Allow me to preemptively come to Natalie’s defense. Travis’ hope aside, all logic points to the saddest outcome: Javi is probably dead. The Ontario wilderness has been cruel to the Yellowjackets and despite being sheltered in a cabin, they are perpetually cold. Even though they’ve pooled their resources and preserved their food, they’re still walking the razor’s edge of starvation. So it’s hard to imagine that Javi has survived while wandering the Ontario wilderness for two months, all on his own. By now, he’s probably starved, been mauled by wolves (like Van), or frozen to death (like Jackie). But Travis can’t bear to consider those options.
It’s no coincidence that all of this is mirrored by Shauna refusing to let go of Jackie. Shauna is so overwhelmed by the loss of her best friend that she spends all her free time chatting with her frozen corpse … among other things. Eargate aside, Shauna hasn’t been able to move on from the loss, and it’s debilitating. Natalie looks at Travis the same way: they can’t hunt, and he can’t effectively move on if he never accepts the loss of his brother.
With no confirmation that his brother is dead, Travis is trapped in a purgatory state: he refuses to stop looking, even if it means being consumed by an endless cycle of despair. Wanting to help him, Nat decides to kill whatever glimmer of hope he has left. In the second episode, she steals a piece of Javi’s clothes, shreds it, wipes it in her blood, then plants it for Travis to find. For the moment, her plan is a success. Travis breaks down but in the end, he throws the bloodied clothes into the pyre with Jackie’s body, accepting his brother’s “death.”