TV Recap: Yellowstone (Episode 203) – Different Never Works …

“The Reek of Desperation” (Episode 203)
July 10, 2019

In the last episode of Yellowstone, the Dutton’s plot continued to thicken. Beth is making moves to bolster the security and future of the ranch by making spectacular offers to local land owners and terrorizing hated real estate agents. Girlfriend has some snark in her. And Kayce was promoted to running the ranch’s operations, at Rip’s expense. John’s health scare breathed new life into him now that the diagnosis wasn’t as life threatening as it could have been and he starts physical therapy to start taking care of himself. We have a detailed recap of the second episode here.

All caught up? Good. Read on below because we’re saddling up for Episode 3 of Yellowstone, “The Reek of Desperation” … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Paramount Network.

Tonight opens with the wranglers moving the cattle across the Ranch. John asks Kayce where he wants to move the cattle (which grazing pasture) and Kayce eventually comes up with the answer John was looking for.

“The whole world is a test, son. Don’t ever let it trick into thinking different.”

Test passed, John tells Kayce to join him at a Livestock Association meeting. Kayce says he will after the cattle have been moved through. This makes John laugh because Kayce’s about to learn how little ranchers actually handle the cattle … “wranglers get to have all the fun.”

Paramount Network.

The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.  Cut to Kayce giving the wranglers the game plan for moving the herd to Pasture 9. There is a lot of heckling and back talk from the men to Kayce. Rip shuts up the jibber jabber with a statement about how Kayce gave them instructions and its their job to do it, and shut up.

When the wranglers head out, Rip sidles up to Kayce and gives him a bit of advice about being wary of asking the wranglers questions, cuz they’ll never stop. Rip added that whatever Kayce needs to get done, just let him know and it’ll get done … the wranglers won’t question Rip.

Zing. Are we still keeping score with these Rip zingers?

Kayce tells Rip he needs to earn the men’s respect. Rip replies that if Kayce lets him handle the wranglers, the men will come around. Kayce asks him to get the cattle out to Pasture 9 and Rip can choose the way. Rip stops him there and says no, Kayce chose the way and no one should question him and rides off. Lloyd is closing the gate and offers his own wizened advice to Kayce, reminding Kayce that he was a ranch hand long enough and he should know who to talk to. Kayce tells him he’s trying to do things differently. Lloyd scoffs.

“Different never works.”

Paramount Network.

Opening credits.

Offices of Broken Rock Confederated Tribes.  Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) is with Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) for a signing ceremony. The new casino development is moving forward and Thomas is very pleased. Members of the press are brought in for the presentation of the large ceremonial check [Ed. Note: Who doesn’t love a big check, amiright?]. Paradise Valley Capital Development is receiving $160 million from the Broken Rock Confederated Tribes in order to pursue casino plans. Interestingly, the check is dated September 17, 2019 so we’re living in the slight future right now.

Paramount Network.

Governor’s Office. Jamie is with Governor Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz-Grillo) who tells him he’s no longer running unopposed in his race. She shows him Cassidy Reid’s campaign announcement video. Jamie looks like he’s seen a ghost, telling Lynelle that this was his announcement speech. It dawns on him the reach his father has. Lynelle tells him he’s getting a crash course in politics and lesson 1 is that there is a fundamental difference between running for office and holding an office. The Governor elaborates that holding the office is a matter of wisdom and well thought out decisions. Running for office is a bit different.

“It is a zero sum game and winning is the only thing that matters.”

Jamie is trying to process all that has happened in just the last moments as the air was sucked from the room for him. The roller coaster continues when he’s brought in to meet with Thomas who promises Jamie a guaranteed loss if he walks out the door without hearing what Thomas has to say. He guarantees a win if he plays ball.

The Governor tells Jamie his best option is to run as an independent for Attorney General. Doing so, and jumping into bed with Thomas, will give Jamie a new platform to run on and a new funding stream. Thomas wants tribal issues to get the attention it deserves in exchange for his, um, “support.” Jamie is uncomfortable with this and asks for some time to think about it.

Paramount Network.

Offices of the Livestock Association. Kayce shows up to the Livestock Association meeting. John has an office there as the Livestock Commissioner. Kayce gets finger printed and hands his driver’s license over to a very official looking agent, for inspection. John tells Kayce that he’s going to have to go to the police academy if he wants to hold the commissioner’s office someday, as it’s a law enforcement position. John explains he’s not giving up the office any time soon, as he’s not planning on dying as quickly as he thought. John continues to explain the commissioner’s office and position are how he’s going to be able to protect the ranch and others like theirs.

Kayce will need to earn the trust of the ranchers in the Association. The agent with Kayce’s license calls in Kayce’s information to a Bureau and the report comes back clean with no priors that would interfere with this moving forward.

Side note: How Kayce has a clean record baffles me?!?

Kayce’s cleared to start doing ride-alongs and further training. Kayce asks to speak to John alone for a minute and the agents excuse themselves. Kayce is reluctant to go through with this because he won’t pass a polygraph and a psych eval. John reassures him he won’t have to do those. But, since he mentions it, John asks his son why he think he wouldn’t pass a psych evaluation? Kayce responds, “my whole life.” He’s such a Debbie Downer.

Kayce goes to the Chatuau Normandie, clearly looking for an address given the scrap of paper he’s looking at. This is definitely University housing. He knocks on an apartment door and Monica answers. She invites him in. He thinks the set up looks permanent and she tries to tell him it’s just an apartment.

They’re so uncomfortable around each other.

Tate runs in and asks to show his Dad his new room. Tate invites him to sleep over in his new bunk bed. Kayce walks back to Monica and inquires how she is affording this? She explains that the University provides a spending allowance for housing. Kayce leaves her some money on the table and she’s reluctant to accept it. Kayce explains that she’s his best (only) friend and he doesn’t know how to be without her. She responds that he’s her best friend but, “something had to change and instead of changing, you just … you’re working for your father.”

Monica implores Kayce to fight for the life he wants and to stop running away from responsibility. Tate comes into the room, upset they are fighting. Kayce leaves, but not before telling Monica that she didn’t ask him to fight for what he wanted, she asked him to leave. If she wanted different, she should have asked for it.

That’s some weak sauce, Kayce. A total cop out, friend.

The Governor meets John in a bar they both remembered used to be a grainery. John reminisces about when she was Lynelle the Rodeo Queen. John’s version of flirting is very different from the kind of flirting I’m used to. He struggles to pronounce Gewürztraminer wine and tells her, “my father fought these bastards and now we’re drinking their wine.” Classic Xenophobic John!

John offers Lynelle the flight of wine in front of her and she wonders if she’ll need them all? He playfully responds that he’s only just getting started with her. She tells him that he’s now put her in a position where she has to fight him because of the Attorney General mess and his son. The Governor tells John that the Attorney General is meant to do her bidding, not his.

“Jamie was a convenient way to serve both our needs.
…The only thing that matters to him is approval.”

John knows Jamie will get elected and that he’s too swayed by popularity to be effective. John’s plan is have him step down once elected. She’s curious as to how John will work that but that’s not important, what IS important is that she not fight John on it when it comes time.

Their collective cutthroat behavior comes out when they divulge that they don’t really talk to their families about anything that matters to them, just what they need to get from them, akin to “employees we’re related to.”

John tells Lynelle that his kids’ mother died in front of them, so that’s how their day starts out for them. He doesn’t need to ask them. Lynelle wonders how life turned out his way and he tells her it turned out just as he thought it would, except for losing his wife. The speed of drinking has increased and when the bartender asks the Governor if she wants another flight, Lynelle weighs her options.

“Fuck it. [Turns to the bartender] You didn’t hear that.
No ma’am.”

Next we see, the two are kissing and pushing through the door to Lynelle’s office. They start to get it on as John’s cowboy hat comes off … that’s when you know it’s serious. They lie down on the couch and … she pumps the breaks. She asks John if he’ll ever fall in love again and he tells her no. He adds that having children and thinking of their best interests complicates the whole “living for yourself” part. She asks if he’s okay with them not screwing?  He handles it well but says he doesn’t do well with surprises.

“I’m 63 years old, it takes everything a while to wake up and a while to go away.”

Lynelle is upset, thinking about her dead husband and wondering why it still hurts after 10 years?

“That’s how you know it was true love.”

They cuddle on the couch. Aww, these two (horrible, horrible) people.

The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.  Rip is out feeding horses and Beth finds him, asking why he’s doing it? He responds plainly that it’s his job. She wishes he didn’t let Kayce win and he’s less plain saying how does she know he let him win. She gives a look and then says she wishes Rip had beaten Kayce so bad that he would have left and never returned. Rip tells her he missed doing this chore and it was the best part of his day.

Beth gets nostalgic (two episodes in a row!), remembering he was doing exactly this when she met him for the first time. Right on this spot. She’s confident that things are going to fall apart with Kayce in charge. She suggests that there are other ranches Rip can go to but he’s not interested. Beth marvels at his devotion.

“Look what loyalty have given you, huh?”
“Yeah, it’s awful, ain’t it?”

Rip ends with a little chuckle as the camera pans back into a glorious Montana sunset. Beth doesn’t get Rip … as Rip has been revealed in these last two episodes. She just assumes he has the same baggage with the Duttons that she clearly carries around.

A blond, well-dressed woman is walking quickly and with purpose through an office holding a newspaper. She drops it off on a desk. The office is bedecked with so many deer heads and other dead things it could be mistaken for a taxidermist’s studio. A polished, impressive looking business man (we’ll learn his name is Malcolm Beck (played by Neal McDonough)) is doing an important sounding call with someone named Mark. His associate drops the newspaper on his desk. Impressive Looking Business Man reads the headline about the new, lucrative casino being built 30 minutes from the national park and has a confused.

“Who the fuck is Danny Jenkins?”

Paramount Network.

Two shady looking fellas, lets call them Miscreants #1 and #2 for now,  are in a hardware buying up copious amounts of acetone and ammonia. One of them spots a cop and gets panicky. They abandon their cart full of flammability.

Jimmy and Avery are outside the same hardware store and have to pick up a few things for the Ranch. Jimmy offers to help her with the heavy items in the back of the truck if she’ll run in and get the stuff they need. Avery says she can do the heavy lifting, it’s the job, and chastises Jimmy for his jeans not fitting right.

“You look like Eminem at a hayride.”

In fairness, I get why Avery is so uptight and defensive. It’s hard to be the only woman in a heavily male-dominated industry, especially one with such a high degree of testosterone. But, Jimmy is like the nicest of all the ranch hands, lady. Cut the guy a break. Don’t be a dick all the time. 

The Miscreants are in the parking lot asking the passersbys for some help and then heaping insults on them when they’re ignored. Jimmy comes walking up and Miscreant #1, Blake (Ryan Dorsey), recognizes him, asking where Jimmy’s been? Jimmy tells Blake he’s working at the Yellowstone Ranch now. Blake reminds Jimmy about the money Jimmy owes and rather than have him pay him, Blake would like Jimmy to do a little shopping on his behalf.  Blake tells Jimmy he doesn’t need a shopping list, he should know exactly what to get.


Jimmy enters the store and heads to the aisle with the ammonia and acetone, picks up a bottle of ammonia. Next, he’s walking fast out of the store with just the two bags he had in his cart, what he’d initially gone in for. They look like two big bags of rocks masquerading as the fence clamps he went in for. Blake is irate and screams for Jimmy to go back inside and get the stuff the Miscreants need. Jimmy pushes past Blake and Miscreant #2, telling Blake “fuck you.” Blake knocks off Jimmy’s hat.

Oh, it’s on now. I’m a city slicker and even in know that’s fighting words.

Jimmy bends down to put his hat back on and comes up swinging the bag of rocks, I mean fence clamps, clocking Blake in the face. Jimmy races to the pickup truck, yelling for Avery to get in and drive. Blake and Miscreant #2 bust the passenger side window, unlock the door and begin punching Jimmy in the face. Avery is still not driving. She yells for Jimmy to close his eyes and sprays all three of them with bear spray (Jimmy did not close his eyes in time). The three men scream in pain but her plan basically works as Miscreant #2 and then Blake, eventually fall off the truck as it speeds away.

The Rec Center. Monica is back at physical therapy in the water. There’s a bit of chemistry brewing between her and her therapist. She gets out of the water and tells him that she’s married. He seems so sweet and normal. Like someone who hasn’t been in two massive brawls in two weeks. Just saying.

The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Lloyd is in the front of the ranch and happens upon Avery and Jimmy cleaning the truck out and Jimmy washing out his eyes. Jimmy said a can of bear spray accidentally went off. Lloyd insults Jimmy, “you ain’t got sense enough to pour warm piss out of your boot.”

Jimmy proves why he’s a lovable favorite by understanding that was an insult but not understanding how the context could ever make sense.

“Like I understand the insult … but why is there piss in my boot?”

Avery is endeared to Jimmy’s dorkiness. Jimmy totally thinks he has a chance now. And, of course, he sneaks a peek at Avery’s ass as she leans over the back seat of the truck.  [Ed. Note: To be fair, it’s a very nice ass.]

Offices of Paradise Valley Capital Development. While Danny Jenkins is admiring his  hotel casino model, Malcolm Beck and his brother, Teal (Terry Serpico), pay him a visit. They’re impressed with the casino model, sarcasm dripping from their mouths at every compliment. Malcolm says to Danny he must be the guy who “fucked with John Dutton” and brings up the hanging. Beck makes clear that he isn’t with Dutton but is aware of him and they don’t cross paths.

“Thriving in Montana is all about staying in your lane. We don’t go into his and he’s never been in ours. But you have.”

Paramount Network.

Danny senses where this is going and asks how he came into the Beck’s lane? Malcolm tells Danny that opening an off-reservation casino and partnering with an Indian tribal nation brought him to their attention. Teal  circles in for a swipe at Danny now, thinking he knows that the tribe will annex the land for the reservation upon completion of the deal. The Brothers Beck tag team Danny in a practiced (and sinister) way.

They intimate that the Indian tribe will steal the place out from under Danny and he’s had about enough of this bullying. Danny assumes these two are competition and they’re angry about the new project. Danny goes on the offensive, shouting and threatening them with court being his course of action.

“I’ll take the Pepsi challenge with your backwards lawyer any day of the fucking week.”

The Brothers Beck are smiling like the cat who ate the canary. They’re not done dropping bombs yet. Teal properly introduces Malcolm as the Head of the Montana Liquor Board.

Oh, Shit.

Danny looks at the floor. Ruh roh. Malcolm now has a shit-eating grin on his face. He tells Danny his liquor license will be revoked for his current properties in the state and promises that one will never be issued for the new hotel casino venture as long as it remains with the Tribe. The Brothers Beck suggest Danny go into business with them and get himself extricated from the Indian nation deal.

Malcolm, as sinister as can be, takes his leave of Danny with the notion that he has lots to think about. The Brothers Beck exit. Smug bastards, all, I tell you. Danny is livid and shouting about playing dirty. He busts up a bit of his model.

The Model didn’t do anything to you, Danny. Yeesh.

Jamie is talking through his dilemma with Christina as they prep dinner. He can’t have his campaign funded by his father’s enemies. She defends Rainwater as a good man despite the label from Jamie as an enemy. She suggests forming their own anonymously funded PAC. Jamie’s face registers high in the skeptical department at this idea.  

“Defying my father to run was one thing. Running against him, funded by a man who has attacked our family, that’s something else entirely.”

Christina tells Jamie he needs to find his compass if he’s going to be able to hold the office. He leaves, telling Christina he has to go for a walk. 

Offices of Schwartz and Meyer.  Jamie’s walk leads him Beth’s office. She greets him “warmly.”

“For someone with no spine, you sure got a lot of balls.”

Jamie asks her to set aside her feelings for him and asks her to remember they’re family. She pontificates that people use that word to get absolution from people whose lives they’ve ruined. Jamie implores Beth for guidance, despite being sabotaged by her and their father and their candidate selection.

Beth taunts her brother, asking if he thinks she picked a good one and maybe Cassidy will hire him as a clerk because no one researches like him. He’s swallowing his pride to not respond. Instead, Jamie shows her the newspaper clipping of Thomas Rainwater and tells her that he is Jamie’s donor. Beth shifts to condescending pity mode and tells Jamie he’s not a politician. And she doesn’t think these backers have Jamie’s best interest at heart.

“You reek of desperation and they can smell it.”

Beth finishes her guidance by telling Jamie to think about the people in his life and doing what is best for them.

Christina wakes up the next morning and finds Jamie laying on the couch. He tells her he won’t do it. She misunderstands him thinking he doesn’t want Rainwater’s donation and is okay-ish with this. No, Jamie means that he doesn’t want to play dirty against this new opponent, it would just be a fight against his father. Christina is now not okay at all. Livid, she agrees with Beth that Jamie is a chicken. Then she throws him out. Her ambition is higher than his. Christina tells Jamie to tuck tail and  run home to his “suicide waiting to happen sister” and “monster of a father.”

And so he does …

The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. It’s dinnertime and the Duttons are served grilled octopus. John looks like an alien has landed on his dinner plate. Beth explains that this is a Mediterranean diet because she can’t handle another steak.

“My next colonic will need to be done with a fucking firehose.”

John asks how her day was and she dives into some work details. He stops her to correct himself to say that’s not what he meant, he actually meant how was her day. Beth looks at Kayce across from her, unsure of what to say.

“Sobriety is bliss. What can I tell ya?”

John turns to Kayce and asks him about his day. Kayce is not biting. John asks him if he likes the dinner and Kayce, in true assholeyness, tells John that he doesn’t care what he eats. Jamie walks in just then to ratchet up the uncomfortable factor to 11.

Paramount Network.

Jamie announces he withdrew from the race and Beth gives him an odd look, not sure if it’s mocking or sincere. John invites Jamie to sit down to eat, which seems to be massively amusing to both Kayce and Beth. She takes a fit of laughing at the situation and John leaves the table.

John steps outside. As the sun begins to set on this beautiful vista and we see Rip heading in from a long day of chores, John allows himself an emotional moment. He looks to the sky with pain and anger on his face.  

“Goddamn you for leaving me.”

End scene.



The quotable lines in this episode were off the charts this week. Between Lloyd’s “warm piss in Jimmy’s boot” to Beth’s “fire hose colonic,” I’m in zinger heaven. This isn’t even counting all of Rip’s one liners.  

Kevin Costner’s portrayal of a rough rancher and the tough life associated with it is so perfect. He’s affected his voice to have a raspier, more gravelly tone that lends itself well to the harsh lifestyle associated with a rancher. His voice sounds as weather-beaten as an old pick up truck on the ranch somewhere. It gives a further degree of credibility to his character as a lifelong Montana cowboy full of hot summers and harsh winters, all out there in the elements. And then, that moment at the end of the episode. There’s turmoil below that even-keeled facade. This train is hitting some bumpy track and looks to be headed for a derailment if things don’t improve. 

Jamie’s discomfort with the turn of events and having to have Thomas Rainwater backing him was evident in the meeting with the Governor and you could see he was sorry that he opted into this race at all. His family’s betrayal in swiping his announcement spiel and losing the platform he’d crafted knocked the wind out of his sails. The ick factor was pretty high with Lynelle and Thomas ambushing him. Then, the meeting with Beth where she basically fried his innards. Jamie is not the strongest Dutton, I’m sorry to say. 

The conversation Kayce had with Monica had all the awkwardness needed for that dramatic moment. But, Kayce, man you just don’t get it. When she tells you to leave for turning out exactly like your Dad and you leave her to go to work for your Dad … don’t be surprised when she’s not receptive to you.

Relationships are complicated enough without one party having the emotional depth of a puddle. I’m not buying for one minute that Kayce’s a bit confused that Monica told him to leave but she didn’t actually want him to leave. No one is that dense. I know he loves his son and I know he loves Monica, but, he also doesn’t know how to talk out his feelings. We’ve seen more violent fighting episodes than lucid dialogue from Kayce thus far to know he’s better with his fists than using his synapses to convey thoughts. Maybe he does need that psych eval after all. 

I’m still trying to figure Rip out. Tonight was the second straight episode deep profundity when he chances to utter words from his stoic countenance. He’s fiercely loyal to John Dutton and despite Beth’s pleas for him to make an exit, he stays. Doing the same work he was doing as a ranch hand from many years prior seems to bring him peace.

Things are getting nice and messy. We’re in the thick of it now! 


Yellowstone airs Wednesday nights at 10pm (ET/PT) on the Paramount Network.

Thank you for reading! You can follow up on social media for up to the minute updates on all things Yellowstone and loads of other content to fulfill all your pop culture needs. On Twitter @popcultureview and Instagram @pop_culture_review. Follow me on Twitter and Insta @SheilsMcGangsta. See you next week for the next installment of Yellowstone!

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