Following the tragic stillbirth of her baby, Shauna’s grief and anger drives the seventh episode of Yellowjackets season 2—ending in a shocking show of violence.
Titled “Burial,” the episode begins in the 1990s timeline, when the Yellowjackets are still in the wilderness. A raging blizzard has the team snowbound in the cabin, waiting out the storm. Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) still clings to the body of her son. Once the snow stops and they are able to open the door to the cabin, Shauna makes her way outside. The ground is frozen solid, so she buries her child in an aboveground grave of rocks.
But the moment of closure does not tame Shauna’s rage and profound sense of injustice about the situation. She tries to reconnect with Jackie (Ella Purnell) in the shed where they once kept her body, but her spirit seems to have disappeared since the team ate her. Shauna ultimately breaks down sobbing instead. When she finally returns to the cabin that night, she can no longer keep her emotions in check.
Shauna first turns on Misty (Samantha Hanratty) for humming the ’90s hit “Lightning Crashes” by Live before hauling off and punching her in the face. Then, Lottie (Courtney Eaton), by now the group’s de-facto spiritual guide, steps in. Lottie knows Shauna needs someone to blame for her baby’s death, and allows her to release her anger—letting Shauna beat her to the brink of death as the rest of the team watches on.
“I’m not sure I’ve really seen anything quite like this on TV,” co-showrunner Jonathan Lisco tells TIME. “Where a young woman, in an act of absolute rageful catharsis, beats the living hell out of one of her friends while all their other friends stand around and watch. And her rage is emanating from the loss of a child that she blames everyone for.”
The gruesome scene, one that Lisco describes as “arguably the most brutal of the season,” is intended to make viewers want to look away. But the moment is also intercut with a scene from the present timeline, when the adult survivors get together and experience a rare moment of pure joy. By episode 7, the adult survivors have—through various paths over the course of the season—reconvened at Lottie’s compound. After a conversation about what they all remember from the time in the wilderness and what they have all repressed, the women get drunk and dance around a campfire.
“It’s so poignant because it’s clear they either don’t even remember what happened, or they remember in different ways,” Lisco says. “Each of them has dealt with this trauma differently.”
Going forward, Lisco says Yellowjackets will reveal more about how the survivors were able to come to terms with each other in the present timeline after everything they did to one another in the wilderness.
“These women are chemically drawn to one another,” he says. “They may have been trying to avoid each other, but because they’re the only people in the world who can ever understand what they collectively went through, they’re drawn together. They have to keep crashing into each other in the present. That in itself is a form of processing the trauma.”
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