For most of its first season (a good one), “Reservation Dogs” (shown here) was an us-vs.-the-world tale.
Then the “us” imploded. That sets up the two intriguing episodes that arrive Wednesday (Aug. 3) on Hulu, to open the second season.
This is a modest show that has drawn a surge of praise. It already has Peabody and American Film Institute awards; in the upcoming Television Critics Association awards, it’s nominated for best comedy and best new show.
“Dogs” gives us four American Indian teens, bonding together in an Oklahoma town that offers few other options. One, Bear (right), considered himself the leader … a belief supported only by the fact that he’s taller than the others. His friend Elora (left) was more diligent; Willie Jack (center) and Cheese were in support.
They schemed to get money and make their great escape to California. They dodged a rival gang – including Jackie, with dyed-blonde hair and a sullen glare – and confronted local characters.
All of this seemed headed in familiar directions … until it wasn’t. Willie Jack, devastated by Daniel’s suicide, decided she wasn’t leaving; Cheese said he wasn’t leaving either. Elora argued with Bear … and left for California with their enemy, Jackie.
That’s where the new season starts: Two opposite women – one seemingly amoral, the other not – driving an iffy car west … a forlorn Bear, possibly open to the suggestion that he get a job … Willie Jack talking to Daniel’s image, Uncle Brownie talking to the image of a long-ago warrior.
There’s a lot going on here, some of it funny and more of it a neatly nuanced drama. The best scenes involve the mismatched Elora and Jackie … and a stranger (well-played by Megan Mullally) who tries to help. It’s a good start to a promising season.