Yellowjackets' Samantha Hanratty Hadn't Seen Steel Magnolias Before Misty's Big Monologue

This post contains spoilers from the latest episode of "Yellowjackets."

From Natalie's chicken-killing tips to Jeff's hatred of strawberry lube to Misty's "I want my lawyer" cake, season 2 of "Yellowjackets" has already delivered dozens of delightful little moments — which is especially impressive considering it's a horror story about cannibal teens. The show has so far managed to strike a rare tonal balance, often delivering dark humor, endearing character-driven moments, and disturbing new developments over the course of a single scene.

This week's episode was no exception, as a wilderness baby shower for Shauna (Sophie Nélisse) took a turn when Lottie's (Courtney Eaton) occult symbol-emblazoned blanket seemingly caused a flock of birds to slam into the cabin and die. A strangely sweet scene turned sinister, but before "Yellowjackets" dipped its toes back into the (possibly) supernatural, it let the teammates have a moment of genuine celebration. In addition to Lottie's blanket and Van's (Liv Hewson) changing teepee, chronic weird girl Misty Quigley (Samantha Hanratty, with Christina Ricci playing the character in the present day) delivered an unorthodox gift: the dramatic delivery of a tearful monologue from "Steel Magnolias."

'I didn't want to be too exact'

The 1989 film starring Sally Field, Shirley McClaine, and Dolly Parton was a pop culture staple for many upon its release, and apparently Misty is one of its superfans. "I wanna know WHY!" Misty declares, giving the performance of a lifetime while embodying the role of M'lynn. It's a rare moment of acceptance for the outsider; the group starts off snickering over her earnest theater kid antics but ends up engrossed in her speech about the (perhaps not-so-baby shower-friendly) topic of a child's death.

In an interview with Variety, Hanratty admitted that she hasn't actually seen "Steel Magnolias," a conscious choice she made while preparing for the monologue. Instead, she watched the scene in question about six times on YouTube. "I didn't want to be too exact, because I didn't want to be like she knew too much," Hanratty told the outlet. "But at the same time when you think of your favorite movies, I feel like a lot of us are able to recite really big parts. We all have our things we remember, and this just happens to be Misty's cup of tea."

The actress explains that she found the monologue "very intimidating," so she opted not to watch the entire film because she figured it would just make her more nervous to step into Field's shoes. She also delivered the scene partly without her castmates present, which speaks to Misty's knack for retreating inside her own mind. "For the most part it was just me in there," she explained. "They all got to hang out in the trailers, and I just had fake markers that I looked at every now and then. She's not really looking at them, she's so into her own world when she's doing the monologue."

Misty Quigley, acting legend

Hanratty says when she did shoot with the rest of the ensemble, their scripted laughter "helped fuel the emotions" as she really had to tell herself, "All right, I'm not gonna let this get to me." The end result is a great performance that's both sincerely emotional and, given the ridiculous nature of Misty as a character, a little bit camp. Hanratty is clearly aware of those elements of Misty as well. "She's the kind of person that everybody can kind of chuckle at, and have a good laugh at," she tells Variety, "But she doesn't view herself as that, so I have to take her as seriously as possible." When filming, the actor explains, she tries to portray Misty as 100% serious, even if others are having a laugh at her expense.

The actress definitely pulls that tightrope walk off, and Misty remains one of the most enjoyably batty (and sometimes legitimately dangerous) characters in the show. As unforgivable as Misty may be (remember when she smashed the plane's black box?!), it's hard to see her put down all the time, especially when so much of her shunning is more related to her obvious eccentricity than her actual actions. After seeing her ostracized so much, it's great to watch Misty have this big, theatrical moment that unites the Yellowjackets during a time of tremendous stress. Judging by the whole dead bird storm situation, though, it might be the last time the team experiences a lighthearted moment for a while.

"Yellowjackets" airs Sundays on Showtime, with new episodes available in the Showtime streaming app on Fridays.