Reservation Dogs (Season 3), Episode 7: “There’s this feeling, once you leave where you grew up, that you don’t totally belong there again,” says Paul Mescal’s character as a father in Aftersun. It explored the idea of the sense of belonging and affinity that is bound to be present in the places we inhabit. ‘Reservation Dogs’ explores the same eternal conflict in its seventh episode. It follows Rita who contemplates her future, and Okern – the place where she grew up, while simultaneously getting a visit from an old friend. Like the season’s previous episodes, it focuses on the dilemma between the old and the new and explores the unresolved conflicts in its older characters’ lives. 

*Spoilers ahead*

Reservation Dogs (Season 3), Episode 7 “Wahoo!” Recap:

The seventh episode follows Rita’s (Sarah Podemski) story during a day when she gets a surprise visit from her old friend. Before that, Clinton (Warren Queton) comes to her office to talk about something important. As many of us would panic, Rita does too. She immediately assumes that Clinton is going to fire her even though her work is more than satisfactory. Clinton gives her a pleasant surprise. She isn’t getting fired, but getting offers to work at two HIS facilities in Tonkawa City, with better pay. So, the ‘least favourite part’ of Clinton’s job was to let go of his star employee. 

Rita’s Dilemma

Once Clinton talks about the job offers, Rita’s worries about joblessness with no savings are put to rest. But then, there’s another dilemma. If she accepts the job, it will mean she needs to leave Okern – the town she grew up in. There is also her guilt as a mother regarding Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai). She wants to handle matters as sensitively as possible and not make him go through the shock of a sudden move. But then, what’s the solution? Should she keep hiding this from him? But what about this golden opportunity? Should she choose her career or her family? But should there be just one choice?

Bev (Jana Schmieding) thinks she should definitely take an opportunity to be anywhere but their town. But Rita does not make up her mind just then. She leaves home early to find Bear. His boss offered his team a day off because their work was over. Anyhow, he now prepares a recipe that he saw on TikTok. Rita gets impressed and lets him do his thing. Back in her room, she looks at the offer and tries to make up her mind. Within moments, she gets a surprise. Her childhood friend, Cookie (Janae Collins), appears next to her on the bed.

Cookie’s Surprise Visit

Cookie had died in the past. So, seeing her appear was definitely a surprise for Rita. She panics and goes to Bear’s room to ensure she is not alone. But the next morning, Cookie appears again with a bath towel wrapped around her body. Rita starts to panic again. So, Cookie explains that she is a spirit, who also tried to stop her from marrying Bear’s father. But what does Cookie want from her now? Why is she here this time? Cookie diverts Rita’s attention to speak about the Wahoo board on her wall. She asks Rita to play the game with her. Rita cannot control her annoyance and just leaves.

Rita drives to the medical clinic with her eyes covered under her glasses. She looks hungover. So, outside the medical clinic, Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) and Old Man Fixico (Richard Ray Whitman) call her to offer some medicine. Fixico lets Willie Jack do the job. In the medical clinic, Rita manages to convince Bev to squeeze some time in for her to speak with therapist Larry (Evan Adams). He recognises her imposter syndrome about her job offer, which she mentions she wasn’t working towards. Larry calls it her trauma response. She mentions that she has been seeing her dead friend. So, Larry shares a similar story of seeing a spirit. The conclusion is, ‘when you see the dead, it is you who needs something’. 

To figure out what she needs, Rita returns home to speak with Cookie. I know how strange it sounds – figure out what you need. Isn’t that obvious for everyone? Well, not for someone who had to put the needs of others before hers. Rita is a single mother, whose partner abandoned her at a young age. So, she became a little too protective of Bear. While speaking with Cookie’s spirit, Rita reveals that Bear also sees spirits. Cookie asks how her daughter Elora (Devery Jacobs) is. Rita cannot answer. She does not meet the kid that often. Cookie says she should, as her auntie. After a chat about Bev and Big’s intimacy, Rita decides to go out for a meal. 

Elora & Rita’s futures

A still from Reservation Dogs (Season 3) Episode 7.
A still from Reservation Dogs (Season 3) Episode 7.

At the diner, Rita orders two meals instead of one. The waiter assumes it is like her son, who orders the same way. While eating the catfish, Rita starts speaking as if someone’s on the other side. For her, Cookie is there. But for others, she does not seem to be doing well. So, Rob (Macon Blair) sits in the next seat worrying she is feeling alone since she is talking to herself. After the meal, Rita takes Cookie’s spirit to her mother’s place. Elora opens the door. Rita tries to make small talk with her. She talks about her new job opportunity and her worry about leaving Okern. 

Elora reveals that she is considering going to college. Rita makes her realise how proud Cookie would be of her for considering this option. Cookie makes her assure the kid that she will be there for help and support whenever needed. Back in their car, Cookie objects to why she has not done it often in the past. ‘You can talk to her any time,’ she makes Rita realise that. Meanwhile, Cookie relieves her own burden as a mother since Elora is doing well for herself. Then, she makes Rita realise that Bear is too old to fend for himself. Rita does not need to be worried as a mother and can live the life she wants to lead. Eventually, it leads back to her contemplating her regrets as a daughter.

Reservation Dogs (Season 3), Episode 7 “Wahoo!”  Ending Explained:

Does Rita accept her new job offer?

After spending a day with Cookie, Rita returns home. Bear was preparing the dish that he found on TikTok, even though it did not turn out well the first time. He was slowly moving into the adult world where you keep doing things, learning, and relearning. Rita asks him about his California trip and his meeting with Daniel. We do not hear what exactly they speak about. But the next thing we see is Rita showing up at Bev’s counter, asking her to join in doing something special for Cookie. They also get Natalie (Nathalie Standingcloud) to join them on a bridge. 

On one of the bars, we see ‘Cookie Waz Here’ written. They all share their feelings about Cookie and then drop the things as a way to send them to her. Once Rita relieves her stress, Bev asks for her phone, to create a Tinder profile. So, it shows her willingness to finally move on and live life for herself. Rita decides to accept her new job offer and Bear will mostly stay back in Okern. Natalie and Bev assure her that they will care for Rita’s son. Rita believes Bear is not snagging, but Elora should have some love, care & attention from them. So, she finally decides to leave while making sure the kids are well looked after. 

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Reservation Dogs (Season 3) Episode 7 Links: IMDbRotten TomatoesWikipedia
Reservation Dogs (Season 3) Episode 7 Cast: Devery Jacobs, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Lane Factor, Paulina Alexis
Reservation Dogs (Season 3) Genre: Comedy
Where to watch Reservation Dogs

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