Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched Yellowjackets’ Season 2 finale, so be warned!
When Jasmin Savoy Brown told CinemaBlend that the Yellowjackets Season 2 finale would be insane and humongous, she wasn’t employing even a fleshy sliver of hyperbole. “Storytelling” absolutely brought the goods — or the very-bads, depending on one’s viewpoint — with several brutal shocks and twists filling out the episode’s final 5-10 minutes. 1996-era Natalie was possibly revealed to be the (first?) Antler Queen, all while current-day Nat seemed to be killed off. As emotional as everything already was, arguably the most devastating moment went down when all of the teens woke up to the cabin going up in flames. It turns out Coach Ben can give the Wilderness a run for its money by way of maliciousness.
Did Coach Ben Set The Cabin On Fire?
While the episode didn’t show Steven Krueger’s survivor with a smoking gun, or whatever other smoking apparati, the clues were laid out for viewers to connect all the dots. The first dot was Nat turning down his offer to share his underground haven as a duo, though I’m not 100% clear on whether or not he had the fire plan in mind at that point.
The second dot was Ben being unable to set a flint-assisted fire, which led to the third dot: him nabbing matches, an axe, some rope, and other supplies from the cabin. While in the midst of his thieving, the coach witnessed Travis and the other teens giving Nat the royal treatment after they’d feasted on Javi, which made up the final dots of motivation.
He presumably would have needed to hang out in the snow until everyone went to bed, since I find it hard to believe even in this bonkers universe that Ben could trek back and forth between the cabin and underground spot multiple times in a single day, with or without an ample supply of protein involved. But that’s hardly a sticking point either way. And who’s to say the Wilderness didn’t help him out a little?
The only reason why I could possibly allow Yellowjackets to explain the fire through different circumstances is if it involves a needle drop cover of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” with Ben sung in place of “We.”
Could The Fire Kick Off The Efforts That Lead To The Teens’ Rescue?
With so much angst and worry revolving around the girls (and Travis) losing their zone of warmth and safety, it would be easy to not pay too much mind to the rising-camera shot that closes the finale out. One could certainly think that the overhead view of the area was meant to show us how deep in the middle of woodsy oblivion the survivors are, and how hard it would be for any of them to reach a town or well-traveled road.
The flip side would be that Yellowjackets’ creative team wanted to showcase just how far and wide the smoke from the cabin fire spread, making it fairly likely that someone from genuine civilization will be able to see it, even in the middle of the night. And that someone might try to follow up on where the smoke was coming from, which wouldn’t be as easy as it sounds, especially in 1996.
If the exact same circumstances happened in 2023, it probably wouldn’t take a ridiculously long time to source a fire in the thick of whatever area the plan went down in, with cell phones and drones as commonplace as they are. Not to mention how much bigger a news story the team’s disappearance would be in the age of social media, which would no doubt spark dozens of amateur investigators (like Elijah Wood’s Walter) to go on the hunt.
But if we can assume that even a single person caught sight of the smoke billowing out of the trees on the night of the cabin fire, we can make the leap to also assume they may choose to look into things after the fact. Maybe the person is a forest ranger who has to go through bureaucratic red tape to get the attention of a government official with enough pull to actually send a search and rescue team out in the area.
So if the Season 2 finale slots in around the halfway point between the crash and the rescue, that would mean it’d take the hypothetical person mentioned above roughly 9-10 months to pull everything together and reach Shauna, Nat, Travis, Tai, Van, Lottie, Misty and whoever else may have also survived. Not the wildest idea, and it’s made all the more possible if the fire spreads out a bit after taking the cabin out. Nothing makes finding a needle in a haystack easier than burning down the haystack.
I feel it would count as pure irony for Ben’s attempt to kill all the teens be the thing that actually set up their eventual rescue. And if anyone knows anything (or nothing) about irony, it’s Alanis Morrisette, whose theme song cover closed out the episode. It’s all connected.
Audiences with Paramount+ subscriptions will soon have Showtime’s library of TV series added to its programming lineup, but until that point, fans can stream all episodes from both seasons on Showtime’s app and website. Now did anyone see where my big plate of totally non-human meats went?