Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Season 2 of Yellowjackets.As the most recent episode of Yellowjackets Season 2 proved yet again, tensions are rising in the wilderness. Still in the midst of a brutal winter, the Yellowjackets are low on food and largely trapped inside the cabin, not to mention the chaos and aftermath of Shauna’s (Sophie Nélisse) pregnancy. As Shauna begins to reckon with the pain of losing her baby, the rest of the group is walking on eggshells around her, and for good reason. In the final moments of the episode, Shauna finally snaps, first punching Misty (Samantha Hanratty), and then beating Lottie (Courtney Eaton) to a pulp. But did Lottie deserve it?
Shauna and Lottie Have Always Been at Odds
Ever since Lottie ran out of her antipsychotic medication after the plane crash, she had been having visions and premonitions, many of which would later come true. She at first sought spiritual guidance from Laura Lee (Jane Widdop), but after her death, when more of Lottie’s predictions came to pass, she began accumulating her own group of believers, starting with Misty and Van (Liv Hewson). Though several of the girls, namely Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), were skeptics, as time has passed and more of Lottie’s seemingly impossible premonitions have come true, most of the Yellowjackets have put at least some faith in Lottie’s connection to the mysterious powers of the forest in which they are trapped.
Though there used to be more of a divide between the skeptics and believers in the group, as Season 2 has progressed, Shauna is the only Yellowjacket who still vehemently rejects Lottie’s spiritual leadership. She lashes out at Lottie when she discovers her whispering to her unborn baby while she’s still pregnant, and feels betrayed by Taissa, her closest friend aside from the now-deceased Jackie (Ella Purnell), for putting stock in Lottie’s practices. As Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) loses his authority over the girls, Lottie has become the person they turn to for guidance. Though Lottie lacked the natural leadership qualities that Jackie had, she stepped up as the situation worsened. When Shauna at first directs her anger at Misty, blaming her for losing her baby, Lottie puts herself between them. She knows Shauna resents her and needs to unleash her rage, so she puts her hands behind her back, instructs the rest of the girls not to interfere, and allows Shauna to beat her over and over until she loses consciousness.
Shauna’s Outburst Was a Long Time Coming
Though it’s pointless to compare trauma among the Yellowjackets, who have all survived a plane crash and been forced to go to extraordinary lengths to survive, Shauna’s anguish has been a focal point of the series. In Season 1, her main internal struggle is the guilt she feels over having sex with Jackie’s boyfriend. It’s a secret she managed to keep from Jackie until her pregnancy was revealed and, sensing Shauna is lying to her, Jackie reads Shauna’s diary and finds out who the baby’s real father is. In the Season 1 finale, this rising tension finally comes to a head in a massive fight, resulting in Jackie’s death when she storms out of the cabin, freezing in the first snow. Shauna is the one to discover Jackie’s body, and blames herself for her death, adding on to this preexisting guilt.
Going into Season 2, Shauna is grieving Jackie in the least healthy way imaginable – by having conversations with her frozen, dead body as if she’s still alive. But it’s in episode two, when Shauna desperately takes a bite of Jackie’s severed ear, that we see just how far their dire circumstances are pushing her. It’s the dead of winter, and there’s no game in sight, so when the girls feast on Jackie’s burnt corpse in the following episode, it’s a turning point for everyone. This tacks on yet another layer of guilt, and despite never wanting a baby in the first place, it becomes her sole beacon of hope, making the loss in Episode 6 all the more heartbreaking. Realistically, her baby likely wouldn’t have lived very long anyway given the circumstances, but when her son dies at birth, Shauna is looking for anyone and anything to blame it on. Of course, it’s no one’s fault, and it’s hard to imagine being pregnant and giving birth under worse circumstances, but Shauna directs her anger toward two of the most obvious targets: Misty and Lottie.
We also see Shauna’s grief over the loss of her baby intertwined with her continued grief over Jackie’s death. Though Shauna’s pregnancy was a direct result of her betraying Jackie, she is the only one Shauna wants to talk to in the aftermath, even returning to the shed where Jackie’s body was previously stored to cry and call out to her. Shauna rejects Taissa’s attempts to comfort her, still wishing she had her oldest friend by her side — and in a subtle but impactful detail, during the final scene of the episode where Shauna attacks Lottie, she’s wearing the white butterfly shirt that Jackie can be seen wearing several times throughout Season 1.
When Shauna falls unconscious while giving birth, she has a disturbing vision of the girls eating her baby, their mouths covered in blood, which certainly adds fuel to the fire. We know this never actually happened, because we later see Shauna clutching a swathe of fur that the girls wrapped the baby’s body inside, but it’s an image that sticks in her mind considering they had already cannibalized Jackie not long ago. And though realistically she knows she can’t blame them for eating her baby, she can blame them for losing him.
Did Lottie Deserve It?
Did Lottie deserve to be beaten so brutally by Shauna? The short answer is no, but Shauna’s violent outburst is hardly surprising considering everything she’s been through. It’s hard to watch, and if we hadn’t already gotten to know adult Lottie (Simone Kessell), it wouldn’t have been that surprising if Shauna’s beating actually killed her. Lottie knew Shauna needed this catharsis given everything she’s been through, and that Shauna keeping her anger bottled up would have undoubtedly led to greater tension and future problems within the group.
Present-day Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) and Lottie don’t seem to hate each other, so apologies and forgiveness were likely exchanged somewhere along the way. Though it may have seemed illogical and dangerous, Lottie allowing herself to bear the brunt of Shauna’s anger is a testament to her intuition as a leader in her willingness to sacrifice her body for the well-being of the rest of the group. With just a few episodes left in the season and many unanswered questions, only time will tell where Lottie will lead them next, and if Shauna will follow — either in the past or the present.
New episodes of Yellowjackets Season 2 premiere every Friday on the Showtime streaming app and every Sunday on-air.