September 15, 2012

Native tattoo in Defying Gravity

Defying Gravity is a short-lived TV show that I enjoyed when it aired. A few months ago, I saw the final episode, Kiss. I was surprised to find it had a Native subplot.

Here's the scoop on Defying Gravity:

Defying GravityDefying Gravity is a multi-nationally produced space travel television science fiction drama series, first aired on August 2, 2009 on ABC and CTV and canceled in the autumn of 2009. Set in the year 2052, the series follows eight astronauts (four women and four men) from four countries on a six-year space mission through the Solar System, during which they are monitored from Earth via a real-time communication system.The show used frequent flashbacks to tell the astronauts' stories. In one flashback, astronaut Zoe Barnes receives low scores in training and is kicked out of the program.

That night, she sleeps with Donner, the lead astronaut. The next morning they wake up together and she sees or imagines an eagle flying overhead.

She packs up her gear and heads to the train station to go home. I think she's wearing turquoise earrings, a subtle indication of what's to come.

At the station, she sees a girl with an elaborate tattoo on one arm. It looks like it's done in the style of the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes. Zoe decides she wants a tattoo and goes to the shop where the girl got hers.

Significantly, I think the shop is called "Earth." The designs on the wall, only vaguely visible, are all natural things such as animals and plants. There are no bikers on motorcycles, skulls and crossbones, half-naked girls, etc.

Moreover, the tattoo artist looks Native. He's played by Trevor Carroll, a small-time actor who may be Native. In short, everything suggests it's a Native-owned shop specializing in Native tattoos.

Zoe gets a Pacific Northwest-style tattoo of the eagle she saw. Her lack of confidence kept her from passing before, but now she seems more confident in herself. She will soar--literally, since she's an astronaut--like an eagle.

Since the show was canceled, we never learn how she got back into the astronaut program. But the implication is that her vision inspired her. Perhaps she was part Native, or had some Native connection. In any case, a bit of Native culture gave her the strength to go on.

For more Native subjects on TV, see Eden Eats Visits Pima-Maricopa Rez and Un-Racist Remark in Real Housewives.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but turquoise? That's some pretty bad foreshadowing.

I know, Hollywood.

dmarks said...

"That night, she sleeps with Donner, the lead astronaut"

Prancer and Blitzen were with their girlfriends that night, no doubt.

Rob said...

The earring was visible only for a split second. I had to replay the scene to make sure it was there. So it was subtle enough by anyone's standards.

Anonymous said...

But do you recall the most hedonistic guest of all?