Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 1 of Yellowjackets.
Calling all Yellowjackets stans! The 10th and final episode of Showtime's psychological survival thriller is crash-landing on our small screens on Jan. 16, 2022. Superfans of Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson's series know there are Easter eggs galore within each and every mind-bending episode.
As we wait for the stranded Yellowjackets soccer team to finally feast on each other as a desperate means for survival (morbid, schmorbid), let's discuss the possible meaning behind the season finale's cryptic title, "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi." Does it boast a hidden meaning — something related to that bizarre symbol branded across the forest's trees? Cult-like rituals? Let's channel Christina Ricci's Misty Quigley and put our citizen detective thinking caps on.
What does "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" translate to?
The 10th episodes title, "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi," is a Latin phrase that translates to "thus passes the glory of the world." According to The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the words were spoken during the coronation of Pope Alexander V — aka the "antipope" — in Pisa circa 1409. An antipope is a person who attempts to overtake the position of the Bishop of Rome currently recognized by the Catholic Church. Antipopes are not considered "legitimate."
During the ceremony, flax was burned to symbolize the "transitoriness of earthly glory."
Oxford also mentions that the phrase may derive from a longer version: "O quam cito transit gloria mundi," which translates to "oh how quickly the glory of the world passes away." The extended phrase can be found in Thomas à Kempis' famous Christian devotional book, De Imitatione Christi, which translates to Imitation of Christ. Per Encyclopaedia Britannica, the book was likely published between 1390 and 1440.
Hmm, there are several Catholic roots to the Latin phrase. If the episode title happens to connect to De Imitatione Christi, it could hint at something ritualistic, perhaps relating to crucifixion.
Let us not forget that dear, sweet Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) — who is made to be a martyr after attempting to fly a dilapidated plane — is deeply religious.
Though the plane's mid-flight explosion seems to point to her inevitable death (hey, our hero might still be alive!), who knows? Could "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" tie into her beliefs?
Considering Yellowjackets stans live on Reddit, we did some digging.
Reddit users weigh in on the possible meaning behind "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi."
User charlottellyn mentioned the Latin phrase's historical origins, too, discussing its relation to papal coronations. "On each occasion, a papal master of ceremonies would fall to his knees before the pope, holding a silver or brass reed, bearing a tow of smoldering flax. For three times in succession, as the cloth burned away, he would say in a loud and mournful voice, 'Pater Sancte, sic transit gloria mundi!' ('Holy Father, so passes worldly glory!')," they wrote.
User ConDog1993 responded, saying "So ... antler queen related maybe? The beginnings of the proper fracturing of the groups?" Solid inferring skills.
User charlottellyn continued, mentioning the importance of status levels when it comes to worship. "There are so many elements of ceremony, ritual, someone being ‘crowned’ and basically worshipped by someone of lower status," they wrote. "It hints at the girls being resigned to death OR the death of the life they once knew."
Perhaps an "antler queen" will be crowned soon. We're desperately waiting for barbaric forms of worship, cult rituals, not to mention cannibalism. Keep on thinking, fellow Yellowjackets.
New episodes of Yellowjackets air Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on Showtime.