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The Biggest Unanswered Questions In Reservation Dogs Season 2

"Reservation Dogs" Season 2 has come to a close, putting a cap on another installment in the universally acclaimed comedy-drama hybrid. As in Season 1, Sterlin Harjo and his team spin a hilarious, powerful, and deeply heartfelt story about the community of a Native American reservation in Oklahoma, focusing on the young friends Elora (Devery Jacobs), Bear (D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), and Cheese (Lane Factor).

Season 2 picks up right where Season 1 leaves off, with Elora and her new friend Jackie (Elva Guerra) heading out for California and the rest of the reservation continuing to deal with the death of Daniel (Dalton Cramer). Things don't go quite as Elora and Jackie plan, however, and the group ends up back together under less than harmonious circumstances. The rest of the season uses the now-established "Reservation Dogs" approach to episodic storytelling, with each chapter following a different character or group of characters through both ordinary and supernatural circumstances.

Cheese goes to jail. Local officer Big (Zahn McClarnon) busts a cult while tripping on psychedelics. Aunties party, lost family members are mourned, and wounds are slowly healed between old friends. In the end, the Rez Dogs finally make it to the Pacific Ocean — though not exactly the way they planned. A lot happens in Season 2's 10 episodes, and some big threads are left hanging. Here are the biggest unanswered questions from "Reservation Dogs" Season 2.

Will Bear stay in California?

The closing moments of "Reservation Dogs" Season 2 are some of its most powerful. After driving from Oklahoma to Los Angeles, getting their car stolen, losing all their money, and getting run out of a tent city for the unhoused by the LAPD, the core four finally make it to the beach. It's the thing that their late friend always wanted — to see the Pacific Ocean for himself and dip his toes in it. Together, they release the pain that's been hanging over them since Daniel's death, and for a moment he even seems to appear beside them, laughing in the water.

As Elora and Willie Jack start to make plans to find the missing car, Bear seems distant. "I'm not going back," he says, to no one in particular, before moving up the shore. His friends follow, and he makes no moves to separate from them, but it's clear that something has changed inside him. The episode and the season end on these uncertain notes that are equal parts celebration and melancholy, leaving Bear's future unclear. 

Does he mean that he intends to stay in California? His father is theoretically still out there, and while Bear isn't able to reach him by phone, he might be able to find a way. Or does he simply mean that he's not going back to the way he was before? All that's clear is that he seems freer than he's been in a long time.

Will Elora get her car back?

While Bear's plans for the future are somewhat unclear at the ending of "Reservation Dogs" Season 2, Elora seems intent on returning home. She has her Grandma's old house in her name now and a job that, while sometimes unpleasant, is putting money in her pocket. In a reversal from her state at the beginning of the season, Elora seems genuinely interested in staying on the reservation and taking her time to figure out what she wants to do with her life. Of course, to get back, she'll need to find her car.

At the very end of the season finale, Elora says that her next goal is to get her car back. Willie Jack chimes in, mentioning that she has an uncle on a nearby reservation who might be able to help. Even still, getting the car back will surely be a tall task. Los Angeles is a big place and an old ride like Elora's might not stay in one piece for long. Hopefully, though, she'll be able to recover it and bring it back to Oklahoma safe and sound.

What's the deal with the Deer Lady?

One of the most intriguing characters in "Reservation Dogs" is the Deer Lady — who is, as Tulsa World explains, a mythical figure in indigenous folklore who first appears in the Season 1 episode "Come and Get Your Love." In that episode, it's revealed that Big had a run-in with the Deer Lady as a young boy, which was fundamental in shaping both his interest in the supernatural and his strong sense of right and wrong.

In Season 2's "This is Where the Plot Thickens," Big and Kenny Boy (Kirk Fox) stumble upon a grotesque initiation ritual for a white supremacist cult and get tied up after trying to arrest the members. Fortunately, they get help from the Deer Lady herself, who takes care of the cult's security and frees them from their restraints. It turns out Kenny Boy has a similar relationship with the Deer Lady as Big does, proving that she's completely real and that she's pretty active in the local community.

Of course, the mere presence of the Deer Lady begs a lot of questions. How old is she? How does she get around? Is she one of many, or is she the sole member of her kind? And how does she choose which people to reveal herself to? Like the Bigfoot that passes behind Big at the end of the episode, these things may never be explained, but that only makes the Deer Lady more compelling.

Will anything come of Big's cult bust?

Thanks to the Deer Lady's intervention, Big and Kenny Boy arrest all the racist cultists who are fornicating with decapitated fish in the woods. If that last sentence seems strange, it's because it is. Yet very little is made of the whole affair afterward — even though the governor is the one leading the ceremony.

You'd think that the mass arrest of public figures for such a headline-worthy crime would make Big a national name, but he seems to get no real recognition for his accomplishment. Given his exhaustion at the end of the episode, this may be by choice. He likes being a small-town cop and helping out the members of his community, but that doesn't mean that he necessarily strives for fame. Alternatively, the lack of public commentary on the cult incident may be meant as a sardonic send-up of just how difficult it can be to prosecute white supremacists in America, a reality that is explained in detail by The Marshall Project.

"Reservation Dogs" is a show that frequently deals with some pretty dark subject matter, but it also usually gives its characters happy(ish) endings to balance things out. With that in mind, let's choose to believe that the cultists arrested by Big will face real consequences. Since the show dabbles in the absurd, we may never see the incident mentioned again — or maybe Big's big bust will come back in an even bigger way in the already announced "Reservation Dogs" Season 3 (via Deadline).

What will Elora do with the house?

After the passing of her grandmother in "Mabel," Elora is put in a new and strange situation. She's the woman of the house — a role that's shown to be pretty lonely at different points in the season, but one which presents her with some unique opportunities. Her aunt Teenie (Tamara Podemski) brings this up to her directly, saying that she could sell the house and go to college with the money if she wanted or that she could stay and fix it up.

In "Stay Gold Cheesy Boy," Elora is shown repainting one of the rooms in the house after having a mildly unsettling experience at night. That's not a confirmation that she's made a decision one way or the other, but it at least proves a level of investment in the home that she seemed to have given up on at the start of the season. At the end of the finale, she talks about wanting to return home, so her journey there certainly isn't over.

Elora's story takes center stage for much of "Reservation Dogs" Season 2, and it's always a highlight when it does. Wherever she goes in the future, and whatever she decides to make of the house, it should be satisfying to watch.

Will Bear reunite with his dad in Los Angeles?

A lot of Bear's arc in "Reservation Dogs" Season 1 revolves around his relationship with his absent father (Sten Joddi). The episode "What About Your Dad" shows just how much Bear wants to have a relationship with his father and how much he's looked up to him throughout his life. Sadly, it also shows how disconnected from him his father has been for his whole life.

By Season 2, Bear seems to have let go of any need for his father's validation. However, that doesn't mean that the two couldn't still reunite at some point down the line. Bear is finally in California now, and though the journey was rough, it seems that he might want to stay. If he does, there's a good chance he'll run into his dad, either intentionally or by accident. Given how much he's grown up in the time since they last spoke, it would be particularly satisfying to see them get to hash things out in person.

Where's the rest of Cheese's family?

Despite being the most mild-mannered "Reservation Dogs" character, Cheese remains an enigma throughout Season 2. We get lots of material connected to his relationship with Daniel and why he goes through life with such a soft and compassionate touch, but there are still some big unanswered questions about his past and family.

While the show gradually shows the personal lives of Bear, Willie Jack, and Elora, most of Cheese's stories involve more in-the-moment things. He lives with his "cousin uncle" Charley (Nathan Apodaca) until his arrest in "Stay Gold Cheesy Boy," later moving in with his "grandmother" Irene (Casey Camp-Horinek), even though she isn't his family by blood. So what happened to Cheese's parents? Does he have more family out in the world somewhere? These questions aren't answered or even really addressed in "Reservation Dogs." The whole community acts as a family to Cheese, but it would still be interesting to learn a little bit more about his background.

He's the one who is asked to pray in heavy moments, and he has a knack for connecting with people well beyond his age. Still, how did he fall in with the rest of the Rez Dogs crew? We know that he idolized Daniel, but that doesn't explain how he became a part of the group, as he is the only one notably younger than the rest. Hopefully, we get to learn more about Cheese in Season 3.

Why is Daniel's mom in prison?

In the penultimate episode of "Reservation Dogs" Season 2, Willie Jack visits her aunt Hokti, Daniel's mother, in prison. It's the character's first appearance on the show and the reason for her incarceration isn't directly mentioned. We know from previous episodes like "Roofing" that Daniel's death took a massive toll on both of his parents and that they both have lots of regrets about how they handled both the lead-up and aftermath of the tragedy. However, the details of how Hokti wound up behind bars are left a mystery.

Clearly, she's a good person, but she also seems to think she deserves punishment. Through her conversation with Willie Jack — and her interaction with ancestral spirit Gram (Tafv Sampson) — she seems to find a bit of healing. At the very least, she reconnects with her identity as a medicine woman, leading Willie Jack to some powerful emotional catharsis. Hokti is a stellar addition to the cast of "Reservation Dogs," and it would be great to see more of her in Season 3 and beyond. Maybe, assuming she returns, we'll finally get some more explanation as to what happened to her.

What's next for Jackie?

After being an antagonist for most of Season 1, Jackie has a pretty substantial arc in "Reservation Dogs" Season 2. During her attempted trip to California with Elora, she maintains much of the same hardened persona seen prior. However, after the two return to the reservation, Jackie undergoes something of a metamorphosis.

She comes to help out when Elora's grandmother is dying in "Mabel." She bonds with Bear during the youth summit at the IHS in "Decolonativization." She even makes peace with Willie Jack by telling her that Cheese is being arrested. By the time the Rez Dogs set out for Los Angeles again at the end of Season 2, Jackie seems to be accepted by all of them. Even more significantly, she appears to genuinely enjoy their friendship. Elora makes sure she knows that they'll see each other again soon, and at long last the feud between the Rez Dogs and the NDN Mafia seems to be put to rest.

So what's next for Jackie? Does she still want to leave the reservation to pursue her dreams in the city, or will she decide to remain with her aunt Bev (Jana Schmieding) for a while longer? Despite softening up a bit, Jackie still has trouble talking about her feelings. It should be rewarding to see how she continues to develop and grow in Season 3.

Where did Bear's spirit guide go?

On their way to California in the "Reservation Dogs" Season 2 finale, the crew stops at a local gas station to load up on snacks and supplies. It's the same gas station with the fortune-telling machine that bears William Knifeman's (Dallas Goldtooth) voice and likeness — the spirit who's guided Bear throughout the show. However, Knifeman doesn't make a proper appearance in the season finale, leaving Bear to figure things out and fend for himself.

This isn't necessarily abnormal. The visitations of Bear's spirit guide tend to be pretty random. Still, given that he's generally shown up in emotionally important moments, it's at the very least interesting that he doesn't show up. Perhaps this is a sign that Bear has learned all he can from the spirit — that he's really growing up and learning the important lessons being imparted to him. Or maybe this is just another instance of Knifeman being as bafflingly unprofessional as he is occasionally wise. 

Either way, it should be entertaining to see where the spirit turns up next. As "Reservation Dogs" continues to build out its supernatural components with characters like Gram and Willie Jack's aunt, there should be even more interesting scenarios for Knifeman to share his bathroom-humor-laden advice.

Will Elora's aunt stick around?

One addition to the "Reservation Dogs" cast in Season 2 is Elora's aunt Teenie, who left the reservation after her sister Cookie (Janae Collins) — Elora's mother — died. Teenie returns when she hears that Mabel is dying, and she quickly reacclimates to the community she left behind. While most are glad to see her back, though, some — including Elora herself — hold some resentment for her disappearance.

In "Wide Net," Rita (Sarah Podemski) calls Teenie out for running out on her responsibilities when she was young. All the other aunties deal with the endlessly stressful elements of adult life, Rita says, but Teenie doesn't have the same chains holding her down. Of course, Teenie's life isn't exactly as glamorous as Rita suggests. "I'd kill to have kids and work at IHS," Teenie confesses later in the episode. Does that mean that she might return to the reservation for good?

With Elora still living in Mabel's house, Teenie would have a place to stay, but she isn't seen in the last few episodes of Season 2. She brings a unique dynamic to both the adult characters and the kids on the reservation, so bringing her back in a bigger way for Season 3 would definitely have a lot of potential. Surely she has things to get back to in her regular life, but it sounds like she might be able to give at least some of those up. Only time will tell.

What's next for Willie Jack after graduation?

In many ways, Willie Jack is the heart of "Reservation Dogs" Season 2. While Bear grapples with becoming an adult, Elora deals with her grandma's death, and Cheese gets into misadventures, she's the one who simply sits with the emotional weight of her community being slowly torn apart. In Episode 9, "Offerings," Willie Jack decides to do something about it and goes to visit her aunt Hokti in prison — a medicine woman who's willfully ignored her spiritual side for a long time.

The meeting between Willie Jack and Hokti is particularly powerful and it takes up most of the episode. Hokti helps her niece connect to the spirits of her ancestors and reminds her that she comes from "generations of medicine people." When Willie Jack tries to replicate the experience with her friends later, she's unsuccessful, but it seems unlikely that she'll give up so quickly. Like her friends, Willie Jack grows in both subtle and significant ways throughout the season, and she seems to come to a greater understanding of both her own being and her role in her community.

As graduation looms on the horizon for Willie Jack, Elora, and Bear, the future looks full of possibilities. Willie Jack has arguably the most stable family life out of all of her friends, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't still have big dreams. In "Reservation Dogs" Season 3, maybe we'll get to see more of where she's really headed.