Review: Bridemaidzilla rampages on Mohawk Girls

Written by Carolyn Potts

… And reaching the penultimate episode of the season, Tracey Deer (creator, executive producer) and Cynthia Knight (executive producer) provide us viewers with a solid episode entitled “Bridesmaidzilla.” We start this installment with Zoe (Brittany Leborgne) now questioning her own mental health. She is still caught between a need to maintain her controlled good girl persona and the desire to let loose and submit. Her distress has now reached a point that she has sought the help of a counselor, albeit for a VERY short session.

Before we jump into the festivities celebrating Lollipop (Devery Jacobs) and Trumpet’s (Kevin Loring) impending nuptials, we are given what I call “the lesson of the week” for non-First Nations viewers. First we visit Anna (Maika Harper) at the university studying with a couple of her “white” classmates. As we have seen before, Anna is caught between cultures. She now represents the “Mohawks” instead of the “white girl with brown skin,” and she is now defending the very people who deny her her “Mohawk-ness.” This suggests an authenticity no doubt many people of mixed race can relate to. Anna again addresses a few of the more commonly held stereotypes of First Nations culture (the “rez” is scary, the oft times misconstrued history of scalping, and the need for FNMI people to “get over it and move on”). Then we pop in on Bailey (Jennifer Pudavick) who is out on yet another first date. This week’s challenger for the right to be Bailey’s prince is Rashid (Fajir Al-Kaisi), the gentleman she met speed dating during “Dating Mohawk Style” who is, ironically, from India. Deer and Knight also use this setting to briefly touch on a few more stereotypes: the despair commonly associated with life on the reserve, and the myth surrounding FNMI predisposition for alcoholism. By the way, Rashid fails to measure up. Bring on the next contestant!

Meanwhile, Lawrence Bayne returns as Caitlin’s father flying in from Stoney to attend Lollipop and Trumpet’s wedding. He has, it turns out, been in town for a couple days enjoying the bachelor parties and has not bothered to contact his only daughter Caitlin (Heather White). Caitlin’s disappointment in her father is once again clearly visible (I have to say that Heather White has, over the course of this premiere season, owned the most complexly crafted character of the show. Ms. White has this remarkable ability to suggest a bevy of emotions with a single glance that I feel many actors lack).

Finally the ceremony begins just in time for Zoe’s alter ego, Bridesmaidzilla, to take control. Her commanding nature sets the scene for the comic conflicts that so often occur at large family events. We have up until now only explored Zoe’s identity as a newly realized submissive. Now we finally come to realize why it is so hard for her to submit to this trait (I know, a bad pun). Zoe spends her time herding wedding guests throughout the festivities to ensure the perfectly orchestrated wedding. Sadly, her hard work is overshadowed by her need to control, and the wedding guests revolt against her bitchiness.

We return for a final look at Caitlin, once again left to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. She is caught between her need to be loved, and the men in her life that seem incapable of giving her that love. Both her father and Butterhead (Meegwun Fairbrother) choose to continue their poker game, leaving Caitlin and Butterhead’s daughter (Kahsennonkwas Luna Berry Deer-Toelle) to dance the father-daughter dance together. Once again we can see Caitlin put aside her heartbreak and do her best, this time for the little girl she recognises in herself who was all too often disappointed by her father.

Meanwhile, Anna, who has been taunted all evening by yet another gaggle of competitive women vying for Thunder’s attention, decides to forgo her three-month waiting period. Team #Thana sneak off to do the deed.

We conclude with Zoe’s/Bridesmaidzilla’s meltdown. She explodes from the pressure her public and oh so proper, face has created. Unable to enjoy any part of the evening, she lashes out at the guests she tried so hard to please yet again. Regrettably, this devolves into the now cliché food-fight so often relied on for comic relief in these tension filled moments. It does however fit the storyline, and is appropriate for Zoe to do so, but I feel this bit was both predictable and ultimately detracted from an otherwise strong performance.

So, tell me what you think. Will Anna regret her impulsive decision to sleep with Thunder? How will Zoe recover from her public melt down? How will Caitlin cope with the betrayal of both of her men? Let me know in the comments.

Mohawk Girls airs Tuesdays at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET on APTN.