TV Recap: Yellowstone (Episode 204) – All The Angels Are Gone

Yellowstone
“Only Devils Left” (Episode 204)
July 17, 2019

Last week on Yellowstone, things continued to spiral for the Duttons. Kayce was introduced to the Livestock Association, a law enforcement agency of which his father is the Commissioner. Danny Jenkins and Thomas Rainwater announced a joint venture to open an off-reservation casino and hotel. This news raised the ire of the Beck brothers, shady mafia types who paid Danny a threatening visit. The Governor and John had a meetup to discuss old times and new. And Jamie bowed to family pressure and dropped out of the AG race. Catch up on all of the action from last week’s episode with our deep dive recap and review here.

All caught up? Good, cause the action and suspense are high in tonight’s new episode of Yellowstone, “Only Devils Left” … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Kayce’s (R-Luke Grimes). Paramount Network.

Tonight’s episode begins in one of the Dutton pastures at night. A cow is staring at you as we see a large herd just chillin’ and eating. Overhead, a skydiving plane, the kind with large bay doors on the side, is passing the pasture as men drop hay bales down among the livestock. The cattle run over and immediately dive into the unexpected treat.

Manna from heaven, y’all.

I’m no rancher, but I have been around enough hay in my life to know the color it should be. By the moonlight, this hay is very green, when it should be more yellow. Something isn’t right here. The plane flies off. Now we know the Duttons have helicopters on the ranch, but an airplane to feed cattle green hay in the middle of the night? Sketchy!

The next morning, Kayce and Rip are riding along the fence they were building a couple of weeks ago, repairing weak points. Kayce tells Jimmy to ride up ahead to find the next break in the fence line. Alone, Kayce asks Rip’s opinion on the different hands they work with, like Jimmy and Walker. (Does that make it dyn-o-mite? Sorry, I digress. Showing my age here!)

Rip clarifies that these ranch hands work for Kayce, not with him; there’s a difference. Rip continues, saying these are not questions for him to answer, rather for Kayce’s father. Rip says it’s not his place to say which of them are better or favorites. By the by, this is literally the most dialogue Rip has had in a scene this whole show.

A bit ahead, Jimmy calls back to Rip and Kayce that, “this cow looks kind of funny.” Sure enough, a cow is standing in the field, a big belly on one side, breathing heavy and mooing feebly to the air. Rip and Kayce take off after the cow on horseback. Rip lassos the cow around the neck and Kayce lassos the rear hooves to control him as Rip says he has to stab the cow in the rumen to relieve the pressure.

Kneeling next to the bloated cow, Rip asks Jimmy to for wound dust out of his saddle bag. Rip takes out his knife and stabs the cow in the rumen unleashing a spray of air and blood. The cow lets out a pained cry. Jimmy asks how this can happen?!? Rip is baffled, there is no alfalfa grass around and the grass they’ve been eating was dry, with no frost the previous night.** Kayce moves to the edge of the hill, leading down into the main pasture, a horrified look on his face. Rip sees this and follows Kayce. The entire pasture is littered with hundreds of their cattle, all fallen over and not moving.

“Oh my God.”

Paramount Network.

Opening credits.

The Governor’s Office. Beth, Jamie, and John are with the Governor and soon to be ex-Attorney General Stewart (Timothy Carhart). Cassidy Reid arrives, she’s late, and greets everyone. The Governor lays out the plan: AG Stewart will step down, Lynnette will appoint Cassidy as AG, effective immediately (read: ahead of the election) and then she will run unopposed. They discuss plans for a swearing in and Beth makes an ostentatious display of asking Jamie if he’s free Friday, basically pointing out to all in the room he’s unemployed now.

Jamie excuses himself to take a call as AG Stewart offers to start briefing Cassidy on the pressing legal matters he is handling for the state. Jamie returns and gets his father’s attention. Clearly annoyed at the interruption, John asks his son, “who died?” Jamie clarifies not who but what.

The Ranch, Pasture.  John is in the field, surveying the dead cattle. Lloyd approaches, showing John the offending feed that wiped out a significant part of the herd. John sniffs it and immediately knows what it is.

“This is a crime scene. Jamie, get livestock agents out here. Everyone walk away.”

John, in full Commissioner mode now, starts barking orders to get the pasture as secure as possible so evidence is preserved. He tells Kayce that whatever other fight they’re involved in, this is the only one that matters now. John tells his son that he’s positive who did but now, they need to prove it.

Dan and Thomas are talking as they head to the groundbreaking ceremony for the casino. Dan asks if Thomas knows the Beck brothers? Thomas is even in his response about them, telling Dan they run a lot of gas stations and slot machines in the state. And one brother hands out the state liquor licenses. Thomas doesn’t see this as a problem because once the reservation annexes the land that the casino and hotel are on, the state will be out of the equation. Dan is miffed, stating that land annexation was not part of their deal. Thomas is all, “this is EXACTLY what the deal was, Dan.” He explains to the dim witted white man that this is a dream come true for them: no building permits needed to build and all of the gaming, liquor and operating licenses will be issued by the tribal gaming commission. Dan’s camp thinks this will anger a lot of people and put Dan in danger. Thomas recommends Dan get a security team, like he and all the major players have.

Thomas addresses the assembled crowd for the groundbreaking, explaining that his people have been the custodians of this land going back centuries and now they are reclaiming said land. Off to the side, Dan’s advisor, Doug (Michael Todd Behrens), whisper shouts about how their contract with the reservation becomes invalidated the moment the land is annexed.

“You familiar with the term Indian-giver? Well this is the opposite.”

Back at the podium, Thomas publicly claims the land the casino will stand on to be under the purview of the tribe.

Paramount Network.

Dan realizes he’ll lose everything if Thomas goes back on his word but Dan wants to trust Thomas. Thomas invites Dan to help with the ceremonial first dig. As Dan gets up, Doug whisper shouts that this is a metaphor for Dan digging his own grave. Dan spots a photographer in the distance and becomes uneasy.

Sometime later, a reporter is interviewing one of the tribal leaders in opposition to Thomas. He questions how many casinos are really needed and if that’s the best way to serve their people? Malcolm and Teal Beck (Terry Serpico) are watching the news coverage on TV. The reporter announces that the casino grounds were annexed by Thomas during the ceremony and she wonders aloud in her report what authority the state liquor board has now? Malcolm does not look pleased at this development. Malcolm asks Teal to find out who the contractor is so they can find a less subtle means of expressing their displeasure. Seems Dan didn’t really understand the threat of their first message.

The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.  The investigation in underway at the Dutton ranch. The sheriff, Donnie Haskell (Hugh Dillon), isn’t buying John’s crime theory, hypothesizing with no evidence of people coming into the pasture, the hay would have had to fall from the sky. John insists this is exactly what happened. The sheriff asks who would do this?!?

John suggests it was the Sheriff’s “golfing buddy” and Jamie proposes that a skydiving plane could have been used. He explains that those kinds of planes could carry the weight and have the side doors enabling access. Sheriff Donnie tells John he has no jurisdiction, the cattle fall under John’s scope within the Livestock Association. John acknowledges this but says Donnie can help by giving him deputies to use for the investigation or deputize John’s men. Starting with Kayce. Donnie scoffs, given the recent bar brawl. John reminds the sheriff that he wouldn’t be sheriff without him and his support.

“Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there’s a war going on in this valley. Today is day you choose sides.”

The Sheriff acquiesces, telling John he’ll issue the permits today but warns John to corral Kayce in his use of force. If Kayce pulls his weapon, he better have an ironclad reason to do so.  As Sheriff Donnie leaves, John calls after him that he expects the Sheriff’s office to provide backup if backup is requested.

Alone, John tells his sons to find the evidence proving who did this (John remains mum on the name he is thinking about) and when they do, “drag him by the hair” back to John.

Commercials.

A Bar. Dan and Doug are having a drink, discussing the turn of events from that morning. Doug proposes Dan ask for an amendment to the agreement. Dan scoffs at this idea.

“Should I make him pinky promise that he won’t fuck me?”

The Ranch.  Jamie is conducting his investigation into the type of plane that could have been involved and searching for sky diving places. He calls  Kayce about places he should go to for the ground investigation. In the course of their discussion, Jamie asks Kayce when was he going to mention that the Ranch was put into a trust, complete with Kayce’s signature? Kayce is all, “?!?” After they hang up, Jamie starts swearing aloud about Beth.

His tantrum is interrupted by a call from Sarah Nguyen (Michaela Conlin), which he ignores. You’ll remember Sarah from the last season as the reporter Jamie spoke to about his father … in not the greatest of terms. Listening to the voicemail on speaker, Sarah says she wants to confirm a few details as Beth walks in. Jamie cuts off the voicemail but Beth heard enough to ask who Sarah is and why its making him so jumpy?

Jamie deflects, saying she scared him (no shit, she scares everyone). Jamie confronts Beth on the trust and why he is excluded from it?!? Beth cuts Jamie down in her wonderfully vicious way, telling him she doesn’t think he can swallow his pride from the recent Attorney General race enough to be a contributor to the family and frankly, she doesn’t think their father will ever trust Jamie again so … what exactly is Jamie’s purpose?

Jamie counters that he thinks the trust was Beth’s idea so she could control the money to purchase the various ranches around Yellowstone, showing her the documents he found. As the manager of the Ranch’s finances, Jamie says he needs to know how big an investor in these purchases the ranch is? Beth confesses they are in for $5 million but says the risk is mitigated. Calling her brother a chicken shit and equating Jamie’s balls to “the size of quail eggs,” Beth says that Jamie should have invested the money years ago … maybe then, their father wouldn’t be so desperate for cash every Fall.

Jamie’s anger is rising and he chases her out of the room, reminding her that money is over half the ranch’s cash. What are they supposed to do if cattle prices drop in the autumn?!? Hmmm? Jamie reminds Beth that there’s supplies and payroll that the ranch owes and after all that, there is nothing left. He adds that the Ranch hasn’t turned a profit in 6 years. (Which kinda validates Beth’s point about the lack of investment when times were better…)

Paramount Network.

Jamie reminds Beth that they now also have a few hundred dead cattle rotting in a field and that represents half a million dollars alone. He exclaims she’s fucked them over. Jamie demands she remove the trust ASAP. Beth sighs and sees what Jamie is trying to do.

“You think you’re going to get him to trust you by making him not trust me? I wish you and your bird balls the best of luck.”

Jimmy’s Family House. You remember Jimmy’s not-friends from last week, Blake and Miscreant #2? Well, they pull up to Jimmy’s father’s place. Blake asks Jimmy’s father to pass on a message to Jimmy and proceed to beat him senseless. They’re kicking the shit out of an old man as the soundtrack is playing a song with lyrics about Johnny Cash. Blake tells Jimmy’s Dad that he’s giving Jimmy a week to get him the money owed. Nice Guys.

The Ranch.  John is sitting on the porch as the sun sets. The death toll on the cattle keeps rising; Lloyd reports they found 360 more. Rip says they dropped those bales all through the valley; they should move the cows out to a different pasture up in the mountains. John states that clover is going to take root in the Spring and just make it worse. He recommends they burn the field. Rip cautions that they need to avoid starting a forest fire but John says he’ll get the fire department on site to monitor things.

“Burn it.”

Commercials.

The next morning, John and the Ranch hands are finalizing preparations for “Operation: Burn the Field.” Jimmy’s father shows up at the, all bruised and cut up from his altercation with Blake. He asks his son how much he owes? Jimmy responds $8,000. Neither Jimmy nor his father have anywhere near that, but Jimmy assures his dad that he’ll get it. Jimmy’s father says they threatened to beat him again if he doesn’t pay in the week. Dad leaves and Avery asks if he was beat up because what they did back at the store last week. Jimmy responds it was because of what he did. Interesting.

I’m still intrigued he knew what to buy in the store the last episode when Jimmy met Blake. I need more details here about Jimmy’s shady past!

The University.  Monica is teaching her class about ‘Ocean Water.’ It’s a mixture of Lysol and water, drank in lieu of alcohol (which is banned on reservations). Her hottie patottie physical therapist is sitting in the back of the class, smiling and silently cheering her on. Monica continues her lecture, explaining that Ocean Water is used as an escape from the deplorable conditions the people live in. She tells her class that their job is to be like Sherlock Holmes: investigate the past to understand the present.

The Ranch.  The Beck Brothers pay a visit to Yellowstone. They poke around the front of the house after a knock on the door goes unanswered. Rip rides up, looking like a bouncer, asking what these men are doing there? Teal responds that they’re looking for John Dutton.

“Who’s looking for John Dutton, we don’t know you?”

The Becks’ security don’t like Rip’s posturing and get out of the car. One comes up behind Rip asking him to step back. Rip turns suddenly and drops him to the ground. Another henchman comes up and is also beaten by Rip. The first one to drop pops back up with a gun pointed at Rip. While Rip is taunting gun-wielding Henchman #1, Henchman #2 whacks Rip in the back with a tire iron.

Rip drops to his knees, coming back up flinging dirt in the face of his attacker. He gets behind Henchman #2, pulling the man’s gun out of his hand and using him as a human shield. Stand Off!

Just then, John rides up on horseback and knocks gun wielding Henchman #1 out of the way. Jamie, in the office, hears the commotion and runs outside.

“Mr. Dutton. It seems all the stories I’ve heard are true.”

Paramount Network.

Jamie comes outside with his hands up asking everyone to remain calm, he says they were expecting the Becks. Jamie starts to introduce the Becks to John, but Malcolm takes over saying he apologizes for any misunderstanding. They need to speak, Malcolm says because they share a problem.  John, ever the loner, says his problems “are squarely my own.”

John isn’t comfortable enough to let them into his home, but he is willing to talk under a tree a little aways. The Becks walk on ahead as John wheels on his son asking what the hell this is about?!? Jamie explains they called 15 minutes ago, he didn’t think they meant to meet right now. John tells Jamie that he’s taking the meeting alone, but Rip goes with John.

Oh Jamie, burn!

Noticing that Jamie isn’t coming along, Malcolm asks John if he wants his lawyer present. Nopers.

“This don’t feel like a lawyer meeting.”

Teal compliments Jamie’s ability as a litigator, but John is quick to move onto the business at hand. Complimenting Jamie is never the way to John’s good side. What is this supposed problem?

Malcolm describes the casino coming to the valley as having a negative impact on both their businesses. Long story short, in 5-10 years time, the casino will lead to other massive intrusions into the land around the Dutton Ranch. Maybe a ski resort comes in which will lead to a rash of secondary homes being built. Whatever it is, it’ll be a knife to the heart of a ranch like Yellowstone. John is aware of all of this, go on.

Malcolm is frank that his office has no jurisdiction over the Indian casino and John has no jurisdiction over things like land or eminent domain. And, John’s new AG won’t be able to stop it. Teal offers to partner-up and John replies he doesn’t need partners. Teal mentions that Dan Jenkins has a partner in the Reservation and the way they are handling the casino and the annexing of the land, its forcing them to fight this “outside the lines.” Malcolm suggests they and John are natural allies.

“There’s no part of your business that benefits ours, and vice versa.”

Teal adds it’s a zero sum game. Malcolm hopes he’ll consider their offer to join forces. John says he’ll consider every offer and choose the one that’s best for his family and if it winds up helping the Becks, it’ll be a coincidence. The snarl that accompanies that statement is bone-chilling. John walks away and Rip goes to follow him, but not before insulting Malcolm’s lariat by telling him that’s not how you’re supposed to wear one of them. He has such an evil grin on his face, too.

The Beck Brothers leave as the Duttons stand on their porch, defiant. Jamie warns that doing business with the Becks is like making a deal with the devil.

“All the angels are gone, son. There’s only devils left. At least they admit it.”

The University.  After class, Monica and her therapist chat. He’s impressed but cautions Monica to not only teach the tragic or else that’s the only way their people will be seen. He suggests she take the class on a field trip to the reservation for the relay races; show the students their tribe’s culture. She says she’ll talk it over with the administration.  Changing topics, he asks if she’s up for a walk to their therapy session? Visibly awkward and uneasy, Monica abruptly cancels therapy that day. As he leaves, she runs her finger over her wedding ring. There is clearly chemistry between them, but Monica is definitely conflicted over the state of her marriage.

On the road, Kayce is on his first assignment as a Livestock Association agent, investigating the Dutton cow assassination. He’s with a uniformed officer who hypothesizes whoever did the cows dirty didn’t get the plane from skydivers. Kayce is skeptical that this tactic, visiting different ranches, will yield any results in the investigation. Kayce gets a phone call and asks the Officer to pull over. It’s Monica, she tells him she’s lonely. He asks her if he should come over? She doesn’t say, “no.” He tells her he loves her and she wishes that was enough.

That was the saddest booty call, ever.

Commercials.

The Dutton Ranch Office. John, Jamie and Beth meet with Cassidy to discuss an investigation into the new casino and the annexation of the land to the Broken Rock tribe. Cassidy is unsure if an injunction would hold up and if an investigation is wise given the bad press it might encourage. Beth’s sole purpose in this meeting is to impeach her brother’s credibility.  Because, she’s got it out for Jamie. She asks Cassidy if Jamie’s prior knowledge of the raid associated with the violation would be in any way of a problem should Jamie be asked to testify?!? Rut roh.

Cassidy rescues Jamie’s hide by saying attorney-client privilege would safeguard him against any issues. Beth probes deeper but John cuts her off. He silent whispers to his daughter to stow her shit because this isn’t the time or place for it.

John invites Cassidy to stay for dinner and shows her the way, leaving Beth and Jamie alone in the office. He’s livid, asking her what she’s trying to do to him?

“I’m going to get you disbarred, you spineless piece of shit. You should never have come home.”

Beth stops Cassidy from sitting in Kayce’s seat and directs her to the next seat, which is where Jamie usually sits. John gives Beth the side eye, wondering what she’s up to. Jamie comes in a moment later, sees the lay of the land. He moves to the seat next to Cassidy and Beth warns him not to fucking dare, rather to come sit next to her. Jamie is unsure of what to do until John tells him to sit down, agreeing with Beth. Beth looks delightfully malicious.

John asks Jamie vaguely if Kayce found anything out by Three Forks and Jamie replies there’s nothing there. Beth butters her bread as John turns the conversation to Cassidy and where her family hails from? Beth finishes buttering her bread and tucks the knife under her leg on the side where Jamie is sitting. As Jamie sits down, Beth sticks him with the knife to get him away from the table. After Jamie hastily excuses himself, Beth says “he has Celiac disease. He gets an upset tummy.”  In the bathroom, Jamie tries to get his shit together.

Monica’s New Pad.  Later that night, Monica is in a towel after a shower, walking down the hall. She checks in on Tate who is sleeping peacefully in his bed. Monica answers a knock on the door and it’s Kayce. He comes in and they get back together … in a Biblical sense. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

[Ed. Note: I LOVE that Monica answered the door in the towel. My kind of woman.]

Sometime later, post-coital, Tate walks in on them laying in bed together. He’s thrilled to see his father there and climbs into bed with them.

The Ranch.  The next day, Kayce is giving John the update on his investigation. Kayce checked all the manifests for all the airstrips in the country. John tells Kayce he’ll be riding with Livestock Agent Steve Hendon (James Jordan). Kayce is not thrilled with this Livestock Association assignment and asks if John needs him on the ranch today. John tells him to just find the plane.

“If you find anything don’t confront anyone. Call the sheriff for back up. Everything by the book.”

Kayce’s smart response is he doesn’t know the book. John responds that’s why he needs to call the sheriff, “it’s their book.”

Kayce and Steve are heading to investigate airstrips when they get a diversion call about a dead cow on another ranch. Kayce protests, but Steve is insistent that this is part of their investigation. They are out investigating airstrips because of dead cows. They head to the Paulson ranch.

The Paulson Ranch. A dead cow is cordoned off. The ranch owner, Randy Paulson (Paul Howard Smith), is concerned it was a wolf, although he throws in a dig at his neighbor, Jerry Hayes. You see, anytime Jerry has had a cow die, he hacks them up and blames wolves (to get state compensation), but now that there are actually wolves in the area, Mr. Paulson can’t tell if its wolves or Jerry? Because Jerry has cried wolf so many times, the agencies that investigate this type of loss and fraud don’t come out anymore.

I believe Mr. Paulson, for what it’s worth, that a wolf took out his cow.  There’s an animal print in the soft grass and mud next to where the dead cow is.

Agent Steve asks Kayce if he knows Jerry. Kayce doesn’t and Agent Steve responds that Jerry isn’t worth knowing. Agent Steve calls in the dead cow and requests Sheriff’s back up to meet them at the Hayes place. While Agent Steve is on the radio, Kayce talks to Mr. Paulson about ways to cover his fields while the dead cow is investigated. Kayce recommends he get some mean mules to help out the cattle in the fields until he can get back to tending to them.

Paramount Network.

Commercials.

The Hayes Ranch.  Steve and Kayce follow up on Mr. Paulson’s tip about known ne’er-do-well, Jerry Hayes. Before they enter the property, they await back-up from a Sheriff’s deputy which dispatch eventually tells them isn’t coming.

Jerry (Don Harvey) sees Kayce and Agent Steve and approaches them … aggressively. Agent Steve says he heard Jerry lost some cattle to wolves and Jerry wants to know from whom he heard that? Steve asks to see the dead cow but Jerry responds that Fish and Wildlife already saw it.

Kayce and Steve walk up to where the dead cow is. One leg looks bloody and pretty mangled. Jerry is kinda twitchy and annoyed at Steve and Kayce’s presence. This cow isn’t cordoned off the way the Paulson cow was.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no one has been out to Jerry’s ranch for this cow.

Knowing what they were told about Jerry crying wolf, Kayce wanders off to the barn to snoop. Twitchy Jerry is not pleased by any of this and starts to follow Kayce, asking where the fuck he’s going? Steve has his hand on the holster of the gun and tells Twitchy Jerry to chill. In the barn, Kayce finds a bloodied weed whacker. He comes back to Agent Steve and Twitchy Jerry, murder weapon in hand.

“I found your wolf.”

Agent Steve, relishing this moment, tells Twitchy Jerry he’s been waiting a long time to say these words to him: “you’re under arrest.” Jerry is all, “bitch please” with his face, and walks away. Agent Steve tackles Twitchy Jerry to the ground, accusing him of resisting arrest as he squirms (this gives Agent Steve cover to use force).

*click*

Approaching this melee is Jerry’s teenage son, Luke (Jae Head), shotgun loaded and raised.  Kayce remains very calm and explains that Twitchy Jerry is just going to make a quick stop at the jail, get processed and then released for a future court date. No Bigs and Definitely not worth killing over.

Before Luke really has a chance to process Kayce’s words, Steve gets his gun out of the holster and aims it at the kid. Twitchy Jerry tells his son to put the gun down. Steve tells him to put the gun down. Luke gets jumpy at the shouting and tenses up, which moves the gun up. Steve unloads a few rounds in Luke’s chest. The kid is dead before Kayce and Agent Steve cover the distance to him. Jerry is distraught. Steve screams he had no choice as he completely freaks out.  Kayce isn’t buying it and cannot believe what’s happening.

“You keep telling yourself that.”

Paramount Network.

The Ranch.  John is in the field with the wranglers, prepping for the controlled burn. The cows are still strewn about the field as they douse the field with gasoline. Colby hooks a hose up to the stream as a precaution. John gets a call from Kayce about what just happened on the Hayes ranch.

The Hayes Ranch.  John arrives at the crime scene and makes a bee line for Kayce, asking him who pulled the trigger? Kayce responds that he doesn’t have a gun but that’s not what John asked, was it? Kayce says it wasn’t him. Next most important question from John’s point of view, was the shooting justified? Kayce responds that it was justified but has more doubts about whether it was right.

“Right and wrong is so far away from this place I don’t think it factors in at all.”

Paramount Network.

John approaches Agent Steve about why he didn’t call for backup?!?  John is pissed, but trying to maintain his composure to make sure his guys are covered as best he can. Agent Steve responds John that he radioed for back up to the sheriff multiple times and the requests were denied.

Which is when Sheriff Donnie shows up and starts getting all shouty.

“What did I say, John? One fucking day on patrol, one day!”

John’s measured response to Sheriff Donnie is to punch him in the face. Donnie lands on the ground. John spits at Sheriff Donnie that he gave John his word about providing backup and Donnie broke it.

Sheriff Donnie, not done yet, shouts back that this is all, “over a fucking cow” but dude, c’mon, this is NOT about a fucking cow.  John tells Sheriff Donnie this happened because Donnie denied the backup requests. John says a show of force from the Sheriff’s office would have changed the whole situation.

“So you wanna blame somebody? Then you blame yourself, you son of a bitch.”

Later, a news reporter (Kari Hawker-Diaz) is reporting from the Hayes Ranch about the shooting death and the Livestock Commissioner quote that the sheriff’s office refused to dispatch backup to the scene where an investigation was being made on false claims of cattle degradation. The Becks are watching this report on the news and Malcolm has an idea.

“I know how we can help John Dutton.”

The Ranch. It’s night time in the infected pasture. John arrives back in the field as the wranglers fiish the burn prep. Rip asks his boss, if “everything is alright?” John just hangs his head, cause, man, what a loaded question that is. John’s response to Rip, “burn it.” The wranglers fire up the flamethrowers and light the gasoline laced field. As the firelight, lights his face, the episode ends with John looking very, very weary.

Paramount Network.

End scene.

**  Cow Biology Time. The rumen is part of the cow’s abdominal tract and when a cow eats certain types of greenery, like alfalfa grass, gas can build up and get trapped. If the gas can’t be passed through normal bodily functions like belching, it can ferment and make the cow really sick. The abdomen gets distended and blocks digestion. If not addressed, the swelling of the gas trapped in the rumen can lead to death, with the rumen pressing on the lungs causing suffocation. Typically, a small puncture to the rumen might be enough to relieve the gas.

***

Thoughts.

The tactics the Duttons employ in protecting their empire would leave several hardened mafia men looking a little green behind the ears. John is definitely not afraid of throwing his influence around to get what he wants. We’ve already seen this with the Attorney General race where he brutally undermined his own son to get what he wanted. Tonight, John bold-faced told the sheriff to do what he wanted regarding the cattle assassination to get his livestock officer’s deputized the same day. The fact that things went so South on that front is not going to bode well for the Sheriff going forward. Not with the news report at the end of this episode quoting the Livestock Commissioner, who is also John Dutton, as blaming the Sheriff for failing to send backup when multiple requests were called in. The spin on this is so easy for John and will easily distract everyone away from those hearings Cassidy is trying to move attention away from. Convenient.

Jamie in a suit in the middle of the field of dead cattle seems really out of place. Dude, you’re out of the AG race and been out for a while. He looks even more ridiculous when he’s late to the Beck Brother’s arrival, asking everyone to calm down. Time to retire the Brooks Brothers, friend. But, I suspect that Jamie is not so multi-faceted as to be able to transition to a less-professional role. His confrontation with Beth regarding the trust should have indicated to Jamie just where he falls in the family. His father has taken some major steps to shut him out and the proverbial shit hasn’t even hit the fan yet with Jamie’s extra-curricular activities (hiya Sarah, nice to hear from you tonight). The article that has been hinted at will be released imminently and Jamie is scared.

The Becks partnering with John is a powerful force and a smart business move on the part of the Becks, given John’s reach in the state. Not to mention his cozy relationship with the Governor. I don’t think Dan will stand a chance now that he’s pissed off the Duttons and the Becks. Malcolm is pretty hellbent on getting on John’s good side. He even sees a way to help him following the Luke Hayes death. He’s so conniving, you can’t help but like him just to see what he’s going to come up with.

The teenager dying was truly unfortunate. I’ll say that I think that Agent  Steve was a little too twitchy. I think Kayce was using some good tactics to de-escalate the situation. It got out of hand quickly. It’s a little unsettling that Malcolm and John are going to benefit from this tragedy.

Rip is so fiercely loyal to John. In the meeting with the Beck Brothers, the meeting was over after John’s snarl about his decisions will always be best for his family and if it benefits anyone else, that’s a coincidence. John had already walked away, but Rip had to put the exclamation mark on it by insulting Malcolm’s lariat. His devotion to John is deeper than John’s own children and I suspect we’ll learn more about what John means to Rip as the season goes on. Who else would withstand a demotion on the scale Rip has endured if John didn’t do something extraordinary for him?

Kayce and Monica are making amends, but I don’t know how genuine it is. I think Monica is seeing something in her therapist and clearly he’s interested. He’s from her tribe, so there’s the similarity in their cultural traditions. He also hasn’t had a black eye or punched anyone in the whole time she’s known him, indicating a level of adult interaction and good anger control. So there’s that too.

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

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Thank you for reading! Follow us on social media for all your Yellowstone updates. On Twitter @popcultureview and Instagram @pop_culture_review. Follow me on Twitter, @SheilsMcGangsta. See you next week for the mid-season explosions and implosions on Yellowstone!