‘Yellowjackets’ S2 Premiere Answers a Burning Question: Who the F*ck Is Lottie Matthews?

She just wants to help people!
A woman with long, dark hair wearing a sweeping blue and yellow patterned tunic
Simone Kessell in "Yellowjackets" Season 2
Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

As “YellowjacketsSeason 2, Episode 1 makes clear: Lottie Matthews is a big fucking deal.

Played by Courtney Eaton and new cast member Simone Kessell, Lottie is ostensibly the high school soccer star and plane crash survivor who ends up wearing chain mail and an antler headdress in the series’ cold open, commanding (or at least allowing) her peers to hunt, kill, and eat one of their own. Lottie’s ascent to antler queen is still mostly uncharted, but Season 2 finds her dabbling in blood sacrifice and ritual, emerging almost as a religious leader among her teammates.

Where adult Lottie stands apart from her fellow survivors is accepting that she was her truest self in the wilderness — and building her entire adult life around it. Lottie’s self assurance in both past and present is the key to unlocking the other Yellowjackets’ fear, trauma, and healing.

“Lottie is such a roller coaster,” Eaton told IndieWire ahead of the season premiere. “This season we find her trying to find her path in this leadership role, that she has semi- put herself in and others are putting pressure on her to do.”

The Season 2 premiere also unveils the adult Lottie Matthews, whose life looks… largely the same. After turning catatonic when the girls are rescued, she was institutionalized by her parents, and apparently found her calling in helping to heal other patients — Kessell herself said Lottie “blooms” during that time. What haunts the adult Yellowjackets (whether they acknowledge it or not) is that the wilderness gave them purpose, as Juliette Lewis’ Natalie says in the pilot; when the girls return to society and grow into the deeply traumatized adults in the present-day timeline, they’ve lost what they had out there — drive, danger, primal instinct — struggle to replace it. They were different out there, but the lingering fear is that their real selves aren’t the ones they left behind with the crash or returned to after it — but the ones they found in the woods during those fateful 19 months.

For Lottie, there’s no question: she found herself in the Canadian Rockies, whether she was interpreting strange visions, dipping blood into beverages, or stopping panic attacks with breathing technique. A lot of emotions have calcified for our young survivors in the two months since Doomcoming, including Lottie’s confidence and ability to trust her instincts. She obviously has some sort of connection to the woods, and even if nobody can explain her visions, one can’t exactly deny their resonance.

And so adult Lottie eventually leaves the institution, and establishes her compound, where Kessell says her only goal is “to help people.” She has the cabin in the woods, the lake view, and a new group to believe in her. It might be the most disturbing adult Yellowjacket storyline yet as an obvious facsimile of the wilderness timeline.

“I’ve heard she’s been described as a reluctant Messiah,” Kessell said. “But I’ll take ‘reluctant’ out and just [say] Messiah.”

Where teen Lottie may have hesitated, her older self does not.

A teen girl and boy in winter outerwear pictured in a dark interior; she puts her hand on his chest in a calming gesture.
Courtney Eaton and Kevin Alves in “Yellowjackets”Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

That altruism lies at the core of Lottie’s ethos actually makes sense. Didn’t she first use her prescience to kill a bear and feed the team until winter? Doesn’t she use it in this episode to calm Travis when he has a panic attack because Nat (Sophie Thatcher) believes his brother died? “Yellowjackets” Season 2 is explicitly pitting Nat and Lottie against each other ideologically, but Travis complicates that even further. He still loves Nat and doesn’t begrudge her eschewing the morning rituals, but he’s understandably confused when it’s Lottie who calms him down — and he gets an erection. Travis is attracted to Lottie, in the denotative sense of the word; she draws his interest at a vulnerable time. Even if it’s not sexual, it’s easy to conflate these feelings.

“They’re definitely butting heads ideologically,” Thatcher told IndieWire. “[Natalie] remains grounded because she’s actually out in the wilderness every day and she’s facing reality. She’s focused on that while Lottie and everyone else is back home trying to [stay] optimistic, and they just want something to grasp on, they just need something to keep them going. I think that’s where there’s the disconnect.”

At the end of the episode, when adult Nat and Lottie finally meet — in the woods, surrounded by Lottie’s followers in animal masks — Lottie drops her bombshell: “I have a message for you from Travis.”

Can Lottie Matthews talk to the dead?

New episodes of “Yellowjackets” premiere Fridays on streaming and Sundays on-air.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.