Rutherford Falls (2021) s02e02 Episode Script

The New Curator

I got the last turkey legs
from Ye Olde Smoked Meats.
We're gonna get sick of
quasi-colonial food eventually,
but not today, baby.
You know, hiding in an attic
really makes you miss
hot food and bathrooms.
You've missed so much.
The town's revamp. My 18th birthday.
Well, I did send you that Cameo
from Olivia Rodrigo's horse.
- That was you?
- Yeah.
That horse did not phone it in.
I love an animal who knows her angles.
Reegs, I finally took
the official museum tour.
It's amazing. You should be really proud.
Thank you. Well, it's just the beginning.
I am interviewing co-curators today.
- Nice.
- Lean in, queen.
Gaslight those hoes. Nathan, welcome home.
Nice to see you, Ms. Fish.
So you're happy to see me? Okay.
Oh! It's it's a platitude.
I listened to that podcast
about you, in bed, on a loop.
Then I started a subreddit
and there's, like, five of us
- who are obsessed.
- Hmm.
I just kept thinking about
you wandering the country.
Humiliated. Desperate for human touch.
Well, it's a podcast.
Things get exaggerated.
I think we've all moved on.
I have Josh's info if you wanna dox him.
Well, I find that troubling.
- Um, we should go.
- Oh, really?
I'm gonna get some napkins.
- Okay.
- Yep.
- I'll take some.
- Oh, yeah.
- Oh, this poor girl.
- Yes.
So Wayne and Sally,
what would you say
is your reason for being here?
- The interview.
- You finally twisted our arms.
We're willing to work for you.
- But only as a team.
- Oh.
So why don't you begin by
telling us a little about yourself?
Sure, would love to.
I run a museum,
and this is a waste of my time.
You're making a really bad first impression.
Very unlikable.
It's not a no, but you gotta
turn things around quick.
So Nelson, you went to
Dartmouth for your undergrad
then did a dual graduate
program at your tribal college?
Museum and Library Sciences.
I spent a lot of time
working with my elders as well.
You know, working with them
to help save my people's language.
It was pretty beautiful.
I ended up teaching them so much.
High-achiever type, huh?
Look, I don't see preserving
our traditional life ways
as any type of achievement.
It's more of a cultural imperative.
You know, this really should have a top.
And the label here
has two grammatical errors.
This is off-center,
and your wattage on this
So nice to meet you, Nelson.
Thank you so much for coming in.
I don't wanna take up too much of your time.
I've only been here for seven minutes.
A very sacred number.
As I'm sure you know.
It's never gonna happen.
B-b-but rehab has left me a
changed man.
And I've severed my ties to Ithaca College.
You were fired for teaching class naked.
Well, nude and naked
are two different things.
And quick question, may I live here?
I asked not to be disturbed.
I'm but a humble servant to our people.
- In an $800 suit.
- Purchased at Nordstrom Rack.
Ooh, business is that bad, huh?
Ah, there it is. That Feather Day charm.
Happy to see your opposition
to our casino expansion
didn't keep you from barging in today.
What can I do for you?
I am running for mayor of Rutherford Falls,
and I'd like your support.
- Right, the special election.
- I read about that.
We've had our differences,
but we both know that I can get
this town back on track.
This town is profoundly on track.
Our projected growth is outstanding.
We just need time.
Well, I think that's a bunch of bullcrap.
I'm going to be mayor, Terry,
and I would rather roll
with you than through you.
But either way, I'm rolling.
Well, the casino can't
take sides in these matters.
Bad for business.
And I myself am not political.
Unless you count voting
ten times for Brooke Simpson
on "America's Got Talent."
- Only ten?
- It's the max.
Not if you use the website and the app.
Well, good luck on your campaign.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help.
Let me know
when you change your mind.
It's been a couple of months,
who are these grown women?
I know.
Teenagers double in size
every month, it's wild.
They've been asking about you, Nate.
I don't know what to tell 'em.
Well, I'm not sure what to say, Duz.
It's just been super weird being back.
- Yeah.
- You know?
I mean, this is weird.
- That, super weird.
- No, I know.
Look, I get it.
I just I want my brother back.
I'm working my way back. I promise.
- Hey, are you Popcorn Guy?
- What?
From the podcast, you know?
Oh, yes.
I am the guy who offered popcorn
to settle a centuries-old debt.
Not my proudest moment.
You know what, you gotta meet my roommate.
- I do.
- He thinks you're a maniac.
- He does.
- Hey, Billy!
Hey, get over here. It is Popcorn Guy.
No way! Ask him if he has any popcorn.
By the way, this, also weird.
- Also weird. Yeah.
- Yeah.
Not hiring you or you.
You couldn't stop staring
at my cleave, so no, ew.
Uh, hi. Museum's closed today.
Hi, Shep Swiftwater.
Came down to apply
for the co-curator position.
Oh, I don't see you on my list.
Well, I'm a bit of an old dog.
I had some problems
with the online application,
so I thought I'd just come down.
Thank you.
All right, oh, you worked
at Denver Museum of Mankind.
I did full disclosure,
they will not have nice things
to say about me.
I kept pushing this crazy idea.
Indigenous people should
design Indigenous exhibits.
You know, I read about
all the changes that you made,
- but this is real impressive.
- Thank you.
And I can see that you pulled
from your thesis
on Native Reclamation.
- You read my thesis?
- I did.
There's only, like, eight people
to ever get through it,
and I paid four of them.
When my cohorts and I
protested and occupied universities
and demanded our seats at the table,
we also dreamed that someday people like you
would stand on our shoulders
and make change.
And it's just wonderful
to see destiny fulfilled.
You're hired.
And thank you, but you're hired.
And I love you. Be my dad?
Welcome aboard.
This is where Terry said to meet?
Feels kinda murdery.
Big time.
Deviled eggs?
I assumed we were attending a party,
and it's rude not to bring a dish.
Very thoughtful.
Nathan, I've come with an opportunity.
Mayor Deirdre is stepping down.
There's going to be a special election,
- and I think you should run.
- Ha!
What? No.
Why not?
Well, I'm kind of a joke in this town.
I made an ass of myself at your birthday.
Strangers are coming up to me on the street,
calling me Popcorn Guy
because of that stupid podcast.
It's not a good time.
People love a redemption story.
Well, a white redemption story.
I'm trying to decenter myself.
This is my time to listen
and champion other voices.
So that's your plan?
Lead an unexceptional life
and then just die?
Your ancestors must be so proud.
Uh, well, I don't actually
know who my ancestors are,
Terry, because your last big master plan
kind of blew up my whole life.
Nathan, the town is in trouble.
Do you know a woman named Feather Day?
She owns that gym, Sweat.
She spoke at my school
on career day and was beautiful
and terrifying, like Maleficent
in a milk bath.
My wife, Renee, owns
a jazzercise gym on our rez.
A few years ago, we opened
a second location in town.
Feather sullied my wife's name
and her exercise techniques.
The gym folded.
It took months for Renee
to pick up her tiny weights
and regain her confidence.
Okay, not sure how that's
dangerous for the whole town.
Feather attacks her enemies like a snake.
And if she becomes mayor, Rutherford Falls,
everything I fought for,
everything Reagan's fought for,
will be at risk.
Tomorrow, I'm throwing Deirdre
a going-away party.
All the local power players will be there.
Come. Press some flesh, see how it feels.
Whatever they're saying,
I apologize in advance.
How do you mean?
We're just discussing
this beautiful piece here.
Did you know Minishonka
have been making pottery
for thousands of years?
But we revitalized
the art form in the 1960s.
Did I read the label I wrote? Yes.
She wasn't always like this.
Stress has just hardened this woman.
My auntie's a pretty famous potter.
I could ask her to do a demo.
I've been asking you
to connect us for months.
Yeah, now that we have
a real curator, I'm gonna.
My dear, Reagan is more than qualified.
You know, they're taking me out tonight
to celebrate my new job. Care to join us?
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,
Shep, you're cool, man,
but you gotta watch the company you keep.
Yeah, thank God we're here to help you.
Shep is everything
I could possibly hope for.
So you admit that I was right
when I said that
you would find someone great.
I mean, sure.
You also said I would love NASCAR
if I understood what was happening.
It combines speed and valor
and a little bit of faith.
But it's mostly driving.
Anyway, I just wanted to tell
someone how good this feels.
Shep is awesome.
And he said I'm brilliant.
Another thing I was right about.
And that sounded like flirting,
which we agreed not to do
because we are just friends.
And this friend is very happy for you.
Thank you, friend.
Angelina Jolie turns to me and says,
"I'll donate my Fritz Scholder
if you streak with me in the hills of Lyon."
Let's just say the painting
was in the exhibit.
Oh, dirty dog.
I can't imagine my museum work
taking me all over the world.
Hell, yeah. Where are you from, Shep?
- Ooh, so many places.
- Everywhere and nowhere.
I call myself a son of Turtle Island.
- Mm.
- I love that. So deep.
Yeah, but like what part of the turtle?
Like, the arm or, like, yeah,
Florida, lower-right leg?
Our people are nomads, you know this.
No matter where they move us,
we belong to the land,
the sky, and the water.
This man is dropping science right now.
Yeah, but, like, what tribe are you?
Well, I have heritage with the Algonquin,
the Inuit, Mapuche,
and the Midwestern band of Cherokee.
Those tribes are hell a
far away from each other.
I've never heard of Midwestern band before.
But, you know, I identify mostly
as a descendant of the Potawatomi.
Mm, descendant, cool.
I ascended from my mom, who's Minishonka.
Time for another round.
And when I get back, I'm gonna
tell you about the time
I took Steven Seagal to his first ceremony.
- Wha-chaw!
- Whoa.
He definitely used the D word, didn't he?
Yeah, who descends?
And from, like, 18 different nations.
You know who.
Reagan, did you hire a pretendian?
I can't believe Creator would do this to me.
I still might make out with him,
but I'm furious about it.
The food looks amazing.
I'm so glad I skipped
my dad's birthday for this.
This is the fanciest party
I've ever been to.
All the lights in here have dimmers.
Not cheap.
- Well, lucky us.
- How you been there, Frank?
Pretty good.
Leased a Kia, and I am the mayor.
Well, for now. I'm the pointed mayor.
Oh, you mean appointed?
No, it already happened.
This guy pointed at me
and said, "You're the mayor."
And he was pointing at you?
He was wearing a suit.
So I said, "All right. Here we go."
Okay, well, good luck with that, buddy.
Thanks, man. Have fun.
You're probably right, Nathan.
You don't have what it takes to be mayor.
Luckily, we have Frank.
Okay, I pulled the dossiers
I keep on all VIPs in town.
I stacked them in order of importance.
Oh, if we're going in order of importance,
I think I know where to start.
Okay, that's Peter Caplan,
the car wash king.
Petra Turner, town council.
Deirdre Chisenhall, former mayor.
You two had sex twice.
Oh, my God, Bobbie, stand down.
Nathan, hello.
Hi, Deirdre.
Congratulations on your big promotion.
I knew you were destined for bigger things.
I'm really happy to see you.
I just I want you to know
that I'm really, really sorry that I
Left town and didn't call me once?
Yeah, that.
Really wanted to, a lot.
I just I didn't like who I was.
Anyway, seems like I missed my chance.
I may never see you again.
I don't know.
My brother Brian's house
sitting while I'm in Albany.
I'm pretty sure he hacked my Nest cam.
It just shows him vacuuming on a loop.
- I don't buy it.
- Yeah, that sounds suspicious.
I'll be going back and forth to check in.
We might run into each other.
Okay. I'm really glad to hear that.
Let me ask you something.
What do you think about me for mayor?
Well, some say it's
the people you don't expect
who change the world.
Some say real change comes from within.
The key is everyone's talking.
See what I mean?
Wow, you just sounded
inspiring but said nothing.
That's the job.
See you around, Popcorn Guy.
Okay, Bobbie. I'm ready.
- Let's press the flesh.
- Great.
Let's start with Principal Tom
because he is smashed.
Ugh, I just wanted extra help at the museum,
not to hire the Bernie Madoff
of Indian country, you know?
What's going on? You're like, buffering.
Yeah, I got hammered
with some Rutherford
power brokers last night.
Terry wants me to run for mayor.
- What?
- Yeah.
Okay, I thought you were
"decentering" or whatever.
Well, I was, but Terry thinks
I can use my position
to help the town. I don't know.
When he locks his eyes on you, like,
what are you supposed to say?
- The man can stare.
- Right?
So I don't understand.
Why can't you just ask
Shep for his tribal ID?
Oh, it's loaded.
Not everyone has one.
Some tribes use blood
quantum minimum, some don't.
Some aren't even federally recognized.
Some tribal IDs go through
the washing machine
and then they're unusable.
Why don't we check our pockets?
My point is, genocide is messy.
I don't wanna be the identity police.
- It feels shitty.
- Then don't do it.
But if he's a fraud,
and I let him work beside me and shape
the voice of the museum,
that's unforgivable.
If he is a pretendian,
then you gotta fire him.
- Yeah.
- In order to do that,
you have to be 100% sure
he's not who he claims to be.
How the hell are you gonna do that?
Sally said to come down here.
Everything okay?
We'll be the ones
asking questions here, Shep.
Have a seat.
I created an online straw poll
to see how you would fare
if the election were held today.
You can just whip that up?
I collect data on which of
my makeup tutorials
people are most drawn to.
So when asked, "Would you vote
for Nathan Rutherford?"
52% of those polled said yes.
You know, I always say polls don't matter,
but this one sounds super important.
- Go on.
- That's nothing.
When asked, "Would you vote
for Popcorn Guy?"
Over 68% said yes.
And 40% of those people wrote in,
"Dude, that would be hilarious."
Right, like, as a joke.
I'd be the joke mayor.
You're hitting the wrong word.
You'd be the joke mayor.
That doesn't sound better.
So, Shep, your start paperwork
has a driver's license,
passport, but no tribal ID.
Do you have proof of your tribal status?
If that's okay to ask.
I mean, answer the question.
I'm enrolled, but wouldn't you know it,
I left my tribal ID in my jeans
and it went through the wash.
- Okay, that does happen.
- You didn't think to replace it?
We all know the red tape involved
when dealing with tribal governments.
Uh, well, Shep.
I checked your social media,
and you didn't have any.
You're the only Native man
in his 50s without a Facebook.
Explain that, huh?
I've lived in many cities,
and I've loved in even more.
I think it's best that
we keep my Facebook private.
Baller defense.
He has been snagging aunties left and right
- since he got here.
- What?
Pretty airtight.
What doesn't make sense is you, Wayne.
You claim to be full
Minishonka, and yet somehow,
you're able to grow facial hair.
Makes for an interesting hiccup
in your bloodline, no?
- And my dear Reagan.
- Please don't.
You traipsed all the way
to Evans ton, Illinois,
to get the Wasi'chu's approval
before you had enough confidence
to speak about your own culture.
That is, if you have enough confidence now.
Where we're trying to get to is
Did you just speak Lakota?
You both should know that I'm connected
to many legacy Native institutions.
I don't think you want the
reputation of lateral violence
towards elders in those sacred circles.
Maybe we do.
No, we don't.
We don't.
Okay, we need a new plan.
Well, whenever I'm getting
questioned by police,
they like to bring in the "bad cop."
Yeah, that's what you were supposed to be.
Well, get somebody badder than me.
Let's see him go up against that stare.
So you're not Native.
I am. There was actually
a washing machines incident
No, no, no.
There are real Native people out here
with deeply complex identity stories.
But that's not you.
You take advantage of centuries
of violent displacement.
You hide in the cracks of our trauma.
Feasting on opportunities.
How long have you been pretending?
What started this game?
You got wait-listed at Amherst,
so you thought you could
sneak in the backdoor?
Compensate for your hopeless mediocrity
by presenting as whatever this is.
And now you're here,
until you scurry back
to a more prominent museum,
where no one in those white spaces
has the depth to sniff out your fakery.
Do you fathom the harm you cause us?
Can you, as you pick and choose
all the positives of who we are
without ever once experiencing
any of the hardships?
I want you to look at me
and tell me who you really are.
Only my ancestors can judge me.
And those ancestors were?
White. So white.
Swedish, which is about
as white as you can get.
I'm just a white man from Connecticut.
Sorry, I just I'm
Leave your medallion on the table
and get the hell out of here.
Damn, Terry. Never become a cop.
- Seriously, thank you.
- Anytime.
I'm sorry you weren't able
to hire any real support.
Actually, I think I know who I can hire.
He's kind of the worst,
but I'm 100% sure he's Native.
I noticed that you didn't fix any
of the problems I mentioned, huh?
It's been, like, two days, Nelson.
But yes, you should start on those first.
Can do. It's a real easy job anyway.
You know there are better
restaurants, right?
Are you kidding?
I've been waiting months
to eat these chicken riggies.
Oh yeah, just like Mom used to make
Chewy and sitting out for hours.
So what are you gonna do,
mayorally speaking?
Well, you know,
I'm trying to find my purpose.
Which starts with doing the work on myself.
And reading the books.
It's like, I don't need to be
in the center, but
You need to be somewhere.
Yes, and Terry's like, "Do this."
I don't know, maybe being
the mayor is my purpose?
Forget all that.
You, congratulations on
getting rid of your pretendian.
I wouldn't say that. Check this out.
"Hiding In Plain Sight:
My Life as a Part-Time Pretendian"
by Shep Swiftwater, AKA Wyatt Olson.
What the hell am I reading?
AKA, "What started as a deep
appreciation for Native culture
spawned a double life of
jet-setting around the world."
- How did he turn that around?
- I don't know.
He's making himself sound like a cool spy.
I swear, it's always people
with a ton of unearned
confidence that get things.
- So have you made a decision?
- I have.
Gonna be a hard pass. I really wanna help.
I just don't wanna win as a joke.
Politicians win by telling stories.
The Prodigal Son, The Gipper,
Obama's whole deal.
Feather Day will win
because she has a great story.
Strong Native woman,
self-made small business owner.
Your story, while embarrassing, is strong.
Terry, I think I got a better one.
- Don't be ridiculous.
- They're still in high school.
Well, they're 18. And youth is exciting.
And they've done more for this town
than people twice their age.
I'm listening.
A non-binary child of immigrants,
born and raised in Rutherford Falls.
And they're not just a good story.
They've got the goods.
They've researched every mover
and shaker in this town.
They've got a great mind for strategy.
And they know how to sound inspiring
without actually saying anything.
Hello, Bobbie.
We've come with a wonderful opportunity.
I'll do it.
Okay, we haven't even told you what it is.
Sorry, I get excited by intrigue,
but I'll definitely do it.
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