Episode seven of “Yellowjackets” Season 2, “Burial,” offers a temporary calm after episode six’s tempestuous storm. As the season faces its final few episodes, “Burial” dials back the turbulent intensity just enough to develop individual character arcs further as the Yellowjackets finally reunite. Episode seven explores the fallout of “Qui,” forcing its characters to confront truths, grapple with their inner turmoil and traumas, and steel themselves for another raging storm.
With all the surviving (that we know of) Yellowjackets gathered at Lottie’s (Simone Kessell) wellness center, each finds themselves tasked with forms of therapy of their choosing. Unlike her teen counterpart, Nat (Juliette Lewis) has become a believer under Lottie’s care over the season. Unlike her teen counterpart, Van (Lauren Ambrose) wants to steer clear of Lottie’s tactics and sway. Misty (Samantha Hanratty) finds herself examining her feelings about Walter (Elijah Wood), while self-care becomes a Herculean task for Shauna (Melanie Lynskey).
In the past, Shauna’s (Sophie Nélisse) loss weighs heavy like an oppressive blanket. A reprieve from the weather gives the group room to step outside for fresh air, away from the suffocating melancholy, but it also exposes cracks in their precarious existence. No one is okay, despite how survival forces them to push forward. Unlike the present, though, starvation and malnourishment exacerbate the precarious balance of the group dynamics. While we know what happened to Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman), none of the girls, save Misty, knows where she is, and quiet whispers of cannibalism pervade the cabin. It’s one of the more prominent clues that “Burial” is preparing the audience for a ruthless finish to Season 2.
Perhaps the biggest clue is with Coach Ben (Steven Krueger). The sole holdout of the Jackie feast earlier this season, Ben’s physical and mental state has steadily declined. Episode seven brings him closer to the brink in multiple ways. Ben’s authoritative role among the Yellowjackets has slowly eroded along with his sanity, while his moral compass hasn’t wavered. A late-episode confrontation devastates, leaving Ben with a decision to make that’ll affect them all.
That captures the entire theme of “Burial.” Everyone gets prompted to take a hard, honest look at themselves and determine where they go from here. For some, that brings discomforting, shocking truths. Others, like Misty’s dazzling musical fantasy complete with John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) cameo, bring charming and necessary levity. While that makes for what superficially comes across like a bottle episode, all of it is essential groundwork in developing the individual story threads.
“Yellowjackets” never ceases to impress in how it weaves together its dual timelines thematically to tell its overarching story and how the larger brushstrokes are just as relevant as the minute details. Everything matters; every small line of dialogue or facial expression is representative of the whole. As “Burial” builds to its climax and a stunning burst of violence ensues, the way the camera lingers on each face observing the act conveys so much depth about every character. Some recoil in repulsion and horror, while others don’t even hide their bloodlust at the sight. It all at once communicates the growing divide among their ranks while foreshadowing impending doom.
It’s where the episode ends that signals a jaw-dropping, intense final two episodes, most of all.
Episode 7 of “Yellowjackets” Season 2 is available to stream now for Showtime subscribers and the episode will make its on-air debut on Sunday, May 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.