Recap and review of Reservation Dogs season 3, episode 9: “Elora’s Dad”

RESERVATION DOGS -- “BUSSIN” -- Season 3, Episode 1 (Airs Wednesday, August 2nd) — Pictured: (l-r) Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan, Tamara Podemski as Teenie. CR: Shane Brown/FX.
RESERVATION DOGS -- “BUSSIN” -- Season 3, Episode 1 (Airs Wednesday, August 2nd) — Pictured: (l-r) Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan, Tamara Podemski as Teenie. CR: Shane Brown/FX. /

In season 3 episode 9 of the FX original series Reservation Dogs, Elora Danan Postoak finally meets her white father for the very first time. Elora is applying to a college and the rest of the gang, including Cheese, Willie Jack, Bear, and Jackie have come to visit her.

Talking to her placement agent at the College of the Muscogee, he suggests she take the best classes so she can get her grades up. The problem is, there are no more scholarships available.

Since her mother has passed, she’ll need information from her dad if she wants to get any kind of financial assistance from the state.

RESERVATION DOGS — “BUSSIN” — Season 3, Episode 1 (Airs Wednesday, August 2nd) — Pictured: (l-r) Devery Jacobs as Elora Danan, Tamara Podemski as Teenie. CR: Shane Brown/FX. /

Reservation Dogs season 3, episode 9 recap: Who’s the white father?

Let’s get one thing clear now. This is the episode where Ethan Hawke appears.

And, of course, he’s Elora’s long lost white father. He also, no surprise, brings an understated gravitas to what might be just another comedic playoff for the kids.

His addition to casting turns the running time into many dimensions of bitter and tender. Other stars that have graced the series so far include Megan Mullally, Evan Adams, Graham Greene, and of course Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd—who played homeless Jesus.

Hawke’s been vocal about his interest in native stories, even penning the graphic novel Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars. This episode ties in with the previous revelation from her Aunt Teenie, that indeed Elora’s dad wasn’t dead.

Oh, and he was white. Plus, he and Teenie are FB friends.

These revelations shook Elora when they were dropped and, in this episode, we see how well that plant pays off in both catharsis and denouement.

Reservation Dogs season 3, episode 9 recap: Scouting the man

Armed with his identity and location, Elora doesn’t just go up to him at an opportune time and identifies herself. Nope.

I feel like she does what most teen kids raised on non-analog affairs would do these days, she follows him around and well, basically stalks him. Using Willie Jack’s mom’s car, she follows him from a paint store to a marijuana dispensary.

Looks like Rick, that’s white dad’s name, isn’t that big of a stoner though (or maybe he gets easily paranoid on weed) and he quickly picks up that Elora’s car has been tailing him. What the hell?

He decides to pull his truck over (with an RM Paint and Repair on the side) and confront whoever it is. Then when he realizes who she is, he’s shocked and it’s likely one of the most touching meet-cutes of estranged father and daughter on streaming TV.

I mean, people have always been telling Elora she’s basically the spitting image of her mom.

Reservation Dogs season 3, episode 9 recap: Father and daughter

The rest of their interaction, pursuant to Rick wanting to know more about his daughter and said daughter wanting to connect under guise of needing info for her financial aid application, is as awkward, uncomfortable, sweet, and adorable as these kinds of meetings can be. Rick takes them to sit down at a nearby diner where he’s a regular and they just simply…talk.

In fact, their conversation in the diner would be just an amazing piece of theater if this series were ever to be turned into a play. Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs holds her own, acting against someone such as an Academy Award-nominated Hawke.

I went through the initial cringe, fear, melancholy, and then joy of rooting for this estrangement to end in the best possible way. Elora is hesitant and she tries to find every excuse to walk away after Rick fills out the form she needs.

Understandably, she’s cautious about this stranger, this white stranger who may just be like every abusive and deadbeat male figure in her gang’s orbit. “I’m not looking for a dad,” she says all tough-like.

Reservation Dogs
Reservation Dogs — “NDN Clinic” – Episode 102 — A new crew threatens the Reservation Dogs while they try and make some money selling meat pies outside the local IHS Clinic. Written by Sterlin Harjo; Directed by Sydney Freeland. Elora (Devery Jacobs), shown. (Photo Courtesy of FX on Hulu) /

Reservation Dogs season 3, episode 9 recap: Hompvks ce!

Yet Rick is charming enough and authentic enough in his language to disarm the teenager. Eventually she succumbs to his proposition to head for his house.

Once there, after some searching, he hands her an old photo of her mother. Also, that it was his idea to name her after the princess in Willow.

Somehow he also convinces her to go fetch his kids—he has two daughters and a son. While they’re waiting, he shares a toke with her and I may have seen too many stoner movies in my day but that truly seals a new bond, especially between parent and child.

When it’s revealed that she’s their half-sister, the kids are eager to know more. She concedes to hang out and bonds with them over pizza at another diner.

Once pizza is served, she teaches her half-siblings the Creek expression for “Let’s eat!” Just like that, Elora has discovered new family, over ganja, a college application, and American cuisine.

As they say their goodbyes, Elora assures her half-sibs that she will come visit. She even relents to a hug with Rick.

That Creek term? It’s Hompvks ce (hum pooks jay).

Please hand me that tissue, sir. There’s just something in my eye.

dark. Next. My Adventures with Superman season 1, episode 10 recap: “Hearts of the Fathers”

You can watch season one to three of Reservation Dogs on HULU.