DISCLAIMER: This recap of Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 7, “Burial,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Welcome back to The Wilderness, acolytes. “Burial” finds Shauna reeling following her traumatic birth while the adults bond over alcohol and dancing. It’s a nuanced outing brimming with fun narrative parallels, intriguing character dynamics and sublime performances. Also, don’t f*ck with Shauna Sadecki. Ever. 

Ready to delve into “Burial”? Let’s get to it. 

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Something in the Way

We open on the snowy wilderness with Nirvana’s “Something in the Way” playing. What a perfect song for this moment. The teens look forlorn and broken following Shauna’s traumatic birth. Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) is the epitome of quiet devastation, now grief-stricken over yet another loss since they crashed. Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) tries to get Shauna to drink water, but the latter refuses. Travis (Kevin Alves), Lottie (Courtney Eaton), Akilah (Nia Sondaya), Van (Liv Hewson), Misty (Samantha Hanratty), Mari (Alexa Barajas), Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and the others successfully pry open the door after a massive snowstorm almost trapped them inside the cabin. They head outside. Taissa encourages Shauna to accompany them. Perhaps getting fresh air will do her good. 

Shauna, who’s been cradling her stillborn son since his birth, walks outside to join the others. She buries her son under some rocks and snow. She repeats what she told him in her dream — it’s them against the world. My heart is broken. This poor, traumatized girl. In the present, adult Misty (Christina Ricci) collects the belongings of Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), and Van (Lauren Ambrose) while Lottie (Simone Kessell) and Natalie (Juliette Lewis) look on. No contact with the outside world here at Lottie’s wellness retreat. Nat reassures her pals that Lottie’s compound is legit. Lottie saved her when she was about to commit suicide. 

Teen Mari and teen Akilah stand next to each other in the cabin while looking focused in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 7, "Burial."

(L-R): Alexa Barajas as Teen Mari and Nia Sondaya as Teen Akilah in YELLOWJACKETS, “Burial,” Season 2 Episode 7. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Next, Van and Tai chat outside about their grief regarding Shauna’s baby. Van wonders why she’s still alive and how she’s survived everything thrown her way. She contemplates her purpose in all this. She used to believe in Lottie’s way of thinking wholeheartedly, but recent events have her questioning if any of this matters. Tai reminds her girlfriend that she needs her. Van has kept Tai alive and vice versa. Aw. At the compound, the women choose their “treatments” from a list: Self-Care, Forage, Guidance and Renewal. Nobody lets Misty forage because we all remember what happened last time that girl foraged (collective tripping on shrooms in the wilderness). 

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Lottie points to a number on the wall they can call to contact their loved ones. Fun fact: If you text the number (607-478-1033), you’ll get messages from the Sunshine Honey Wellness Community. You’ll receive a link where you can “sign up” to join Lottie’s compound. The marketing for this series is next-level brilliant. Anyway, as for the therapies, Shauna chooses Self-Care, while Van takes Forage, Misty is given Guidance and Taissa selects Renewal. Shauna begins her treatment in the animal stalls of the compound. Acolyte Todd (Samer Salem, who The Expanse fans will recognize as Josep) gives Shauna a goat, Bruce, which she must watch. Shauna assumes she’ll have to kill Bruce at the end of the day, though. 

You Can Run, But You Can’t…

Meanwhile, in the wilderness, Ben (Steven Krueger) transports himself to another vision involving Paul (François Arnaud). I love how each new vision incorporates more elements from the cabin. We still see the skull and antlers adorning the wall. I noticed there’s a miniature deer on the fireplace mantle, too. Paul tells someone on the phone that “he’s not ready.” Paul asks Ben to sit down. As Ben presses for details, Paul gives up and decides to leave. He reveals Ben’s not welcome there anymore and that he can’t hide there forever. Paul also says, “We all love you, Ben,” which is similar to what Jackie hears in her death dream when the cabin tells her they love her. 

Ben shaves his face in the cabin in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 7, "Burial."

Steven Krueger as Ben Scott in YELLOWJACKETS, “Burial,” Season 2 Episode 7. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

I have a crazy theory: while rewatching Jackie’s death dream, I tried to zero in on the man behind everyone who declares to Jackie that they’ve been waiting for her. He sort of resembles and sounds like Paul. Could Paul have something to do with the wilderness? Maybe it takes on Paul’s likeness because of Ben’s presence. We still don’t know who the Antler Queen is, and Ben’s on my list of potential candidates. My theory is AQ is connected to everything there. That said, the Man With No Eyes appeared to Taissa when she was young, so I can’t imagine he’s linked to the supernatural insanity. 

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Anyway, because of its similarities with Jackie’s death dream, this vision could indicate that our dear coach isn’t long for this world. After the vision, Ben heads outside onto the porch, where his head aligns perfectly with the skull and antlers situated atop the door frame. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the AQ, as we’ve seen in the past. This show loves a good misdirect. Meanwhile, Lisa (Nicole Maines) tries to get Misty into a sensory deprivation tank (I’ve always wanted to try one of these). Misty’s reluctant to hop in, so she sneaks out to the bathroom. 

The Wilderness Takes 

In the wilderness, Misty eavesdrops on a conversation between Akilah and Mari. They talk about how brave she was during Shauna’s birth and how instrumental she was to Shauna’s survival. Misty grins. However, the compliments morph into vocalized suspicion when the pair wonder if Misty had something to do with Crystal’s disappearance. Perhaps she killed Crystal herself. Uh-oh. It’s best not to piss off Misty. Misty calls the group together to ask them to help her search for Crystal. She puts on quite the show, too. Ben shaves his beard in the corner. It appears he might take his own life. 

Shauna holds a goat outside Lottie's compound in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 7, "Burial."

Melanie Lynskey as Shauna in YELLOWJACKETS, “Burial,” Season 2 Episode 7. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

While the search party heads outside, Gen (Mya Lowe) and Melissa (Jenna Burgess) wonder whether the wilderness “took” Crystal. It seems like more of the teens are open to the idea of the wilderness being a powerful entity capable of controlling them. The duo also discusses the possibility of eating Crystal as they did Snackie (I mean, Jackie). Hey, when you don’t have any food left…

Shauna is plagued by the nightmare of her friends consuming her baby. She sees their bloody faces and hands. In a bid to rid herself of these thoughts, she tosses Lottie’s blanket with the symbol on it into the fire. Lottie pulls Tai aside and wonders if she can find Crystal. After all, Tai discovered Javi after Nat and Travis spent two months searching for him. Tai doesn’t believe she has that power, but she knows attending Lottie’s meditation sessions has eradicated her sleepwalking. In the present, Tai paints a building with a makeup brush for her Renewal treatment. Frustrated, she approaches Lottie and reveals she’s sleepwalking again. I love how these scenes of two friends talking 25 years apart are back-to-back. 

“But I think something is broken, Lottie.”

Lottie believes “other Tai” will always be part of Tai. Other Tai boasts wisdom, too, that Tai should seek. Side note: has anyone noticed how adult Taissa’s eyes are a burgundy-ish color, but teen Tai’s are brown? Misty helps Shauna locate Bruce after the goat chewed through his rope restraints. It’s intriguing watching Shauna and Misty interact in the present narrative because they seldom chat in the wilderness scenes. I also love that Misty hoards food since she was used to starvation in the wilderness. 
Teen Shauna sits outside while looking stern in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 7, "Burial."

Sophie Nélisse as Teen Shauna in YELLOWJACKETS, “Burial,” Season 2 Episode 7. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

In the wilderness, Misty catches up with Mari and Akilah. She fake cries about discovering Crystal’s body and how she might look like Jackie. Akilah looks sympathetic, while Mari isn’t buying Misty’s faux tears. After all, Crystal told Misty she was a terrible actress. Shauna sits in the meat shed and cries out for Jackie. Unfortunately, we don’t get a ghost appearance of Jackie (or Snackie). Present-day Shauna brings Bruce back to Acolyte Todd. She asks him if the goat looks okay. She’s unsure of how to care for him.
Todd claims Shauna has everything she needs within herself. Shauna chats with Lottie and, after learning she doesn’t have to kill the goat, confesses she always kept Callie at arm’s length for fear she would die or not be real. Oof. Her experience with her stillborn baby left an indelible impact on her. I like seeing how it affected her in the past and present in the same episode. Melanie Lynskey is heartbreaking here. 

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Misty’s Musical Madness

Then, Misty finally gets into the sensory deprivation tank. She sees visions of Walter (Elijah Wood) and a human version of her pet bird Caligula (John Cameron Mitchell), singing and dancing in a Misty-fied musical number. We see a few graphics flying around during said number, like the broken flight recorder, a syringe (since she injected a lethal substance into Jessica Roberts’ cigarettes) and the tool she used to remove Ben’s leg. After the fabulous performance, Misty asks Caligula if folks just see a murderer who’s desperate for love. He tells her to look at the magic and that she’s a closer. What is this, Glengarry Glen Ross

Once Misty’s out of the tank, she calls Walter and leaves a lengthy voicemail, apologizing for her gruff dismissal of him. Oooh, someone’s gotta crush. In the wilderness, Misty searches for Crystal’s (Kristen’s) body, but it’s nowhere to be found. Uh-oh. Afterward, she finds Ben lingering toward the edge of the cliff. He’s going to jump. Notice how this is right next to the tree with the symbol where Tai used to sleepwalk to. Misty tries to persuade him not to commit suicide. She throws every reason at the wall and hopes something sticks. She goes from, “I’m going to tell the world you impregnated all of us” to “I’ll tell everyone you’re gay.” That last one sucks. It’s unbelievably cruel to out someone regardless of the context, but Misty was putting her homophobia to use. 

Misty sits with Caligula in front of a dressing room mirror in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 7, "Burial."

(L-R): Christina Ricci as Misty and John Cameron Mitchell as Caligula in YELLOWJACKETS, “Burial,” Season 2 Episode 7. Photo Credit: Colin Bentley/SHOWTIME.

She convinces Ben not to go through with it when she mentions how she can’t have another death on her hands. Unlike the display with Mari and Akilah, Misty is genuine here. She feels remorse regarding Crystal and Shauna’s baby. Steven Krueger’s performance is so understated and vulnerable. Beautiful work. My heart breaks for our coach.

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Tai + Van and an Antler Queen

In the present, Tai and Van sit and drink together. Tai removed her ring at the start of this scene (hmm). They have a lil makeout session, for old-time’s sake. I approve. Then, Van drops a truth bomb: she has cancer. According to her, it’s not the cancer you want or one that was caught early. She tells Van she only has months left to live. F*ck. I suspected she was sick, but this still sucks. Side note: I love how this scene harkens back to the earlier moment with teen Van as she questions why she’s still alive. Very clever. Lottie has a seemingly last-minute therapy session with her therapist (Jennifer Lines), telling the latter her friends are here. It’s proof that this “It” or the wilderness wants them all to be together. 

Van and Taissa sit outside at night while chatting in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 7, "Burial."

(L-R): Lauren Ambrose as Van and Tawny Cypress as Taissa in YELLOWJACKETS, “Burial,” Season 2 Episode 7. Photo Credit: Colin Bentley/SHOWTIME.

Her therapist encourages her to embrace her truest, most authentic self again, as she did in the wilderness. Everything comes with a risk. Suddenly, the therapist morphs into the Antler Queen, who says, “Does a hunt that has no violence feed anyone?” The voice is somewhat distorted, but it sounds like Lottie herself. Then, we see that Lottie isn’t talking to anyone in the room. So, how does that work? Does she charge herself for her therapy bill? (Bad joke.)

Less Bullsh*t and More Booze 

Lottie finds Shauna, Tai, Van, Misty and Nat sitting in a circle and drinking. Initially, she tells them to leave, but then she joins them. Nat is acting strange, almost as if she drank the Lottie Kool-Aid. I hope she’s playing along and not brainwashed. Misty talks about Walter, Nat about sleeping with Kevyn Tan and asks the group how much they remember from the wilderness. Naturally, everyone’s turned off by that question because who wants to reminisce about, in Van’s words, “f*cking oblivion”? Van steps aside, and Tai reveals she knows a specialist at Johns Hopkins. Van walks away in silence. C’mon, take Tai up on her offer because it could save your life. 

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In the wilderness, Shauna hears Misty humming a song and asks her how she knows it. I think it was the one she was humming in Shauna’s cannibal dream. Misty claims Crystal put it in her head. In the present, the six ladies head outside while it’s snowing and dance to “Lightning Crashes” by Live. Teen Shauna punches Misty and accuses all of them of eating her baby. The poor girl is experiencing psychosis. Van and Akilah hold Shauna in place. Shauna bites Van.

Taissa, Van, Lottie, Natalie, Shauna and Misty dance around a fire outside in Yellowjackets Season 2 Episode 7, "Burial."

(L-R): Tawny Cypress as Taissa, Lauren Ambrose as Van and Melanie Lynskey as Shauna in YELLOWJACKETS, “Burial,” Season 2 Episode 7. Photo Credit: Colin Bentley/SHOWTIME.

Lottie stands before Shauna, who decks her. Lottie urges Shauna to release her pain. “We need you, ” she says. Everyone steps back and lets Shauna pummel Lottie. Scenes of the adults dancing and laughing are interspersed with teen Shauna beating the crap out of Lottie. The juxtaposition is intriguing as we see adult Shauna and Lottie embrace while their teen versions engage in brutally graphic violence. Teen Lottie’s face looks like raw hamburger meat after Shauna’s finished. Shauna heads outside to submerge her bloodied hands in the snow while the crew tends to Lottie’s injuries.

In the present, Jeff (Warren Kole) calls Shauna at the compound to deliver some news. Our himbo king tries to obscure his language in case someone’s eavesdropping. He tells his wife that the police have found Adam Martin’s remains in the park. Double fudge. 

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“Burial” marks a turning point for Shauna, Lottie and Ben. Shauna becomes hardened after her compounded losses. Lottie becomes a martyr courtesy of Shauna. She’ll undoubtedly have more followers now as her sacrifice shows she’s willing to do what she asks of her acolytes. Ben embarks on a new chapter as he snaps out of his dissociation. Here’s hoping he gets out of the wilderness. Sophie Nélisse continues to stun as a dynamite performer, while Steven Krueger and Melanie Lynskey deliver compelling performances. Really, everyone kicks ass on that front. 

How will Shauna wriggle out from under the police’s spotlight regarding Adam’s murder? Will Javi ever talk? Who is his “friend”? Who is the effing Antler Queen (Lottie seems too obvious)? Only time (and more episodes) will tell. 

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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