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Although his directorial pursuits on all three seasons of Reservation Dogs have seen director Blackhorse Lowe working alongside the entire main cast, there are two members that he’s had the honor of molding more than the others. Since Season 1, the filmmaker has been specifically focused on telling the stories of Lane Factor and Zahn McClarnon’s Cheese and Big, respectively. From his second time in the director’s seat during the Season 1 episode “Come and Get Your Love,” Lowe has been building on the duo’s relationship with a culmination resulting in tears during the latest episode, “Frankfurter Sandwich.” In an interview with Collider’s Chase Hutchinson, Lowe shared his love for both actors and the time he was able to spend with them.
“It was a beautiful experience,” Lowe recalls of his time with McClarnon and Factor. Reminiscing on that Season 1 episode that first saw Cheese and Big team up Lowe adds, “I started in Season 1 with the original story, the backstory of Deer Lady (Kaniehtiio Horn) with Zahn [McClarnon], when they’re taking the turnaround in Season 1 and then go on to Season 2, where you continue to explore [Cheese] and Big, and then going into Season 3 with this. So, it feels very natural because I’ve been working with Lane very closely… I’ve really built up a friendship and a very good working relationship with Lane and Zahn.”
Prior to filming, the director reveals that the trio “would do rehearsals before things,” giving them the chance to “figure out who the character was.” Over three seasons of working together, Lowe says the group was “taking all the best of [what] we have and just really delivering on it.”
An Underlying Connection in ‘Reservation Dogs’ Season 3
Outside of Cheese’s bond with Big, which grows tenfold in the third season’s sixth episode, there was another connection that Lowe didn’t even make until the editing process had begun. The season’s fifth episode, titled “House Made of Bongs” hit the rewind button with audiences traveling back to the ‘70s to see the elders in their youthful days. One of those teen characters, Maximus (Isaac Arellanes), was going through an isolating time in his life, something that’s again brought up during the campground chat n’ cry. Seeing a bit of Cheese in Maximus’s story, Lowe said, “I wasn’t really conscious of [Episodes] 5 and 6 being combined thematically in terms of Young Maximus and Lane kind of going through these similar things and dealing with guilt and all these other emotions. So, not until the end when I was actually able to objectively look at it, was I like, ‘Oh, they’re actually one storyline to a certain degree.’”
You can catch the parallels between Cheese and Young Maximus as well as the continuation of Cheese and Big’s story in the latest episodes of Reservation Dogs now streaming on Hulu.