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Reservation Dogs S2 Ep3: Bear Learning To Be A Man

Part-time Indigenous media critic, but full-time Indigenous professional.

Marc Don (Chad Charlie), Uncle Charley (DoggFace), and Bear (D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) on their roofing job

Marc Don (Chad Charlie), Uncle Charley (DoggFace), and Bear (D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) on their roofing job

Reservation Dogs episode 3 of season 2 gives us the first character focused episode of the season with Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) as he starts his new roofing job. Not much happened in this episode so this will be a brief review. If you have not watched it, give it a quick watch and then come back here for the review.

Spirit (Dallas Goldtooth) giving sacred lessons in a porta potty

Spirit (Dallas Goldtooth) giving sacred lessons in a porta potty

Brief Recap

Episode starts off with Bear trying to scuff up his new tool belt that his mom (Sarah Podemski) bought for him because he doesn’t want to “be eaten alive” for having a new one. Just then Uncle Charley (Nathan Apodaca AKA DoggFace) and Marc Don (Chad Charlie) come to pick up Bear for work. Uncle Charley sees Rita to make a quick joke about how Bear was almost his son (F in the chat for another uncle’s failed attempt to snag Rita). We get to the house they are working on and get introduced to Daniel’s dad, Danny (Michael Spears). Bear finds it awkward, but the good thing for him is that Danny works alone so they don’t have to talk to each other too much.

Bear does his best to make sure he has a good first day and tries not to show weakness around them. Bear reaches his breaking point when he tries to hammer in a nail and the guys tell him to think of something that makes him mad. We get a flashback to the day that his dad (Sten Joddi) skipped the IHS conference in season 1 and abandoned Bear once again. After a brief conversation with Spirit (Dallas Goldtooth) in the porta potty, Bear goes back to work with Spirit’s latest wisdom “Just get out there and learn, f**ker.” During their lunch break, Bear reveals to the crew that he still holds a grudge against his dad and takes a jab at Danny for being a bad father. Marc Don tells Bear “You gotta let a man make his mistakes because men learn from experience…(calling back to when Bear almost fell off the roof) If you slip once you learn from it. If you slip again you’re just being careless.”

The crew heads back to work and soon Bear is told to work with Danny while the others go do something. Bear apologizes and Danny teaches him how to nail in the roof shingles. Right before their shift ends we hear Uncle Charley whistle and a spirit appears. We don’t know who the spirit is but I assume it is Daniel cause Danny felt real emotional after it disappeared. The two then leave the roof and head back home.

Once Bear comes back, he pitches in his day's earnings towards bills and lays down to rest after his day of work. Before the credits start rolling we get Elora Danan (Devery Jacobs) tapping at Bear’s window! Bear goes off about her abandoning him before she reveals that she is there because her grandma is dying.

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Bear and Danny (Michael Spears) on the job

Bear and Danny (Michael Spears) on the job

Verdict

I enjoyed this episode in that it is self-contained and lets Bear hear some advice at the construction site about being a man (also a few references to DoggFace’s TikTok career). What really took me out of the episode was the sudden appearance from Elora Danan, but other than that, it was a solid episode. It currently stands, in my opinion, the weakest of the season (as of episode 4 being out) but that shouldn’t take away from its messages for any Native kids out there growing up without a dad. I look forward to seeing the other character focused episodes in the rest of the season and how Bear will apply what he learned to deal with his daddy issues.

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