The second episode of Taika Waititi’s (What We Do In the Shadows) and Sterlin Harjo’s (Mekko) ‘Reservation Dogs’ is out. The episode, titled “NDN Clinic”, might not propel the story too much– but it gives us another great and delightful glimpse into the show’s universe.
The episode begins with Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Tribal) being beaten up by the now-official-enemy gang, the NDN Mafia. After the surprise attack, Bear lies on the floor where his spirit drifts to meet ex-warrior William Knife-Man (Dallas Goldtooth, Drunk History) yet again. Bear keeps defending his decision to fight, saying how he will not run away. After all, he’s not gonna be here forever. Here as in here in Oklahoma, not in an “alive” sort of way. Following a somewhat philosophical conversation, the Rez Dogs’ leader decides to go to the clinic to get his nose checked out. Here is where the rest of the episode will take place.
While Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis, Beans) and Elora Danan (Devery Jacobs, American Gods) try to make some lawful money for their trip, Bear tries to deal with a rather unpleasant secretary and check into the clinic. Meanwhile, Cheese gets reeled into an eye doctor’s appointment. Apparently, no one in the entire reservation likes the clinic– including the deal-with-it-all Doctor Kang (Bobby Lee, Pineapple Express). He goes on to complain to Elora how he hates working at the clinic even if he likes the very sweet and majestic Native Americans. He would like to go back to where he’s from (“China?” “San Diego”).
All jokes aside– and there are many many jokes indeed– the episode excellently portrays the prejudices that every ethnic group has. From the nobility of the Native Americans to the intellectuality of the Asians, the show decides to make fun of all of those pre-conceptions that plagues every member of society. What’s more, it decides to display how no one really likes going to the doctor.
The episode wraps up when a fight is about to erupt. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Bear’s Mom (Sarah Podemski, Tin Star) breaks it up before any real damage is done. Story-wise, the audience has learned that Elora eats ten bags of chips a day and that Cheese (Lane Factor) has no parents nor grandparents. While the reason is not revealed, it might go on to explain why he pursues an escape to California and why he’s so nice to a blind older lady that confuses him for his grandson. His wholesome nature is revealed to the viewer especially when he sneaks the “Auntie” out for a walk outside the grey walls of the hospital. We also learn that Bear has truly embraced his role as a leader, claiming that it’s hard because people lie on you and shit. Perhaps in the next episodes, we will see the war of the gangs play out, or find out what happened to Michael. Or perhaps we’ll see the inside of the DMV. All things considered, Waititi’s and Harjo’s world is one we can’t get enough of.