Yellowstone: Season 5, Episode 3 delivers the best and worst of Beth Dutton in one go — and I mean that in a good way. Kelly Reilly once again steals the show and provides a performance equal parts maniacal and measured, explosive and tempered. What else can you say about a woman who wakes up early in the morning to put on lipstick for a business meeting in Salt Lake City and goes to bed in a jail cell having kicked the bejesus out of a random bar gal who unwisely laid her hands on Rip?
Elsewhere, John (Kevin Costner) continues to ponder his decision to take up the Governor’s chair. Jamie (Wes Bentley) meets Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri); Chief Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) incurs more threats from the always-snarling Angela (Q’orianka Kilcher), and Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Monica (Kelsey Asbille) grieve for their lost baby. It’s just another week in Yellowstone.
What Worked in Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 3
- Beth. Everything about Beth worked this week. Rising early in the morning, she slaps on a formal dress and a dark shade of lipstick, bids Rip (Cole Hauser) goodbye, shares a moment with John (and tells him to get a lady before he gets too old), then rides off to “tie up loose ends.” Said loose ends involve a young man named Rob, who looks like the type of Wall Street business tycoon who snorts cocaine off strippers in Las Vegas (this is mostly true). Beth presents a complicated deal to Rob that (long story short) would allow her to evade any Market Equities legal action and place the airport property into a conservation easement, thus rendering it untouchable. ME CEO Caroline Warner (Jackie Weaver) will likely get sacked.
- It’s a terrific scene that caters to Reilly’s impressive ability to turn clunky business talk into poetry.
- That was Good Beth. Bad Beth roars too loudly in her moment of triumph. Elated, she returns home and coerces the Bunkhouse crew to celebrate Lloyd’s birthday at the nearest bar. Rip objects and even orders his wife to stay put, but naturally, this has the opposite effect. Eventually, the group is at the Crystal Bar getting liquored up and slow dancing to country tunes (sung by Ryan’s new cowgirl Abbey, played by real country star Lainey Wilson). Rip parks next to a post, watches Beth dance with Teeter (Jennifer Landon) and draws the attention of a drunken woman who throws herself into his lap. “That’s my wife over there,” Rip says. “I’ll just go talk to her,” the woman says. “Please don’t,” Rip quips. A short time later, Beth cracks a bottle over the woman’s head and slaps her around like a slab of meat. Everyone joins in, resulting in a comically outlandish bar fight ripped straight out of Steven Spielberg’s 1941. The police arrive, assess the situation, and decide to haul Beth to jail on aggravated assault charges, despite Rip’s demands. Sheriff Ramsey, you see, is a hard ass with no patience for violence, even if the offender’s last name happens to be Dutton.
- Beth is a highly complex character with issues that spring from her mom and “daddy.” That’s what makes her interesting. She’s brilliant, sophisticated, ruthless, and loyal but ultimately flawed. Her family brings out her best and worst instincts. I’m not sure there’s a single person alive on the planet with the wit or cajones to take her down, but this is Yellowstone … anything can happen.
- Rip spends quality time with Carter (Finn Little). Their relationship this week felt closer to where we left them last season than what we saw in Episode 2. Rip even invites Carter to ride with the crew, declaring he plans to make a cowboy out of the kid. Carter is lingering around for a reason, and it’s not so that he can smoke the whole f*****g Bunkhouse gang in cards.
- Speaking of the Bunkhouse gang, we find the motley crew preparing for the day in the bathroom. Teeter candidly shaves her pits while Walker (Ryan Bingham) romances Laramie (Hassie Harrison) in the shower. I love when Yellowstone gives us a good peak behind the curtain at the cowboy life.
- The fascinating wolf subplot from last week introduces a pair of US Fish and Wildlife agents who order Rip to take them to the pasture where the GPA device last tracked the wolf. Rip remains calm, even when they try to get him to take them over the mountain. “That mountain has killed some damn fine cowboys, and you ain’t good cowboys,” Rip says. Eventually, he breaks free from the group, and the camera ominously pans down to a track in the mud. I don’t know what this means.
- Elsewhere, Jamie meets Sarah Atwood, who seduces him with compliments (“You’re better than I thought you’d be”) and then dismisses all of this legal horse shit. She points out that nixing the airport is terrible for everyone, particularly the state of Montana. No state tax. How will the state make any money without new developments? Jamie does little to hide his intrigue, so she invites him to dinner. For all the talk about ravenous wolves sneaking onto John’s ranch, Sarah might be the most frightening of all.
- As a side, so far, I like Sarah. She’s cool, sexy, and calculated. She also appears independent and not particularly loyal to any party. All it will take to toss her aside is a fat check. Maybe.
What Didn’t Work in Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 3
- The episode opens with Young John Dutton (Josh Lucas) dealing with his own pack of wolves. In a pre-credit scene, Young John and Young Rip happen across cow corpses eaten by a wolf (or massive dog). As it turns out, this wolf is making life hell for several Montana residents. Young John wants a check cut for his lost cattle and a promise from the council board that they’ll do something about the wild animals.
- There’s enough drama in the present without these flashbacks. We’re building towards some critical revelation, but this storyline seems more like an excuse to give Josh Lucas something to do. Did I say that last week?
- Kayce and Monica plan their son’s funeral/ceremony to send him to the afterlife. Kayce decides this is the sign his visions last season spoke of and gives up his position as Livestock Agent of the Montana Livestock Association. So, now what? He needs a job. Chief Rainwater suggests he take over duties as Investigator for the Montana Department of Justice. Monica weeps some more and cuts off her hair.
- Kayce started this show as the ultimate badass — an untamable wild stallion with a knack for violence. Why does the show continue to hold him back? Monica turned heads with her informative college lectures but hasn’t done much since her brief stint. Either bring the pair back to the fold or give them something more interesting to do because Rip and Beth are Yellowstone’s ultimate power couple by a wide margin.
- Chief Rainwater continues to do nothing. In this episode, he finds protestors outside his casino and does nothing. Then, he bumps into the always-snarling Angela Blue Thunder, who again threatens him and walks away. What the hell are we doing here, Harry? Chief Rainwater and Angela have gone through this same song and dance for ages with zero payoffs. What does she want? What does he want? Will he finally take action against John? Will she finally take action against Rainwater? Do something resembling anything.
MVP: Beth, though Rip was pretty great in this episode, particularly in how he handled those rangers. Still, Beth’s delicious takedowns are the pulse that gives Yellowstone life.
Best Line: John: “There are some memories fathers shouldn’t share with their children.”
Beth: I think we’re way past that, don’t you, Daddy? I think I’ve told you about everything. Hell, I told you about my first threesome.”
John: “Your what?!”
What Happens Next: I wonder if Beth’s mad behavior at the bar nullifies her deal with Rob. One thing I like about this show is how actions, no matter how small, have consequences. The Duttons are used to weaseling their way out of tight spaces, and it’s fair to wonder if they’ll panic should the walls close in further. Does that make them more dangerous or desperate? John seems to feel his family’s end is right around the corner and is doing his best to salvage whatever he can before it’s too late. Unfortunately, the kids are making his bid to ride quietly off into the sunset more difficult with each passing day.
As for the wolf storyline, I assume the flashbacks are crucial to solving the present-day situation. Rip and John have spent some time thinking about that moment, which means they did something terrible and will either A) use the same method to get rid of the latest problem or B) confront the sins of their past. Or do I need to read this plot more carefully?
I am still determining where Kayce’s plot is going. Hopefully, we don’t have to spend another three hours watching him roll around in a blanket by a tree.
Jamie’s storyline has me worried. The man barely holds himself together; all it would take is a semi-good deal to detonate the Dutton operation. Sarah knows this. She won’t have to press too hard to get Jamie to snap. So, how much does he give up before Beth hunts him down?
Final Thoughts: This was a good episode. Not as good as last week’s chapter, but good. It feels like the pieces are sliding into place. Now, what happens when everything aligns is anyone’s guess.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 8 equates to “Great.” While there are a few minor issues, this score means that the art succeeds at its goal and leaves a memorable impact.