Life is full of surprises on Reservation Dogs. In’ Elora’s Dad,” Elora Danan (Devery Jacobs) seeks out her biological father. It’s well known that Elora has lost a lot in her life. Her mother, Cookie (JaNae Collins) died in an accident when she was three. Daniel (Dalton Cramer) took his own life and Elora’s grandma Mabel (Geraldine Kearns) left this world just a few months ago. And yet, Elora doesn’t feel alone. She has friends who have become family. But there’s something about actually family that just feels different. This episode is written by  Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs and directed by Sterlin Harjo.

Elora has decided it’s time to grow up and go to college. She fills out the necessary paperwork and heads up to register. Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Cheese (Lane Factor), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) and Jackie (Elva Guerra) go with her for moral support. Elora meets with the admissions counselor, Debbie (John Parker). Debbie knows all about what the kids do when they come to college. They admit they went to college and partied a lot. He sings the 49 songs to prove it. They impress upon Elora that she will have to study more and party less. 

As for paying for college, Elora missed out on the available scholarships because she registered late. Debbie says she can still apply for financial aid, but she will need her father’s financial information. Elora says she doesn’t have a dad. Debbie tells her to look him up and get the information she needs. It’s the only way Elora is going to college. 

RELATED: Reservation Dogs Recap: (S03E08) Send It

RESERVATION DOGS – “Elora’s Dad” – Season 3, Episode 9 (Airs Wednesday, September 20th) Pictured (l-r): D’Pharaoh Wook-A-Tai as Bear, Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan. CR: Shane Brown/FX. Copyright 2023, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.

Elora tells the gang that she has to find her dad. They offer to go with her, but Elora thinks this is a trip she needs to make alone. She goes to the city the next day and actually finds her dad, Rick (Ethan Hawke) at the paint shop. But Elora doesn’t speak to him. Instead, she stalks him, following him through residential streets. He spots her and turns into a gas station to confront her. One look at her face and he knows exactly who she is.

Rick takes Elora to a nearby diner. He wants to talk and find out more about his daughter. Elora just wants him to fill out the financial aid forms so she can be on her way. She learns that it was Rick who named her. He was kind of a movie nerd. Rick tries to ask her about her life, but Elora is all business. When he finishes the paperwork, she leaves. He chases after her, asking her to follow him home. There’s something he wants to give to her. 

Elora notices the toys and bikes in the front yard and asks if he has kids. Rick says she has two sisters and a brother. The oldest is Ally (Ava Hopper) and she’s 12. The youngest, Megan (Charlotte Jackson) is 7. Their mom doesn’t live with them. She’s in treatment for a drug problem. Elora asks if Rick is full white. He chuckles and says he’s as white as they can come. Like, Quaker white …

RELATED: GGA Indigenerd Wire: A Conversation with Rising Star Devery Jacobs

Rick goes to his bedroom and rummages around until he finds a box of pictures. He finds one of Elora and Cookie. It’s from Elora’s first birthday. Elora is surprised when she sees it. No one has any pictures of her when she was a baby. She asks when Rick saw her last. It was actually on Elora’s first birthday. He explains that he and Cookie were broken up at the time. He thought they would get back together at Elora’s birthday party, but they didn’t. Rick says he was hurt and messed up. He wasn’t ready to be a father and the situation was too hard. 

Rick gives the photo to Elora to keep. He looks at his watch and Elora thinks he’s ready for her to leave. He says his kids are coming home soon and asks her to go with him to meet them. Rick says they don’t have to tell the kids who she is if she doesn’t want to. Elora isn’t sure, so Rick lets her go. She thinks about it and decides to walk to the bus stop with Rick. 

Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan Postoak on Reservation Dogs.

RESERVATION DOGS – “Elora’s Dad” – Season 3, Episode 9 (Airs Wednesday, September 20th) Pictured: Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan. CR: Shane Brown/FX. Copyright 2023, FX Networks. All Rights Reserved.

Elora asks how Rick and Cookie met. He says they were friends and partied in the same crowd. He admits they weren’t great together, but he was crazy about Cookie. They fought all the time and were so young. He thinks he should have tried harder. Elora asks if he tried to stick around. He says he tried, but he messed up. He’s always known where she was and doesn’t understand why he didn’t go see her. He feels stupid and weak. Elora says that’s life. You mess up and  try to fix it so you don’t mess up again. 

RELATED: Reservation Dogs Wins Peabody Award

Rick’s asks about Elora’s life. Elora says she dropped out of high school. She played basketball before then, but cussed out the coach and quit. Now she’s living in Mabel’s house. She inherited the house after Mabel passed away. Rick didn’t know Mabel passed. He continues to apologize for not being there all these years, saying he didn’t want to take her away from her family, her people. And he was a coward. He tried to see her when he heard about Cookie, but Mabel wouldn’t let him. Rick admits he was very sad to hear about Cookie. Elora asked if he was relieved to have to raise a kid. At first he says no, but then admits he was relieved.

The bus arrives, making Elora nervous. The kids get off the bus and Rick immediately introduces Elora as their sister. Megan is excited and invites Elora to eat pizza with them. Rick says Elora has to leave, but she is going to walk to the house with them. Elora decides to stay for dinner, making Rick very happy. 

During dinner, Elora gets to know her siblings. Megan takes a liking to her new big sister. Elora gets to see the kind of dad Rick is. When they leave, Allie asks Elora to come back and visit. She promises to come by since she will be going to school nearby. Rick thanks her for spending the day with them. He asks for a hug before she leaves and she obliges. He thanks her and they leave. When Elora gets in the car, she smiles and looks at the photo of her and her mom. 

RELATED: Catch up on all of the Reservation Dogs recaps here! 

Watch the Reservation Dogs on FX on Hulu.



Follow me