“You ain’t going nowhere.”
Meanwhile, Jamie and Victoria drove up to a store to buy champagne to celebrate Jamie’s freedom. But a day-worker outside cryptically tells Jamie his tie is only a cut leash; the freedom was just an illusion. Jamie was disconcerted but brushed it aside. But you and I know this show never said or did anything without reason.
Sure enough, the next day, Sarah Nguyen revealed herself to Jamie and Victoria she was an undercover reporter investigating John Dutton. She told Jamie he can’t win the race without her. She offered Jamie a choice: be the subject of her article or a source.
“When I’m gone, they’ll gobble this place up.”
Elsewhere, Rainwater and Jenkins hammered out the details of their deal. Unbeknownst to them, Avery is listening in as they discussed a four hundred room hotel and their future partnership.
Rip, armed with Avery’s information, tells John. John asked Rip to make these problems go away, far away so they can’t come back. His children weren’t ready to fight for Yellowstone yet.
Beth, annoyed at being left out of the loop, confronted Rip, accusing him of leaving her out for more personal reasons. Rip walked away, repeating once again he doesn’t care who Beth sleep with; he cared about Beth.
“You treat her like a cowboy.”
The episode switched back to the bunkhouse where the boys were playing cards when Rip walked in with Avery. There’s a moment of stunned silence and I was worried they were going to play out the whole woman-in-a-man’s-world trope, but Avery pulled off well on her own here, stoic at the crowd, staked out a bunk bed and pretty much declared she was off limits. To their credit, the cowboys go back to their card games, except for Walker who left the bunkhouse muttering this was the strangest ranch he’s worked on.
Walker finds Beth outside and they talk—among other things—about how they’re both trapped. They want to leave but don’t know how. Beth acted like she’s accepted this as her fate. Walker seemed to struggle with the thought. He distanced himself from the rest of the cowboys, not participating with them or even walking away. I have to wonder how he will play into all of this down the road. He’s a less caustic version of Beth: determined to stay on the outside, the philosophical voice to Beth’s scathing one. The connection these two made was unexpected to me and has the potential to implode or blossom. Unfortunately, given the two’s deep flaws, either route may turn out to be destructive in the end.
The sheriff’s vehicle arrives at the Dutton home with Casey, who was arrested after assaulting the drifter in the previous episode. The sheriff didn’t want to press charges against a veteran but warned John he was still going after Rip. John said Jenkins wasn’t the future, but the sheriff countered there was no way to stop the pirates from coming. John said there was a way if the sheriff had the stomach for it like he once did. The sheriff sounded resigned when he answered that it had nothing to do with stopping men like Jenkins.
Throughout the season, Casey and John have sat down and talked, not quite mending bridges, but extending the possibility of one. Here, Casey sounded defeated when he asked to come home, without his wife and son. He capitulated he knew what John needed, yet as Casey walked away, it didn’t feel like much of a victory for John. He gained one more person to fight by his side, but he might have lost something else in his son.
Meanwhile, Avery fitted in nicely with the boys in the bunkhouse. It’s reassuring to see after that bit of awkward introductions, they fell back into the card playing, ribbing and drinking they enjoyed before. When Casey entered the bunkhouse, there was a funny moment when the cowboys, including Jimmy, warned Casey not to put his hat on the bed.
“I’m ready to go inside.”
Monica and Tate come home to her grandparents. Tate, apparently unhappy, asked how long they were staying, but Monica wasn’t the one to answer. As Tate walked away, crying by the fence, Monica was left on the deck with her wheelchair-bound grandmother. She watched her son and broke down as well, whispering what has she done, as she waited to be taken inside.
Speaking of choices, we return to Jamie fidgeting nervously in Sarah’s hotel room, Sarah and her recorder waiting and Victoria standing over him. He fumbled through his explanation on the choice he made: to protect the legacy, he needed to destroy the man, his father.
Jamie’s situation was a tough one, yet I’m hard pressed to feel any sympathy for the disowned son. His earlier statement that he now felt free from under the Dutton name was spoken too soon. Because here he is, back up into yet another wall by Sarah and Victoria. Both claimed Jamie was doing this for the right reasons; both women have motives we’re still not completely clear on. Sarah said outright to Jamie and to us why she was pushing for this. But is that all there is? And what about Victoria? Her advances to Jamie felt calculated from the start and the look she gave Jamie as he began his interview was speculative.
“It was a convenient opportunity.”
While Jamie was herded into betraying his father, Dan Jenkins was herded into a trap of his own. As he walked down to his car, he was crowded in by Rip and his men. As he tried to make a run for it, he’s blocked off by none other than Casey Dutton. He’s bundled off into the Dutton truck and taken to the woods.
Jenkins is left hanging—literally—in the wilderness. A rope around his neck and astride on a horse, Jenkins tells Casey some hard truths. Rip made sure Jenkins told Casey about the semi hitting John’s truck in the pilot episode and how they were going to price John out of Yellowstone. Rip took the role of an older brother here, showing Casey the hard facts and reality of what they were up against. In a way, Rip shown Casey there was more than one villain in the story.
Before Rip and Jimmy could cut Jenkins down, Casey startled the horse out from under Jenkins. “Let him hang,” Casey told them. He walks away, without a backward glance.
“What matters is that they have a place to sit.”
In the ranch, Beth and John are at the family table having dinner. Or at least John is, as Beth has a moment where she’s struggling not to have a drink. The overhead shot of the table entirely set yet barely filled has its own quiet tragedy. When Beth couldn’t take it anymore—for more reasons than wanting a drink—she bolts outside.
Outside, Beth and John share a rare father-daughter moment. They talked, not shouted and Beth, in her own way, acknowledged she was doing all of this for her father. John Dutton tells her—and maybe to us as well—he’s not going anywhere. This is as close and as emotional as they can be, within the scope of their personalities and tolerance of their own vulnerabilities. We didn’t need a complete breakdown, crying, embracing scene. But what we got between them was equally if not more, satisfying.
As mentioned in the previous recap, this show seemed to love its symbolism. It’s hard to ignore the rumble of thunder hovering above Bozeman throughout the first half of the episode. As John Dutton walks down his land, the skies are now clear, but as the audience know and John suspects, a storm is still coming.
And we’ll see it hit in season two, 2019.
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