The Birth Scene in ‘Yellowjackets’ Episode 6 Is Even More Messed Up Than I Expected
In episode 6 of Yellowjackets season 2, “Qui,” Shauna finally gives birth—and the scene, with its equal parts heartbreak and horror, is Yellowjackets at its finest. Let’s get into it.
This article contains major spoilers for Yellowjackets season 2, episode 6.
Shauna’s birth scene in Yellowjackets, explained
At the end of episode 5, Shauna goes into labor, and at the beginning of episode 6, we pick up with the Yellowjackets frantically getting things ready for the birth.
Misty, as the only one who paid attention in sex ed, takes the lead. When Shauna starts bleeding, though, Misty looks at the literal blood on her hands, thinks of Crystal’s body, and panics.
Together, the whole team tries to help Shauna, but the bleeding persists, and eventually Shauna passes the placenta. The placenta, for those who don’t know, is the organ that provides oxygen and nutrients to the fetus in utero. If the placenta becomes detached, the fetus’s oxygen is cut off, and it can’t survive long. The moment the placenta comes out, it’s game over for Shauna’s child.
But then a miracle seems to occur. Lottie tells the others that the wilderness needs a sacrifice, and they place blood and other offerings on an animal skull. The baby crowns, Shauna passes out, and when she wakes up, she finds that she’s the mother of a healthy—and hungry—baby boy.
A few days seem to pass, during which Shauna struggles to breastfeed. This kind of problem is pretty common among new moms (I know—it happened to me twice). Babies might not latch right away, or the milk supply might be slow in coming, or health problems might get in the way. Nursing issues can be stressful and discouraging when you have other options, and deadly if you don’t.
At one point, Lottie takes the baby while Shauna’s asleep, and Shauna wakes up to find her humming “Frère Jacques” (note the French song!) as a lullaby. When Shauna demands the baby back, Lottie tells her that “he needs to feed.”
But who exactly is Lottie referring to? The baby? Or the spirit of the wilderness—the one who whispered “Il veut du sang” (“He wants blood”) in episode 4? Also, the title of the episode, which is French for “who,” might be a reference to something obvious that went over my head, but could it possibly point to the ambiguity of this moment?
But the baby latches, and Shauna, strung out on stress and exhaustion and postpartum hormones, professes her love for him.
Then things take a horrific turn. Shauna falls asleep again, and again wakes up to find the baby gone. She staggers into the living room to find that the rest of the team is devouring him on the blanket Lottie made, with the symbol clearly visible.
She wakes up again to find that only a few minutes have passed since the baby crowned. Everyone is in tears. Her baby is stillborn. The whole thing was just a dream. In one of the best performances in the series thus far, Shauna breaks down in grief. She claims she can still hear her baby crying from hunger, and she looks straight at the camera. “Why can’t you hear him crying?” she sobs, as the episode fades to black.
Whew. There’s a lot to unpack in this episode.
What does the dream sequence mean, and what’s going to happen to Shauna’s baby?
Shauna’s dream seems like it’s going to be a happy ending, but it quickly becomes a nightmare. Shauna dreams that her baby survives—but Lottie the Antler Queen is a menacing presence in the background, determined to get her hands on Shauna’s son. The end of the dream gives rise to Shauna’s worst fear: that after having eaten Jackie, her teammates will go after her child as their next meal.
What’s really alarming is that Shauna’s dream could be a premonition. In this episode, both adult Lottie and adult Natalie mention the “terrible,” “fucked up” things they did while trapped in the forest. Adult Lottie calls the spirit “the power of that place, the god of that place,” and tells her therapist that they did those terrible things “in its name.”
What I’m getting at here is that I’m afraid the team is going to eat Shauna’s baby. At this point, we can only hope it’s a misdirect. After all, Crystal’s body is out in the woods, ready to be ritualistically carved up.
A quick side note: notice how Coach Ben makes himself dissociate during the birth, just as Shauna dissociates through the dream? There’s a lot of escaping from reality happening this season, including the brainwashing at Lottie’s wellness center and the nostalgia trip of Van’s failing video store, and none of it is a good sign.
Why does Shauna look at the camera at the end of episode 6?
If you didn’t tear up when Shauna looked you in the eye, imploring you to hear her baby crying, then you have a heart of stone.
The decision to have Shauna look straight at us may be a simple stylistic choice, drawing us into the narrative. It mimics earlier shots of Shauna from the point of view of her teammates as they try to help her deliver the baby.
The series could also be getting more experimental in its storytelling. I couldn’t shake the feeling, watching it, that Shauna was talking to the disembodied “god of that place,” begging him for mercy.
What does the birth scene mean for adult Shauna?
Adult Shauna has never pretended to be a good mom. In this episode, in fact, she tells Callie that Callie should have slept with the police officer to erode his credibility. She then admits that she never wanted Callie in the first place. As a parent, Shauna sucks.
But seeing her deep love for her baby in the woods, along with the agony of losing him, casts her current personality in a whole new light. Shauna is deeply scarred and traumatized. That still doesn’t make her a good mother to Callie, but it does make it easier to empathize with her.
What’s next for the surviving Yellowjackets?
The end of episode 6 sees Lottie, Natalie, Misty, Taissa, Van, and Shauna reunited at Lottie’s wellness center, fulfilling Lottie’s premonition that the god of the woods is bringing them together. But for what purpose? I have a feeling things are going to get as bloody in the present as they are in the past.
(featured image: Showtime)
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