Yellowjackets Season 2, Episode 6 “Qui” Review
We open up in health class. Ah, The Miracle of Life, that Peabody Award-winning nightmare. Ben (Steven Krueger) presides over the class. I mean, I don’t know if it’s still de rigueur, but back then, it wasn’t uncommon for health teachers to pull double duty with teaching gym or some other physical pursuit. Misty (Sammi Hanratty) sits enraptured, Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Van (Liv Hewson) rag on Randy while Jeff slips Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) a surreptitious note before. She excuses herself for the bathroom, reminding him whose boyfriend he is.
As Blur’s “Song 2” blares, we smash cut to the laborious wailing of Shauna in the cabin. Misty’s up to bat, but this task might be a bit more than she bargained for. Akilah (Nia Sondaya) tags in for a petrified Misty. With her the only cool head in the room, the squad can only rally around the mother-to-be. Everybody has their part to play, including Lottie (Courtney Eaton), but at that current moment, Taissa wants her to grant Shauna some breathing room.
Relieved of her brass knuckles among other personal “effects”, Misty (Christina Ricci) is primed for Natalie’s extraction from Chez Charlotte. Refusing to believe her friend tried to 86 herself is the least of Lottie’s (Simone Kessell) concerns, as something summarily scapes her mind as if a heavy piece of the puzzle is being dragged into place.
Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) informs Jeff (Warren Kole) that she and Callie (Sarah Desjardins) are wanted for questioning. Mom dukes would’ve rather her baby girl slayed the cop in the bedroom than be chaste, as any information divulged would’ve been rendered inadmissible. Though morally dubious, it would’ve been a worthwhile gamble. In times of desperation, sanctimony ain’t even a word.
Present-day Natalie (Juliette Lewis) may need the same. The firearm in her arms for target practice isn’t nearly as dangerous to her as her floundering conviction. She maintains for Lisa (Nicole Maines) to keep her distance, lest she poison anybody else. Whatever was in Travis resides in her as well and she’s pretty staunch in believing those who made it home don’t deserve to walk the earth.
After Van (Lauren Ambrose) relays to Taissa (Tawny Cypress) what she said and attempted to do in her slumber stupor, Tai feels the need to pack up her shit show and hit the pavement. Something in Van isn’t giving Tai the clearance to be alone in the wild just yet and thanks to Misty’s call, she won’t have to be. Road trip!
The birthing process isn’t getting any easier for Shauna with a horrified Misty at the helm. After seeing the amount of actual blood on her hands, Misty’s conscience goes straight for the metaphor. This prompts Misty to tap out and though coach Ben appears the next best option, the extent of his expertise is hitting play on a VCR. Though he’s able to plug into his happy place, the reality before him wins out. These woods don’t know the meaning of ‘vacation’. The only word they recognize is ‘pain’.
Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) steps up to reassure Shauna but even with Akilah substituting, Travis (Kevin Alves) knows this isn’t enough. He bestows his own blood onto an animal skull, prompting the others to offer up something. Though Lottie assures Travis both she and the wilderness acknowledge his sacrifice, something screams “This knife cuts both ways”. In therapy, Lottie realizes that her reoccurring visions are part of something grander, something that was hiding in plain sight. Medication was never needed, being now thoroughly convinced that whatever evil the squad owes their survival to is coming to collect. It’s all about balance, baby.
The story is looking grimmer by the minute out there in the forest. A placenta as the prologue isn’t exactly making for a fairy tale ending. With Shauna having already lost enough blood, there’s no time for Misty to be in her own tailspin, and with the help of Lottie, she puts on her game face. With Lottie leading all in a collective chant to the wilderness, Misty and Akilah see the baby through to delivery before Shauna passes out. She awakens to smiling faces, but more importantly, a crying baby boy as Elliot Smith serves as the child’s herald into this cold, brutal world.
Outside the police station, Jeff fields a call from Taissa, informing him of where she and Van are going and with whom they are meeting. Inside, Kevyn (Alex Wyndham) and Matt (John Reynolds) pull the good cop/bad cop routine, respectively. Mother keeps cooler than the cucumber in a bottle of Hendrick’s, masterfully throwing the 1-2 combo of reaching deep into her trauma of becoming a mother followed by laying all of her cards out of the affair. The daughter’s equally cunning, daring a potential jury of her peers to hear testimony about Matt’s indecent exposure. Once let go, Shauna reveals to Jeff that she’d admitted to the affair. What’s more, she’s rollin’ with the stolen revolver in her glove box. It’s frankly too much for Jeff to handle, so he suggests she take a vacation at Club Lottie.
At her wit’s end, Shauna breaks and confesses. She confides in her newly begotten that though he was the unwanted result of a shameful moment in time, she can be strong for both of them to be a formidable team but only once he accepts her body. He finally does and though Natalie is anxious to tell the others, she allows the new mother to savor her rare victory in a world full of losses for a little while longer.
At the gate, Taissa and Van get ready to part ways when Shauna suddenly cuts the line, prompting the duo to follow. Looks like the gang’s back together. Call it fate, providence, or something underworldly- this was always in the cards as exemplified by an aerial shot, showing the entire epicenter of the camp mapping out our old friend, the mysterious glyph.
Once again waking up to a mellifluous humming, Shauna finds her newborn missing. What greets her in the next room can only be described as inhuman at worst, and bestial at best before coming to and awakening. It was all a nightmare. The reality, however, is far darker. What greets her are not smiles, only tears.
The team did all they could. In order for Mother Nature to continue her perfect dance in necessary chaos, the balance ironically must first be restored. Or maybe an afterlife in Heaven simply doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s just a compulsory Hell on Earth.
Outside of ending on thus far the roughest scene in the series (including the long-pig dinner party), the whistle for the second half was blown loud and clear. The last few dissociative moments of Shauna hark back to Hawkeye Pierce’s infamous “chicken” scene in the finale of M*A*S*H*’. Kudos to Sophie Nélisse for a gut-wrenching performance from beginning to end. This throughline of her agonizing labor kept the plot solidly chugging along at a freight’s pace, sowing even more curiosities.
What is Lottie’s specific draw to this baby? She did predict the sex of the child. Does her humming of ‘Frère Jacques’ hold any significance? Though Lisa’s absolving of Natalie of her attack was in earnest, can Nat even trust in herself enough to get her shit together? Why did Tai nearly kiss Van during her spell of somnambulism?
A nail-biter when in the past, the present’s storylines, though tense, were a bit more on the passive side. This juxtaposition in the episode was cleverly essential in breaking up what could have ended either too heavy-handed or too obtuse in less tactical hands, especially given the devastating payoff in the end.