WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS from Yellowjackets season 2, episode 7.
One of the biggest mysteries in Yellowjackets is the identity of the leader of the cannibals, dubbed the Antler Queen by fans, but a lot of evidence points to the physical Antler Queen being Lottie Matthews. The Antler Queen is introduced in Yellowjackets episode 1, in which flashbacks show a group of masked survivors kill one of their own. The group then string the body up and sliced the person’s throat, draining the body of blood. Once the meat is prepared, the survivors sit at a campfire, and the meat is placed in front of the Antler Queen and the cannibals wait for her command to begin to eat.
While some identities of the group can be worked out from their costuming and the remaining adult survivors, reading too much into the identity of anyone figure from their appearance in Yellowjackets episode 1 flashbacks can only go so far. The cast have revealed that doubles were used for those original scenes as it was shot as a pilot, so some variation in appearances might occur. Regardless, the Antler Queen is the proverbial leader of the group of survivors and has a hand in their eventual turn to ritualized murder and cannibalism. Here’s all the evidence that proves that Lottie is the Antler Queen in Yellowjackets.
Lottie Leads All Of The Yellowjackets Rituals
In the Yellowjackets season 1 finale, the group has their food problem at least temporarily solved by the arrival of a bear that they are able to kill and eat. In the final moments of the Yellowjackets finale, teens Lottie, Van, and Misty perform a ritual in the wilderness where Lottie offers the bear’s heart in thanks to the wilderness. It makes sense that the ritualistic nature of the Antler Queen and her cannibalistic practices would have been born out of simple rituals and offerings such as this one, and the way that the heart is presented mirrors the way the meat is placed in front of the Antler Queen.
The practice of rituals doesn’t end in Yellowjackets season 1, as they only become more frequent throughout season 2 — and Lottie leads nearly all of them. Before Natalie and Travis go out to hunt, she tries to spread ashes on their hands for “protection,” much to Natalie’s disbelief. She begins doing morning meditations with the group in the wilderness in preparation for Shauna’s birth, an act that stops Taissa’s sleepwalking and effectively brings her to the more spiritual side of things. She makes a blood offering during her and Natalie’s hunting competition and even leads a small ritual during Shauna’s labor.
Lottie’s rituals follow her to the present when she has her queen of hearts vision, and she makes another blood sacrifice to appease the wilderness. While Van or Misty might be thought to have taken over the role of leader further down the line, this is not possible. In Yellowjackets episode 1, Misty is the only member of the masked group that has her identity revealed, and she is not the Antler Queen. Van, meanwhile, can be seen sitting to the far right of the Antler Queen in Yellowjackets episode 1. Lottie is shown to lead the rituals and provide protection for the group, pointing to her Antler Queen status.
Yellowjackets Visions And Set Support Lottie As The Antler Queen
Lottie appears to have some precognitive powers which were dismissed by her family as a mental illness that she was heavily medicated for. However, both Lottie’s visions and the way that the showrunners have built the set imply that Lottie is the Antler Queen. One of the first premonitions that Lottie has in Yellowjackets is of a deer that is shedding its antlers (while this looks like a gruesome process, as Ben mentions later, it is a natural phenomenon). Again, when Laura Lee baptizes Lottie, Lottie has an extended vision where she sees a deer with antlers standing in an underground tunnel and follows it as it turns away.
Lottie’s antler-themed visions don’t stop there. Other than a one-off from Natalie, Lottie is the only survivor who has visions of the Antler Queen. After she hypnotizes adult Natalie to reveal the meaning behind Travis’ note, she turns and sees the shadow of the Antler Queen consuming her own shadow. Additionally, in Yellowjackets season 2, episode 7, she has a meeting with her therapist in 2021, which is quickly discovered to be a hallucination as the therapist turns into the Antler Queen and speaks with a distorted version of Lottie’s voice, saying “does a hunt that has no violence feed anyone?”
These strong ties between Lottie and the imagery of antlers and deer heavily telegraph Lottie being revealed as the Antler Queen. In addition, even some shot layouts support the theory, with one scene in Yellowjackets season 1 seeing Lottie carefully positioned under antlers mounted on the cabin wall so that they appear to come from her. Lottie’s cabin at her compound in the 2021 timeline is also adorned with antlers on the outside, something that Natalie catches and immediately makes her suspicious before being swayed to see her side of things.
The Other Survivors Have Faith In Lottie’s Abilities
At the beginning of Yellowjackets season 1, the idea of faith is lightly mocked as the team are not supportive of Laura Lee’s spirituality. However, as the series progresses and the group of survivors begins to witness stranger and stranger things, it becomes harder for them to ignore the possibility of something supernatural. By the Yellowjackets season 1 finale, the show is heavily implying that Lottie has some psychic and precognitive abilities. She is able to foretell the arrival of a food source and seems able to calm a bear and then kill it with a single strike.
Her followers’ admiration grows throughout Yellowjackets season 2, seeing a few of the teen survivors vehemently defending her from skeptics and detractors. Van and Mari start out as the most reverent of Lottie’s abilities, with Mari finding any chance she can to proclaim that Lottie finds them food while Natalie doesn’t and that she trusts Lottie over anything anyone else has to say. Van pleads with Taissa to be less of a skeptic and coaxes her to join the morning meditations, something that stops her sleepwalking and brings her to Lottie’s side. When something physical happens the group turns to Misty, but when something spiritual occurs, they look to Lottie.
Most of the group is open to the possibility that Lottie has power and can protect them. While Lottie places the burden of her powers on “the wilderness,” it’s clear that most of the group regards her as a wise and shamanistic leader. She is the one that is deferred to for group decisions, and she is the one that is turned to for explanations of supernatural occurrences, to the point that when a flock of birds commits suicide outside the cabin, she says to gather them as blessings, and everyone does as they’re told. This alone is enough to give Lottie the role of Antler Queen in Yellowjackets.
Lottie Is Still In Control In The Present Day
Yellowjackets showrunners kept the revelation that Lottie was an adult survivor close to the chest until it was revealed at the end of season 1 that she had emptied Travis’ bank account and Natalie was kidnapped by her cult. Yellowjackets season 2 unveiled adult Lottie’s “wellness retreat” along with the information that after the team’s rescue, she was sent to a mental hospital in Switzerland. While Natalie remained Lottie’s biggest skeptic, after her hypnotism session she gave into being a follower of Lottie’s new cult, proving that she still has sway as an adult.
This was furthered when all the adult survivors went to Lottie’s compound in Yellowjackets season 2, episode 6, with episode 7 chronicling their respective treatments. Adults Misty and Shauna both experienced breakthroughs, with Misty finally able to accept herself after a go in the immersion tank and calling Walter to confess her love, and Shauna admitting her flawed relationship with her daughter due to her inability to save her wilderness baby from death. Out of all of them, Natalie is surprisingly the most dedicated to Lottie’s cause, and each of the adults fell back into looking to Antler Queen Lottie for guidance during their treatments, proving she still has influence.
Doomcoming Suggests Lottie Is The Antler Queen
One of the other leading contenders for the role of Antler Queen has been Shauna. The matriarchal nature of the group’s society structure could put extra weight behind her being pregnant, before the tragic fate of Shauna’s baby is revealed in Yellowjackets season 2, and the show’s name alludes to Yellowjackets which are a species where only the queen gives birth. Further weight could be added to this through Lottie’s bee speech to adult Natalie in season 2, saying the queen bee is responsible for feeding the hive and stings all other prospective queens to death. However, Shauna’s role in the group has more traditionally been to wield the blade.
When the survivors first bring back a deer from their hunt in Yellowjackets, Shauna is the one that steps up and cuts its throat to drain it of blood. During Doomcoming when the group has been drugged, the survivors chase down and almost kill Travis. Lottie hands Shauna the knife and tells her to do it, leaving her in a subservient role to Lottie who has herself fashioned a headdress that bears a striking resemblance to the Antler Queen attire. With all of this, it seems extremely likely that Shauna is the one that cuts the girl’s throat in Yellowjackets episode 1, whereas Lottie is the Antler Queen.
Adult Travis Still Saw Lottie As His Leader
One of the most shocking revelations from Yellowjackets season 2, episode 2, was that Lottie was present for Travis’ death. The event in question proves that even after 25 years of being back in normal life, Travis still saw Antler Queen Lottie as his leader. When Travis believed that the wilderness was coming back and that it wanted something from him, he called Lottie, who crossed state lines to meet him and performed a ritual to figure out the wilderness’ wishes. That ritual ended in his accidental suicide, but the most condemning evidence pointing to Lottie being the Antler Queen is that Travis still believed in her abilities.
How Travis knew Lottie was nearby is a mystery. Even Misty, who prides herself on her deep-dive abilities, was incredulous that Lottie was back in the States and running a cult. Travis and Lottie’s relationship in the past and present is a growing source of fascination. He joined Lottie’s spiritual tribe in the past when she was able to stop his panic attacks over Javi’s disappearance, and grew more reverent of her over time. Calling her up as an adult, when he had the closest relationship with Natalie out of the Yellowjackets survivors, proved that Travis still saw her as a spiritual leader even outside of the wilderness.