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HomeEntertainmentThe Antler Queen Empowers ‘Yellowjackets’ Actresses Juliette Lewis and Simone Kessell

The Antler Queen Empowers ‘Yellowjackets’ Actresses Juliette Lewis and Simone Kessell


(This story contains major spoilers from the fourth episode of Yellow jackets season two, “Old Wounds.”)

In the latest episode of Yellow jacketsthere is an argument over divine intervention or chance in the 1996 storyline. The Yellowjackets soccer team and their fellow survivors starve in the wilderness, and they argue over the role of young Lottie (Courtney Eaton) in the game who will and has not hatched to feed and survive the winter.

The teammates, believing Lottie developed some sort of powers during their time in the wilderness, claim that the bear and the flock of birds that appeared at their cabin’s doorstep were fateful events caused by their new spiritual leader and her blood sacrifices. Divine Lottie’s dissenters counter that those events were coincidences, and oppose the view that Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and Travis (Kevin Alves) can’t find meat because they don’t want to “bless” Lottie’s hunt.

The two sides of this argument represent the larger question Yellow jackets asks. Unpacking the fraught events of the first two episodes of season two with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunners Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson and Jonathan Lisco distilled the Jackie feast into a battle between faith and pragmatism. “We are really interested in the unexplained. And I think whether or not everything happens for a reason or is completely random is one of the biggest questions humanity has asked the universe around us,” Lyle said. “Does something happen for a reason? Is there some kind of divine purpose or supernatural purpose? Or is it a confluence of events that connect in such a way that they have certain consequences? People are constantly trying to find order and meaning in the unexplained. And especially when it comes to the bad things that happen to you.

Sophie Thatcher as teenage Natalie and Courtney Eaton as teenage Lottie.

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

The debate in the third episode, “Old Wounds”, prompts Natalie to stage a hunting contest between herself and Lottie, leading the pair to head into the wilderness in search of prey. Both women come back empty-handed, but not because they didn’t try. Natalie finds the white moose she saw the previous episode frozen in the water by him antlers; despite their best efforts, they are unable to pull it out and the animal slips into the water. And Lottie returns frozen, after fainting and hallucinating.

They both agree that they failed. Neither proved their point. And even Lottie sacrificing her own blood while hunting brought nothing fruitful.

Right? Wrong. Because that’s when Javi shows up – and the faith versus pragmatism debate is relevant again.

A still from YELLOWJACKETS Season 2.

The symbol Lottie used in the wilderness.

Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

As a refresher, Javi (Luciano Leroux), Travis’ younger brother, has been missing since the season one “Doomcoming” episode, alone in the wilderness for over two months and presumed dead. But when Van (Liv Hewson) and Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) go into the woods to track down the trees with the Lottie symbol that “other Tai” found while sleepwalking, the last tree is the exact location where Javi returns and walks into the pair.

All of this, meanwhile, plays out as the current storyline follows adults Natalie (Juliette Lewis) and Lottie (Simone Kessell) in their own separate attempts to unearth their trauma. Natalie goes on road trips with Lisa (Nicole Maines) to visit his estranged mother, and Lottie visits her therapist to reveal her recent disturbing visions involving the wilderness. When Lottie returns to her cult abode, she offers what appears to be her first blood sacrifice in quite some time.

Below, Lewis and Kessell spoke to THR about some of the burning questions raised in these first four episodes, as viewers wait to see more of the newly returned Javi and the now-reunited Taissa and Van (played by Lauren Ambrose).

This season, the survivors begin to make their way to Lottie. So far, Natalie is in cult territory and adult Misty (Christina Ricci) is on the way. Simone, do you think Lottie has the answers?

Simone Kessel: I think Lottie would like to think she has the answers. But she unravels herself a little. We all end up with a bit of the duality of the past and the present. We’re there to find some answers, and then it all goes a bit pear-shaped. I usually work with Juliette for the first five episodes. We have to play and do a great job. We fell in love. And then (after episode five) it gets a new life and moves on. Everything is moving forward.

As a season one viewer, did you have a question you asked the writers about playing Lottie?

Kessel: You mean like the entire Antler Queen or the symbols? I remember saying, ‘What is the Antler Queen? Is it a symbol, is it a metaphor, is it real?” And I remember they went (no answer).

lewis: All of the above.

Kessel: It can be anything we think it is. There was so much about Lottie as the Antler Queen. But now we’ve really distilled it down to the fact that the Antler Queen is a part of all of us, and she really was something that kept these women alive in the wilderness. That was my interpretation of it. I had so many questions, but I tried to play it cool.

Juliette, how did reading more about the relationship between young Nat and young Lottie help you approach your scenes together in season two?

lewis: Earlier in the first season, the creators mentioned family or a dysfunctional family, or people who survive a horrific event, and how you get into these roles. There is a connection. Even my best friend – we didn’t do terrible things in the woods, but I’ve known her since I was nine years old and years will go by, and there’s a permanent connection on a cellular level. I analyze it as if our bodies grew during that time. We’ve been through all these adventures and time periods. And what’s interesting about writing is that it’s never about one thing. So even when it gets hostile, there’s an affinity that’s underneath.

Because I kept asking myself, “Why isn’t Nat leaving?” When she’s done with her saying spicy things. But it’s because she’s not just one thing. She hides her confusion, her search for truth, her desperation to trust. But she doesn’t; she can’t. It’s all those contradictory things that make it interesting. And it’s because of their history in the woods where they had really warm, amazing bonds with each other.

Kessel: They have a sisterhood and you can love your sister and want (strangled) your sister. But you always go back and celebrate Christmas with them.

What do you think would have happened if Lottie’s followers hadn’t raided Nat’s hotel room in the season one finale?

lewis: Oh my God, she would have shot herself. She would be in heaven. That’s horrible. But that was the trajectory of that darkness. They call it circling the drain. In that first season, that’s a real personality with nowhere to go. It’s just a brick wall. And then the murder of her only functional but totally toxic love affair (with Travis), that was her great love connection; it was really sad. So if they hadn’t invaded I think the trigger would have been pulled.

Kessel: Then that answers what you say. Although she revisits the idea of ​​being on Lottie’s property, she still stays because something inside her knows that we rescued her and that she has a place. Where else would you be? As disturbing and uncomfortable as that is, it goes in another direction.

I wondered why Natalie stays.

lewis: I wonder if the public will find out what they think. There were a few versions. I would have liked a bridge episode with a little more fighting, and then she stays. But I do not know. People like that… I can’t explain it, but they don’t know themselves.

Courtney Eaton spoke THR at the beginning of the season, saying that Lottie has “an energy that draws people to her, even though she doesn’t know how to process it”. Simone, how did you work with Courtney to shape the grown-up Lottie, who comes in after a full season?

Kessel: I wanted to understand the essence of Courtney, rather than the character. I wanted to see her in person and in a way that I could understand her so that I could give an honest picture. (They) created the characters from the pilot. So she already made it. But then we completely recreated the current Lottie, that she came out of the darkness and into the light. I think a lot of spiritual healers, maybe gurus, people in these positions, all wear a mask. It’s all a performance. She created this character for herself to hide from the pain and the past. What we see is the Lottie with this love and light and these caftans and her flowing silk dresses and her impeccable everything, her detail – it’s all an act. So I have to make some lotties. The one who stands in front of everyone performs. But behind closed doors she is completely different. And I think she keeps Natalie there because it reminds her of that, and when Natalie is there the truth starts to come out.

So they are as good for each other as they are bad for each other, which I think goes back to a sisterhood.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

Yellow jackets releases new episodes weekly on Fridays for Showtime subscribers and airs on cable Sundays at 9 p.m. Stay tuned THR‘s Yellow jackets season two coverage and interviews.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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