DISCLAIMER: This recap of Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6, “Qui,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back to The Wilderness, acolytes. “Qui” is an incredibly brutal, visceral, in-your-face outing that’s a meditation on motherhood and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy. It’s the best episode of the season thus far. The writers cleverly connect Shauna’s birth in the wilderness with Shauna’s present-day musings on her role as a mother. She admits to Matt that she wasn’t ready to be a mother, nor did she want to be one. Having the context of losing her baby in 1996, you understand why she says this now. I love when we learn of past events that inform the modern-era characters. 

Ben allows fantasy to become his reality, while Lottie questions whether she possesses magical abilities or some divine connection with the wilderness. I can see Lottie developing a god complex (I think it’s already forming) and taking it too far toward the end of the season. Shauna dreams her son is alive and healthy, and the dream goes on for long enough that you start to believe it might be real. (I always take things on this show with a grain of salt, though.) 

Everything ties together thematically, and it’s beautiful to witness. “Qui” is a testament to the strength of these talented writers (Where would we be without them?), our brilliant performers and this intricately layered story that cracks open our hearts and devours us whole. 

Ready to delve into “Qui” (which means “Who”)? Let’s get to it. 

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We open in 1995 with teen Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown), Van (Liv Hewson) and Misty (Samantha Hanratty) in health class. Ben (Steven Krueger) is their instructor. He shows them a video of how babies are born. We see teen Randy being an obnoxious high school boy while Van makes googly eyes at Taissa, and Jeff asks someone to pass a note to Shauna.

Ah, note passing. I still did it in middle school and high school in the 2000s. Shauna reads the note, where Jeff praises her for “nailing that tutoring session earlier.” That’s an innuendo for the sex, folks. Shauna storms out of class, but not before dropping the note on Jeff’s desk and telling him Jackie’s favorite flowers. Misty asks Ben about the amount of blood involved in the birthing process. That’s our twisted little sicko. My heart swells with pride. In the wilderness, Misty faces Shauna’s vagina as the latter releases a bloodcurdling scream. It’s baby time. Misty, the resident healer since the plane crash, freezes uncharacteristically. 

Taissa and Natalie sit next to Shauna as she screams while in labor in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6, "Qui."

(L-R): Jasmin Savoy Brown as Teen Taissa, Sophie Thatcher as Teen Natalie and Sophie Nélisse as Teen Shauna in YELLOWJACKETS, “Qui,” Season 2 Episode 6. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Adult Misty (Christina Ricci) empties her pockets before entering Lottie’s compound. She pulls out brass knuckles, which feels like a very Misty thing to have on your person. She reluctantly surrenders her phone. We see Walter sent her a bevy of unread texts. After heading inside, Misty reunites with Lottie (Simone Kessell). Misty confronts Lottie regarding Natalie’s kidnapping. Lottie sings the same old tune: she and her followers saved Natalie from suicide. She invites Misty to stay awhile. It could help Nat heal. 

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Meanwhile, Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) tells Jeff (Warren Kole) and Callie (Sarah Desjardins) that Kevyn wants to question them at the police station regarding Adam Martin. By “them,” he means Shauna and Callie, much to Jeff’s dismay. I love the transition between this scene and the next. Adult Shauna says, “Should we just go and get this over with?” leading to teen Shauna saying, “Why the f*ck is this taking so long?” The transitions on this show are *chef’s kiss*. 

Teen Taissa and Nat (Sophie Thatcher) sit beside Shauna and comfort her while the group crowds around her and panics. They try to time Shauna’s contractions while Misty attempts to self-soothe. Akilah (Nia Sondaya) deduces that Shauna’s legitimately in labor since her last contraction was over a minute long. Lottie (Courtney Eaton), Van and Travis (Kevin Alves) try on praying to The Wilderness for size. Taissa orders Lottie to give Shauna space. Mari (Alexa Barajas) prays that Shauna won’t die. Oof. Maybe don’t say that to the pregnant teen who’s had zero support during her pregnancy (by “support,” I mean modern technology). 

Ben and Natalie stand in the cabin in the wilderness while preparing to help Shauna give birth in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6, "Qui."

(L-R): Steven Krueger as Ben Scott, Sophie Thatcher as Teen Natalie and Mya Lowe as Teen Gen in YELLOWJACKETS, “Qui,” Season 2 Episode 6. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Later, at the compound, Lisa (Nicole Maines) searches for Nat. She finds Nat (Juliette Lewis) outside, firing a gun. Uh-oh. Natalie is still reeling from her eye-opening session with Lottie. She blames herself now more than ever for Travis’ death. Lisa comforts her new friend. 

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Next, we see Van (Lauren Ambrose) sitting in front of her desktop, which looks straight from 1995. Taissa (Tawny Cypress) enters the room, asking Van why she had let her sleep. Van informs Taissa about her encounter with Tai’s alter ego and how she told Van, “We’re not supposed to be here.” Van doesn’t think Alter Ego Tai meant the two of them but Tai’s family. But before Tai departs, Van asks her to restock some shelves. Make yourself useful, ya know? In the wilderness, Misty notices Shauna’s losing a significant amount of blood. She finds her hands covered in it. Everyone asks Misty what the next move is while our girl blocks them out. She flees, leaving Akilah in charge of the birth. 

Taissa and Van stand outside on Lottie's compound in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6, "Qui."

(L-R): Tawny Cypress as Taissa and Lauren Ambrose as Van in YELLOWJACKETS, “Qui,” Season 2 Episode 6. Photo Credit: Colin Bentley/SHOWTIME.

Akilah opens her pocket and talks to Nugget, her pet mouse. Shauna overhears her, but Akilah quickly claims she’s talking to herself. Uh-oh. Don’t let the others find Nugget. They’ll roast him over an open fire like chestnuts. While Lottie urges her followers to lay down their offerings, Travis grabs the skull with antlers. Travis slices his hand, allowing his blood to drip onto the skull. The Wilderness and Lottie appreciate your sacrifice. Meanwhile, in the present, Lottie attends a session with her psychiatrist. She explains her visions haven’t abated, and now the Yellowjackets are visiting her. 

Lottie knows whatever was in the wilderness came back with them. She wonders if she’s not ill, but everything she’s experiencing is real. Oh, that’s a slippery slope, dear Lottie. Side note: Simone Kessell is a force of nature in this scene. She kills it. Interesting how the walls in her psychiatrist’s office are also purple. Misty gets musical at the compound with drums while someone cries a lot. She forfeits her turn to share by revealing to the group her connection to Natalie. She offers to tell them stories. 

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In the wilderness, Nat begs Ben to assist with Shauna’s birth. However, he insists he knows nothing about childbirth — he only pressed a button in that health class. Ben escapes the room, taking himself to another place. His imagination runs wild, transporting him to a cabin with the same skull/antlers mounted on the wall. He’s partaking in charades with Paul (Franςois Arnaud) and their friends. The lines between reality and fantasy blur as The Wilderness pulls Ben back to the present. Nat brings over a cradle while Akilah and Tai notice the placenta is coming out first. Uh-oh. Sure enough, Akilah pulls out said placenta. 

The Yellowjackets stand in the cabin in the wilderness while smiling in Season 2 Episode 6, "Qui."

(L-R): Jenna Burgess as Teen Melissa, Alexa Barajas as Teen Mari, Mya Lowe as Teen Gen, Nia Sondaya as Teen Akilah, Sophie Thatcher as Teen Natalie, Steven Krueger as Ben Scott and Kevin Alves as Teen Travis in YELLOWJACKETS, “Qui,” Season 2 Episode 6. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Lottie tries to comfort Misty, who’s still grieving the loss of Crystal. After all, Crystal died only a few hours ago, at most. Misty, empowered by Lottie, returns to help Shauna and Akilah. Adult Shauna and Callie head into the police station, where Matt (John Reynolds) is there to greet them. Matt will question Shauna, while Kevyn (Alex Wyndham) will chat with Callie. Then, Misty calls Tai while on Lottie’s compound, revealing her whereabouts and that Natalie’s there. Tai should join the party! 

Next, in the wilderness, Lottie and her followers chant, “We hear the Wilderness, and It hears us,” while Shauna pushes with all her might. Even Tai starts chanting for good measure. Once Misty palms the baby’s head, she urges Shauna to give another mighty push. She blacks out. Before opening her eyes, Shauna hears Jackie calling her name. How fitting, Funnily enough, the captions on Paramount+ attribute the line to Misty, but it sounds nothing like her. When Shauna wakes, she sees the group smiling at her. Misty hands her the baby — a boy, just as Lottie predicted. Shauna grins while holding her newborn son. 

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Later, adult Tai and Van drive to Lottie’s compound. Van claims she won’t stay despite her curiosity. Everyone thought Lottie was in a mental hospital. Tai asks Van about her love life. Van claims she’s on dating apps, and her needs are met. So, back off! Anyway, Van acknowledges her affinity for nostalgia as a means of celebrating the good parts of growing up, not the brutal reality the Yellowjackets endured. Hey, at least she’s aware of how it appears to outsiders. Meanwhile, Lisa gives Nat her fish. In the wilderness, Shauna struggles with getting her baby to latch onto her breast for milk. Nat reminds her that she’s malnourished herself. 

Jeff sits in the driver's seat of his minivan while on the phone in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6, "Qui."

Warren Kole as Jeff Sadecki in YELLOWJACKETS, “Qui,” Season 2 Episode 6. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Jeff rocks out to NWA’s “F*ck Tha Police,” continuing his banger streak of grooving to tunes in his minivan. First Papa Roach, now NWA? Jeff Sadecki, you icon, you. Taissa calls Shauna’s phone, which he answers. She tells him she and Van are heading to Lottie’s compound. Misty and Nat reunite at said compound, much to Nat’s surprise. In the wilderness, Shauna still grapples with feeding her son. Matt questions Shauna, who stonewalls him initially. However, she eventually opens up, revealing she had an affair with Adam. Oh, and she never wanted to marry Jeff and become a mother. Melanie Lynskey, you’re a damn star. Unfortunately, Matt received enough ammo to keep Shauna as his number-one suspect. 

Meanwhile, Callie crumples in front of Kevyn. She claims she was a virgin when she met Matt. He told her that he loved her. Earlier in the episode, Shauna mentions it would’ve been easier had Callie slept with Matt. That way, everything she said would’ve been inadmissible. Now, she’s executing her mom’s trick. But will Kevyn buy it? In the wilderness, Shauna wakes to find Lottie breastfeeding her baby. Nothing strange about that. Lottie looks almost evil here. Lottie claims the child was hungry, which he is. Shauna goes back to sleep with her son next to her. 

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In the present, Jeff informs Shauna about Tai’s phone call while she tells him what she said to Matt. Her admitting to the affair certainly makes things more difficult for them. Plus, Jeff’s shocked to find Shauna still has the gun in the glove compartment. He believes she’s losing control, and she agrees with him. Jeff suggests Shauna go away for a while. Leave town. Why not head to Lottie’s compound? Meanwhile, Nat attempts to kill Lisa’s fish by depriving it of water. However, she can’t go through with the fish murder. Could it speak to her burgeoning friendship with Lisa? 

Lottie stands on a pier overlooking the water and the wilderness in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6, "Qui."

Simone Kessell as Lottie in YELLOWJACKETS, “Qui,” Season 2 Episode 6. Photo Credit: Colin Bentley/SHOWTIME.

Next, teen Shauna delivers a lovely speech about watching her son grow up. Initially, she didn’t want a kid, but she’s so glad she has one. She loves him. Her motivational, impassioned speech seems to work as her baby finally latches on and drinks. This is one of many red flags pointing toward this being a dream, which makes it even more heartbreaking. Then, in the present, Shauna reunites with Taissa, Van, Misty and Natalie at the compound. Van glimpses Lottie from across the way.

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Teen Van believed in Lottie’s magic, so this is a big moment for adult Van. I love how the vast expanse of wilderness frames Lottie. She walks toward them. We can see from an aerial shot that the strange symbol in giant form is on the ground of Lottie’s compound. I also dig how the theme song for Laura Lee plays whenever Lottie’s onscreen. It speaks to her connection with her late friend. If you think about it, Laura Lee baptizing Lottie unlocked these inexplicable gifts she has. Teen Shauna wakes one night to find her baby is MIA. She sees the crew feasting on him in front of the fire, their faces smeared with blood. Mmm, cannibalism! 

Teen Taissa embraces teen Shauna while she sobs with teen Misty next to them in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 6, "Qui."

(L-R): Sophie Nélisse as Teen Shauna, Jasmin Savoy Brown as Teen Taissa and Samantha Hanratty as Teen Misty in YELLOWJACKETS, “Qui,” Season 2 Episode 6. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

However, nothing is quite so gut-wrenching as when Shauna wakes for real. She had been asleep for some time. Tai thought she was dead. Instead of opening her eyes to beaming faces, she sees everyone’s somber visages. Misty brings Shauna her baby’s lifeless body. He didn’t survive. She birthed a stillborn. Shauna refuses to believe it at first. She denies their statements, incredulous that her baby’s gone. Taissa embraces Shauna while she sobs. Everyone sobs. Shauna repeats incessantly that she can hear him crying. Why can’t they hear him crying? Oof. What a gut punch.

I love the parallel of the group chanting about how The Wilderness hears them, and they hear it with Shauna asking tearfully why they can’t hear her baby crying. It’s almost as if The Wilderness sacrificed Shauna’s child to keep her alive. That or The Wilderness can’t actually hear them. 

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Sophie Nélisse better be writing her Emmy award speech now. What a powerful performance. She’s a tour de force in “Qui.” It’s rare to see work of this caliber from someone so young. I imagine Sophie was utterly exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically after filming this episode. I’ve no doubt she’ll only improve as she gets older. Melanie Lynskey also delivers brilliant work, digging deep into Shauna’s vulnerabilities as she loses her grip on reality. All in all, everyone brings their A-game this week, as per usual. 

I’m curious to see what the reunion between the adults will bring. Why is the symbol on Lottie’s compound? What does it mean? Does Lottie boast some sort of divine connection to the wilderness, or is she ill? Will the teens eat Shauna’s baby (or Nugget)? Who is Javi’s friend? Is adult Van sick? Will Ben survive the winter? Why is Jeff so damn cool? Only time (and more episodes) will — hopefully — answer these questions. 

Yellowjackets streams new episodes every Friday on the Showtime app, and if you bundle Paramount+ with Showtime. You can also catch their cable network airings every Sunday at 9 pm on Showtime

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