It is another day in Taika Waititi’s (What We Do in The Shadows) and Sterlin Harjo (Mekko)’s Reservation world. While last week’s episode advanced the story forward and introduced new complications that the crew is facing, this week episode continues with the world-building. While always refreshing and clever, “Come and Get Your Love” is not exactly a story-propeller.
The episode centres in an unlikely duo: Cheese (Lane Factor) and Big (Zahn McClarnon, Doctor Sleep). Big participates in a ride-along program with a detective. The detective wasn’t available so I just guess Big will have to do. As he refuses to ride in the back because he’s not a criminal, the day-long adventure begins. The first moment between these two is marked by uncomfortable silence and Cheese saying whatever thought comes to his mind. Not to mention the critics towards “Redbone” the car. Named after the all-Indian band, a reference that is clearly lost on the young adolescent.
The first stop of the Redbone is right in Downtown, where Big picks his old friend Bucky (Wes Studi, The Last of the Mohicans) from a bench outside the cinema. Apparently, he was reading there after a fight with his wife. Why did she get mad? Well, she is white. And where is the book? Nowhere to be found, so if anyone sees a book on string theory please let Bucky know. Onwards and upwards.
The second stop is a landfill that was once filled with catfish heads. All around the area and only a bit later they were gone. And even later they were there again. According to the Lighthorseman, there is some kind of Big Foot situation going on. Cheese doesn’t even laugh it off, but just says how there is no scientific evidence to back up that belief. “It’s merely folklore” says the youngster. That word alone makes him sound like a white person, answers Big. But just because you can’t see something it doesn’t mean it’s not there. He’s a spirit just like that. One of Big’s significant lessons is not to abandon your identity. Be true to yourself, despite of all the outside pressure that there could be. His other significant lesson is: Be good. And fight evil. The heart and soul of this episode reside in this message.
Actually, the episode begins in Okern Oklahoma in 1984. A douche-bag sort of guy, aptly named Bunnie Tiger, drives a nice sports car while wearing a cowboy hat and smoking marihuana. He sings loudly until the moment he spots a very attractive woman hitchhiking ( Kaniehtiio Horn, Journey to the Center of the Earth). Rather aggressively and one hundred per cent exaggeratedly, he stops the car and goes back to where she is. After checking her up and down, he asks where she’s going. Carneghie Oklahoma. Somewhat far, but he’ll take her there. Wow, maybe there are nice people in the world. As she gets into the car, the audience notices that she has hooves instead of feet. A young Big does too.
Some time later, yet still early in his life, Big’s grandma sends him to the store. She is in need of cigarettes and if he’s a good boy he can keep the change. As he enters the store, and inadvertently passes a missing person poster with the name Bunnie Tiger on it. He buys the cigarette and is ready to buy his much deserved candy, when his stomach betrays him and is forced to use the bathroom. In that precise moment, two men with the confederate flag on their car, rob the store of the man with the confederate flag (where’s the brotherhood am I right?). They wear Hawaiian shirts and Mountain masks. The beast woman from the beginning looks at them when, in a moment of tension, young Big screams for toilet paper. She faces the burglars, but before the audience can see anything, we see her feet and hand extending a roll of toilet paper underneath the door. The two burglars lay now in a pool of their own blood.
The third stop that the unlikely duo make is at Ray Ray’s (Migizi Pensoneau, Two Sentences Horror Stories). In a hazy manner, because he comes out of his house smoking weed as he talks to Big, explains how there are copper miniature men all around the village. As they collect several of them, it is reported that a baby blue pickup has been stolen. Whats more, in a moment of calmness between Cheese and Big, a car with a broken taillight passes. With the siren on, the duo proceed to stop it, only to realise that the NDN Mafia was driving. While Big checks out the trunk, because it was reported that a black car had been messing around stop signs, he asks to his new-partner to keep an eye on them. “Gladly” says Cheese as he slides on gloves on his hands. He looks at Jackie (Elva Guerra, Rutherford Falls) and asks what they have been up to. Rather without much interest, she answers if he’s surprise their car is running. Why would he be? He asks as the camera cuts to the crew, wearing bandanas obviously, putting dirt or sand or something…in the wrong car. Damn, even the funnel says Cheese. Why would they have two identical cars parked next to each other? At this moment, Big takes a seizable gun out of the trunk. It’s actually a paintball gun. Wait! That’s the murder weapon, the one that hurt so badly, metaphorically speaking. This is the moment, Cheese faces the gang. He starts going on his friend was hurt badly (because he’s a little bitch poetically answers one). Such a disrespectful answer will not be tolerated by Cheese, who plays rough with the tough guy and gets played back. He assumes this isn’t over. And, like they say in Germany, au revoir. The NDN Mafia remains puzzled, because that is obviously not correct at all.
Now, the moment that we’ve been all waiting for. Kenny Boy (Kirk Fox, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) explains in vivid detail string theory and the complications and questions that it brings to the people’s minds. Cheese has brought Big to the place, which Kenny Boy isn’t particularly excited about seeing how he’s a dealer and a thief. But Cheese goes through his somewhat innocent logic and explains how it’s a scrapyard. Perhaps he knows something about stolen copper. After a lecture how scrapyard is rather a derivative term and it should be called a salvage yard, he has no idea. Ansel (Matty Cardapole, Stranger Things) luckly explains how a bunch of copper was stolen by the cockfighting ring. Exciting for a policeman to hear this. Walk in beauty my friend, says Kenny Boy as the people leave his place. Maybe he’s saying what he thinks the Native people would like to hear.
Moments later, the mystery of the copper men is explains. Bucky drives through the town with the stolen car. At the beginning he pretends that it wasn’t him driving, but soon enough he caves and admits his plan. He has indeed been putting the little out there, but only for the protection of the people. Well, sort of. The men protect the people because copper has antimicrobial properties, such as guarding people from cholera. Back in the day, Indians used to wear it. Nowadays Bucky shared them across town for marketing purposes and once that people are into it, he will introduce them to copper bracelets. A business based on tradition. Where does that copper come from? The meth-heads that had already ruin the town. A word of advice to Cheese: stay in the streets and fight bad guys. Like Big does. He’s one of the good ones because he was raised right too. Bucky goes off with a small warning and Cheese with a life advice, yet he grows curious. Why didn’t he arrest Bucky? Because he catches bad guys. And Bucky just isn’t one of them. It all comes back to: be good. Fight evil. This forces us to put an end to the animal-lady story. And it provides an answer on why did Big become a Lighthorseman.
Time after the supermarket accident, a young Big sits sadly and calmly in a funeral. It’s his grandmother’s. Behind him sits the Deer Lady, who was a friend of his grandmother’s. What does she do? She kills boys, answers Big. But that’s not right. She only kills bad men, so Big has nothing to worrry about. He just has to stay his nice good way. Even if there are moments when he wants to give it all up, like start drinking of having kids all over the place, he shouldn’t. He should just think of his grandmother and picture her right by his side, every step of the way. What she’s saying is: be good. Fight evil.
Kind of a batman story, minus the money, dead-parents and butler. And brains. Cheese is touched by this story, or perhaps by the new-found image of Big. Whatever it might be, perhaps being a Lighthorseman isn’t too bad. The money is bad, but the people are good. And with the touch of his hand, Cheese fixes the broken radio of the Redbone. “Come and Get Your Love” plays as the unlikely duo atempt to sing along.
While the episode hasn’t answered questions that the audience might have about the gang or even the rival gang, one thing is for sure. The lesson is to never give up on good and always stand up to the bad.