Reservation Dogs EP 06: "Hunting" Review
And now the Kwe (Shared Algonquian word for "Woman" in Ojibwe and Sac & Fox) responsible for the viral memes that are capturing the mainstream's attention spans toward NDN Country, Willie Jack, gets her own episode! Skoden! Fuck!
Actress Paulina Jewel Alexis as the mighty Willie Jack is already an icon in my book. I can vouch because I know some people that are just like her and now they have Willie Jack as their Woman to represent them! She has that rare gift in that she can tell a great story by what she says and does, but also by things she doesn't do. Yes, she can throw F-bombs and one-liners! She can also make us cry.
The show takes a serious tone in this episode. It is a downhome Oklahoma Hunting Trip, in which Willie Jack and her dad Leon, played by veteran actor Jon Proudstar, (Young Guns II) go to a hunting ground owned (legally?!?) by some Texas landowners.
We are introduced to the deceased Rez Dawg Daniel in EP 01 in which the Dawgs pay tribute to his memory. He is Willie Jack's cousin. Now we finally get to meet Daniel through Willie Jack's memories as she talks to his spirit on the morning of the hunt. As the episode progresses, his ghostly presence turns from vivid to tangible.
The opening scene has Leon driving out to the hunting ground to lay out some corn for the game to feed on. A tall, dark figure with glowing eyes appears in the woods before him and just stands there, watching. Leon is spooked, he tells it he doesn't want any trouble and he gets the hell outta dodge.
In NDN country, mainly Algonquian culture, the spirit is said to roam after four days of mourning until the burial. If the spirit was slain or committed suicide, the spirit is said to roam the land and or haunt the living in spectral form. This was the first thing I thought of.
Daniel used to come hunting with Leon and Willie Jack. We are treated to a flashback of the three. Back to the present, Leon asks if Willie Jack and the rest of the Dawgs REALLY want to take off to California, Willie Jack says, "It was Daniel's idea."
The style of storytelling here is to SHOW and not to TELL. That's why this episode works because the Rez has too many stories of young people dying too early, we all have that story to fill in the blanks not presented here.
The episode is another game changer. It is well-photographed (and with Trail Camera shots! Nice touch!) and the ambience of the Oklahoma countryside are captured so beautifully from the horror movie-tinged opening shot to the choir of Oklahomans singing a mourning song among the spirit houses in the cemetery at daytime, THIS is what real Americana is.
S'Fuckin' Beautiful, man! -FL (done in Willie Jack's voice, of course!)
If you or a loved one is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or send a text message to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.