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Reservation Dogs Season 2 Review: FX Show Returns on Hulu

Reservation Dogs Season 2 Review: FX Show Returns on Hulu

There’s a desperate restlessness at the heart of the fantastic first season of “Reservation Dogs.” Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi’s FX series, which premiered last August, kept a watchful eye on the strange, and strangely beautiful, moments woven into each hazy day of four best friends unraveling after the sudden death of their fifth . It took no time at all to understand Bear (D’Pharoah Woon-A-Tai), Elora (Devery Jacobs), Cheese (Lane Factor) and Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), nor to slip into the world of the show where the banal could meet the surreal at any time.

The same is true in Season 2, which opens just hours after the Eloras have not only skipped town with laconic bully Jackie (Elva Guerra) and all their money, but also left behind an enraged, confused bear. The implosion of the group’s California dream, seemingly the only thing keeping them going after such an inexplicable tragedy, introduces a new kind of movement to the show that keeps it from becoming too much of a season 1 retread. Now that the fantasy of leaving the Oklahoman- their preserve has been left in the dust—or, for Elora as she doggedly chases it, looks nothing like the image she had in her mind for so long—the Res Dogs must figure out what the rest of their lives might look like in reality.

The first two episodes of the season, premiering together August 3rd on Hulu, have a fair amount of legwork to do to unpack all the implications of Elora’s decision. Bear, broke and at a loss, tries to fill his days with something to satisfy himself, his mother (Sara Podemski), and the spirit of a limp warrior who still follows him around (writer Dallas Goldtooth, whose outstanding comic performance continues to hold some of the show’s best and funniest scenes flow, especially as he gets more chances to act opposite Gary Farmer’s Uncle Brownie). Although the first four episodes only take place over the course of a few days, Woon-A-Tai takes on the challenge of embodying Bear’s transition from aspiring tough guy to more serious teenage boy trying to do well. Meanwhile, Willie Jack, who committed to staying with his family by the end of the first season, doubles down on that choice in the second, while Cheese…well, Cheese is basically good and unusually wise, as always.

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As for Elora, it doesn’t take long for her to realize how unprepared she actually was to leave her hometown and its comforts in the society she took for granted—not that either she or Jackie, portrayed as an ever-tightening spiral of tension by Guerra, ever would admit it. it. Jacobs – one of the show’s strongest actors and now also one of its writers – has such a solid grip on her character that watching Elora crumble where she was sure she would soar becomes as painful as she seems to feel it herself . The fourth episode, which Jacobs co-wrote with Harjo as Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, gives her a showcase (and Elora ending) like never before.

For all the show’s strengths, but perhaps the most compelling argument in its favor is that for the hundreds of shows that premiere each year, there’s still simply nothing else on TV quite like “Reservation Dogs.” Yes, it gives voice, time and lackluster dirtbag humanity to Native Americans, who have long been little more onscreen than one-note punchlines. But it also does so with an approach that could only have come from these writers, actors, directors and production team. This is a show so confident in its own voice and perspective that it’s not only a joy to watch, but a welcome relief.

“Reservation Dogs” Season 2 premieres Wednesday, Aug. 3 on Hulu.

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