The Reservation Dogs plan to leave together for California on Saturday, but events out of their control lead them all astray.
In Reservation Dogs Season One Episode Eight, the friends split up,” Satvrday,” directed by Sterlin Harjo. Elora Danan Postoak (Devery Jacobs) leaves with their archenemy Jackie (Elva Guerra), and everyone else stays in rural Oklahoma. For the finale episode of the first season of Reservation Dogs, the gang is all back together. Wille Jack (Paulina Alexis) decides to stay in Okren. She wants to grieve Daniel’s death with her parents and learn from them. Cheese (Lane Factor) doesn’t want to leave their hometown either. Bear Smallhill (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) still wants to move to California, but his spirit guide William Knifeman (Dallas Goldtooth), advises him that they need to take care of something first. Finally, Elora is desperate to get out of town to avoid the pain of finding Daniel’s body. “Satvrday” ends some childhood friendships and leads others to find their purpose.
“Satvrday” features many guest stars and recurring characters who bring to life the close-knit indigenous culture of Okern, Oklahoma. Cheese visits his “Grandmother” (Casey Camp-Horinek), who he met during “NDN Clinic.” Cheese lets the Grandmother know that he is not her grandson. She laughs and says, ” Sure you are even if you’re not.” Since Cheese visits the Grandmother, and they come from the same tribal community that makes the blood. All the Native American elders are grandparents to their community’s youth since they mentor them. Perhaps Cheese decides to stay to keep on learning from the Grandmother.
The eighth episode features Uncle Brownie’s (Gary Farmer) spiritual storyline. He demonstrates warriors don’t need to fit a mold. Uncle Brownie drives around town in a stolen lawn tractor, trying to find an ax to stop a tornado from hitting Okern. Nobody takes Brownie seriously since they don’t believe in his tornado ceremony; he is a bit of a kooky old hermit and spends all day smoking weed. Bear, Cheese, Elora, and Willie Jack don’t even believe the older man’s hand quivering means there will be a tornado. Uncle Brownie proves all the stereotypes wrong two times in this episode. Shamans are not necessarily quiet, wise men who spend all their time quietly meditating on the meaning of life. Indigenous Warriors are not always muscular men who fight with arrows or spears. First, Uncle Brownie whistles at Mekko (Funny Bone) and Mose’s (Lil Mike) bike tires to flatten them since they teased him about the ceremony. Mike and Mose mutter about black magic as they bike away. The following day their front tires are flat, showing his powers.
As the tornado is about to devastate the town, Uncle Brownie performs the ceremony to send it away. He quietly proves his mystical abilities. He climbs up on top of a friend’s roof, gripping a “borrowed” ax, which he swings above his head. Uncle Brownie yells at the tornado in his tribal language. The next day the neighborhood leaves their shelter in the church basement. The tornado missed them entirely, leaving their homes intact. Officer Big (Zahn McClarnon) comments that “somebody has strong medicine,” which is another way of saying magical powers. Uncle Brownie finds himself naked in the fields gripping the ax. Thankfully his junk is pixelated. The ax turns to sand, demonstrating that the ceremony works. William Knifeman visits Uncle Brownie in the fields. He tells Uncle Brownie that taking clothes was a trade-off for the ancestors stopping the tornado from destroying Okren. It was the clothes or Uncle Brownie’s life. Knifeman calls him an old warrior and promises to guide him to a good life. The warriors and shamans in present-day Native American culture are imperfect people who honor their ancestors.
William Knifeman becomes more rooted in reality while interacting with Bear. In previous episodes, the spirit guide would only appear when Bear was knocked out. William was a dreamlike figure or a hallucination. In this episode, Bear sees him when he is fully conscious. After a brief conversation, the spirit guide leaves Bear’s bedroom window. Instead of just disappearing, William caws as he walks away from the Smallhill residence. Later, William appears in the church when Bear is spying on Elora. The spirit guide says he has no answers, ” just stoic wisdom,” which is ironic since he is talkative. William is the opposite of a typical silent but deadly Native American warrior featured in “Cowboy & Indian” movies. William stops joking around during their last talk. The spirit guide says he was not f*cking talking about the Reservation Dogs fighting their rival gang. I’m not sure if Bear figures out what he is supposed to do since he picks a fight with Elora leading to her driving out of town without him. Maybe we will get the answer next season?
Season One ends with Elora leaving behind her close-knit community to a city in California where nobody will care about her. This way, she isn’t even tempted to love somebody new. Maybe Elora will end up missing Okren, where everybody from a White basketball coach to a kooky “warrior” uncle cares about her.
My only minor problem with “Satvrday” is that none of the adults freaked out when many teenagers referenced running away to California when they were all hiding in the storm Church shelter. I love the magic realism and quirky humor of Reservation Dogs. I appreciate while they do show the economic disparity that Native Americans live with, the tv show also features the richness and joy of this Oklahoma salt of the earth indigenous community. Check out all of FX’s Reservation Dogs Season One on Hulu!