Reservation Dogs is set deep in Muscogee territory. And with that comes what some would call myths and legends. I’m not saying none of these things and beings exist, but I have seen and heard too many weird things in my lifetime.
This episode is directed by Blackhorse Lowe.
Okern, Oklahoma 1984
Bunnie Tiger (Kiowa Gordon) is on a joy ride when he sees a beautiful woman hitchhiking in Okern. She says she’s going to Carnegie, which is across the state. Bunnie has nothing better to do and offers her a ride. What he doesn’t see is the small set of deer antlers that she pulls out of her purse and holds it like a weapon. And her feet are actually deer hooves. Deer Woman (Kaniehtiio Horn). A boy about 10 years old watches the whole thing. It’s Big (Bodhi Okuma Linton). He hears his grandma tell him to clean his room and runs inside. As for Bunnie, he was never seen again.
The Tribal Lighthorseman have a youth training program. Cheese wants to be a detective someday and signed up to go on a ride along. He was expecting Chubs but he got Big instead. The first thing Cheese learns is that Big’s car is called Redbone One and it’s falling apart. Redbone is an all Native rock band best known for the song, “Come and Get Your Love.” Cheese has never heard of it. He doesn’t even know what snaggin is. This guy!
A few things happen during the ride along. First they find Bucky (Wes Studi) asleep on a bench in front of the movie theater. He went to the bench because his girlfriend might be mad at him. And so he could read his book. He fell asleep reading about String Theory, but the book is gone. Someone must have stolen it. He asks Big to be on the lookout for his book. Before he leaves he tells Cheese to listen to everything Big says and “Fight the Man!”
The Okern Police drive by to give Big a hard time about his car and being a Lighthorseman. It’s kind of embarrassing. Big says it’s those types of guys who become detectives so warns Cheese about being like that. He thinks Cheese should become a Lighthorseman instead.
Next, they go to an open field where Big found a bunch of catfish heads. He says the heads were gone after a couple of days and returned the next week. He thinks it’s Bigfoot activity. Cheese doesn’t believe in Bigfoot. Big says just because you can’t see something, doesn’t make it less real. Bigfoot is a spirit. When he doesn’t want to be seen, he disappears. He’s sacred like that.
Cheese starts asking questions. Why did Big become a Lighthorseman? That’s personal and Big refuses to answer. What do Lighthorseman do? They hunt bad guys … mainly meth heads and copper thieves though. Every now and then, they deal with something supernatural. Big says he’s seen a lot of things he can’t explain.
Big’s Grandma Imajene (Jana Butler-Rhoads) sent him to the store for cigarettes. (It was that easy back then) His stomach kept growling, but Big went anyway. After paying for grandma Imajene’s cigarettes, Big asks to go to the bathroom and the clerk sends him to the back. There’s no toilet paper in the stall though. Big yells for help, but while he’s in there, a couple of guys rob the store. Deer Woman happens to be in the store as well. The robbers hit the clerk in the head, knocking him out. Deer Woman approaches the guys then heads to the bathroom.
Big hears the bathroom door open and sees two deer hooves under the door. A hand reaches inside and hands him a roll of toilet paper. He’s obviously scared and quietly thanks her. He hears her leave and finishes his business. When Big walks out of the bathroom, the clerk is waking up and the two robbers are dead.
Big gets a call to find Ray Ray (Migizi Pensoneau) at the Village. Ray Ray says there are a bunch of copper figurines showing up all over the neighborhood. And someone had rocks in their mailbox. Big and Cheese collect the figurines and head out. Another call comes through to be on the lookout for a stolen baby blue truck.
While they look for the truck, they see a black Malibu with a broken taillight. Big hands a box to Cheese and tells him to hold down a button so the siren will sound. That too is broken. That Malibu just happens to belong to the NDN Mafia. Big tells Cheese to watch them while he looks in the trunk.
Jackie (Elva Guerrera) asks if Cheese is surprised that their car is running. Apparently the Reservation Dogs attempted to put sugar in the exhaust pipe, but got the wrong car. The two cars were exactly alike, but the other one belonged to White Steve’s (Jack Maricle) uncle. The NDN Mafia knows it was them because Cheese left behind a funnel with his name on it.
Big finds a gun in the trunk and asks about it. It’s one of their paintball guns, so Big can’t hold them. He tells Cheese to come with him. Cheese assumes their beef with the Mafia isn’t over and they confirm that it’s not. He tells them “Au revoir,” as they say in Germany. The Mafia shake their heads, knowing that’s not right.
Low Speed Chase
Big and Cheese head over to the junkyard. Kenny Boy (Kirk Fox) tries to explain to them how String Theory works. He has a book on String Theory on his desk. I wonder where he got that.
Kenny Boy is suspicious about Cheese bringing Big to the salvage yard and tries to say he knows nothing about the copper thieves. Ansel (Matt Cardarople) comes in and announces that they have a big batch of copper that was recently stolen in the yard. Kenny Boy stops him from talking by yelling out “kumite!” Apparently he’s been watching Bloodsport a lot lately. Cheese has seen enough and they leave.
The duo take a lunch break and see the stolen baby blue truck drive by. And Bucky is driving the truck! It’s time for a low speed chase through town set to an awesome 80’s cop music. Bucky is dancing in the car with a crown made of copper on his head. Cheese gets on the speaker and tells Bucky to pull over or get shot.
Bucky pulls over and scoots to the passenger side. He tells Big that the driver ran away, but Big saw him driving. Bucky gets out of the car and explains that the owners of the truck were not using it at the time he took it, so it’s technically not stolen.
As for the copper, Bucky admits to putting the figurines around the Village. He says the copper has this antimicrobial property that fights diseases like cholera. It also wards off bad spirits. He put the figurines in the Village as his way of marketing his products. Bucky says he stole the copper from some meth heads.
Big tells Bucky to take the truck back and go home. And to stop putting little copper men everywhere. He’s freaking people out. Bucky says okay and tells Cheese that they need him on the streets fighting bad guys like Big. He’s one of the good ones because he was raised right.
Come And Get Your Love
Cheese asks why Big didn’t arrest Bucky. Big says he’s after bad guys and Bucky is one of the good ones. How does he know? He uses his detective skills. Cheese decides being a Lighthorseman might be pretty cool. It’s more fun than anything, but it’s also a crazy job.
Big tells Cheese why he became a Lighthorseman. Big saw Deer Woman one more time when he was a kid at his Grandma Imajene’s funeral. His grandma and the Deer Woman grew up together. Deer Woman admits that she kills bad men. She’s not after Big because he’s a good ones and tells him to stay that way. She also tells him to think of his grandma and imagine her with him every step of the way. Be good. Fight evil. Do that and he will never see her again. She hears a loud car and leaves with her deer antlers in hand.
Cheese compares his story to Batman’s origin story, except Big’s parents didn’t die, he’s not rich, and not as smart as Batman. Cheese messes with the radio and “Come and Get Your Love” comes on. Big starts singing, trying to get Cheese to sing with him. They pass a nice sports car that stops to pick up … you guessed it … Deer Woman.
Watch the Reservation Dogs on FX on Hulu.
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