Trickster is based on the Eden Robinson novel Son of a Trickster. CBC Television first aired the series in October 2020. The series is airing on The CW in the US, SYFY in the UK and SBS in Australia. In the premiere episode, we meet Jared (Joel Oulette) and his family who reside in a small Canadian community. As Jared tries to take care of his family, he starts seeing strange things that indicates trouble for his family.
Disclaimer: I am aware of the controversy about series creator Michelle Latimer claiming to be from an Indigenous culture and that turning out to not be true. I chose to recap this series because of the realistic portrayal of Indigenous life by an Indigenous cast. It’s my hope that the CBC will choose an appropriate replacement for Latimer and continue this intriguing Indigenous supernatural/fantasy series.
The story is set in Kimimat, British Columbia, Canada. The night that Maggie (Crystle Lightning) gave birth to Jared, a strange man, Wade (Kalani Queypo) took him. Maggie chased Wade through the woods, begging for her baby. Wade turned to look at her and his eyes turned dark. Clearly, he was attempting to hypnotize Maggie to make her stop following him. Something inside of Maggie made her scream so hard and so loud that Wade started bleeding from the mouth and eyes. He fell to his knees and began to die. That’s when Maggie took her son back and walked away.
17 years later, Jared is just an average kid. He makes average grades in school, hangs out with his average friends, and has an average after school job at the Tasty Bucket. He sells pink ecstasy through the drive thru at the Bucket to customers who ask for “extra salty fires.”
Jared uses the drug money to pay the bills for his mom and dad. His parent split up the year before. Since then, his mom parties all the time and his dad, Phil (Craig Lauzon) is on disability. Phil lives with his girlfriend Destiny (Jayli Wolf) and they party as much as Maggie does.
Maggie ran into some trouble with her drug dealer Richie (Joel Thomas Hynes). She owes him $2000. One morning, Richie set his dog on Jared to send a message to Maggie. Maggie was nearby and ran over the dog with her truck. Jared offers to help her find a way to pay Richie back, but she says she will take care of it. Richie goes a far as paying a visit to Jared at work and threatens to kill Maggie if she doesn’t pay her debt. He adds on a thousand dollars for the dog.
Jared wants to help his mom and asks for money from his dad. That’s when Destiny reveals that she’s pregnant. Jared takes back his request as Phil asks for more help now that there’s a baby on the way. To say things are a mess is an understatement.
Things get worse when Jared runs into a creepy stranger. Yep, you guessed it…Wade. Wade is at the bus stop and tries to strike up a conversation with Jared. Jared gets creeped out and leaves. Wade disappears and a crow remains.
Jared goes to his hidden drug lab, but someone (who look just like Jared) breaks in and knocks Jared out. When Jared wakes up, he finds that someone stole all of his drugs and supplies.
Jared tries to tell his oldest friend Crashpad (Nathan Alexis) about the strangeness of the robbery. At first, he thought Richie robbed him, but the robber didn’t look like Richie. Jared says he’s been seeing strange things lately. Crashpad is more interested in his video games. He’s thinking about buying a weapon that will make his account worth a lot of money and then selling it.
Jared goes home and hears his mom talking and laughing. He looks in on her and finds her alone. She says she knows Jared sees his dad and accuses him of giving Phil money. Jared denies it and reminds her that his friends are coming over. He tells her to act normal, but later that night, Maggie is in the kitchen drinking with Jared’s friends.
Earlier, Jared saw a girl, Sarah (Anna Lambe) with blue hair moving into a neighbor’s house. He sees her again, carrying a bloody carcass. This time she has lilac hair. She tells him that she is a foster child and expects to be leaving soon.
CRASH AND BURN
Jared goes home and finds his mom is missing. She shows up at the Tasty Bucket later that night. She asks for a cup of coffee and promises to sit in the corner and be quiet. Maggie sees Wade and loses it. She attacks him with a mop but when she looks again, it’s not Wade. Jared and his manager apologize to the man. When the man leaves, it is Wade. This isn’t the first time Maggie caused trouble at the restaurant, so the manager fires Jared.
Maggie apologizes by making Jared breakfast the next day. Jared is worried about their money issues and the fact that they have no food. Maggie says she will figure it out.
Jared and Crashpad go to a party at Jared’s friend Dylan’s (Griffin Powell-Arcand). Crashpad finds a group of gamers while Jared gets drunk on the couch. He sees himself sitting next to himself and goes to the bathroom to pull it together. When Jared emerges, his doppelganger is waiting for him, with a really creepy smile on his face. Jared runs outside and Dylan tries to calm him down. Crashpad comes outside and he’s a little freaked out. He just saw Jared in the kitchen.
The next day, Jared wakes up on Crashpad’s couch. He asks to borrow some money to help his mom, but Crashpad only has about $30. Jared takes it to the Bingo Hall and loses it all. Crashpad saves the day anyway. He sold his gaming account and gives Jared the $3000 he needs to help Maggie.
They walk to Richie’s place and find two things. The dead dog is still on the side of the road. And Richie’s trailer is burnt down. Jared runs home and finds the kitchen is a mess, like there was some kind of struggle. He sees Richie come out of the bedroom with a hammer in his hand. Maggie follows and laughs that Jared thought that Richie would kill her.
Richie reveals that Maggie came up with another way to pay off her debt to him. First by having sex with him, then the plan to burn down his trailer. They plan to collect the insurance money and split it. Until then, Richie is living with them.
Jared goes back to the highway and buries the dog. A crow shows up and starts talking to him. Jared is freaked out and tries to tell himself that the crow isn’t real. The crow mocks him and says time is almost up. Jared gets up and runs away.
Although this is a slow start, I’m so excited to see where this story goes. I’ve heard a lot about the series from our cousins up north. Tricksters can be different things in the many different Indigenous cultures around the world. The tricksters that I grew up hearing about were only out to be mischievous. Tricksters are defined as pranksters with vast knowledge that they use to amuse themselves. They play with humans and sometime end up helping them. Tricksters can be the hero, the villain, or both. Depends on what the prize is for them.
The biggest question about this series is, who is the trickster? Wade is the obvious choice, but Maggie’s power reveals that she and Jared could be the trickster as well. What is Maggie’s power? And does it have anything to do with the invisible people that she’s talking to? Maggie is having a hard time dealing with her power and that’s why she drinks and does drugs. So is Jared headed down that same path now that his power is manifesting? This is going to be so fun to watch and find out.
Trickster airs on Tuesdays on The CW.