In the interview, Chavez explained that they try to avoid camera work that “looks like” TV, and “Reservation Dogs” is appropriately cinematic. Each episode is unique, however, both in tone and visual language. Chavez said that while the other directors do study Harjo’s episodes, including the pilot, to make sure they’re on the same page, they’re also encouraged to make the episodes their own:
“Sterlin has always said, there’s the one thing in that episode that’s your marker, your thing. If you look at Blackhorse’s [director Blackhorse Lowe] episodes, Blackhorse is great at movement. Other than that, most of us that direct on the show work on the show, so it’s not the same as going into a different television show where there are rules, where it’s like, ‘We only shoot in wides. We stay out of singles. We reserve movement for specific things.’ That’s not really here.”
While there’s some of that exploration in season 1, the creative differences between the episodes got much stronger in season 2. One of the best episodes in season 2 is “Wide Net,” which is directed by Chavez and follows the Aunties, the women of the reservation, as they party and try to hook up during their yearly trip to the Indian Health Services convention. While many of the episodes have a coming-of-age, lazy summer day kind of energy, “Wide Net” is a pure sex comedy, and it gives the Aunties a chance to shine.