You ever had that dream where you're cold and hungry and there's food and warmth everywhere, but you can't quite grab hold of it?
That's where we meet Lottie (Courtney Eaton) in Yellowjackets Season 2, episode 4, during an intense vision that sees our Antler Queen transported out of the wilderness and into the mall.
In the fourth episode of Showtime's original series, Lottie finds herself thrust into a hunting challenge with Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) after tensions rise over Camp Yellowjackets' lack of food. Armed with only a small knife, Lottie doesn't take a gun on her mission as Natalie does, due to her loyal follower Mari (Alexa Barajas) putting faith in Lottie's apparent spiritual connection with the woods.
During the hunt, Lottie experiences one of her more intense, immersive visions. Frustrated that her own alignment with the wilderness bears no, uh, bear, Lottie soldiers on and stumbles across the group's "Doomcoming" tree stump altar, where she sacrificed the bear heart at the close of Season 1. Cutting her palm with the knife, Lottie bleeds on the altar — and she loses a lot of blood. Like, a bunch. Whether she's hallucinating from blood loss or whether she's being guided by a supernatural presence, Lottie loses consciousness and descends into the vision in question.
But what does it all mean? Let's piece it together.
What happens in Lottie's vision?
Wandering through the snowy woods in her subconscious, Lottie comes across the plane Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) was piloting when it exploded in mid-air, killing her in Season 1, episode 8 ("Flight of the Bumblebee"). Within the aircraft, Lottie finds Laura Lee's teddy bear, Leonard, which had caught alight in the passenger seat, along with Laura Lee's cross necklace lying on a hatch. Opening it, Lottie climbs into a space that resembles the abandoned tunnels Lottie traversed during her baptism vision in Season 1 (remember, the one with all the candles in it). But instead, Lottie finds herself transported through an elevator into a shopping mall.
A slower, somehow more haunting version of Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker's Yellowjackets theme song "No Return" plays as Lottie wanders among the crowds. A cheery fashion store sales person asks if she'd like to try something on. Then, Lottie hears familiar laughter and finds Taissa, Van, Mari, Akilah, Natalie, Shauna, Misty, and Laura Lee sitting at a table outside a mall restaurant. Chatting happily in this dream food court instead of arguing in their real-life cabin, they've all had glow-ups; they're wearing shiny accessories and makeup and have brushed hair. Sipping idly from soda cups and eating from takeout boxes (instead of feasting on their fallen teammates), they're back to their old Wiskayok High School selves.
Laura Lee offers her a meal, but Lottie unfortunately seems too weak to lift even a forkful to her mouth, while her teammates look at her quizzically. However, it's not her strength that's the problem.
"Don't you think you should say something first?" asks Laura Lee, as the Yellowjackets look on expectantly.
"Uh, I didn't think that I'd have to," replies Lottie, now shivering.
"I think I saw a coat for sale at Abercrombie," says Van.
"I don't think I have a credit card," stammers Lottie.
The girls all laugh at her, looking incredulously at each other.
"When did that ever stop you?" says Natalie.
"I think we need to get you out of here," says Laura Lee, as Lottie begins to shake from the cold. "Lottie, if you don't get warm, you're going to die." Laura Lee then shoves Lottie backwards in her chair, and she returns to consciousness.
Bottom line: Lottie's cold and hungry. But what's the rest of it all about?
Lottie's under a lot of pressure as spiritual leader
Heavy is the head that wears the antler crown. Bestowing herself with said headpiece during Season 1's ninth episode, "Doomcoming," Lottie may have leaned into the act of ritual a little intensely (never forget, Travis). But going from teen soccer star to spiritual leader isn't an overnight process, especially when your newly minted followers start demanding miracles — including the weaponless hunting mission Lottie currently finds herself on.
When she fails to find anything without proper gear or tracking experience (you don't say), Lottie comes across one of those weird symbols carved into a tree. Giving it a red hot "might as well" go, she holds her hand to the symbol and tries to commune with the wilderness.
"Fuck me," she says, when it doesn't work.
Lottie's road to Antler Queen hasn't exactly been a given in Yellowjackets. Early in Season 1, Lottie isn't even spiritual. Rites and rituals are not regular things in Lottie's life before her increasingly prominent visions began to define her experience in the wilderness — she's even reluctant to join hands with her fellow teammates in silence for the people who died in the plane crash. (Remember, her parents sent her to a psychiatrist as a child after her sudden scream saved them from a car accident; the prescription medication she'd been taking eventually ran out, leaving the question of where her visions come from open ended.)
In the mall vision, we suddenly see the intense pressure weighing on her, as she's increasingly expected by certain members of the team to provide magical solutions to their supply problems. Lottie's exhaustion at taking on the role of spiritual leader seems clear in this scene; she appears weary at the very idea of saying grace before eating.
In her vision, it's clear that Lottie doesn't dream of spiritual dominance; instead she craves a level of teen normality, her carefree adolescence returning for a moment. No longer is she an Antler Queen, high priestess of the wilderness and all the ritual sacrifice that apparently goes with it; she's browsing fashion and hanging out in a food court with her friends. However, Lottie feels exposed and ridiculed in this scene, which may mirror her subconscious fears about her role as spiritual provider.
Lottie's vision reveals a deep insecurity (and a throwback to Season 1)
What's up with that strange remark from Natalie, after Lottie panics that she wouldn't be able to pay for an Abercrombie coat mentioned by Van? "When did that ever stop you?" Natalie teases her. Not only is this moment reminiscent of dreams we've all had where we just can't seem to get the thing we want (in this case, Lottie needs warmth), it's actually a throwback to Season 1.
Natalie's comment is a reference to the very first night the Yellowjackets spend in the woods after the plane crash, when the team members offer up their deepest secrets as they're gathered around the fire. Some are sillier than others, but Lottie's secret involves her shoplifting clothing from T.J. Maxx, then returning it for store credit, which means she's clocked "thousands of dollars in T.J. Bucks." Perhaps Lottie feels guilty for this now? It's not the only thing she feels guilty about...
Laura Lee's presence dominates Lottie's vision
In her mall vision, Lottie appears to have taken on Laura Lee as her inner voice of reason, which we know has repercussions in the future, when adult Lottie sees a vision of her after Travis's death in the barn. That vision, however, will not be so nice and caring; that Laura Lee is a rotting corpse that terrifies Lottie with a scream.
The barn scene may also be indicative of Lottie's deep guilt over Laura Lee's death, backed up by what Lottie says to her in the mall vision: "I don't want to leave you." Seeing as though this vision kicks off when Lottie envisions coming across Laura Lee's plane, and Laura Lee is the main Yellowjacket who speaks during this vision, Lottie has clearly not processed the death of her friend — whose tragic end she also foresaw.
Laura Lee's costuming and position at the head of the table have significance as well. As spotted on Twitter(opens in a new tab), Laura Lee wears a black headband on her blonde hair, in a haircut aesthetic that resembles that of Disney's adaptation of Lewis Carroll's famous journey into the subconscious, Alice in Wonderland. In this vision, Yellowjackets has created its own Mad Hatter's tea party in Lottie's mind.
Lottie's visions have emerged in the present
Lottie's immersive visions, like the mall sequence, seem to have followed her out of the wilderness into the present. Though adult Lottie (Simone Kessell) tells her psychiatrist she hasn't had visions "in decades," she sees multiple disturbing images in a short period of time: bloody beehives and Queen of Hearts cards with their eyes scratched out, all pretty grim stuff. Notably, Lottie disputes the visions in her session, defiant that her visions aren't trying to tell her anything: "Because they're not real."
That being said, Lottie later takes a giant ceremonial dagger through her
cult wellness compound to a nondescript tree stump off the main path, where she cuts her hand just as she did in the wilderness.
"Can this just be enough, please?" Lottie pleads aloud. Did…Lottie bring the tree altar back with her from the wild, and with it the darkness? Is she...still sacrificing blood to it somehow?
"The last time it became something different," Lottie says, looking frankly terrified. "Can't happen again."
It seems the mall vision won't be the last of Lottie's visions. But what exactly will they turn into?
Yellowjackets Season 2 is streaming on Showtime, with new episodes streaming weekly on Fridays(opens in a new tab). Episodes also air every Sunday on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET.