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Yellowjackets S2: Sophie Nelisse Says Shauna Won't Come Back Easily From That Birth Scene

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

"Yellowjackets" is one of the most gruesome shows on television, and for precisely that reason, it can be just as tough for the actors involved in each scene as it is for the audience to watch it later on. It should come as no surprise that, while filming "Qui" — the sixth episode of Season 2 of "Yellowjackets" — Sophie Nélisse, as teenage Shauna, had an enormous on-screen undertaking, in that she had to have a traumatic on-screen birth, several dream sequences, and ultimately discover that her newborn son actually died during her labor.

In conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Nélisse discussed the toll this experience takes on Shauna, and how it affects her view of motherhood going forward. "Shauna probably carries so much guilt around. Even though she knows there's nothing she could have done in her power to keep this baby alive, I think she will forever feel guilty. And the whole dream is also what's so interesting. She wakes up and she's still hearing the baby scream. I've had those vivid dreams where I wake up and I'm so confused, because the dream felt so vivid and so real. And I think that's even more what gets to me in the episode. When she says, "I can still hear him cry." And everyone is like, "Oh, she's lost it." No one knows what she's undergone in the last hour in her mind. You can just tell she will not come back from it easily."

Sophie Nélisse and Melanie Lynskey didn't discuss this big scene as much as you'd expect

Considering that this experience has serious implications going forward for the adult version of Shauna, played by Melanie Lynskey, you might think that she and Nélisse discussed it. As it turns out, though, Nélisse told THR that she and Lynskey alwyas got a bit distracted when they would meet up for coffee and not even discuss Shauna at all. However, Nélisse is understandably confident that the veteran actor knew what she was doing. "If she would have wanted to have a discussion about it, I would have gladly talked about it, but she's such a pro," Nélisse said. "She knows what she's doing, she doesn't need my help."

That said, Nélisse has some thoughts on her character's future mindset, especially as it relates to her life and being a mother to Callie (Sarah Desjardins). "Yeah. And I think that's why she cheated on her husband," she said. "Older Shauna is desperately trying to find [who she was]. I think she loved who she was out in the wilderness. And that's what's so conflicting about her. Obviously, she doesn't want to go back and she feels so guilty. But there is a part of her that she's kind of scared of, because that part of her has maybe committed bad things ... But that part of her is deep down and she's desperately trying to find that voice again."

Sophie Nélisse thinks losing the baby is a sort of reality check for the girls

"Yellowjackets" constantly walks a tightrope line between being extremely grounded and veering into the supernatural, much of which has to do with Lottie (Courtney Eaton as a teenager and Simone Kessell as an adult). As Nélisse astutely points out, Lottie's visions and intuitions, which turn out to be correct enough of the time to lull the girls into a false sense of security, ultimately can't save Shauna's baby. In this way, losing Shauna's son ends up bringing the girls crashing back to reality.

"[The fact that the baby dies] grounds the show so much," Nélisse said bluntly. "And I think it's such a slap in the face. That no, there wasn't a reason for this baby. There was no higher power. There's no logical sense, there's no good reason. It's not a sacrifice. They won't eat it. The baby will just be buried, and that's the end. And it smacks them back into reality a little." In saying this, she also mentions the borderline cult forming around Lottie that gives the girls a feeling of invincibility and even security that's ripped away when the baby doesn't make it. Sure, it's gutting to watch — but narratively, it's a strong move that pulls the rug out from under characters who were confident for no reason.

Melanie Lynskey spoke about the impact the birth had on Shauna later on

Shauna loses her son in the woods, and years later, she has Callie with her husband Jeff (Warren Kole) — and as she tells the police during questioning over the death of her lover Adam (Peter Gadiot), she's completely unsure of herself as a mother. Sometimes, she admits, she just doesn't like Callie, but the immense amount of responsibility that comes with parenting overcomes her when push comes to shove. She had Callie to save her marriage while it was on the rocks, and the ghost of the son she lost lingers over her for years to come.

Speaking exclusively to the Radio Times, Lynskey opened up about Shauna's extremely complicated approach to motherhood. "I think she's been forced to ask herself a lot of questions this season about whether she's a good mother," Lynskey revealed. "She didn't want to have a child. She never, ever, ever wanted to put herself in that position again. And I don't know if it was that she didn't want to have to explain to Jeff what had happened, so she just ended up going along with it and having Callie, but it's really tricky because not only was she ambivalent about motherhood, but the act of being pregnant and of giving birth would have been incredibly traumatic. So how much of yourself do you shut off after that?" This is all pretty understandable, and it's easy to see why Shauna's relationship with Callie isn't easy for her to grapple with.