“Burial” is a big moment for Yellowjackets. We see the present-day gang reunite for the first time to buzz around Charlotte’s wellness center hive and get to know themselves and each other a little better. It’s the most centralized, cohesive episode we’ve seen thus far, and seeing this collection of uniquely gifted actresses come together to tell this pivotal chapter of the story is well worth the wait.
The veteran cast really flourishes here, but it’s important not to diminish the contributions of the younger cast. Sophie Nelisse and Courtney Eaton have been emerging as standouts this season, elevating every scene they’re in in their own way. The gruesome explosion of violence between them at the end of the episode feels, for lack of a more eloquent term, real. It’s insanely uncomfortable to watch, not just because of the graphic imagery, but because the actors have embodied their characters so completely.
One of the things that’s so great about this show is that the most nightmarish moments are never done for shock value alone. Lottie allowing Shauna to take out all of her pent up frustration on her adds depth to both of their characters and gives the story a new narrative launchpad that will lead to even more emotionally intense moments down the line.
Misty flailing and plotting to not let the others “eat” her deceased bestie Kristen/Crystal is yet another example of her complete lack of self-awareness. The truth is that her compulsive lying and devious acts of self-preservation are what led to Kristen’s death, but she always finds a way to twist her misdeeds into what she perceives to be hero quests of some sort because she doesn’t know how else to cope. Her admission to a suicidal Ben later in the episode that she can’t bear to have more blood on her hands is proof that she’s a good person who truly cares for others. She just doesn’t know how to let things go and stop trying to control things she can’t.
All of the present-day scenes at the wellness center are terrific, but the one that steals the show is Misty’s Lynchian Walter fantasy inside the sensory deprivation chamber. It’s a stylistic departure for the show in many ways, but it reflects Misty’s state of mind and is a fun way to show her admitting to herself that she’s into Walter.
Shauna’s goat-sitting revelation is a less compelling wake-up call, but the bigger takeaway here is that for the first time, there’s a noticeable disconnect between the portrayals of young Shauna and present-day Shauna. Both stories are acted well, and there are definitely parallels regarding the idea of motherhood that can be drawn. But to see young Shauna and Lottie have such a monumental catastrophe play out between them, and then to see none of this addressed via their adult counterparts in the same episode feels a little strange. Even if there’s a practical explanation for why there doesn’t appear to be any hard feelings between them in the present day (maybe time healed old wounds, or as they allude to later in the episode, maybe they simply forgot), it’s still jarring to see these two characters so intensely entwined in one timeline, and so detached in another.
Plot-wise, there are a lot of seeds planted in this episode that give us a lot to look forward to as we head into the season finale. Van revealing that she has cancer is a big one, though knowing this show, there’s a good chance she may meet an even grislier fate than we might expect. Charlotte advising Tai that she may want to stop suppressing her other self is tantalizing as well, but the biggest and best revelation is that Charlotte’s therapy sessions have been with the dark entity she’s been terrified of the entire time! And Shauna also finds out thanks to Jeff that the cops have found Adam’s body! This is just fantastic stuff.