Until now, the Yellowjackets survivors have been running into a wall of continual mourning. They’ve seen friends and mentors die violently and have started losing hope in regaining the lives they once knew. However, the loss of young Shauna’s baby boy at the end of ‘Qui’ felt like something different. Was it feasible to expect the collective to raise a newborn with a scarcity of food and resources? Probably not. However, the baby was the personification of newness inside a caldron of immense loss. Lottie and her supporters eagerly anticipated his arrival, and so did Shauna. (“You and me against the world.”) The baby was something personal that Shauna could have to call her own – much like her friendship with Jackie. Now, both are gone.
As the present version of Shauna becomes more transparent, we get to see how deep her trauma runs. It’s why she can’t connect to Callie as she desires. The “therapy” with the goat at the wellness center is another instance where Shauna is almost put off by caring for something young. She makes excuses not to get close to it and give it away. (“You guys are going to end up killing it in the end anyway”) When Bruce eats some rope, it triggers that moment inside Shauna of what happened back in the wilderness. There’s another inference that something is broken – it’s sad.
Then, there’s the other theme of belief in a greater force. The baby’s death puts much of what Lottie believes on shaky ground. Even with the offerings, it didn’t stop the inevitable from happening. From that point, Lottie speaks about the wilderness and gives some parameters on how things work – that it doesn’t choose who lives or dies, but listens to them. Shauna is still alive.
Nevertheless, all this bad stuff has everybody searching for a sense of meaning. Young Van speaks about it. Young Tai also reiterates her devotion to Van and that Lottie helped her reach that point. It’s interesting because the present storyline is rooted in the surviving Yellowjackets tackling their fears with specific tasks. While young Taissa is seeking to suppress “the other,” present Lottie is telling Lottie “the other” doesn’t want to be buried.
It’s a flip of the switch. While some go towards therapy, Misty tries to escape it. You can’t run away from yourself when locked inside a deprivation tank. However, Misty’s facade of trying to be average doesn’t work in the past or present. Akilah and Mari rightfully suspect Misty is a key player in the disappearance of Crystal. They are so on the nose that Misty has to put on the waterworks to try to throw them off her scent. (Weird that she can’t find Crystal’s body). But the “acting” caused Ben to pause from jumping off the cliff. So, at least, it worked in that sense.
The live Calgula and Walter song-and-dance was a nice trippy break in a hefty emotional episode. That way would only inhibit Misty from finally calling Walter and telling him how she feels about it. Is he going to respond? Who knows. The last time we saw Walter, he correctly followed Misty’s scent about the murder. One thing that has been a point of intrigue throughout the second season is the concept of reality. Are some of these scenes just a delusion or some sideways reality a la Lost? Ben’s imagination follows him into the cabin, where a manifestation of Paul appears. It tells him the cabin is never meant to be a hiding place, and Ben can’t stay forever. I would be more inclined to chalk that up to psychosis – if it wasn’t for two things.
For starters, there’s the talk about the whereabouts of Crystal. Two survivors contemplate it is not wrong if they find Crystal dead because they wouldn't “waste the body.” That’s horrifying, and you have to guess this “hunger” will only grow. Ben had this fear that he was going to be eaten. Shauna also can’t shake her vision of the group eating her baby. It more than likely did not happen, but that didn’t stop her from being out for blood. Lottie sacrifices herself as a punching bag and almost dies for it.
If you notice, there is television static in Ben’s perception of reality. It’s the same thing that happens in the present when Lottie is talking to the therapist (aka The Antler Queen). The quote is, “Does a hunt that has no violence feed anyone?” We have yet to see what has become of some people in the past. From looking at flashbacks, there are two camps, and not everybody walks out alive. There has to be a reason why the remaining Yellowjackets are driven back to each other – not just for a regular catch-up round. But it could also tie into Lottie’s venture to the mantle and her urging for her blood offering to be enough.
In the last part of the episode, we discover Van has cancer with only months to live. She seems resolved in the fact that she will die soon. Tai, of course, still loves her and wants to try to help get her better. Given that there might need to be a sacrifice soon, is it possible that Van is on the menu (so to speak)? There may have never been the best use of Live’s “Lightning Crashes” – between a party and a fight.
One Last Thing
You didn’t think that Adam's murder was going away, did you?