Yellowjackets Season 2 Solves The Mystery Of Shauna's Baby And It's Worse Than Cannibalism

This article contains spoilers for "Yellowjackets and discusses potentially triggering content." 

Halfway through the first season of "Yellowjackets," Showtime's smash-hit series about a high school girls' soccer team who resorted to cannibalism to survive after their plane crashed in the Canadian wilderness, it was revealed that Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) is pregnant. Teenage pregnancy is hard enough as is, but enduring a pregnancy while stranded in the middle of the forest and surviving off of soup made from melted snow and random critters sounds like an impossibility.

To make matters even more complicated, the father of Shauna's baby is Jeff Sadecki, the man Shauna would later grow up to marry as an adult, but the boy who is currently dating her best friend Jackie. When Jackie discovers that her best friend and boyfriend were hooking up behind her back, it throws their friendship into such extreme conflict, it leads to Jackie's death.

As "Yellowjackets" is as much of a mystery show as it is a "Lord of the Flies" survivalist thriller, fans have been speculating wildly about the eventual outcome of Shauna's baby. There were those convinced the baby would grow up to become Adam Martin (Peter Gadiot), the man adult Shauna has an affair with (and eventually dismembers into little pieces with the help of her Yellowjackets teammates), while others were convinced the team would eat the newborn for survival.

During the scene where we see Shauna and Jeff have sex for the first time as teenagers, Shauna jokes that if he finishes in her and gets her pregnant, she will raise the baby out of spite to someday hunt him down in revenge. This line has been at the heart of fan predictions, with many assuming this joke points to "Yellowjackets" taking a wild or action-packed approach to Shauna's progeny.

Welp. They were wrong.

'We can't wait to meet him'

Nothing about Shauna's pregnancy has been "normal," and I'm not just talking about surviving a plane crash. The jury's still out on whether or not fellow teammate Lottie (Courtney Eaton) is attuned to supernatural forces in the wilderness or if she's clinically insane, but it's an objective fact that she's been really, really weird about Shauna's baby. Not only is Lottie convinced that Shauna is having a son, but she also felt an appropriate baby shower gift was a blanket featuring the mysterious symbol carved throughout the woods that the girls first saw near the rotted corpse of a hunter sitting in the cabin.

The fifth episode of season 2 saw Shauna at her breaking point regarding Lottie's obsession with her unborn child. "If anyone should be excited it's me, but I'm rightfully freaking the f*** out about having a baby in the middle of the f***ing woods, and newsflash: having a bunch of psychos praying for me in some weird f***ing tree cult isn't making my life any easier," she screams at her friend Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown).

When Shauna finally goes into labor, things seem dire. Understandably, no one in the cabin has any experience with delivering a baby, and despite Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) having taught sex ed at school, he admits that his expertise starts and ends with him hitting play on a VHS tape. Lottie and her followers do their best to help ... by offering a blood sacrifice on the skull of an animal and chanting in unison.

Yep. Nothing weird happening here! Super normal baby preparation stuff courtesy of "Yellowjackets!"

'I never meant to hurt you'

Shauna's delivery is anything but easy, and the girls start to panic once they realize that she's delivered the placenta before the baby. She eventually passes out from the pain and blood loss, dreaming of what life in the cabin would be like with the new baby around. When Shauna finally comes to, she is terrified, traumatized, and confused. Her dream was so realistic, she can't accept that she imagined it. The girls try to explain to her that the baby didn't make it, but Shauna can't process this new reality.

She holds the body of her son close to her chest, asking in disoriented screams, "Why can't you hear him crying?" No one in the cabin knows how to help Shauna, but they all know that they need to let her grieve this pain. While all of the survivors of the plane crash have suffered in unimaginable ways — and no one wins by tragedy sparring — Shauna has endured unthinkable losses. Her best friend froze to death as a result of their falling out, and now her baby has died. As she had no access to a hospital at any point in her pregnancy, there's also no telling whether or not the baby died during childbirth, or if she had been carrying an unviable fetus for months without knowing.

"Pitseleh" by Elliott Smith plays while Shauna was in labor, a surefire sign that the episode was heading for a depressing finish. For the uninitiated, "Pitseleh" is a Yiddish term of endearment meaning "little one," and the song is about being loved by a person more than you love them back, and the struggle of knowing that pain is the only unavoidable end.

There was never a mystery as to what would happen to Shauna's baby — only inevitability.

The miracle of life is often a tragedy

Last season I wrote about an episode that featured Shauna and Taissa attempting a DIY abortion, and why the scene was so important for people to see due to its brutal authenticity. As morbid as it sounds, I'm echoing the sentiment with this week's episode. Pregnancy is often exclusively presented in American culture as a beautiful, miraculous event, with any negative outcomes either treated as a joke (back pain, cravings, morning sickness, etc.) or tragic events that aren't meant to be discussed in public out of fear it might upset someone else. There was a multitude of complaints lobbied against the first season of "House of the Dragon," which featured multiple scenes of childbirth as a painful, violent, and sometimes life-ending event. People don't like to be reminded there's always a chance of a negative outcome.

This is not an attempt to scare people away from trying to have a child — as our overpopulated planet is proof that plenty of people have had successful, trauma-less pregnancies — but everyone deserves to be informed about the real possibilities of childbirth. According to the World Health Organization, "There are nearly 2 million stillbirths every year — one every 16 seconds," and over 40 percent of those stillbirths occur during labor, usually due to a lack of access to emergency obstetric care.

Shauna's circumstance of being a pregnant teen stranded in the wilderness following a plane crash is pretty unique to herself, but her having a stillbirth is, unfortunately, a lot more common than people realize or are willing to admit. There's a line in "Jawbreaker" where Rose McGowan's Courtney Shane says, "They'll believe it because it's their worst nightmare," and this perfectly describes what really happened to Shauna's baby: no cannibalism, no soap opera-style revenge plot, and no supernatural weirdness.

Just a total f***ing nightmare scenario.

Praise for Sophie Nélisse and Melanie Lynskey

"Yellowjackets" isn't afraid to put the loss of Shauna's baby on the same level as eating human flesh for survival, because tragic events come in many forms. Melanie Lynskey, who plays the adult version of Shauna, rightfully received plenty of nominations and a few statues for her performance in season 1, but has spent much of the press run leading up to season 2 as the loudest supporter for teen Shauna's performer, Sophie Nélisse.

While everyone on "Yellowjackets" is firing on all cylinders at any given moment, the monumental arc portrayed by both of these women between two separate timelines is nothing short of brilliant. The layered depth of adult Shauna is the result of the personality building blocks and trauma of teen Shauna. It's a delicate dance that Lynskey and Nélisse are doing to tell Shauna's story, and they're both doing so with grace, power, and excellence.

The realization that Shauna's baby died in the wilderness is reflected in the ways she struggles to connect as an adult with her teenage daughter, Callie, and shines a devastating light on their broken relationship. Between the death of Jackie and the death of her son, much of Shauna's troubles as an adult are crystalized with the knowledge of what she's been through.

And cannibalism is nowhere near the worst thing she's experienced.

New episodes of "Yellowjackets" stream on Showtime every Friday and air on television every Sunday.