‘Yellowjackets’ Star Sophie Nélisse Breaks Down The Finale’s ‘Painful’ Death & Shauna’s ‘Guilt’

The first season of 'Yellowjackets' ended with a tragic and shocking death. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Sophie Nélisse about what this loss means for Shauna moving forward in season 2. SPOILERS!

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Image Credit: Showtime

Yellowjackets had been building up to a major death, and it was one of the last characters fans expected. Jackie was the one to die in the season finale after spending the night outside following her brutal fight with Shauna. Jackie froze to death as the first snow fell. The next morning, Shauna looked out the window and saw snow. She ran to Jackie, who was already dead. Shauna screamed over losing Jackie and the words she can never take back.

HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Sophie Nélisse about Jackie’s devastating death. She thinks Shauna may even “go numb” over losing Jackie but still thinks Shauna is too “rational” to go down the path that Lottie and others are heading towards. Sophie also discussed season 2 and who she thinks the Antler Queen is. Read our Q&A below:

Ella Purnell
Ella Purnell as Jackie. (Showtime)

What was your reaction when you read in the script that Jackie was going to be the one to die?
Sophie Nélisse: I mean, we knew that she was going to die from the start. She was only supposed to be in the first season, so we knew this all along. But we didn’t know how she was going to die, so that was quite surprising. I didn’t know that it would come right after the fight. I didn’t know the guilt that Shauna is going to have to go through after this. I thought it was a really strong moment, and I love also the beat right before where there’s like this little dream sequence. You’re like, oh, everything’s going to be fine, we all love her now, and then it just makes her death so much more painful. It’s very sad. I think I shed a tear while reading the script.

Your scream is just pure devastation. Speaking of that little dream sequence, with a show like this, everything’s open to interpretation. Was that scene in Jackie’s mind or Shauna’s? Because I interpreted it as Jackie dying in that moment.
Sophie Nélisse: I think that’s Jackie slowly dying. I think Shauna senses something. That’s why she panics, but I think it’s definitely Jackie dying and her slowly going to this sort of heaven. You see all the characters that have died and all the other people. It’s beautiful and creepy at the same time and sad and hopeful. You’re like, maybe they’re going to pull her out like right before, but no.

Jackie’s death comes right after that horrible fight between Jackie and Shauna. How do you think this guilt is going to impact Shauna, especially as the stakes continue to get higher out there?
Sophie Nélisse: I think she’s going to have a really hard time afterward because even though things were going sour with Jackie, I don’t think they’ve even ever really had such a big fight before. So for it leading to her death, I think she’s just going to put all of the pressure on her shoulders. She’s going to be even slightly traumatized probably afterward. We’ll see in season 2 what they write, but I feel like she might even go numb and just go into full-on survival mode and just be emotionless for a while. I think it follows her later on. I think that guilt is obviously still there years later. She feels extremely guilty for what happened. She thinks it’s her fault. And to be fair, maybe if they hadn’t had that fight, it wouldn’t have happened. Maybe she would have died in a different way. Maybe she wouldn’t. I think also just having the baby is kind of a constant reminder of Jackie, which is also so sad.

Sophie Nélisse and Ella Purnell as teen Shauna and Jackie. (Showtime)

In the midst of all of this, there’s that scene at the very end with Lottie, Van, and Misty. This supernatural darkness element has been brewing over the course of the season. We’ve seen Van very much going in that direction. Do you think Shauna believes any of that or could lean towards in the wake of Jackie’s death?
Sophie Nélisse: I feel like Shauna so far seems too rational to believe that at the moment. I think she thinks a little more like Taissa and has always been clear-headed, but I don’t know. I definitely think more and more characters will lean towards that spiritual kind of cult thing because you need something to hold on to. You need something to believe in in order to survive or to keep the peace. Although I think that cult thing is what might start disturbing things. Some people will go one way, and I think maybe two groups will kind of come together. I’m very curious to see what’s going to happen. But so far, it doesn’t seem like Shauna’s type to believe in that sort of thing. And also, later on, with how she is with her sarcasm and dark humor, I feel like she would make fun of that kind of thing. But again, when the stakes are so high in the wilderness, I think your mind just kind of latches on to whatever is there to latch on to.

It may be nothing, but there was a moment earlier in the episode when they’re skinning the bear. Shauna thinks about tasting the bear’s blood. Do you think that was foreshadowing what’s to come?
Sophie Nélisse: I think it is a little bit of a moment of foreshadowing. I think it especially has a lot to do with the previous episode when they were all on shrooms and tripping. It’s like, you can you see this animal instinct that they have, back to the roots of human beings when we were monkeys and whatever. I think this primal instinct of hunting and killing and that animal instinct is starting to show a little bit. I think after that night’s episode and just almost killing someone, I think she’s starting to just be curious to taste it or see what it’s like. Even skinning the rabbit, she kind of likes it in a weird way. I think it’s all part of the dark side that Shauna has, like when she cheats with Jeff and her bad side that she suppresses all the time. I think it’s starting to slowly rise up. I think it’s just that she’s curious, but it definitely foreshadows what’s to come. I think that’s what you see. They’ve been putting in little beats for it to be plausible that they’ll eventually turn into full-on cannibalism mode.

People have been wondering who will be the first person they eat. And now with Jackie dead…
Sophie Nélisse: I know. I mean, it might be Jackie. I don’t know. But that would be sad. I don’t know if she would even be able to eat Jackie. She would start sobbing. She would gag. I feel like she couldn’t. She would vomit it all out. At some point, they’ll have to. You don’t want to end up having to eat anyone. But at some point, they’ll have to accept it. Either Jackie or I have a theory, but that would be just extremely disgusting. But like, technically, I don’t think my child could survive because we’re barely eating. I don’t know if it’ll even survive the pregnancy. But then, what if we eat my child? That would be insane.

I did want to talk about that fight scene with Jackie and Shauna. It was the first time I think Shauna has ever said anything that she was really actually feeling out loud. What was that like for you to let the walls down with Shauna and Jackie?
Sophie Nélisse: It was fun. It was really nice because I think throughout the season, all of Shauna’s dialogues or whatnot is her trying to speak her mind or hiding a secret. She never fully says what she thinks. I do that a lot where there’s so much accumulation that’s been going on, and it just hits at the most random moment when you weren’t expecting it to or when you weren’t planning on it. She loses it and just goes off. As soon as it comes out, I think she feels guilty because although what she said was true, I think she would have rather it be done in a more respectful and calm way and have more of a sit-down conversation with Jackie about things in the ideal world. I think Shauna, even though she says some hurtful things or speaks her mind, is still a fundamentally really good person. She feels bad for the way that she said it. But I think it’s beautiful, too. I think it’s a turning point for Shauna’s character to just finally be able to not care about other people’s opinions and finally say what she has on her mind. She says when she’s talking that she’s always been put in a box and been told what to like, what to do. I think it’s a pivotal moment for her to finally stand up for what she thinks.

That scene also showed the alliances and the hierarchy that has definitely been shifting. You see who has more power amongst the group. You definitely see Shauna’s power in that moment with the rest of the team. Regardless of whether or not they liked Jackie or didn’t like her, they rallied around Shauna. The roles could have easily been reversed. With teenage girls, things can shift on a dime. I have to point out Beaches because that quote brought me back. You’ve seen Beaches, right?
Sophie Nélisse: I haven’t seen Beaches. I should because everyone keeps talking to me about it. I’ve never seen it, though.

Sophie Nélisse
Sophie Nélisse as teen Shauna. (Showtime)

Jackie’s death meant saying goodbye to Ella Purnell. You all seem so close on social media. What was it like having to bid farewell to her? 
Sophie Nélisse: I got really emotional during that scene because, not in any bad way, but it did feel sometimes like Ella and I were our characters. Just our personalities like, Ella’s out there and she makes every head turn when she walks into a room. I’m more shy. Although we’ve never fought, Ella and I, it felt almost natural. It felt like it was just like a fight that was happening in real life. I felt so bad for yelling at Ella. She probably felt really bad. It was a very emotional moment when she died. When I do a scene usually, I think of someone that I’m close to that’s dying. Just in this scene, I was already very close to Ella, so just picturing her and just picturing something happening to her made me so sad. I saw her when she came in and had some makeup to do for the whole frozen face thing, and I immediately was taken aback. I got so emotional. So there wasn’t really that much acting going on. It felt very heartbreaking. I hope she’ll be back in season 2 for some flashbacks or whatever because the show just wouldn’t be the same without her.

I know you didn’t know earlier in the season, but do you know who the Antler Queen is yet?
Sophie Nélisse: I still don’t know, but I’m really leaning, like everyone else, for Lottie’s character. Especially in episode 9 when she wears that thing on top of her head, I feel like it would be Lottie, and it makes sense because she’s the one that’s kind of been putting the cult together so far. I think it is going to be Lottie. She would be a great Antler Queen. I would totally follow her.