Part-time Indigenous media critic, but full-time Indigenous professional.
Hulu’s Reservation Dogs is back and ready to get into the feels this season. If you have not seen the episodes, but would like to read a non-spoiler recap, go to my previous article about the Reservation Dogs premiere. In this article I will give my episode recap, verdict, and what I believe we will be seeing next in this season.
Okay, now while those people go to watch the episodes, let’s talk about what happens. The first episode starts off with Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) giving the audience/Daniel (Dalton Cramer via a picture of him hanging up in her kitchen) a brief recap about some of the residents of Okern since the tornado at the end of season one. In a hilarious montage, we find that Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) is slowly distancing himself away from the gang with William Knifeman (Spirit played by Dallas Goldtooth), Cheese (Lane Factor) has been catching up with his family, Elora Danan (Devery Jacobs) and Jackie (Elva Guerra) are still driving to California, Uncle Brownie (Gary Farmer) believes he is a spirit since his encounter with the tornado, Big (Zahn McClarnon) is going on about supernatural beings, Bucky (Wes Studi) is having lady troubles, Mose (Lil Mike) and Mekko (Funny Bone) got their bikes jacked, and Willie Jack believes the curse she put on Jackie has backfired to cause all these bad things to happen.
Throughout these two episodes, we find that the group is divided as opposed to the beginning of the first season. With Elora gone, Bear is struggling to figure out what to do without the gang all together. Willie Jack’s mission is to get rid of the curse so everything can go relatively back to normal. Cheese is out doing whatever he wants to do, which in the first episode is watching the director’s cut of Big Trouble in Little China at Uncle Brownie’s place.
With Elora, her and Jackie are smooth sailing to California until they run into car trouble, causing them to hitch-hike. In classic Reservation Dogs fashion, this does not go according to plan. We find them running into three different scenarios. First is the creepy, traveling business man who they end up stabbing in the back because he was acting sus. Next, are the gun-toting, rednecks who are ready to shoot the “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians” after they tried to carjack them. Finally, we have the Oklahoma State loving divorcee, Anna (played by Megan Mullally), living in a big house all by her lonesome with a craving for ranch on rolls (a lot of red flags on this one). After some shuteye, Jackie decides to take Anna’s truck and wake up Elora so they can get back on the road. Jackie was initially ready to leave Elora behind, but these three experiences brought them closer together and I am sure we will get more of Jackie’s backstory this season as the two characters get closer. Fingers crossed we see the two turn around to Okern as all signs, and a Native American Medicine Man machine, have been trying to push them to go back.
Back in Okern, we find that Willie Jack is working on her mission to fix the curse that she had put on Jackie. On their wild goose chase, Bear leaves Willie Jack because he is not interested in the mission and has come to realize that it is time for him to start becoming an adult. He has been bummed out since Elora left and at the end of the second episode he is given advice to work on helping the community after all they have done to make sure the Rez Dogs didn’t get into trouble for their shenanigans. While Bear is working on this, Willie Jack has gone to Bucky for help which causes Uncle Brownie to intervene as he knows Bucky will end up making it worse. We find that the two have history together and were once buds until they fought over Bucky’s old lady, the usual guy stuff. At a river, we get a hopeful ending for the two episodes and a setup for the arc this season. It appears that this season, the four kids will have to settle with their guilt that arose last season and not be “sh*****es.”
Verdict for the Eps
Overall I really enjoyed the first two episodes. It is a change of pace from the first two episodes of the first season and tries not to replicate them. This season appears to be more emotionally heavy, especially with Elora’s and Jackie's side of the story. Of course, Elora is still feeling the guilt of leaving Bear and Daniel behind. I look forward to other characters outside the OG four getting more fleshed out. These two episodes helped bring a little depth into Bucky’s and Uncle Brownie’s relationship. It is also great to see that Spirit is able to communicate with other people in the show and try to bring Uncle Brownie down from thinking he has to be a Holy Man; which would not hurt but his definition of a Holy Man should be interesting to see. The soundtrack is on point in these first two episodes. Hearing the sweet voices of Bucky, Uncle Brownie, and Spirit trying to sing “Free Falling” was one of the highlights for episode 2.
Bold Prediction Time
The one prediction I have that I believe could pan out is seeing the appearance of Little People. Little People are often viewed as tricksters, which is why we find Leon (Jon Proudstar) not being able to find some of his things and Bone Thug Dog (Jude Barnett) getting shot by a Little Person arrow. It would be cool to see another Muscogee supernatural being portrayed on screen similar to Deer Woman in season one.
Tune in to Hulu on Wednesdays for more Reservation Dogs episodes and be careful out there to avoid spoilers on Indigenous/Native Facebook or Twitter! They are ready to send those memes out without any “Spoiler” warnings.