Things are heating up in Yellowjackets season 2 (or, at least, as much as they can amid a frigid winter in the 1990s timeline that’s leaving the team starving and freezing). The new season on Showtime has it all: woo-woo cults, mysterious deaths, dogged law enforcement officers hanging out with teenage girls, and, of course, cannibalism.
In conditions like this, it’s easy for a hierarchy to form — especially one that yields the long-awaited reveal of the Antler Queen Yellowjackets has been promising since the opening of the pilot. With mysteries piling up across the first two episodes of season 2, we’re going to be running through the power rankings each week, exploring who’s poised to lead and who’s set to feed the cannibal cult.
Of course, the criteria for this is a little loose; much like Yellowjackets’ first foray into frosty cannibalism, we’re playing it by ear. Suffice it to say, those who show the fortitude to step up to the Antler Queen mantle (and whether they got closer, in each episode, to her and that title) will rise through the ranks. And since the Antler Queen seems to oversee the glimpse of cannibalism we get in the pilot, stepping up to the plate means also generally leading the charge to eat people.
Who is on the rise in Yellowjackets’ cannibal cult?
Shauna — Shauna took a huge step forward in the rankings this week by leading the cannibal charge and convincing the rest of the team that it really would be a shame to waste such a perfectly chargrilled Jackie. While Shauna’s really never had leader vibes before this exact moment, this could easily be her first step toward Antler Queendom.
Lottie — The question of Lottie persists: Is she the Antler Queen, or more of a high priestess in the Yellowjackets hierarchy? There’s not much to suggest her modern-day cult is cannibalistic, but she’s clearly got something happening in the way she can compartmentalize parts of her personality as a leader (and in the trippy vision she has of zombie Laura). She doesn’t do a ton in episode 2, but she is already appearing to Travis in visions as a glowing religious icon. So it feels like that’s potentially a hop, skip, and a jump to leading your friends to ceremoniously eating the corpses of your other friends.
Taissa — We know from present-day events that Tai is commanding, and clearly has some sort of fucked-up remnants from her time in the woods. But aside from ordering the group to finally lay Jackie to rest, she doesn’t do much in episode 2 (or, at least, not a ton aside from hungrily devouring the flesh of their teammate, which pretty much everyone does, so). She has some sort of freaky vision of a besuited weirdo, but that all happens while she’s asleep; since Lottie seems to have the spiritual leader thing on lock, it seems unlikely (this week) that Taissa makes a play for the crown of horns.
Crystal — Crystal moves up the rankings slightly because she’s clearly important, but that’s exactly the problem: She’s a new character for season 2. Do you really expect the Antler Queen to be some rando who didn’t show up in the first season? Do we think the showrunners just forgot about her? Who do you think is steering this ship, Benioff and Weiss? Anyway, Crystal’s definitely got a role to play, and one that clearly ties in closely with Misty, but this definitely isn’t her story… or her cult.
Travis — Travis never really seemed into the supernatural woodsiness of the crash — maybe because he was mostly distracted by Natalie — but he took a few strides so far in season 2 thanks largely to hanging his hope of Javi’s survival on the vaguely psychic-seeming visions of Lottie. So he does get a very slight rise on the rankings; however, he is still a dude, which means his chances of gaining too much power in this particular teen-girl cult are slim to none.
Who is falling down the Yellowjackets food chain?
Van — Van’s a great kid, and would be a pretty tremendous enforcer or right-hand woman to any aspiring bovidae-esque cult leader. So far, though, she doesn’t seem like much of a leader herself, so she’s falling this week. On the other hand, she is deep into the cult lore, which we know because she’s one of the three girls who shows up and kneels at the heart altar at the end of season 1.
Natalie — Natalie is one of the few Yellowjackets that doesn’t really change much this week, mostly because she’s spent so much time uninterested in the rest of the team’s general shenanigans. That being said, she does take a slight step toward cult-leader status by buying into the cannibalism, but she takes a somewhat more major step back by doubting Lottie and trying to give up the search for Javi.
Misty — Misty has lost even the lowliest tea-making privileges, so things aren’t looking up for her leading any kind of cult so far in the second season. Now, that isn’t a huge surprise, given teen Misty isn’t much of a leader at all, but this is still about as low as her leadership stock has fallen so far.
Gen — Still mostly anonymous, Gen’s chances of becoming Anter Queen aren’t looking great. We’re not definitively calling anything just yet, but it doesn’t seem totally unfair to call her one of several Red Shirt Yellowjackets who seem destined to get sacrificed to the forest’s cruel cannibal god (or worse).
Coach Ben — The only one who walks away from the Jackie feast and seems disturbed by what he sees. His stomach may be morally pure, but he’s not climbing the rankings without a bit more nutrition.
Mari — Red Shirt. Sorry, Mari.
Jackie — Jackie gets an honorable mention just for showing up, but her chances aren’t looking great considering both how dead she already is (and has been for months) and the fact that she was the main course for the first ever Yellowjackets forest banquet. However, since she’s still around, at least physically, she does get a spot on the list.
Akilah — This girl got recast for season 2. That’s Red Shirt shit for sure.