“This f—ing day.” That line by John Dutton (Kevin Costner) sums up Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 4, which started strong but petered out midway through with one too many filler bits. Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth (Kelly Reilly) fight, John grumbles about his new job, Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Monica (Kelsey Asbille) mourn their child, Chief Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) stands around, the Bunkhouse Gang does some cowboying in a montage, Rip (Cole Hauser) acts like a badass, and Jamie gets drunk and boinks the enemy. Just another day in Yellowstone.
What Worked in Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 4
- Beth chills in a jail cell alongside another gal recuperating from her run-in with the law. The pair chat about Beth’s reasons for getting locked up. “Some bitch from California tried to f*** my husband,” Beth says. “It’s always some bitch from California,” the girl responds, echoing my feelings on the NBA after every season.
- Beth gets hit with a heavy dose of reality in this episode. Too often, she strides with her shoulders back, nose stuck in the air, confident the universe operates at her beck and call. Instead, she discovers Jamie’s child (aptly named Jamie Jr.) and earns a reprimand from her father during Kayce and Monica’s ceremony. “Impulse control,” John says. “Find some.” Outside of Jamie’s petty acts, the only thing capable of bringing down the Duttons is Beth’s manic behavior.
- Beth threatens to snatch Jamie’s kid — “God gave you a boy?!” — which prompts our tortured dude to flip the f*** out and nearly run down his sister with his car. I understand why Beth hates Jamie, but she must comprehend how dangerous this guy is. Keep pushing, and Jamie will eventually push back, except harder and with far less control. How long will Taylor Sheridan keep adding fuel to the fire before he blows the whole thing up?
- Jamie reminds us why he’s a tremendous legal mastermind in a subplot that, frankly, felt like the long way around to get Beth into her brother’s vehicle so she could see the car seat. Jamie pummels Beth’s bruised and battered victim (the lady who hit on Rip last week) with lawyer speak and gets her to drop all charges within minutes. His keen eye for legal matters is almost as thrilling as Beth’s business sense.
- At this point, John is a walking political slogan: “When the educators’ luncheon is about teachers, I’ll go,” he snaps, a cowboy hat perched on his head. “Why do my policy advisors have policy meetings without me?” Every line uttered by John gets an amen from me, and I love the bit where he fires his entire policy committee for making bad policies without him. He saves the state millions in salary but will likely feel the sting of severance pay. Later, he asks Lynelle Perry what the point of his position as governor is. “All I do is go to middle schools,” he growls. She gives him a pep talk, noting that a visit from the governor in middle school inspired her to run for office. That’s fair, but John (and, by default, Sheridan) have a point: politics make little sense.
- The Wolf Saga continues as the Fish and Wildlife boys arrive in John’s office and ask about the dead wolves. John makes a phone call to Rip. “Have we had any wolves messing with the cattle,” he asks. “Wolves? No, sir,” Rip replies over the speaker. John hangs up. “There you have it.” I love John’s no-BS approach to everything in his life.
- This episode leaned hard on the children of our characters. Beth’s rage stems from her inability to have kids; Kayce and Monica lament the loss of their child; later, Rip worries about how the current state of the world will affect future generations. “It breaks my heart,” he says. “Hell, I don’t even have any kids.”
- The not-so-subtle theme of Yellowstone and its prequel series, 1883, is the idea that the next generation is never as good as the one that came before, primarily due to the changing world around them. In 1883, James and Margaret Dutton (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) contended with their progressive daughter Elsa (Isabel May); the upcoming 1923 likely focuses on Jacob Dutton’s (Harrison Ford) dealings with his son, John Dutton Sr. (James Badge Dale). Yellowstone explores John’s tumultuous relationship with his three remaining children. The Dutton family crumbles the more society intrudes on their property.
What Didn’t Work in Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 4
- Stop me if you’ve heard this: Kayce and Monica glumly meander about the wilderness and perform a sad ceremony for their kid. I honestly don’t care about either of these characters anymore.
- Sarah Atwood seduces Jamie in a scene ripped straight out of Basic Instinct, replete with silly dialogue and over-the-top sex. Naturally, Beth secretly watches the scene and sees the family’s new enemy. Yellowstone continues to let Jamie make bad decisions to justify Beth’s rabid hatred. How much more interesting would the show be if Jamie, I don’t know, was a good man rather than a slimy weasel? Don’t get me wrong, I love the fiery relationship between Beth and Jamie, but there’s only so much a writer can do with that material. Having Jamie change for the better would make the situation much more complex.
- The montage sequence felt forced on this go-round and all but killed the episode’s momentum. What’s more, the Bunkhouse Gang left no impact on the story. We have yet to see our motley crew do anything substantial this season. Even the wolf subplot feels more like a Rip problem than a Colby and Ryan one, while fan-favorite Teeter has spent her brief screentime shaving her armpits and playing cards. Where is the fallout from the bar fight? Are Colby and Ryan lying awake at night, worried about getting arrested for killing those wolves? Is Lloyd 100% square with Walker? I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Jimmy and his silly side stories. Hell, I miss the days when our Bunkhouse Crew had more to do.
- Also, what’s going on with Travis (Sheridan) and the whole make money via the rodeo subplot established last season? Is Yellowstone doing well financially? I need something, people!
- Chief Rainwater continues to do nothing. He approaches John during Kayce and Monica’s ceremony but remains oddly disconnected from the main plot, even though the loss of the airport undoubtedly impacts his casino. I’d like to see him take more action on the Duttons.
- Summer Higgins (Piper Perabo) returns to pleasure John some more. I can’t say I was excited to see the character, but at least she knows what she’s getting herself into in Round 2. “Think of all the hard work I did to put you in prison,” Beth snaps. “Think of all the hard work I’m doing to stay out,” Summer replies before rejoining John in the sack. This episode had a lot of sex — not gratuitous Season 1-2 sex, mind you, but people were bumpin’ uglies all over the place. Unfortunately, no one was having fun. Sarah’s bathroom fling with Jamie was all business — at least for her — while Summer merely placates John to keep her ass out of jail. Do better in bed, Yellowstone.
MVP: Um, no one stood out this week. Beth was too disheveled to make much of an impact, while Jamie was too Jamie. Rip had nothing to do with the episode, and John meandered in and out of scenes without purpose. Shout out to John’s assistant, Clara (Lilli Kay), for putting up with the newly elected governor’s shenanigans.
Best Line: “I am the wrath of a woman scorned. Call it what you will,” Beth responds when asked if she’s a criminal.
What Happens Next: Again, I’m still determining. This episode didn’t move the needle in any direction. In fact, this season has yet to establish an actual plot. Things happen in each episode, but it still feels like Sheridan is serving up entrees before the main course. At this point, we have three essential storylines: A) John’s role as governor; B) Beth vs. Jamie; and C) Sarah vs. the Duttons. Due to his actions, John will face direct opposition as governor (maybe even from Jamie). Jamie will strike back at Beth and win a few rounds before his sister dismantles him for good; Sarah will appear to gain the upper hand on the Duttons, only to realize she has walked right into Beth’s trap.
Of course, this can only happen in the final two episodes, so we must endure more filler content until Sheridan finally lights the fuse.
Final Thoughts: While not a bad episode of Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 4 felt more filler than necessary.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 7 equates to “Good.” A successful piece of entertainment that is worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.