Yellowstone: Season 5, Episode 3 delivers the best and worst of Beth Dutton all at once — and I mean that in a good way. Kelly Reilly once again steals the show, giving a performance equal parts manic 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 after kicking the bejesus out of a random bar girl who unwisely put her hands on Rip?
Elsewhere, John (Kevin Costner) continues to ponder his decision to run for governor. Jamie (Wes Bentley) meets Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri); Chief Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) incurs more threats from the ever-spinning Angela (Q’orianka Kilcher), and Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Monica (Kelsey Asbille) mourn their lost baby. It’s just another week Yellowstone.
What Worked in Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 3
- Beth. Everything about Beth worked this week. Rising early in the morning, she puts on a formal dress and a dark shade of lipstick, says goodbye to Rip (Cole Hauser), shares a moment with John (and tells him to get a lady before he gets too old ), and then drives off. to “tie up loose ends”. The loose ends involve a young man named Rob, who looks like the type of Wall Street business magnate who snorts cocaine off strippers in Las Vegas (mostly true). Beth presents a complicated deal to Rob that (long story short) would allow her to avoid any legal action for market shares and place the airport property in a protected easement and thus make it untouchable. ME CEO Caroline Warner (Jackie Weaver) is likely to be fired.
- It’s a great scene that addresses Reilly’s impressive ability to turn clumsy business talk into poetry.
- That was good Beth. Bad Beth roars too loudly in her moment of triumph. Elated, she returns home and forces the Bunkhouse crew to celebrate Lloyd’s birthday at the nearest bar. Rip protests and even orders his wife to stay put, but of course it backfires. Finally, at the Crystal Bar, the group is getting drunk and slow dancing to country tunes (sung by Ryan’s new cowgirl Abbey, played by real-life country star Lainey Wilson). Rip parks next to a post, sees Beth dancing with Teeter (Jennifer Landon), and attracts the attention of a drunken woman who throws herself into his lap. “That’s my wife over there,” says Rip. “I’ll just go and talk to her,” says the woman. “Please don’t,” says Rip. A short time later, Beth breaks a bottle over the woman’s head and knocks 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 take 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 though the perpetrator’s last name happens to be Dutton.
- Beth is a very complex character with issues stemming from her mother and “father”. That’s what makes her interesting. She is 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 and declares that he plans to make a cowboy out of the kid. Carter lingers for a reason, and it’s not like he can take the whole damn Bunkhouse gang to task.
- Speaking of the Bunkhouse gang, we find the motley crew preparing for the day in the bathroom. Teeter candidly shaves his pits while Walker (Ryan Bingham) romances Laramie (Hassie Harrison) in the shower. I love when Yellowstone gives us a good look behind the curtain of 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 unit last tracked the wolf. Rip remains calm even when they try to get him to take them over the mountain. “That mountain killed some damn fine cowboys, and you ain’t no good cowboys,” Rip says. Finally 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 this legal horse shit. She points out that removing the airport is terrible for everyone, especially for the state of Montana. No state tax. How will the state make money without new developments? Jamie doesn’t do much to hide her intrigue, so she invites him to dinner. For all the talk of ravenous wolves sneaking onto John’s ranch, Sarah might be the scariest of all.
- As an aside, I like Sarah so far. She is cool, sexy and calculated. She also comes across as independent and not particularly loyal to any party. All it takes to throw her aside is a cool 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-credits scene, Young John and Young Rip happen across cow carcasses that have been eaten by a wolf (or a massive dog). It turns out that this wolf is making life hell for several Montana residents. Young John wants a check for his lost cattle and a promise from the council that they will do something about the wild animals.
- There is enough drama in the present without these flashbacks. We’re building towards a critical revelation, but this story 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. Deciding that this is the sign his visions spoke of last season, Kayce quits his position as a livestock agent with the Montana Livestock Association. Now what? He needs a job. Chief Rainwater proposes that he take over duties as an investigator for the Montana Department of Justice. Monica cries some more and cuts her hair.
- Kayce started this show as the ultimate badass – an untameable wild stallion with a knack for violence. Why does the show keep holding him back? Monica turned heads with her informative college lectures, but hasn’t done much since her brief stay. Either bring the pair back into the fold or give them something more interesting to do because Rip and Beth are Yellowstone’s ultimate power couple with a wide margin.
- Chief Rainwater continues to do nothing. In this episode, he finds protesters outside his casino and does nothing. He then bumps into the ever spinning Angela Blue Thunder who again threatens him and walks away. What the hell are we doing here, Harry? Chief Rainwater and Angela have been going through the same song and dance for ages to no avail. What does she want? What does he want? Will he finally take action against John? Will she finally take action against Rainwater? Do something that looks like something.
MVP: Beth, though Rip was pretty good in this episode, especially in how he dealt with those rangers. Still, Beth’s delicious takedowns are the pulse that gives Yellowstone life.
Best line: John: “There are some memories fathers should not share with their children.”
Beth: I think we’re way past that, aren’t you, Dad? I think I have told you about everything. Hell, I told you about my first threesome.”
John: “Your what?!”
What happens next: I wonder if Beth’s crazy behavior at the bar voids 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 extricating themselves from tight spaces, and it’s fair to wonder if they’ll panic if the walls close in any further. Does that make them more dangerous or desperate? John seems to sense that his family’s end is just around the corner and does his best to save what he can before it’s too late. Unfortunately, the children make their attempt to ride quietly into the sunset more difficult with each passing day.
As for the wolf story, I’m assuming flashbacks are essential to resolving the current 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 their past sins. Or should I read this plot more carefully?
I’m still deciding where Kayce’s plot is going. Hopefully we won’t have to spend three hours watching him roll around in a blanket by a tree.
Jamie’s story worries me. The man is barely holding himself together; all it takes is a half-baked deal to detonate the Dutton operation. Sarah knows that. She doesn’t have to push too hard to get Jamie to snap. So how much does he give up before Beth chases 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. What happens when everything lines up is anyone’s guess.
Like ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 8 corresponds to “Great”. Although there are a few minor issues, this score means that the art succeeds in its goal and leaves a memorable impact.