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'Little Bird' Recap: Episode 6

Daniel Hautzinger
Golda holds Esther outside
Golda, along with the rest of Bezhig's family, helps her mourn. Credit: Steve Ackerman

Little Bird is available to stream via the PBS app and at Recap the previous episode. 
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Golda is welcomed into her adoptive daughter’s birth family, and reciprocates their warmth, playing with Leo and Yvonne’s children and making breakfast. She brings Jewish traditions of mourning to a household grieving the death of Niizh, Bezhig’s just-rediscovered twin brother. She rips a piece of black cloth into a ribbon and pins it on her daughter.

Outside, Leo is observing Native funerary traditions by tending a sacred fire that will burn for four days. When Bezhig approaches, he instructs her in the ritual of throwing medicine into the fire to send a prayer up to the Creator. He likes Golda, whom he assumed would simply arrive and sweep Bezhig back to Montreal but is instead letting her daughter mourn with her birth family. When Golda comes to the fire, Bezhig asks Leo to let her instruct Golda in the ritual.

Leo leaves the two women to sit by the fire. Bezhig apologizes for calling her mother a “criminal” for adopting her. She pulls her chair close to her mother and cries on her shoulder.

Bezhig is surprised to receive a call for her at Leo’s house. It’s Doug, her sister Dora’s boyfriend, calling from the hospital: their daughter has been born. They want Bezhig to come meet her.

Golda drives her daughter to the hospital. Bezhig tells her she ended her engagement, but Golda already knows. She thinks it’s a mistake, but tells Bezhig it is her mistake to make. She just asks that Bezhig finish law school, so that she has her independence. There’s a good law school in Regina if she wants to stay near her birth family.

At the hospital, Dora introduces Bezhig to her niece and tells her they named her Bineshi Kwe, which means “bird woman.” Dora asks about Bezhig’s black ribbon, but Bezhig doesn’t want to introduce death into this happy moment of new life and simply dismisses it as a “Jewish thing.”

An insistent man arrives from Child Protective Services to ask Dora questions, dismissing Doug. Bezhig insists on staying, noting that she is a lawyer and will be advising her sister on legal matters. She tries to stand up to the man, who grills Dora with rapid-fire questions to determine if the baby will have a safe home. He is evaluating her because of her criminal record.

He informs Dora that an investigation is open, and that there will be a home inspection sometime in the next few days. Dora sobs as he leaves.

When Golda and Bezhig arrive back at Leo’s house, Golda stops Bezhig from getting out of the car to tell her that she would have helped her in her search for her birth family. After Bezhig left her in Montreal the second time, she started looking at some of the court records of children separated from Native families, and decided that the whole process and system was “disgusting.” It shouldn’t have happened. When she adopted Bezhig, she thought she had lost everyone and so was a good match for Golda – but that was a lie. Now she has found her family, and can choose what to do going forward.

Niizh will wear one of his father’s shirts when he is buried next to his father. Bezhig curls up next to the shirt and cries.

Bezhig’s grandfather Asin asks Golda to run an errand with him. They first sit on the back of his pickup smoking cigarettes together, then go pick buffalo sage. They have some shared connections between each other’s childhood traumas, Golda in the Holocaust and Asin in a boarding school for Native children. Asin tells Golda he thinks she did a beautiful job raising Bezhig.

Back at Leo’s, Niizh is laid out in a coffin. Family and friends come over, including Dora, Doug, and their baby. At the burial, the person presiding notes that all of the Little Bird siblings have now come home, even Niizh. Golda stands next to Bezhig and weeps along with the rest of the family. She and her daughter hold hands and pray in Hebrew while the person leading the funeral sings.

A meal of KFC is served at Leo’s house after the burial. Golda asks to take a picture of Bezhig with her family, and someone steps in at the last minute to tell Golda to get in the picture.

As everyone is sitting around, a figure appears at the end of the drive. Patricia – the mother of Bezhig, Niizh, and Dora – had heard of her son’s death on a Native radio station, since Niizh was a member of a band. The station played one of his songs that incorporated a melody she used to sing to her children, and she wept.

She has been working as a cleaner at a church, but now decides to hitchhike back to her homeland and family. Brigit sees her first, and then everyone stands up to face her incredulously. Bezhig and Patricia walk towards each other. Bezhig looks back at her family, and then continues on towards her mother. They reach each other and stand, crying, for a long moment. Patricia reaches out a hand and touches Bezhig’s face.