In my first review of RESERVATION DOGS in 2021, I wrote, “creator Sterlin Harjo captures the pointless, aimless drifting of life to perfection.” After twenty-eight episodes, I would’ve never guessed that Bear, Willie Jack, Cheese, and Elora would provide an emotional character study that’s less about drifting and more about belonging to a community.
Each of the four leads had their stories mostly completed. Heck, even the elder’s story arcs have gotten them to a comfortable “coffee-sipping” place. And that’s why even though I’m saddened that DOGS is ending, I’m happy it didn’t overstay its welcome.
The most striking moment within several in DIG happens when an elder states, “It’s great watching these young ones. They carry it on.” Only to have it cut to a younger character stating, “I can’t wait to be an elder,” is spot on what life feels like. We envy the age of the people we are not, and even with the deep-rooted community bonds, so do all the RESERVATION DOGS.
Some quotes that stood out in the final episode:
“Like he left before I got to learn anything from him.” – Willie Jack
You deserve to be loved, and you deserve the love.” – Willliam Knifeman
“What have you learned? I learned that I don’t always have to be the only leader. I’m from an amazing community, and I’m proud to be a part of it.” – Bear
The RESERVATION DOGS stories might be complete, but I know that Sterlin Harjo is a creator worth watching. “To the next one,” whatever that might be.
The entire series is available on Hulu FX.