Sophie Nélisse and others talk to ET about season 2's most intense and emotional episode yet.
Warning: Spoilers for Yellowjackets season 2, episode six, "Qui," directed by Liz Garbus and written by Karen Joseph Adcock & Ameni Rozsa.
After building toward it all season, Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) finally gave birth in the wilderness in one of Yellowjackets' most intense and emotional episodes yet. As the past timeline jumped back and forth between flashbacks of lessons learned during health class, the rest of the surviving team rallied together to prepare for the new addition to their cabin.
Although Misty (Samantha Hanratty) was initially put in charge, she became too freaked out while thinking about Crystal and it was up to Akilah (Nia Sondaya) to lead the delivery. And on the other side of the cabin, Travis (Kevin Alves) and Lottie (Courtney Eaton), the group's resident Antler Queen, prayed to the mythical powers of the woods.
Elsewhere, Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) continued to recede into his memories with boyfriend Paul (François Arnaud) as he tried to escape the traumas of what was happening with Shauna and the baby.
After Misty snapped out of her hysterics, she jumped back in charge and helped see Shauna through the birth of a seemingly healthy baby boy.
"It was definitely just a very emotional and, like, very heavy duty week," Nélisse tells ET's Deidre Behar about filming the intense birth scenes. "I was incredibly nervous, like, coming into it just because I feel so blessed that the writers have written such a beautiful episode. I just wanted to live up to the expectations and I was really scared I wouldn't."
In order to prepare for what it was like to give birth, Nélisse says she watched a lot of videos and talked to women close to her in life about the experience. "What I realized is that the birthing experiences are so personal and different for every woman and I was just trying to honor that diversity within the episode," she explains.
"It was one of those moments where you read it in the script and you have an image in your head of how it's going to look and then you get on set and the combination of everything that all the actors were doing with the direction that was going on with the scene, it so far exceed even the most dire ways I could have pictured the scene going," Kruger says, commending Nélisse for her commitment to the work. "Bless her heart, sticking with that for multiple days in a row. I don't know if I would've been able to do that."
Despite giving birth to her son, Shauna struggled with breastfeeding him -- and the rest of the girls found themselves unable to listen to the baby's nonstop crying. And after a while Lottie started feeding the baby, much to Shauna's dismay.
Sadly, not long after Shauna was finally able to start feeding, her time as a mother quickly came to an end. And in a shocking moment at the end of the episode, Shauna has a dream that the rest of the team were feasting on her baby. But it turns out that her son actually died while she was asleep, leaving her in tears as the screen faded to black.
"I was just really lucky to have such amazing cast mates. I had so much to feed off of and play off of, and they would look at me with, like, broken hearts and it made me tear up," Nélisse says of working with her co-stars to film such an emotional, heart-wrenching episode.
"Liz, the director, was just so comforting and brought such a soothing vibe on set and was so precise and did also a really good job in managing my voice," she continues, explaining that "whenever I didn't have to go full out, she'd be like, 'Just kind of mime it.'"
She adds, "The girls were really, really supportive that whole week."
For Hanratty, the episode was especially difficult to film, not only because they had to reshoot a number of the scenes twice but that she also had such a close, personal connection to the story. "So, we lost footage for some of it. So, some of it we had to reshoot," she says, adding that out of all the episodes this season, "this is definitely one of the hardest ones."
As a result of being an aunt to several nieces and nephews, Hanratty says, "It's a very touchy subject," adding that they worked with the cast and crew to make sure everyone was OK on set. "It was so emotional. I mean, there was a moment that me and Jasmin [Savoy Brown] just grabbed each other's hands and we just sobbed out on the porch," she shares, adding that what's seen onscreen is real tears. "There's a lot of women that go through that, and it was hard."
Echoing that sentiment, Brown says, "It was so intense shooting that. And so draining and traumatic." She adds that "it was triggering for everybody in different ways. It's just really vulnerable subject material. And then there were real babies on set, which also just brings things out, especially with Samantha."
That said, Brown, like everyone else in the cast, "is really proud of the work" and thinks that Nélisse deserves awards season attention. "Sophie Nélisse will be nominated for an Emmy this season," she says, while Eaton adds, "She was just acting really good."
When it comes to the decision to end Shauna's storyline the way they did, showrunner Jonathan Lisco says they considered every angle. "But I think it's safe to say that we always pretty much assumed that the baby was going to die," he says, with co-creator Ashley Lyle explaining how it ties into the adult Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) fans have gotten to know since season 1.
"We see it very clearly in her relationship with Callie [played by Sarah Desjardins]. You know, she lost a child that she did not think she wanted, and it was obviously the most profound grief that she had experienced," she says. "It's possibly even more profound than the loss of Jackie in a certain way. And I think that we see that manifesting even more clearly in her relationship with her family because part of her is just trained in a certain way."
Lyle adds, "The synapses and little neural pathways have taught her, 'If I love somebody, I will lose them.'"
As for the baby-eating scene, which takes place in a dream sequence, it was something they never took seriously as a real option for the survivors on the show. "We didn't really think it served this storyline that we were telling so we stepped away from it and never seriously considered it," Lisco says, adding that "it's a line we wouldn't cross."
And for Lynskey, in particular, that's a good thing considering that she previously told ET she would leave the series if it was revealed that the girls ate Shauna's baby. "If they eat the baby, I’m quitting the show," the actress said at the time, well before season 2 was even in production.
Reflecting on those comments now, Lynskey says she "doesn't joke."
"Like, it doesn't make sense logically because it's a baby. And also, like, this would just be shock value," she explains. And if that was the direction the series went, she would be like, "Do I want to be on this show? What am I doing with my life?"
Luckily for all of us, "that didn't serve the narrative," Lisco says.
Yellowjackets season 2 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime, with episodes also available to stream early, starting Fridays on the Showtime app.