‘Reservation Dogs’ Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: ‘Run’

The last episode of Reservation dogs exposed the divisions that had developed between our main cast of characters, and in the second episode of season two, it looks like Cheese, Elora, Jackie, Bear, and Willie Jack continue to drift apart. As each of the teenage Rez Dogs struggles to find their place in the world as burgeoning adults, they soon discover that the adult world is a sad and desolate place. While the Rez Dogs do their best to dodge their current responsibilities as future adults, all the adults on the show are busy running away from the past.

Bear… still doesn’t quite understand. After abandoning Willie Jack and his plans to reverse the curse that was ravaging the village, he ends up crossing paths with Mose and Meeko. Bear laments to them that the rest of the gang are busy “doing kid shit”, as if moping around alone in the middle of the street doesn’t qualify as “kid shit”. He seems to be caught up in the performative aspects of adulthood, like finding a job, which Mose and Meeko offer to provide in return not for money but for “free exposure”. Bear hasn’t yet realized that without the important elements (things like self-reflection, developing personal values, and respecting kinship relationships), any work you manage to do won’t be as meaningful to you. and your community.

Bear later struggles with his lack of self-awareness when he offers Rob and Cleo to go into business together, only for Rob to remind Bear that he’s already stolen more than his fair share from the store. Cleo offers Bear the opportunity to volunteer for them to make up for his past transgressions, but Bear seems skeptical of the arrangement. This exchange is followed by a rather endearing callback to Season 1 when Mississippi Miles arrives (Miles is the driver of the Flaming Flamer’s truck the gang stole in the series pilot). Miles, Rob, and Cleo tell Bear that they’ve known all along that Bear and the other Rez Dogs stole the truck, but they didn’t tell the police because “we don’t need him anymore. young people in prison”. .” It’s a quirky but touching exchange, and Miles reminds Bear that “it’s easy to tear things down, but much harder to build them up.” After two consecutive bouts of legit acquaintances from his elders, Bear finally seems ready to pull himself together and start giving back to the community that has compassionately protected him for so long. Hope it sticks!

Meanwhile, Willie Jack and Bucky come across Jackie’s old team looking for some of his old stuff they can use to break the curse. Bone Thug, Weeze, and White Steve report that they were also affected by the curse, which means there may be something real to Willie Jack’s theory. Uncle Brownie arrives and, after an epic confrontation between him and Bucky, the two agree to work together to help break the curse. I can’t help but wonder if Bucky and Uncle Brownie’s exchange that they “haven’t seen each other in a long time” isn’t some kind of subtle reference to the fact that actors Gary Farmer and Wes Studi haven’t starred onscreen together since the 1989 movie Pow-wow highway.

Either way, I feel like I’m wearing a warm blanket every time I see the two veteran Native actors onscreen together, and the exchange between Bucky and Uncle Brownie only gets better as time goes by. episode. Come to find out, the pair have been avoiding each other since Brownie apparently grabbed Bucky’s ex while the pair were on the rocks. In a hilarious sequence, the two resolve their differences by shouting not-so-subtle prayers over each other to Creator while Cheese and Willie Jack watch in confused amazement. Like Bear’s exchange with Rob, Cleo, and Miles, it’s a reminder that even though they have issues to work out, the community is ultimately stronger together. After finishing their prayers, the two decide the way to cap off the ceremony is to sing an “old song,” after which the two broke into a rendition of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” a perfect button on the track. which left me howling. As actress Pauline Alexis shared in an interview on jimmy fallon earlier this week, “Natives are so funny and, like, this is the first time they’ve been shown before.” It’s moments like these between Farmer and Studi, two men who have long worked to advance Indigenous representation, that make the show as special as it is.

Elora and Jackie’s storyline ended on a final cliffhanger episode, with the couple being chased by a truck full of armed rural townspeople. After a tense chase through a field of hay, the girls narrowly escape the encounter, only to find themselves in the orbit of a truly bizarre white lady. A local empty brood named Anna finds Elora and Jackie aka “Mariah” and “Carrie” (I’m 1000% okay with that pop singer name swap bit, FYI) lying in her field and offers them a hot shower and a hot meal bath. Anna shares with Elora that her husband recently left her. Elora comments that the family look happy in all of their photos, a moment that seems to tie into the episode’s larger theme of past regrets. Anna seems like the kind of person to trust surface appearances, only to be brutally confronted with the unsettling truths that lie beneath. It’s a moment that resonates with Bear’s story, and it seems Elora and Bear are having a hard time finding their way now that they’ve gone their separate ways.

Twice in the episode, Daniel visits Elora in her dreams. In the first dream, Daniel is standing at the end of a long straight road, and when Elora asks what’s wrong, he sighs. Later, when Elora is sleeping in Anna’s house, she dreams again of Daniel who asks her why she didn’t take him to California. The dream is intercut with the scene of Elora discovering that Daniel has committed suicide, Daniel’s funeral, and the image of a buzzard eating a rotting animal. Daniel transforms into Bear, who again asks Elora why she didn’t take him with her to California. Elora’s feelings of guilt about Daniel seem to have intensified, and now she feels abandoned. of them of her best friends. It’s past transgressions that haunt Elora, and it seems like this season her character will have to balance her own desires for freedom with her sense of responsibility to her friends.

Jackie’s character continues to develop this season, and Elva Guerra’s performance in the episode is compelling, though her character remains mostly silent. Jackie catches Elora in the middle of the breakdown, and at first it seems she’s decided to give up on Elora too. Fortunately, before taking off with Anna’s truck, Jackie gives in and decides to wake Elora and take her away. The couple pass through Jackie’s Old Town and stop at her mother’s house. It’s another quiet exchange – there’s clearly something wrong with Jackie and her mother’s relationship, exacerbated by the loss they both suffered. Jackie doesn’t seem to mind running off with some extra money from her mom’s purse. Later, when Elora asks if Jackie feels guilty for stealing the truck, she seems unaware of the whole situation, only for a later jab to reveal that Jackie probably used some of the money to get the car back from the car. Elora’s grandmother. And is that the Los Angeles skyline we see in the distance?

The episode ends with a shot of Willie Jack talking to Daniel’s shot, telling him that although the curse has been lifted, there’s still a sense of heaviness that pervades the town. Things still need to be clarified, and while there’s hope the Rez Dogs can turn the tide, there’s still plenty that can go wrong in eight more episodes.

• I am delighted to see the evolution of the character of Jackie. The character wasn’t added until later in the series’ development, and the series can take many directions in Jackie and Elora’s relationship.

• As Anna watches Jackie and Elora take off in her (ex-husband?)’s truck, she whispers that they are two silent but shocking “sluts”. This moment, the cliffhanger chase sequence with the townspeople and the gas station shots I talked about in the episode 1 recap really encapsulates many flavors of the racism that indigenous people experience, and I’m interested to see where Hajro, Goldtooth, and RedCorn take these ideas as the season develops.

• So little Cheese in this season so far! I can’t wait to find out what he’s been up to, especially since Willie Jack mentioned he’s been spending more time with a mysterious uncle who may or may not be a positive influence.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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