Reservation Dogs – Season 2 Episode 1 “The Curse” Recap & Review

The Curse

Episode 1 of Reservation Dogs Season 2 picks up at the Oklahoma reservation, which is recoverin from the aftermath of the tornado that ripped through town. 

Everyone is okay, but Willie Jack is left reeling. With the tornado, Elora’s skipping town with Jackie of all people, and the Rez Dogs’ secret hideout (aka Daniel’s memorial place) being torn down, Willie Jack can’t shake a bad feeling about everything that’s been happening recently. “The bad part is,” she says, “I think it’s all my fault.”

When Willie Jack enlisted a “white wizard” to put a curse on Jackie in the last season, she wasn’t thinking about how often curses can come back to bite those who initiate them. In this case, she’s convinced this curse has a hold on her community–and she’s determined to reverse it.

She has trouble finding help, however. Cheese is along for the ride, until he gets distracted by Uncle Brownie’s DVD collection. Uncle Brownie is too busy trying to be a “holy man”; a man named Bucky wants to help, but isn’t necessarily capable.

Bear accompanies her for a while, but he’d rather blame events on Elora’s actions than some curse. Eventually, he gives up on Willie Jack’s quest altogether. Soon, she feels more alone in her community than maybe even Elora in her last-ditch effort to get to California.

Even if it came back to bite Willie Jack, one could say “the curse” at least hit its target. Jackie, and Elora by extension, have a rough time on the road. First, their GPS goes out; then their car breaks down.

They take their bags and hitchhike toward Amarillo with a salesman named Vincent, but when he takes a turn into the middle of nowhere, the girls are quick to defend themselves–kicking him in the face and stabbing him (literally) in the back.

They stumble out of the car without their bags and with only a small fraction of their money. Nothing has gone exactly to plan for the two of them. If anything, however, they share the briefest bonding experience, in which Jackie confesses that she carries a similar pain to Elora’s. Her brother died. He was cool, she says–like Daniel.

What now? Jackie suggests stealing a car to help them get to LA, but going for the first car they lay eyes on–in broad daylight–doesn’t exactly work out for them.

“Run!” One of them yells after they’re caught breaking into an old vehicle. And they do. But the guys chasing them are on wheels–and they have guns too.

The Episode Review

The Rez Dogs are back, if not all united in proximity (nor thought/purpose, for that matter). After the heart-wrenching backstories that were revealed in season 1, it’s fascinating to see how much the shared pain that united them could also drive them so far apart, as they each slowly learned to process their respective trauma in ways unique to them.

They’re still processing, of course, and Willie Jack in probably the most proactive way. I feel that Willie Jack’s search for a reverse-curse will prove a lesson for her in the end–that you can’t fix everything, but sometimes have to deal with consequences. Still, I can’t help but hope she’ll be justified in her quest. It would be a sweet lesson indeed for those who didn’t believe in her, who should have bonded together as a community in the wake of a communal trauma.

That brings up something I loved about season 1 of Reservation Dogs and that I’m glad to see hasn’t changed. Though its writers are ever concerned about depicting unique individuals and their stories, to them, the reservation is its own complex character with life and purpose and backstory and accountability of its own.

Everything always seems to point back to the reservation. But will all the Rez Dogs–Elora, especially–see that?

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You can read our full season review for Reservation Dogs Season 2 here!

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