Driver’s licenses are a milestone for some people. They can be hard or easy to acquire. Some of us are lucky enough to take Driver’s Ed or have someone willing to teach us how to drive. Every now and then your driving instructor is somebody you know, especially in a small town like Indian Reservation, Oklahoma. In the latest episode of Reservation Dogs, we get another character-focused episode – this time focused on Elora (Devery Jacobs). We get flashbacks of Daniel (Dalton Cramer) again, and these cut deep. Personally, I cried. Losing a friend is tough, especially when that friend is like family. This was an episode about reflection and growth.
The episode starts with Elora, Daniel, Bear (D’Pharoah Woo-A-Tai), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), and Cheese (Lane Factor) all hanging out. We hear Daniel’s parents arguing, and while everybody else leaves, Elora stays with Daniel to keep him company. Last episode we saw some of Daniel’s last moments. Now we get what happened before he went to see Willie Jack’s father Leon. Elora, who has taken her driver’s test three times, sets up to take her fourth. Her old basketball coach, Coach Bobson (Bill Burr) is her instructor. He grew up with her mother, and they spend the day reflecting.
The day is wild chase, Bobson starts the day looking for his daughter Cassidy (Denise Lee). She started hanging with the wrong crowd and is now a drug addict. Sometimes he doesn’t see her for weeks or even know if she’s alive. Elora’s grandmother’s car gets shot by a meth head and they must visit Kenny Boy (Kirk Fox) and Ansel (Matty Cardarople) to get it fixed. They talk about Elora’s mother, and Bobson tells her what actually happened to her mother.
In-between all of that we see flashbacks of Elora and Daniel on their last night together. They go to a country club, and dance. Daniel is frustrated by his life and it shows, he gets into an argument at the bar and storms out. Elora catches up with him and talks with him. They part ways and Daniel asks her to go to California with her, she says yes. The next morning, she goes looking for him. Sends him a text, text Bear… She goes to their hangout and spot and finds him. It’s a very dramatic scene and definitely warrants some precaution if suicide triggers you. There is a warning at the beginning of the episode as well.
Tazbah Rose Chavez is the writer and director for this episode of Reservation Dogs. She hits this out of the ballpark. This episode is a very serious episode that also still draws the comedy of the episodes before. We learn more about Daniel, we learn more about Elora as well. We also get an update about her Jackie situation here too. There is definitely a ton of background information in this show. We even get where the California idea came from. Chavez does a great job at laying the foundation of things we saw before in this episode. Jacobs gives an amazing performance here too. She uses a range of emotions that for me, give her some form of Emmy premise. She is a talented young woman that is doing amazing as Elora Danan.
Suicide has been at the forefront of these last two episodes a lot. We saw the character focus with Cheese and it was much goofier. Willie Jack and Elora’s episodes were much more serious. They were definitely more connected to Daniel. Willie Jack was his cousin, and it seems like he and Elora were something more than friends, possibly. We’ve seen how his death impacted those two, especially Elora. You’ll see why in the show, but again – the scene is very heartbreaking. Losing somebody that close to you is extremely painful, no matter the circumstance.
This was an important episode of the season. These character-focused episodes have been really great and interesting. I’m hoping Bear’s episode wasn’t the ‘What About Your Dad’ one. I feel like that one wasn’t as focused on him as it should’ve been. All in all, these have been extremely good watches, and I like the idea a lot. Sterlin Harjo is the gift that keeps on giving. He’s hired nothing but amazing people to lend their talents to his and Taika Waititi’s creation. They take this project seriously across the board from topics to representation. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Reservation Dogs premieres Mondays on FX on Hulu.