AMC’s “The Son” finished its freshman season on Saturday, June 10, 2017, by doing what it does best: Showing the similarities and differences in cultural norms of different groups and the stereotyped ideas that people had and continue to have about Native Americans. As noted by actors in the series, AMC has gone out of its way to approach Native American history and the life and struggles of the Comanches from as accurate a viewpoint as possible. Zahn McClarnon spoke about AMC’s efforts with Indian Country Today back in March: Although AMC hired a Lakota-Irish actor, McClarnon, in a lead position to play a Comanche because of his strong acting history, AMC worked with the Comanche Nation, hired Comanches as extras, used the Comanche language and changed dialogue on recommendation from Native Americans on set.
In the season finale, young Eli learned that Charges the Enemy had lied to his adopted father, Toshaway, and stole his love, Prairie Flower, after trying to kill him. Eli, who is finally officially named a Comanche, found himself helpless to do anything because he is told that a Comanche doesn’t kill another Comanche. Comanches were historically known for trying to work at finding meaningful ways to peacefully handle disputes without resorting to violence. Often they resorted to some sort of restitution, which is accurately portrayed when Charges the Enemy had to give Toshaway four horses for trying to kill Eli. AMC takes accurate portrayal of historic Comanches and other tribes in a better direction than most shows have in the past. A great deal of effort has obviously been put into making the sets and clothing look as they would have looked in the 1840’s and showing how Comanche perceptions about the world differ from settlers. In the last scene, “The Son” doesn’t reflect on adult Eli’s life, but instead returns to the past to show Toshaway finally coming to the horrifying realization that his people face potential extinction.
Categories: Native American, Native American Culture, Native American History