The significance of Asta cutting her hair on Resident Alien Episode 2
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Resident Alien certainly has its hilarious moments thanks to Alan Tudyk, but Sara Tomko brings the emotional moments. During Episode 2, she allowed herself to grieve for Sam, the doctor who was like a father to her.
Through that grief, she had her dad (not her biological dad, but the man who did raise her) cut her hair. You may be wondering about the significance of this moment, and it is a huge part of the Native American culture.
Hair is important to Native men and women. Different tribes have some different beliefs, but they all see their hair as a sense of culture and identity. In fact, in the past, they’ve been forced to cut their hair by those who want to remove their identity and confidence. Sister Sky has an excellent explanation of just how important hair is to many.
Why would Asta cut her hair?
It’s very uncommon for Native people to cut their hair. It only happens under certain circumstances, and one of those is grief.
When someone faces a deep loss, they will mark that through the cutting of hair. That’s exactly what Asta did.
Sam was like a father to her. She’s noted that a few times, and she is grieving heavily for him. The way to mark that loss is through cutting her hair and storing it in the box.
The box is also significant. It is placed in a fire to be burned with sage. We saw that happen at the very end of Resident Alien Episode 2.
She also burns the scrubs she was wearing. As her dad stated, that’s to ensure Sam’s spirit doesn’t hold into the living.
Something that you may also notice is that Asta’s dad never suggests cutting her hair. He doesn’t ask to do it. She wants him to do it for her, inviting him to touch her hair. That’s another significant moment in the culture.
Will Resident Alien continue to show more of Native American culture?
Over the years, there are a lot of beliefs about Native American culture based on TV shows and movies. Assumptions are made, and a lot of the time, the shows will focus on the negatives of the culture. Or they won’t treat the culture with the right respect.
While Resident Alien has gone for a cliché element with the abusive relationship, it’s not purely a Native thing in the show. It’s a white man dishing out the abuse and the Native woman finally making a decision to get away.
The show is starting to make up for the semi-cliché moment by showing us significant moments like hair cutting and burning with sage. We need more TV shows and movies that are willing to focus on cultural elements like this.
With hope, the show continues to offer this, especially with Tomko being the lead female on the show. Asta is a strong-willed but also vulnerable character, and we need to see a hell of a lot more of her.
What did you think of Resident Alien Episode 2? What would you like to see the show focus on? Let us know in the comments below.
Resident Alien airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on SYFY.