Christina Ricci on That Devastating ‘Yellowjackets’ Finale: “It Was Torturous”
Yellowjackets season two ended the same way season one did: with the death of a major character. But unlike last year’s chilling ending for Jackie (Ella Purnell), this year’s finale death takes place in the present day, removing one of the 2021 storyline’s biggest stars from the board: Juliette Lewis’s Natalie Scatorccio.
Directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Ameni Rozsa, “Storytelling” puts the adult Yellowjackets in the wilderness, if not The Wilderness, with murder on their minds. “It chooses,” Lottie (Simone Kessell) told her fellow plane-crash survivors in the previous episode, pitching a ritualistic sacrifice to solve all their problems, for old time’s sake. The finale sees the Yellowjackets trying and ultimately failing to fight their savage instincts, hunting and nearly killing Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) in the process.
Before they can sink their knives into their prey, Lottie’s disciple Lisa (Nicole Maines) arrives on the scene, gun in hand, determined to end the madness. Natalie, having grown close with Lisa over the course of the season, attempts to defuse the situation. Unfortunately, Christina Ricci’s Misty is set on doing the same thing, albeit with a barbiturate-filled needle. Though she intends to stick Lisa with it, a scuffle ensues, and Natalie gets in the way. Before Misty knows it, she’s lethally injected her friend in Lisa’s stead. Just like that, Natalie’s gone, accidentally killed at Misty’s hand.
“We were all really devastated by it,” Ricci tells Vanity Fair. “We’ve all bonded like sisters at this point. We’ve been through so much. We’ve had fights, we’ve reconciled, really like sisters. It was devastating, shooting that scene, holding Juliette while she dies…. It was torturous.”
Natalie’s death in the modern timeline comes right as we learn a major revelation about the 1996 version of the character, played by Sophie Thatcher. Who is the Antler Queen? Turns out, it was Natalie all along. The reveal about Natalie’s past status, paired with Natalie’s fatal ending in the present, paves the way for Misty’s troubling future. Ahead, Ricci talks with VF about Misty’s role in her best friend’s death, that major Antler Queen reveal, and whether Misty really believes in the power of the wilderness.
Vanity Fair: Misty spent all of season two trying to save Natalie, only to end up killing her. What did you make of the twist?
Christina Ricci: It makes a lot of sense for the character. A lot of the most harmful decisions Misty makes remind me of impulsive things you do as a child, when you don’t realize the consequences in the moment. I remember being a little kid and wanting something. You’d do something you weren’t supposed to do so you could have the thing, not realizing the thing you did to get the thing is actually so terrible, and causes so many problems, and is completely inappropriate and not okay. Even with [Misty destroying] the black box [after the plane crash], that wasn’t an evil, devious move. She wasn’t trying to destroy everyone’s lives by keeping them there. It’s just, finally, people are nice to her. People are even fucking talking to her. And in that moment, she just wants more of it. It’s just a purely immature, selfish act. Impulsive.
You see it again with [Crystal’s death in episode 5]. [Misty] realizes, “This is not going to be good for me,” and takes a strong action that isn’t good for anybody—ultimately, certainly not for herself. I think this is another one of those impulsive kinds of decisions and actions that ends really badly. But she was trying to kill Lisa so Lisa would not harm Natalie. It wasn’t an evil intention, it was just selfish. She’s trying to protect her friend, the thing she wants, the thing she covets. That’s her toy, you know?
What can you say about shooting the scene?
It was really hard. Sometimes when you’re shooting a very emotional scene and there are ten other cast members who don’t have to cry and can just joke around and have fun, it makes it really hard! You have to be in this place. It was difficult, getting to where I needed to be. But Karyn was so amazing, and worked with me and Juliette about how to execute it in a way that was the most helpful. But it was tough. It was really upsetting.
Once you read the script and you knew what was coming, how did you and Juliette cut the tension?
There was no tension about it at all. The only thing any of us felt was sad that she wouldn’t be a part of the show anymore. She and I have gotten to a place over the course of two seasons where we really love each other. We’re friends. We’re both there for each other, to support each other through hard things and care deeply for each other. There was never any kind of bad feelings.
It’s a huge swing for the narrative. We know many of the Yellowjackets in the ’90s aren’t going to make it, but I was foolish enough to think we were going to stick with the women of the 2021 storyline for the duration.
It’s so interesting to hear that. Even in the first season, as we got to the end, everybody was like, “Am I getting killed?” All the adults, too! Even at the end of this season, I was like, “Wait, do I die? Is Misty going to die?”