Welcome back toYellow vestthe beehive! Each week, we interview someone from the addictive Showtime drama to discuss the shocking events of the latest episode, get tips on what to watch out for the rest of the season, and break down the Easter eggs that abound in the show's scripts. , props and even its killer '90s soundtrack. them. (It is, after all, the only series to use dramatic devices like Chekov's Tori Amos.)Spoilers below.
The hunt is on! In the penultimate episode of its second season,Yellow vestrushes at breakneck speed toward not only the finale, which the actors described as "Destructive"I"relentless," but also toward giving viewers something they've been waiting for since the show's pilot. The Yellowjackets are exhausted, starving, and desperate without their leader Lottie—who's in bad shape after voluntarily letting Shauna freely thump her body to within an inch of her life as a means of purging Shauna's rage over the loss of her baby, so they decided to do what any group of crazy teenagers whose adult coach left them unsupervised to explore caves would do in this situation: they decided to ritually sacrifice one of their own as an offering to "the desert." In return, they hope to save Lottie and last a little longer by cannibalizing their chosen victim. The ritual brings things into play that fans have seen for the better part of two seasons: notably the Queen of Hearts from Lottie's visions (whoever pulls it out is sacrificed) and Jackie's heart necklace (which we see around the dead girl's neck - a mark of sorts to be hunted - in the show's opening episode).
At the center of these scenes is Natalie Sophie Thatcher. Fittingly, the last remaining girl who does not accept Lottie's mysticism is the one chosen by Lottie's own mystical practices to save her life. Thatcher spent the season slowly simmering the tension between Nat and Lottie, and her performance in these scenes explodes like a powder keg. Travis rescued her and she ran through the woods and rescued her, only to be intercepted by Javi, who tried to help her escape, only for her to fall through a frozen lake and die instead of Nat. "The desert chose." But this, Thatcher says, is only the beginning.
For the penultimate one in our weekly magazineYellow vestinterview series, Thatcher explains how the situation in the stranded football team escalated so drastically, how Nat and Lottie's relationship is at the center of it all, and how the episode marks a "very big turning point". Oh, and what happens in next week's finale? "When I read it," Thatcher says, "I screamed."
What did you know this season about Nat and her character's trajectory?
I never had an explicit conversation with the writers, but I knew that Nat would continue her role as "the hunter" and I heard that there would be tension between her and Lottie. I thought the tension would continue for most of the season, but then it kind of died down around episode four. So I had no idea there would be such a big shift in this episode. And there's another change - the last two episodes have caused a lot of change for Nat, which for me came out of nowhere and was exciting because things seemed to have stalled for her. I also remember the writers telling me they were excited about a very simple scene between Nat and Lottie, which turned out to be a bathtub scene.
How would you describeNat's relationship not only with Lottie, but also with Lottie and Travis?
I think there is a lot of jealousy and insecurity. She's just an insecure person and she shows it in very strange ways because she has such a strong mask and she really likes to keep that mask up. With Travis, she feels that Lottie has replaced her. So there's this simmering jealousy and anger, which creates a really complicated dynamic between all of them because it also creates some anger towards Travis for seeing him go in a direction that's so far from her own beliefs. All in all, it isolates her a lot. She ends up feeling separate from everyone.
The bathtub scene was unique in that we saw them go back to being normal girls, trash talking teammates with a friendly rivalry. Why do you think that was such an important scene for the writers and for your character?
I think reality hit her and she saw how her jealousy had gone too far and her competitive side got the best of her. He realizes that Lottie was going to die and somehow it could have been because of her. In the end, she wants everyone to survive, and in that moment she remembers that Lottie is her teammate just like everyone else. It is very emotionally mature of her to return to finding common, neutral ground. I loved that scene. It was so small, but very important. It spoke to Natalie's character how she is still the most grounded and grounded in reality.
But on last night's episode, Nat's animosity towards Lottie - or rather Nat's animosity towards what Lottie represents - returns. As Coach Ben points out, how much of it is jealousy? And how uncomfortable is it to be the last Yellow Vest who doesn't buy into Lotta's mystique?
I think it's a lot of jealousy - and a lot of stubbornness. Now she is the last, but she is used to isolation and loneliness and can easily take the position of "outcast". So I think she falls into that position and it removes her from everyone else.
She is already very far from the rest of the group because she is out every day. She still has her role as a huntress. And because she goes out and faces reality every day, she doesn't really believe Lottie... I was going to say "crap" which is very Natalie of me! [he laughs]I don't know if she's fully aware that she's the moral or logical compass of the group, but to some extent it's just because she wants to stay as grounded as possible.
Ritualistically choosing Yellowjacket to be sacrificed to nature seems like a pretty heavy escalation. How do you think they got to that place?
Because they are used to this team dynamic, they are used to listening to the team leader. Lottie falls naturally into that role as she gives them faith and answers. There have been some unexplained things that have been happening to Lottie and people would like to believe that it is because there is something else going on. So at this point they lost their leader. There is a feeling that some people give up, some are completely lost. The future looks bleak.
So you say it's a mix of their old team dynamic – a willingness to "take one for the team", especially for the team leader, twisted by Lottie's mystique.
Ithey are in this elevated situation where everyone is so crazy and so hungry and no one is sane. Everything seems like a fever dream. So because nobody is in their right mind, there is this instant acceptance. They are so exhausted and hungry and they are ready to surrender to make it stop.
Since Lottie "adopted" Shauna's pain and anger by taking a big beating, Shauna seems to have quietly slipped into Team Lottie, leaving Nat as the last one standing. Of all people, why would she agree to not only sacrifice herself to nature, but allow herself to be that sacrifice?
In that short scene, there is a sense of giving up and letting go for Natalie. At this point, she is past the point of exhaustion, tired of being an outcast and perhaps afraid of what would happen if she rebelled. And finally we see! So I think she wants to be the bigger person in this situation when she pulls the card, even to the point where she wants Shauna to look her in the face because she doesn't want to die like a coward.
Fans online and on Reddit speculated that the Queen of Hearts and Jackie's heart necklace were used in a ritual very similar to what happened in the episode. Do you read reddit and what do you think about fans getting it right?
Well, during the first season, Ihe wason Reddit, which is the worst thing for an actor to do. I asked myself, "What are they saying about me?" And it was always just about how bad my wig looked. He looks good this season but in the first season there were no roots and that's what all the comments are about. So I ditched Reddit and have been pretty far away from it this season. I don't really know what people say - but I think my mom does! [he laughs]She gives a lot of attention because she is a big fan.
Is it safe to say that the Queen of Hearts is returning?
To. And it will continue…
After Nat takes out the Queen of Hearts, Travis saves her and sends Javi to help her. Nat had developed a special, protective relationship with Javi, and now she was watching him die trying to save her. How will this affect her - and her relationship with Travis - going forward?
This is a big turning point for her. She is already a person who naturally carries a lot of guilt and a lot of weight. But this is the biggest burden yet. She and Travis will never go back to the way they were. There will be a bond around trauma and the fact that they saw each other when they were at their worst, and it's a very specific kind of bond. But this guilt will create a wall that will live inside her forever. And look what has already happened! First you eat a person and now you have to live with them. Then she let Javi die. The guilt will only pile up. And that's what makes Natalie contemporary. That's why he doesn't want to be conscious most of the time.
On a practical level, what was it like filming the furious chase scene in the desert?
There was a lot of running! It's so stupid, but I'm very conscious of my running. And now I look at it on the screen, I look like a gremlin! But it's one of the hardest things to do on camera! You're trying to stay in character, but also not look stupid. When we were doing soccer practice for the pilot, the coach said I run in a gazelle position.
But isn't that good? As they say, "graceful as a gazelle!"
But that's not how a football player runs! And don't run for your life like that! So I tried to look mean and it didn't work. [he laughs] All this makes me look like a bad actor!
What was the atmosphere like on set during the map scene and the chase scene?
There was something so strange about filming the card scene. It was such a long shot and we went through everything every time. Then Lottie's little shrine came tumbling down out of nowhere and I said, "It's cursed! We're cursed!" So I had that in mind until the end of filming.
And a sense of anxiety was already embedded in the room. We are not used to silence and stillness, and there is something so eerie about that. So there was a build-up of tension, and the fact that the character got lost in the chase scene seemed like a release of all that tension. Everyone went super manic.
Since you mentioned the shrine - all the yellow vests seemed to put a mark or sacrifice on it. What did Nat contribute?
I did not put anything on the shrine. I don't think Natalie would put anything on it.
What can you tease from the finale and the aftermath of what happened at the end of this episode?
There's another big shift for Natalie who came out of nowhere. And when I read that, I screamed and called my mom.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Nojan Aminosharei is Men's Health Entertainment Director and Harper's Bazaar Special Projects Editor. He was previously director of entertainment at Hearst Digital Media, and before that senior editor at GQ. Raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nojan graduated from NYU with a master's degree in magazine journalism. The late Elaine Stritch once said to him: "What's the name Nojan? I'm 89 years old, I don't have time for that shit."