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 who watch and those who don’t, giving the basics and not spoiling anything too much for anyone until they hit DVD, or you bum a friend’s password.
Episode 9: “Offerings”
The Plot: With the school year winding down and Senior predictions made, Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) is given a letter from the late Daniel. She goes to the prison to deliver it to a familial inmate named Hokti (guest star Lily Gladstone) who loved Daniel completely, as “grandmother, niece, or cousin.”
Through junk food and energy drinks, a real connection—both mentally and spiritually—is made, one that begins to heal the Rez Dogs and their fractious friendships—or at least I hope so.
The Review: This was a beautifully done, thoroughly heartbreaking, ancestrally-pleasing episode. The moment Willie Jack breaks down with her ancestors by her side is a moment of true strength for the character, the Indigenous viewers, and, honestly, my own self.
For only a few minutes, pain, hurt, and, more importantly, resilience was truthfully reflected in both characters – the life-scarred Hokti and never-scared Willie Jack. They take on the burdens people will never know in their quietest moments. These are the moments that make Reservation Dogs truly cathartic because we've been there, all of us.
I believe it's where our resilience comes from: some Natives take our burdens to our head, but most take it to our hearts. This is what Willie Jack does, getting her friends to read Daniel’s letter and do something about it. It is that innate strength that Willie Jack possesses, and, truthfully, I hope I do, too.
Best Line: “You can’t love someone out of hurting themselves.” - Hokti