It’s the second season of Reservation Dogs, the critically lauded series by Sterlin Harjo that shows it’s truly a good day to be Indigenous!
Like last year, I will recap the show for those that don’t have FX or Hulu, giving the basics and not spoiling anything too much for anyone until they hit DVD, or you bum a friend’s password.
Episode 4: “Mabel”
The Plot: Co-written by cast member Devery Jacobs, this episode is about loss and, eventually, acceptance. Elora (Devery) is waiting for her grandmother Mable to die, and with family and friends gathered around to pay respect, it becomes too much for her. As she breaks down, her Grandmother (Geraldine Keams) has a message for her.
As that is going on, NDN Mafia leader Jackie (Elva Guerra) comes into the fold, learning a bit more as she makes frybread. Bear (D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai) has another talk with his spiritual adviser William (Dallas Goldtooth). Elora’s estranged relative Teenie (Tamara Podemski) talks about the family dynamics.
The Review: I was not prepared for this episode. Mabel is the name of my own late Indigenous grandma, giving this episode its own weird personal connection.
As Mable is about to be taken with death and its trappings, the fear of the unknown began to resonate with me deeply. With my own track record—two strokes, and one always feeling around the corner—every single step of every single day gets me closer to the great beyond. Well, at least closer than most people. If only I could get a receipt.
When her Grandmother’s soul is taken, and the realization that the lifeforce is gone, the stillness gives a great pause to the proceedings. Knowing that you never see that person again…it's hard to take. I believe that’s the fear I feel and, I'm guessing, that Elora, feels, too.
But, instead of this insurmountable fear, Grandmother’s soul takes the time to tell us it's going to be ok. Elora has closure, and I think we all do; I hope I do. A truly heartbreaking episode.
Best Line: “Cook it up, shit…it’s organic.” - Officer Big (Zahn McClarnon)
Funniest Moment: Grandmother’s ethereal big goodbye.
Oklahoma Soundtrack Pick: Ya Tseen – “Look at What the Light Did Now”