Rez Recaps: Reservation Dogs, Ep. 3
10:17 AM EDT on August 17, 2021
America always seems to lust after Indigenous people when they’re at their lowest, for dramatic purposes, of course. Very rarely are their comical sides ever shown—probably because it actually humanizes us too much—which makes Reservation Dogs not only a groundbreaking series, but one of the truest shows ever presented on television.
Created by Oklahoma filmmaker Sterlin Harjo and New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, Dogs stars Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan Postoak, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as Bear Smallhill, Lane Factor as Cheese and Paulina Alexis as Willie Jack as the series main focus, with each week bringing new trials, tribulations and, of course, guest stars, many of whom you would never expect on television.
Mike Bone, please stand up!
Every week, I will recap the show for those that don’t have the FX on Hulu (or illegal file-share services), giving the basics of the episode and not spoiling anything too much for anyone until they, of course, hit DVD. Skoden!
Episode 3: “Uncle Brownie”
The Plot: In the pre-credits prologue, an old white couple argues over the meaning of “Land Back.” As things get heated, they hit a deer and, of course, leave it on the side of the road to rot. Luckily, Elora, Bear and Wille Jack pull over and stuff it into their trunk to make some backstrap a little later.
Turns out they’re on their way to see Uncle Brownie—who may or may not be their uncle—to learn a few fighting skills, as he’s famous for taking on twenty guys in two minutes at the local watering hole. He makes a deal with the teens: take him into town to sell his long-buried marijuana and he’ll teach them a few moves.
The Review: This third episode is more serio-comic than last weeks, as we delve deep into the life of Uncle Brownie (typically brilliant guest-star Gary Farmer), a loner living on a piece of land by himself. The teens find him digging up his ancient weed to sell in town, apparently not knowing that it’s now legal.
Working a trade-off of selling marijuana for a few fighting tips, they cruise around town looking for buyers—including a dispensary—and finally to the bar where he supposedly went crazy one night; he makes up for it by giving the bar the weed, a round of cheap beers and, of course, the deer in the truck, delivering a strangely happy ending.
Personally though, this episode had me dwelling on my own lack of family or the lack thereof.
I never knew any of my uncles on my Indigenous father’s side. One died in the war, one died of natural causes up north before I was born and one died in prison for murdering a woman in Duncan and stuffing her in the trunk of a car. I have always wondered what they were like and how much my personality is close to theirs—I hope not the murderer, though. I’ve got enough problems.
Best Line: “A warrior has to take a beating sometimes. That’s how he gets stronger, you know?” - Uncle Brownie
Funniest Moment: When trying to take the dead deer out of the trunk to make some backstrap, the carcass explodes in a torrent of bloody bodily fluids.
Oklahoma Soundtrack Pick: JD McPherson – “Lucky Penny”
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