Finished Reservation Dogs last night. Season 2 makes the already great Season 1 even better: plot threads and character beats are developed to deep effect, and I’m grateful now for the slower episodes, and what they set up.
The big pay off is in the very final moments of the last episode, but my favourite resolution came as the Rez Dogs try to bust Cheese out of prison in episode 7. “Oh, hey Jackie,” he says upon seeing the gang’s arch nemesis assisting the prison break. She simple says, “‘Sup?'”
In episode one, season 1, Jackie is introduced as the de facto leader of the rival gange, NDN Mafia. She’s resentful at having been exiled from the city to rural Oklahoma, and wants to take territory from the Rez Dogs, by force. She’s impossible to dislike, even before we learn more about her past, so her role as antagonist was always uncomfortable. Elora, being the smartest Rez Dog, was first to recognised her as an ally. Cheese, with his emotional maturity, is also early to suspect that they may have jumped to conclusions.
Small moments of connection allow for a thaw to set in. Because he’s out of the picture, Cheese is the last to get on board when he greets her, not with the established, “What’s she doing here?” but with, “Oh, hey Jackie.”
And with that, she’s part of the group. Not a Rez Dog—the NDN Mafia are still in force (though the other members of it have long since forgotten the feud)—but officially a friend, and it’s glorious.
The moment is consolidated later when she is among the group that welcome Cheese to his new home, wearing the same “Free Cheese” t-shirts as his closest pals, but it’s his earlier, “Oh, hey Jackie” that completed her welcome into the fold, and I loved it so much.
The fact that this great moment is so low-key perfectly illustrates how this show can be as bold and daring in its restraint as it can be in its supernatural flourishes and broad slapstick.