Major spoilers for Yellowstone Episodes 1 and 2 follow. If you’re not caught, turn back now.
It’s been over a year since we first saw all hell with a series of coordinated attacks on the Dutton family, and director Taylor Sheridan pulled us back into the drama with the season premiere.
We found John Dutton (Kevin Costner) on the side of the road after men with automatic rifles fired bullets at him. Right-hand man Rip (Cole Hauser) finds his blood-stained body and tied it to his car before heading to the hospital. But first they noticed the message that was scattered in the dirt that described the vehicle the criminals were driving.
The first fifteen minutes were pure carnage, an action-packed expansion of the Season 3 finale. And, while viewers learned which of their favorite characters were still alive, it was hard to tell if the targeted attacks at the Yellowstone Dutton ranch continued.
We returned to Cayce, making good on our Navy SEAL training, skillfully dispatching armed infiltrators using only a handgun, before turning north to stop John’s attackers on the highway. Supported by the police, it is followed by an epic shootout in which each criminal is left dead on the ground. But Kayas also found himself grievously injured after being hit by several bullets.
In Schwartz and the mayor’s office, Beth emerges from the smoldering ruins: scorched, disfigured, but otherwise okay. He’s a survivor! And, as he casually killed a cigarette on the sidewalk, you could say that whoever plotted these murders would annihilate him.
Meanwhile, Kayes has repeatedly urged his wife, Monica (Kelsey Asabil), to go to the bunkhouse. But before she could leave, she was tossed to the ground by a masked man, and the two wrestled fiercely over a gun nearby. Fortunately, his son Tate was handy with a shotgun, and he fired a fatal shot in the abdomen of the attacker in time.
When they finally reached the bunkhouse, we found that no one was safe from the violence against Dutton. And, although Jimmy lay unconscious, Walker, Colby and Teeter overpowered their attackers, leaving one hanging by their necks, a clear testament to their devotion to the farm.
After all that hustle and bustle, a flashback almost led us to snow-capped Montana in 1893. This time James Dutton (Tim McGaugh) and his two children jumped into a calmer, more contemplative mood convened with a group of Native Americans. An English-speaking member of the tribe explained that they wanted to bury one of their dead here on the holy ground where he was born.
James acknowledged being sympathetic to their plight, and offered them food to eat. But it was clear that their lack was the result of settlers like Dutton taking over their ancestral home. While James noted that he did not personally steal the land, the tribal leader said it “didn’t matter. Still took it.”
This 100-year jump, before we returned to the present day—which was actually two months after the opening scene—feeled a bit jarring, as we never returned to the opening episode in this time period. While it expanded upon Dutton’s early relationship with the Tribe of Broken Rock Reservation, the moment later became an integral part of Episode 2’s market equities development drama.
When John awoke in the hospital, we realized that he was unaware of the scale of the attacks on the farm. And, quickly overwhelmed, the doctors opted to calm her down, which sparked another angry outburst from Beth.
As he smoked a cigarette outside the hospital, we were introduced to 14-year-old Carter, played by new cast member Finn Little. He seemed so harsh with life as to be taken aback by his characteristic hostility: After asking what happened to his face, he replied, “What happened to you, you insensitive little fk.” Attractive. Could this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
He later admitted that his father was dying of heroin abuse, and took a kind of pity on him, treating him as a young Rip – an orphan faced with a series of horrific life choices. He was invited with her to bid farewell to his brain-dead father—whose last words were an angry lament when left completely alone—and it was sweet to see his more maternal instincts kick in.
Though the answers weren’t coming out, Sheridan and director Stephen Kay treated us to a swoon. Possibility To find out who put the smack-down on Dutton. A big-mouthed gambler at The Painted Horse Casino reported that he acted as the middleman, adding that “I’m just a party planner, baby. I just put people together.”
She caught the attention of Moe, the bodyguard, who dragged her into the back room. The informant was revealed to be Big Chester Spears: a former Army man with a felony named after him. Chief Rainwater (Gill Birmingham) stressed the importance of finding out who went after Dutton’s land, as he said, “They will come after our next one.” Q Chester was being dragged through rough terrain by a horse until Mo managed to extract some relevant information from him. Unfortunately, it was kept away from the audience.
Meanwhile, John was discharged from the hospital. After being bedridden for two months, he was eager to go back to running the farm, and was excited to shoot his condescending nurse. On the porch with Beth, he nervously spied a camouflaged man waving a rifle, only to realize Cayce was ready for another ambush. Cayce thought they would kill everyone who came after him, but John reminded him that “you have nothing until you find the sender.” At this point, it’s pure speculation as to who they could be.
At 45 minutes, we come to humiliate son Jamie, whose admission felt a bit delayed until, when Beth arrived to reignite their ongoing sibling drama, the Montana Attorney General over the telephone called Real- Called estate mogul Rorke.
She soon becomes unsettled, accusing Jamie of plotting to kill John, Kayce, and herself. The allegation was met with apparent disbelief, raising doubts as to whether Jamie was involved at all. Yet Beth is so convinced that she threatens to kill him herself, rather than “cultivate it like yours, you coward.”
There’s a flick in store that we never saw coming. While Rourke, a Market Equities representative, engages in some peaceful fly fishing, Rip shows up on the riverbank asking if the cooler he has is his. No.
Yet Rip keeps going and gets down in the river. Before Roarke could resist, he threw a furious rattlesnake at his face and Roarke died of the wound in no time.
Perhaps Rip was suspected of involvement in the violent attacks on his would-be wife. Not that Rourke needed an extra motive after he hired Wade to hurt Yellowstone ranchers Teeter and Colby.
With Rourke out of the picture, how will this affect Market Equities’ plan to acquire Dutton’s land? While the show looks like it’s parsing the drama right now, it’s clearly preparing Season 4 for something big.
Elsewhere, Jamie was eyeing 10,000 acres, which he insisted belonged to him and not Yellowstone. Biological father Garrett Randall (Will Patton) was surveying the property with them, providing his thoughts on how to manage it. While father and son have grown closer since their first fateful meeting, where will Jamie’s allegiance be when it matters?
It’s clear that Jamie’s upbringing with Dutton has shaped him significantly—he balks at the suggestion of a farm without horses—but John has repeatedly pushed him aside. Meanwhile, Garrett advises him to be his man and stop living in John’s shadow. But that doesn’t mean Jamie should blindly follow his lead.
Compared to the start of the season, the follow-up to “The Phantom Pain” was pretty restrained. John rode against all medical advice into the Montana Mountains, where Cayce found him luxuriant in healing waters. It offered a tender moment between father and son – until their enemies were spoken to.
Did Cayce think Jamie ordered the hit? Not likely, he said. Jamie only leased the land instead of selling it, which he believed he did “to hold the farm together, and he did it for you.” In addition, the Montana Free Militia had its own objectives targeting the Duttons.
Kayas’ defense of his troubled brother was very poignant. But, as we heard from Chester in Episode 1. some person Hired an outside party to do your dirty work. Either way, John was certain about how to proceed with the remaining militiamen: “We’re going to kill every single one of them.”
One of the highlights was the introduction of the new Market Equities CEO Carolyn Warner (played by Jackie Weaver). He commands authority from his first meeting with Alice Steele, reminding her that “I constantly adjust your timing” when he fails to pre-empt his early arrival. More diplomatic than former CEO Willa Hayes, though no less relentless, he advocated a different approach to getting his way: “feeding people their greed”, rather than inflicting fear.
Additionally, it was interesting to note that Ellis dismissed the violence against the Dutts as “unrelated to our conflict with them”. Are Market Equities Above Cold Blooded Murder? However, Warner did not agree with this.
Inspired by the discovery of Native American artifacts, the CEO hoped to smooth out the palm of the rainwater and swiftly resume construction of his airport. He made a bold offer rather than coercion or flattery. Market Equities will cancel the “cease and stop” order and not only let Rainwater build its new casino, but will fund it entirely. There were only two conditions: to build an establishment for the uber-rich – “a destination for itself” – and quit delaying “the thing that will deliver…”.