Mohawk Girls review: Helpless selves?

Episode four directed and produced by Tracey Deer and written by Cynthia Knight is entitled Self-Helpless, intertextualizing  a little known movie of the same name about four mates who decide to follow a path to self improvement through the advice of self-help books. This time though we have our four Mohawk ladies all striving to improve their lives in some way, shape, or form.

We begin with Zoe ( Brittany LeBorgne) who has admitted her relationship  with Ohserase (Shawn Youngchief)  is only to improve her social standing in the community. However, even though this very sweet and suitable Mohawk man  is eagerly  trying to woo Zoe, he just doesn’t seem capable of scratching her adventuresome  itch. Instead of faking it, Zoe opts to adopt Anna’s three month rule in order to avoid having to engage in a sexual relationship with him.

We also learn that Zoe is still on the hunt for a new Master but unfortunately none of the characters listed online fit her tastes. Unable to focus or relax she opts to attend the community baby shower that Auntie Velma (Ashley Michaels) is hosting. Zoe learns Iostha’s (Allyson Pratt) sister’s house has burned down. Looking  for another opportunity to improve her standing in the community, and avert the possibility of being fired, Zoe offers to host a fundraiser. She sweetens the pot, promising to secure an appearance by Six Nations singer/songwriter Derek Miller in the hopes to raise enough funds for the family to place a substantial down payment on a new house.

Meanwhile Bailey (Jennifer Pudavick), has  settled, literally,  into her relationship with Watio (Jimmy Blais), but her motivation is simple: to leave the adventuresome twenties behind her. However, Bailey is learning that this is not so easy with an opinionated perfectionist like Watio. Instead of enjoying an afternoon playing in the outdoors or an adventure in the city, Bailey opts to stay in doing home renovations in order to spend quality time with her new man. Anna (Maika Hunter) points out that “you can’t leave who you are behind. You can’t give up who you are for a guy”. However, Bailey believes (at least for now) that this is necessary in order to be this new mature Bailey.

Meanwhile, Caitlin (Heather White) begins to feel the pains involved with all of her life changes and has a series of set backs over the course of this episode. We being with a small melt down with “Luscious Leon” (Alain Chanoine). Leon shares his own strategies, “to push through the troubles to reach your goals while remembering the positive gains you have already made”. These words become Caitlin’s personal mantra as she deals with the baby shower after having just secretly ended her own pregnancy with an abortion.

While at the shower, “I’m a Keeper” (NOT!) Butterhead (Meegwun Fairbrother) shows up and flirts with all of the single ladies. His behaviours prove too much for Caitlin to handle and she lashes out, publicly humiliating him and informing all who will listen that Butterhead still cuddles up with his mother at night. Overcome with emotions Caitlin then hides in the washroom drowning her sorrows with cakes and drink.

Next we turn to Anna, who is still upset with “Be still my beating heart Thunder” ( Kyle Nobess) for failing to defend her in Where are the feathers? Anna is invited by Lollipop ( Devery Jacobs) to attend  a protest in Montreal to support the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Still feeling she needs to prove her Mohawk-ness, Anna attends the protest organization meeting. It is here that we learn some details about the actual situation facing Indigenous women and girls in Canada today. We learn that statistically Aboriginal women and girls are tragically  the group most at risk for experiencing violence in Canada. Since Canadian parliament was prorogued in September 2013, the national inquiry into this situation came to a halt. The protest featured here in this episode aims to focus attention on implementing a new national inquiry into this tragedy.

While at the meeting, Anna becomes upset at the bitterness and anger she hears and is concerned that violence may very well be likely at the protest. Later when she too is at the baby shower, she shares her concerns with Caitlin, but Caitlin reminds her that while Mohawks believe in letting others live as they choose, they also believe in defending themselves.

Taking this advice to heart, Anna decides to attend the protest. Thunder too decides to attend in support of both the cause and in support of Anna. Finally, at long last Thunder declares his love for Anna (cue the goosebumps), and Anna reciprocates with her love for Thunder.  #TeamThana for the win.

Finally, it should be noted that this episode was dedicated in loving memory to Thom Parkinson, Second Assistant Director, Mohawk Girls. Mr. Parkinson  passed away suddenly at the age of 56 on August 6, 2015.

So what do you think is next? Will the new mature Bailey continue to show her face or will the old adventuresome Bailey re-emerge in the final two episodes of this season? Will Zoe come to appreciate Ohserase? Will Caitlin turn to Leon for moral support following her misstep into old habits? What is in store for #TeamThana? Let me know in the comments below.

Carolyn Potts
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Carolyn Potts

Teacher. Writer. Mom. Masters' Candidate, Faculty of Education, Western University. Studying Pop Culture Media as a Decolonizer of Education Policy and Practice. I also volunteer as a Girl Guide leader in my spare time.
Carolyn Potts
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