'Rutherford Falls': Jana Schmieding Talks Reagan's Future With Nelson and Josh (Exclusive)

(This post contains spoilers through the Season 2 finale of Peacock's Rutherford Falls.)

Rutherford Falls fans aren't the only ones picking sides in Reagan's love life. After the ambitious cultural heritage museum manager (Jana Schmieding) spends the second season building up to swapping "I love yous" with newcomer Nelson (Dallas Goldtooth), her ex Josh shows back up in the Season 2 finale. Not only is the podcaster (Dustin Milligan) determined to profile the new mayor for his hit podcast, he seems determined to reenter Reagan's romantic life. 

Schmieding and her co-star Kaniehtiio Horn (Feather Day) took their own sides on the love triangle in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, with Schmieding joking she is "personally Team Josh," because she's "a toxic b-." She continued that she can't stay away from a "bad boy," even if the fandom overwhelmingly is rooting for Nelson. "I like to stir it up. I'm here for the drama. I'm here for the conflict," she told PopCulture. 

"I think also Reagan is just kind of, she's a little bit of a messy person. She's not decisive. And that is the reason why we in the writer's room made this little cliffhanger at the end of [the] season because it's always fun to see her sweat," she continued. "It's always fun to see her try to negotiate tricky situations. And here we go again." Horn, who is Team Nelson all the way, joked, "Maybe Feather Day will swoop in and take that Nelson."

Despite rooting for Josh on-screen, Schmieding said she loved working with Goldtooth to create the love story that has fans so invested. "He's so fun and funny. He's the kind of person who is, even though in his working life he's a big environmentalist and an activist, he's born to do comedy," she shared. "The guy is just natural. So it's a complete joy to be able to have rom-com scenes with him because I think it stretches him too, Dallas."

Being able to write and star in these kinds of nuanced stories as an Indigenous woman in Hollywood is an amazing change of pace for both Schmieding and Horn. Schmieding pointed out that before Rutherford Falls, there had been "zero Native women as lead comedic characters in any television show," adding, "I can't believe I get to be a part of it. I truly feel like I'm pinching myself every day."

"I think it's so rewarding to work on a show like this because you're bringing in people from so many different experiences, being in an industry that has largely oppressed us and oppressed our voices," she continued, "and to be shining – it feels like a caged bird, a bunch of caged birds being released into the wild. We just have a lot of pent-up talent and skill that we're ready to exercise."


Horn added that having a cast and writing team that is full of Indigenous people allows for the actors to be "dirty and messy and ugly" just as white comedy actors are so often given the chance. "I feel like when you have a show and there's only one Indigenous character, there's a lot of pressure, not only for your whole community," she explained. "It's like, 'Okay, well, I'm the only character, so I better freaking do it right. I better meet them proud.' But when there's a whole cast of Indigenous people, we can showcase all of the greatness and the ugliness that we are, because we're all human beings anyways. Right?" Rutherford Falls Season 2 is streaming now on Peacock.