‘Reservation Dogs’ Star Lane Factor on Cheese’s Prayer for Daniel & California Dreams
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Reservation Dogs Season 2, Episode 1o, “I Still Believe.”]
Reservation Dogs has wrapped up its second season, and while the installment, “I Still Believe,” closed one chapter, it began another as the FX series looks ahead to Season 3.
Since the series from creator Sterlin Harjo debuted in 2021, it has chronicled the adventures of four friends as they worked towards fulfilling their late pal Daniel’s (Dalton Cramer) wish to visit California. Living in the shadow of Daniel’s suicide, the group of friends have worked and struggled to stay united as Season 2 has unfolded, but the finale marked a shift in their dynamic. And [Spoiler Alert], Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Elora (Devery Jacobs), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), and Cheese (Lane Factor) finally made good on their promise, as the club of Indigenous teens who refer to themselves as the Rez Dogs, reached the West coast.
Although the show has its fill of comedic moments, it also packs a powerful and emotional punch, particularly in this closing episode as they say a prayer and bid the pain of the past farewell. “It did feel a lot bigger than previous episodes,” Factor tells TV Insider. “This one just seemed much grander because we’re going to California, we’re wrapping up Daniel’s story, and we’re fulfilling his wish.”
Below, the actor fills us in on bringing the Rez Dogs out west, meeting “White Jesus,” hopes for Season 3, and much more.
The Rez Dogs finally reached California in the finale. Does it feel like the end of a chapter or the beginning of a new one?
Lane Factor: Yeah, it definitely, in a way, feels like it is the beginning of a new chapter because now that the Rez Dogs are there [in California], they have done what they can to honor Daniel and fulfill his wishes of going there. So I think it really is just the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. I’m really excited to see how that unfolds.
When you were filming, was there any belief that the show would continue into Season 3, which it has since been renewed for, and do you have any hopes for where Cheese’s story goes next?
I think we all kind of had that feeling that it would be renewed for Season 3 after we filmed those scenes on the beach. As for going forward, I’m excited to see what happens and where things go in the story. At this point, I don’t know what to expect for Cheese or anyone else, I’m just in for the ride like everyone else right now.
Reservation Dogs balances humor and emotion so well, but the finale was particularly poignant. Is it exciting when you get a script like that or daunting knowing you have to take on such heavy scenes?
It’s definitely a bit of both when it comes to taking on those kinds of emotional scenes because, on one hand, it is a challenge, but it’s also really exciting to do something like that. There is a bit of nervousness because I don’t think I’ll be able to do them correctly or might not be able to do it the best. It’s all in the moment because when I do that, I feel nervous, I feel excited, you know, those butterflies in the stomach. But I really find them enjoyable. They were some of my favorites to film.
Does sharing those emotional moments onscreen with your costars make it any easier?
It definitely does, especially in that last scene, because we’re all there, we all have experiences we can pull from life, and we all know in the story the reason we’re there. And, and of course, in real life, we have people we can think about, people we’ve lost. And so we’re all pulling from so many different things. It just makes it so much easier because we’re all together and know what everyone’s been through. It’s soothing to know that everyone else is there and crying with you.
I can imagine. And Cheese is tasked with delivering the prayer for Daniel at the ocean. How does it feel to stand as a leader for the Rez Dogs in that moment?
Being a leader in those kinds of emotional [moments], it’s definitely something, even when I was reading the script, I wasn’t expecting like, “Oh wow, Cheese is taking the lead here.” When I first read that in the script, it was exciting. I think Cheese just has a way with words that he can get things across and doesn’t throw fluff in there. Of course, he can get a little sidetracked here and there, but everything he says is so genuine and from the heart. That’s why some people are attracted to the kind of character he is because he’s genuine. When it comes to speaking and saying prayers, he’s the one who takes charge even though he might not know it, and everyone else has to push it out of him.
Part of Cheese’s prayer includes his regiment of reciting pronouns when addressing someone. Whether it’s the consideration of pronouns or Cheese’s awesome t-shirts, he receives a lot of love on social media. Is that something you’re aware of and interact with?
It’s definitely something I do notice. We have fittings, and I was looking at all the shirts like, “man, Cheese really knows his stuff when it comes to bands.” It even caused me to look into some of [the bands and artists] that I might not be the most familiar with like Sade were really fun because even on set, it would [spark] conversations. As for fans, when I talk to people, they are like, “my pronouns are he/him/his, she/her/hers, or they/them.” And it’s just really nice to see a lot of people doing that. When I see my cousins or nephews, they’ll tell me, “Oh, say the line, say the line,” and I always know which ones they’re talking about.
Season 2 saw Cheese interact with some interesting guest characters, particularly the ones played by Marc Maron and Incubus artist Brandon Boyd. Did they offer any helpful advice?
One thing to note is that they’re really funny. Every guest that we’ve ever had are so funny and creative. They’ve given me some advice just talking here and there about things they’ve gone through or things that they’ve had to fight for, like with getting a role. And it just shows me how much dedication these people have and how much they love their craft. It really inspires me to know that other people are so passionate about what they do.
At the end of the finale, Bear makes a comment that he doesn’t intend to go back to Oklahoma. Do you think the Rez Dogs might stick around California for a little while longer, and what would you like to see them get up to?
It would be really cool to see what happens in California. That’s one of the things I’m excited about next season, is just see what plays out, what are they gonna do, who are they gonna come across, you know? I think it would also be really cool to see the Indigenous people, the Indigenous tribes there. It’d be cool to see the Rez Dogs in a fish-out-of-water environment and see the hijinks that happen when they’re interacting with the entirety of California. I think it’d be really cool.
The Rez Dogs went through some growing pains this season, spending time apart before ultimately coming together in the finale. Did it feel like a separate journey for you personally this season, or were you able to spend time behind the scenes with your costars? Especially Devery Jacobs, who served as a writer this time around.
It did feel a little bit more separate, but I just wanna throw this out there, I’m so happy for Devery that she got to write and was so involved. And I think she did great. Episode  was probably one of my favorites out there, but yeah, definitely, I think this season did feel a bit more separate. There’s a little bit of a separation between Bear and Elora this season, and Cheese gets thrown into the boy’s home, and he’s with his grandma, and Willie Jack has her own journey. But we would all see each other a lot outside of the set. But we weren’t together as much as in Season 1. Whenever we were together, we’d always pick up a conversation where we left off. When the camera would switch off, we would all just start talking, having fun, and laughing. I would definitely like to see the Rez Dogs together a lot more in Season 3.
Reservation Dogs, Seasons 1 & 2, Streaming now, Hulu