s coffin to be cremated along with her and has some fun pretending to love the woman we saw her torture a bit in the pilot.

She also lets Jessica Roberts go, after agreeing to the book deal the two had previously discussed and seeming to believe Jessica’s line about being a fixer who has seen, done, and been through far worse. The sad thing is that I actually think I do believe Jessica in all of this and that she would have kept up her end of the bargain, but of course, Misty was playing her. Quite a move to poison the cigarettes and then throw them away, only to begrudgingly give them back, Quigley!

You might question Misty’s certainty that this would work if you aren’t a smoker. Being one myself, I hate to say I find it quite plausible. And sad. Poor Jessica Roberts. That was probably your real name, too.

Jessica Roberts sits behind the wheel of her car, smoking a cigarette

Javi is missing after the events of “Doomcoming,” which I suppose might give fuel to Adam is Javi truthers, but presents a mystery regardless. We last saw him huddling outside alone, as the girls went nuts going after Travis. Perhaps he went and hid somewhere, but if he did he might have frozen to death like Jackie did when the snow came. Regardless, Travis can’t find him, which does not bode well.

“Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” sees Nat and Travis reconcile in 1996…sort of. One gets the feeling, though, that this is just what their relationship will continue to be like for 25 years. They love each other but are just sort of broken, and it’s not clear if they’re good for each other. How did things stand between them before Travis’ death, I wonder? He’d gone off the grid, she had been in rehab, but how long had it been since they’d talked? We don’t know, though Yellowjackets has shown us scenes of the pair in bed as adults.

Natalie seems to come to believe that Travis committed suicide, in light of the whole Adam affair and Shauna’s remarks. “Vienna” by Ultravox recurs, calling back to the scene where she and Misty discovered Travis’ hanging body. She puts a rifle to her chin.

And then men show up and kidnap her. At least one of them is wearing a pendant with the symbol on it.

The symbol is on a pendant worn by a man in Yellowjackets S1E10

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

The title of the Yellowjackets season finale, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi,” is the phrase traditionally said for the coronation of a new Pope. The direct reference would then clearly be to Lottie, who takes on the role of a kind of dark Pope over the course of the hour. At its close, she is placing a heart in a hollow tree as she says a prayer. I’m afraid I’ve been unable to make out the French for you. I am fairly confident it is the bear’s heart, and not Jackie’s. Van and Misty stand, and then kneel, behind her.

Lottie holds a heart in her hands, with bare trees and white sky behind her, in Yellojackets "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi"

It’s all but confirmed that Lottie is the Antler Queen at this point, as the group increasingly looks to her for leadership over the course of S1E10. And why not? She killed that bear like a boss and predicted its arrival in the first place. Her visions have in general been playing out, and she’s chosen to have faith in them. She’s not so much a pope as a prophet.

Jackie thought it was all coincidence, and now she’s dead. That might be another coincidence, too. Yellowjackets asks us to decide what we believe more than it offers a definitive answer. Something happened during the séance. We know Lottie wasn’t pretending. What happened, whether a touch of madness, the demonic, or the divine, is what’s unclear.

What does seem clear, though, is that the others will get sucked into Lottie’s faith. We’ll have to wait for Season 2 to see how, and how this leads to an order of things fully apart from the order that governs the social reality we’re used to.

Thus passes the glory of the world.

Let the darkness set us free.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos


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  1. Let me propose an alternate solution to why didn’t they think of Lottie or anyone else from the team. These 5 (the four girls plus Travis) escaped and left everyone else behind. Now, 25 years later (hey, that’s catchy), Lottie has finally escaped, and she’s coming for them. Starting with Travis, but maybe Tai is next, thus all the stuff that’s happening to her.
    The title would be more of a reference to crowning a new team captain. Jackie is out, Lottie is in. Sam defers to her over Tai, and Misty defers to her over coach. Either of which could have taken over. Is Lottie a prophet though, or just off her meds? OK, probably both.
    The French was “Versez le sang, mes beaux amis.” Translation: shed blood, my beautiful friends. Subtitles..

    • Yeah, no subtitles on the screeners, which is annoying. And ableist, honestly. Thanks for providing it here in the comments.

      I have been thinking about some version of what you suggest but I don’t know how well that would hold up either. They would have just assumed those left behind died eventually or something? I suppose a fair presumption…but I don’t quite think it’s that. We’ll see I guess!

    • They could search all they wanted wherever the five popped back out and never find the others, if they are elsewhere. If the five had a story and stuck to it, the world would have to assume they all died.

      I am intrigued by the “we’ve been waiting for you” bit. That seemed to be Shana’s dream though, not Jackie’s. I’m also intrigued by how calm Jeff is about everything in 2021. Whatever he read in Shana’s diary has him unequivocally on her side, and that presumably included Jackie’s death (which to be fair, was not her fault). Loved when the daughter sits down with them and they all have to act like they didn’t just see that news story.

      You know, on that note, I think the news story said he’d been missing for several days. Seems like longer than he’s been dead. So I still think there’s something more to him than just a coincidence..

      • Huh, that’s interesting that you read it as Shauna’s dream…that actually would make no sense to me, I guess, but I could see how the framing of it might lead you to that.

    • Yeah, I see how it is presented that way. It just makes no sense to me to consider it to be Shauna’s dream in terms of the content. So I don’t think it is

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