There’s one rule on this ranch, Cowboy.
And while potential election tampering was going on, Cowboy was having chow with the other cowboys, except Walker (Ryan Bingham). Walker played his guitar, physically and emotionally, keeping his distance from the others. Cowboy ragged on Jimmy (Jefferson White), but Rip (Cole Hauser) stepped in when he started on the other ranch hands.
You might wanna think about making a U-turn.
Stepping back from the confrontation, Cowboy joined Walker on the grass. It turned out they knew each other in the past. Cowboy said he wasn’t staying long. Walker warned Cowboy Yellowstone wasn’t like any ranch he knew (that’s for sure). Walker hinted that leaving Yellowstone wasn’t as easy as he assumed.
I can’t let him see it catch up to you.
Kayce dropped by Monica’s grandparents in hopes of seeing his son Tate. Monica told Kayce she never intends on keeping their son away from Kayce. “I want to shield him from what you’ve done,” referring to the murder of her brother. (Oh Monica, but that was so last season)
It’s pretty fucking shitty; but it’s great for us.
Back in the ranch Bozeman, Beth meets Bob in a bar (no, no punch line) about her proposal: buying up land and turn it over to the government’s Conservation Reserve Program. They would get paid not to touch the area, which would surround and protect Yellowstone. But does Bob have the money whereas Dan Jenkins had to scrape and borrow for his land deal?
Bob smirked and told Beth to just start buying up land and don’t even bother haggling. Beth may have found a new ally for Yellowstone.
Is it just the one set of testicles y’all share?
Back in the ranch (still not sorry), Cowboy mocked the ranch hands’ mundane Saturday night poker game. He goaded them to play Cowboy poker which basically meant playing chicken with a bull sitting outside on a poker table and see who can stay the longest.
Avery (Tanaya Beatty) turned out to be the winner (if you can call it that). She stayed out the longest, crashing to the ground after the bull rammed into the poker table.
Rip wasn’t happy to see the ruckus; however, he appeared proud when Avery stayed out the longest.
Where’d you learn to cowboy?
The hands went to a bar afterward. Jimmy and Avery chatted by the bar when a man approached Avery, asking if she would like to dance. And Jimmy, stepped in, (everyone inserts an “oh, Jimmy” here) then stepped out into the beginnings of a fight. A punch went Avery’s way and suddenly it was a full out bar brawl.
When Kayce found out about the fight, he alerted Rip. He insisted on coming along when Rip said he’d deal with it.
You’re going to live up to the brand.
Apparently, Yellowstone believes in conflict resolution via the organic way: releasing a sexually frustrated bull into the bar. The bovine distraction drove the patrons out and Rip and Kayce picked off the fighters with Jimmy’s help.
At one point, Rip gave Walker the stick and told him to join in on the fight. Walker refused.
Rip warned the bartender what could happen the next time if he wasn’t told what happened. Kayce added next time he’ll just burn the place down.
I want to watch you dragged from your front porch.
The next morning, John Dutton walked into the local eatery for breakfast and discovered Dan Jenkins eating breakfast. Pretty hungry for a dead guy. Apparently, someone cut Jenkins down, but he didn’t call the cops. He wants John to watch as Yellowstone is taken out from under him.
Dan commented on John’s dead son. John warned Dan he should have gone to the sheriff after all because the next time, he wasn’t cutting Dan down. Dan appeared discomfited, briefly touched his neck but stayed at his table as John walked away.
My anesthesia’s for cattle.
John returned to the ranch where Jimmy was doing untoward things to the bulls. Despite its somewhat icky nature that involved long latex gloves and a whole lot of biology, the scene of the ranch hands joking and teasing was heartwarming to see.
That warm moment abruptly turned when John Dutton suddenly collapsed, his mouth full of blood.
Well, the bright side, you don’t have cancer. Not dying yet.
In a flurry of activity a medical drama could ever wish to pull off so spectacularly, Rip and Kayce carried John into the vet’s trailer. John’s secret about his colon cancer clumsily came out as they tried to figure out what was wrong. It turned out it wasn’t cancer, but an ulcer that had burst.
There wasn’t time to get John to a hospital and they’re forced to cut John open, (without anesthesia, ow) cauterized the ulcer, stick a bandaid over it and get him to the helicopter.
Trust me, I’m doing you a favor by glossing over it. Whatever I say here will not do justice to the scene that managed to shock me more than Jenkins’s hanging last season. Even as John and Kayce flew to the hospital, it still felt like you’re hanging on for dear life.
That might be worse.
“A Thundering” proved last season was not a one-off. The show was able to punch forward the drama and brilliant acting, present the harsh and often non-political correct reality, lacquered with the backdrop of wildness so many want to either save or corrupt.
Both Rainwater and Beth Dutton planned to use loopholes as their weapons of choice over Yellowstone. Whether an accidental or intentional commentary, the strategies suggest this battle over the Dutton ranch was far from over. The killing (or non-killing) of Dan Jenkins last season was a shock, but the reveal Jenkins was still alive eclipsed that. And I can’t help feeling Dan Jenkins was now going to be more dangerous than ever.
So much to undo.
The revelation John Dutton might be around a while longer than he thought has the potential to ripple throughout the season. Last season, he took a reluctant step back in hopes of showing his children how best to defend Yellowstone. It backfired with Jaime. Sort of worked with Beth. The jury is still out on Kayce with his new rough talking bravado.
Yellowstone managed to pull off one hell of a premiere, very much like last season. The episode required a bit of suspension of belief (bull in a bar, making to Arizona from Montana, really?), but not much. The acting still stood out, almost visceral in the collected performances. The breathtaking landscapes and dreamy slow-motion scenes of ranch life romance you, almost making you forget the ugliness of those who walk with two feet. Almost.
“A Thundering” reminded us what Yellowstone can deliver. The episode started out with a murmur of a dream. And finished with, well, thunder.
Here’s to a brilliant premiere. I’m looking forward to seeing what else is in store for the Duttons.
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