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Yellowjackets Goes Full House Of The Dragon With Shauna's Birth Scene In S2 Episode 6

Contains spoilers for "Yellowjackets" Season 2 Episode 6 — "Qui"

"Yellowjackets" and "House of the Dragon" might air on different networks — and be radically different shows, when it comes down to it — but the former may have taken some inspiration from the latter. The sixth episode of the second season of "Yellowjackets," "Qui," has a scene that fans have been waiting for since early in Season 1... and it takes a turn worthy of the HBO drama.

Ever since it was revealed that teen Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) was pregnant in Season 1, the fate of the baby has been an enormous question mark for fans. Though the cast and crew of the show went so far as to promise the baby wouldn't be part of the soccer team's descent into cannibalism, "Qui" employs an upsetting fake-out where, as she drifts in and out of consciousness while giving birth in the cabin they all share, Shauna has a number of different upsetting dreams, including one where her teammates devour her baby right in front of her. It's only then that Shauna wakes up to discover that nobody ate her newborn son, but he didn't make it through delivery. 

So what does this have to do with "House of the Dragon?" Well, that show has no shortage of upsetting birth scenes — but they also serve a very different purpose on the "Game of Thrones" prequel.

House of the Dragon has a number of horrifying birth scenes

"House of the Dragon" is no stranger to awful birth scenes, and they start in the show's very first episode. While giving birth to King Viserys Targaryen's (Paddy Considine) long-awaited first son, his beloved wife, Queen Aemma (Sian Brooke) starts having problems during labor because the baby is in breech — and when faced with the choice of saving his wife or the child, Viserys picks the baby. After doctors cut Aemma's stomach open — while she screams in pain and begs for her life, not fully aware of what's even happening — and she bleeds out, Viserys holds his son... who dies shortly thereafter.

Aemma isn't the only one; her daughter Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) is shown experiencing a difficult childbirth midway through the season (after a time jump that replaces Milly Alcock as the princess), only for her to be rushed across the castle to show her newborn to Viserys' wife and Rhaenyra's childhood best friend Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke). Rhaenyra, by all rights, should barely be able to stand, and here she is abusing her shattered body to please the queen. Finally, there's Daemon Targaryen's (Matt Smith) first wife Laena Velaryon (Nanna Blondell) also has a baby in breech, and rather than die like Aemma, she chooses to have her dragon burn her to death rather than die in childbirth. In case you're keeping count, that's two women who died in childbirth; both did so during their first episode on the show (for Laena, it's the first one where Blondell plays her as an adult).

Why Yellowjackets' birth scene works — and the ones on House of the Dragon don't

The problem with the birth scenes in "House of the Dragon" is twofold: they feel gratuituous, and they're depicted from a largely male perspective. Sure, Laena technically "needs" to die so that Daemon can marry his niece Rhaenyra (ew), but for it to happen because the exact same thing that happened to Aemma afflicted her feels like too much. As for poor Aemma, she's barely a character; she's just an object meant to show how badly Viserys will fight for a male heir. Both of these scenes are told through the point of view of the women's husbands to boot, taking even more agency away from the people at the center of the moment.

"Yellowjackets," on the other hand, is told from a female perspective — which, frankly, is thanks in large part to the fact that there are hardly any male characters in the 1996 timeline. That said, Shauna's dreams are focused squarely on motherhood and her imagined struggles with it, including being so hungry that she can't breastfeed her son. When she "does," she's overcome with joy and, in her mind, we see her truly bond with her baby. While this is all imagined, it tells a deeper story than any of the scenes on "House of the Dragon," which ultimately do little more than show women's pain without much purpose.

"House of the Dragon" is available to stream on HBO Max, and "Yellowjackets" drops new episodes on Showtime's streaming service every Friday.