I Still Believe
What did Daniel write in his letter?
In Reservation Dogs Season 2 Episode 10, the Rez dogs go on a journey. To honor Daniel and the wish he made in his letter, they’re finally heading to California.
Jackie helps the crew break into the scrapyard so they can steal Kenny Boy’s car. To their surprise, however, Kenny is more than happy to lend it to them. He tells Elora to pay what she owes when the time is right.
Elora promises to Jackie that they’ll be back, and the Rez Dogs take off. It’s a long car ride to LA, but they fill the time partially by teasing Elora. In his letter, Daniel detailed his feelings for her.
But Elora insists this trip is about her. It’s about all of them doing something for Daniel–because he can’t.
Bear suggests they all go to the ocean and put Daniel’s letter adrift. The ocean is something Daniel always wanted to see. This way, he can actually be a part of it.
What happens to the Rez Dogs in LA?
They arrive in LA and stop in a restaurant. They later realize they left their stash of money in the car, so Willie Jack goes out to get it. But the car is gone–along with the money and Daniel’s letter.
The group can’t report the vehicle unless they want to be arrested and brought home. And Bear tries calling his dad, but discovers the number is disconnected.
A man in long robes shows up (the Rez Dogs dub him “White Jesus”) and offers to guide them to the beach. As it’s ten miles away, they don’t make it before nightfall and end up camping with a group of homeless people.
Elora and Cheese stand watch together, talking about Daniel. “He was my hero, you know… He could do anything,” Cheese says, and tells Elora he thinks the same about her. She simply knows what to do in times of trouble.
Elora disagrees. She has no idea what to do right now, for example. “If anyone could make it out,” Cheese insists,” it’d be you.”
Do the Rez Dogs make it to the beach?
They later continue their long trek to the beach. Finally, they hear the sound of crashing waves. Together, they walk towards the water.
A flashback shows us a funeral. Willie Jack, Bear, and Cheese sit together. Elora isn’t present, and for a moment, one might if it’s her funeral–if something went terribly wrong in LA. But she’s outside, mourning Daniel alone.
On the beach, Elora won’t take off her shoes like the others. “I know what we came here to do, but… I don’t want to let him go,” she tells Bear.
Bear comforts her. He says they’re not here to let go of Daniel. They’re letting go of the pain, so they won’t be stuck anymore. Daniel would want them to live their lives. Elora then takes off her shoes and socks and joins them.
How does Reservation Dogs Season 2 end?
They stand together, and Cheese says a prayer. He admits that he’s been mad at Daniel for not being with them to make things right. He lost his hero; Willie Jack lost a brother/cousin/friend; Bear lost his best friend; Elora lost her hope. “You’re our brother,” Cheese says, promising they’re going to remember him. “We just hope we’re doing the right thing.”
They walk all the way into the water and hug each other. “We did it,” Bear says. Daniel’s spirit appears beside them, joining them in their hug. When they part, Daniel is gone.
What will they do next? Elora wants to find the car. Willie Jack says she has an uncle on a nearby reservation who can help them.
“I’m not going back,” Bear interjects. He starts walking along the shore. Elora, Willie Jack, and Cheese follow.
The Episode Review
If there’s a more emotionally fulfilling current show than Reservation Dogs, I haven’t seen it. Creators and writers Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi have carefully crafted each episode this season with multiple Indigenous writers.
The result is a plethora of individually influenced, deeply affecting stories–which all work together to convey cohesive themes of love, loss, and the inequities and challenges of reservation life.
The season finale brings it all together. In season 1, the Rez Dogs weren’t ready to leave. They still had things to learn from each other, from the elders in their community, from Daniel’s memory, and from themselves. At the end of season 2, they’ve learned much to be able to finally come together again.
Of course, Elora, Bear, Willie Jack, and Cheese still have a lot to learn. In a beautiful conclusion for the foursome, they are ready to let go of the pain from Daniel’s passing. But that doesn’t mean things are perfect. All four may have a newfound gratitude for the reservation. But they also have plenty of reasons to want different lives for themselves. The question remains, then: What will the Rez Dogs do next?