TV Recap: Yellowstone (Episode 206) – Something Kills Us All …

Yellowstone
“Blood the Boy” (Episode 206)
July 31, 2019

Last week on Yellowstone, we got some interesting backstory on the origin story of Rip and Beth. In the present, Jimmy tried to earn cash to pay off his debts but fell further behind. Kayce continued investigating the mass cattle killing, absolving Jenkins after a violent interaction. Monica was impressed by her Physical Therapist. And, Jamie, well, Jamie got himself into all sorts of hot water with his sister AND his father. Catch up on all of the action from last week’s episode with our deep dive recap and review here.

Now, on to tonight’s all new, and EPIC, episode of Yellowstone, “Blood the Boy” … BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!

Photo: Paramount Network

Flashback Time! Jamie as a teenager is bright eyed and optimistic, not the beaten down, kicked dog we see in modern day Jamie. Jamie is in the corral watching the cattle when John comes up to him. John asks Jamie what he wants to be when he grows? Jamie replies, “you.” This gets a chuckle from John. John got Jamie into Harvard. Jamie doesn’t even know where Harvard is? John tells Jamie this this the way to be him … become a lawyer that can help him protect the ranch. Jamie protests because he knows John doesn’t respect lawyers. John counters this (true) statement by telling his to become a lawyer he can respect. Lawyers are the “swords of the century.” John needs Jamie as a resource. 

Photo: Paramount Network.

The Ranch.  Modern day Jamie whispers to himself he doesn’t deserve this as he walks into his father’s office following the revelation he spilled the beans to a reporter. John supposes he’s the one to blame for Jamie being so angry as to do something like this. John says the only people Jamie really hurt and put in jeopardy are his brother and sister … and their future,

“You don’t get it. You gave her a thread. She can weave into anything she wants.”

John suggests Jamie talk to Sarah to find out what she wants to do with the information. If it’s to ruin him, Jamie is to act like his “fucking lawyer” and sue her back to New York.

Opening Credits.

Thomas Rainwater’s Office. Teal and Malcolm Beck are there to meet with Rainwater. They have a nice segue from the previous scene where Jamie is off to Harvard and Teal commenting that Rainwater’s posh set up is what an Ivy League education gets you.

Thomas enters with a bit of an entourage. Malcolm launches into Proposal A, casinos don’t make money off of table games, they make money off of sheep feeding slots.

Thomas is unimpressed and disagrees to boot. Thomas shows the Becks a video clip of one of his dealers, with 9 1/2 fingers, who brings in oodles of money weekly. Now that Malcolm’s opening volley has been rejected, he starts with Proposal B.

Malcolm brings up Dan Jenkins and says it with venom. He asks Thomas what value Jenkins provides now that Thomas has taken away Dan’s land?!? Rainwater is mildly amused at being courted, or rather, subject to subtle and not so subtle threats. Teal tells Thomas him and his brother will do better by him than Jenkins.

Thomas is not currently looking for partners. The Becks want to partner with the Reservation to exclusively lease slots to the casino. Thomas calls them out, announcing they’re trying to bribe a public official in his office in front of witnesses. Malcolm plays his ace in the hole, the Becks know how to deal with any problem the casino might have.

“Whatever it is, we know know how to negotiate it. Make it stay far away.”

The casino is still 18 months away from opening and there are lots of obstacles to overcome, Malcolm continues. The Becks promise to make Rainwater’s life miserable unless they have a reason not to and right now, they’ve got no reason.

Threats made, the Becks leave. Thomas remarks to his entourage that the Becks are scared.

Photo: Paramount Network

The Ranch.  Lloyd is showing Jimmy different jobs on the ranch. Right now, we’re watching a horseshoe being heated and fitted. Jimmy is focused on earning extra money. Lloyd asks what kind of trouble is he in.

“The kind that takes money to fix.”

Lloyd suggests he look at an upcoming horse bucking contest at the fairgrounds. Stay on for 8 seconds and get paid! More if you stay on the longest. Lloyd adds that bucking horses is about all he’s seen Jimmy do well at and Jimmy shoots back that he was taped to the horse. Lloyd laughs at this and tells Jimmy not to dismiss a talent when it presents itself.

Lloyd tells Jimmy he’ll spot him the entrance fee, which is a couple of hundred bucks. Lloyd tells him the pot is a couple grand. Jimmy is skeptical as to why Lloyd would help him? Lloyd puts a hand on Jimmy’s shoulder and asks him why he thinks he would. You can tell, Lloyd’s been there.

We cut to John driving along when Sheriff Donnie pulls him over. John compliments the Sheriff’s about face in the recent press conference (we saw last week) and taking responsibility for the Hayes shitshow. Sheriff Donnie asks John if he’s in business with the Beck Brothers? This amuses John (as much as anything does).

“Yeah, yeah they’re putting slot machines in my barn.”

Photo: Paramount Network

Sheriff Donnie warns that the Becks are trouble. And, Sheriff Donnie  knows from experience. He confesses to John that he got into deep debt at one of the Beck’s casinos and now they own him.

**That Bullet and Bourbon from last week makes a lot more sense now.**

Sheriff Donnie says that having a sheriff in their pocket is quite useful to the Becks. He gives his former friend some advice: get off their radar. John tells Sheriff Donnie he never stopped being his friend, and recommends that the Sheriff restart that friendship because the walls are closing in on all sides.

The Ranch. Lloyd shows Jimmy how to ride a bucking horse. Jimmy is thrilled he stayed on the horse for 8 seconds. Rip sees the scene and questions Lloyd as to why Jimmy is doing that. He is worried about Jimmy getting killed.

“Hey Jimmy, you know why you haven’t met any old rodeo cowboys? Cuz there ain’t any.”

Aww Rip, you do care!

The Office of Dan Jenkins. Dan’s secretary asks if John has an appointment, as John barges his way towards Dan’s office. He grabs a wine bottle from the bar as he passes. Without hesitation, John clobbers the bottle over Instructor Torry’s head, Dan’s personal security we met last week.

John enters Dan’s office and throws the resilient wine bottle against the wall. He then proceeds to start throwing chairs. John pretty fucking livid, spitting that Dan’s made such a mess of thing in the valley. Dan yells back that he had nothing to do with the killing of John’s cattle. John knows it was the Beck brothers and they did it to make John turn on Dan.

John knows they did it because Jenkins is helping build the “biggest fucking casino outside of Las Vegas.” Dan says he’s not part of that deal anymore, he’s being pushed out by Rainwater and Dan’s already been threatened by the Becks. John tells Jenkins they are in an interesting position now, as allies. John proposes a meeting with him, Dan and Rainwater, time to sit and clear the air. Dan will arrange it. Instructor Torry has regained his feet and compliments John on the move.

 “Wasn’t a move. Just meaner than you.”

Photo: Paramount Network

The Ranch. Lloyd is giving Jimmy more pointers on how to survive the rodeo now with a meaner horse. The wrangler handling the horse says hat no one this season has been able to ride this mean bastard for 8 seconds. Lloyd tells Jimmy if he can stay on the horse for 8 seconds, they’ll get him to a rodeo. Jimmy asks if there’s a mechanical bull he can practice on?!? Lloyd chuckles.

“Mechanical bulls are for drunk chicks at the county fair.”

Lloyd shows him the rigging and how to hold his body to be able to ride. Jimmy looks like he’s going to shit himself. They get Jimmy set and set the horse off. Holy shit. That horse is all over the place. When they’ve confirmed he’s stayed on for the 8 seconds, some of the wranglers ride up to get the horse as Lloyd tells Jimmy to fall off the horse. Lloyd is thrilled and tells Jimmy they’ve finally found something he can do well.

Photo: Paramount Network

Jimmy is stoked!! Lloyd smiles and tells Jimmy he’ll be up to his neck in Buckle bunnies. Jimmy asks what’s a Buckle Bunny and Lloyd tells him he’ll find out.

The Middle of Nowhere.  Sarah meets Jamie in the literal middle of nowhere. In case it  becomes important later, she’s got her kayak on her roof and gear in her car. She tells Jamie he’s being next level paranoid.

Down to brass tacks, Jamie tells Sarah that he rescinds his permission for her to use everything he said. Sarah isn’t impressed, and throw the First Amendment in his face.  Increasingly desperate, Jamie says that some of what he said was untrue and some of it violates attorney-client privilege. He could be disbarred if it comes out and for sure, disowned.

Sarah tells Jamie that his father isn’t a king and his ranch isn’t a kingdom. She saw right through Jamie’s run for Attorney General, a legal cover to facilitate the rewriting of the rules for John Dutton’s convenience. Sarah adds that the Duttons deserve to lose everything and last, she is having immense pleasure as the one to take them down. No one person should own that much land, Sarah contends, saying that it should be made into a “park of a game preserve.” That’s her hope anyway.

Photo: Paramount Network

Sarah turns away from Jamie and walks back to her car. Jamie runs at her and attacks her from behind. He grabs her head and smashes it into the roof of her car as she crumples to the ground.

And then, AND THEN, he begins to strangles her. Sarah regains consciousness a little and Jamie  starts crying and saying he’s sorry … but he doesn’t stop. RIP Sarah, the Duttons got you in the end.

What the Fuck Just Happened?!?! [insert screaming face emoji here]

Photo: Paramount Network

Commercials.

The Ranch. Jamie arrives home and sees Rip. Rip knows something is up without Jamie even saying a word. Jamie shows Rip the body in his trunk, saying it all went wrong. Rip says talk to his father, but Jamie doesn’t want involve his father, which would make John an accessory to murder.

Photo: Paramount Network.

But I guess it’s okay to make Rip an accessory then?

Jamie pleads with Rip for help, adding that he always treated Rip like an equal, like a friend. This, bizarrely, works on Rip and he agrees to help.

What a plea for help, Jamie. I treated you the least shitty. This fucking guy kinda deserves all the shit he gets.

Rip goes to Walker in the bunkhouse and asks him to drive a car for Rip. Walker agrees even though it isn’t ranch work. 

Cut to Walker driving one of the ranch trucks following behind Rip and Jamie, who are in Rip’s truck. Rip takes this opportunity to tell Jamie he’s a fuck-up and the cause of a lot of mess. At some point, Rip says, someone is going to have to get rid of that mess.

“Don’t put me in that position.”

They stop and switch cars, like a macabre Chinese fire drill. Walker gets into Sarah’s car while Rip gets into the ranch truck that Walker was driving. No questions are asked or answered.  The three of them drive to a spot along the river.

aramount Network.

Cut to Jamie struggling as he drags Sarah’s kayak, now containing a dead Sarah dressed for rafting, down to the river. He has the balls to ask Rip for help.

“I ain’t fucking touching that thing. C’mon.”

Photo: Paramount Network

Rigor Mortis hasn’t set in so Sarah’s still kinda pliable. She takes off down the river with the current and capsizes a little ways down. Rip asks Jamie for her phone. Rip crunches it with his boot a few times and launches it into the water too.

Rip picks up Walker, who has been waiting by Sarah’s car. Walker asks whose car this belongs to and Rip dodges the question. Walker then states that Rip just made him an accessory to murder.

“What do you mean, accessory? My prints aren’t in that rental car. I didn’t load a kayak and a bunch of other shit in the back of a pick up. You did.”

Rip, you are a clever son of a gun. Walker saw nothing because Sarah’s body was in the trunk of the first car. And now he knows he’s been played and Rip tells Walker this is his way off the ranch. And now Walker has to keep his mouth shut or he’s in deep here. And I saw you and Jamie with your gloves on and Walker with his bare hands out. I got my eye on you, pal. I see what you did there. 

Monica’s Apartment of Sexual Frustration. Monica and Martin are on her couch making out. She stops him from going further and asks him to leave. She tells Martin she needed closure. Martin asks if Kayce is a bad man but Monica defends her hubby, saying he’s a good man who has done some bad things. He worry is that she knows Kayce is going to break her and Tate’s heart.

Martin thinks her heart is already broken, but by her own doing. Martin gets dressed and tells Monica that she’s the one breaking hearts. It’s a complex metaphor that I don’t really agree with but I think he’s basically calling her an emotions masochist.  Peace Out, Martin.

Commercials.

The Rodeo. When we come back from break, there are all kinds of fun horse activities going on at the rodeo. Jimmy is registering for his entry, and signing away his rights to sue the rodeo if he’s permanently incapacitated or killed. Lloyd strongly recommends that Jimmy sign the DNR, he doesn’t want to be strapped to a bed for the next 40 years.

This does nothing for Jimmy’s nerves.

Jimmy gets his number as a pretty lady with lots of make-up and probably a lot of perfume comes up to him and wishes Jimmy “good luck.” Lloyd smiles.

“THAT’S a Buckle Bunny.” 

Jimmy meets his horse and it’s a big beast. As the last cowboy of the night, Jimmy gets more and more nervous as he sees much more experienced cowboys getting wrecked, over and over. Finally, Jimmy’s number gets called.

Lloyd asks if he’s ready and Jimmy says he needs a minute. But, there are no more minutes to be had. A buzzer goes and Jimmy is out of the chute! The horse starts bucking and Jimmy is damn near level flat on the horse ebbing and flowing with the horse’s movement. The buzzer sounds for 8 seconds and Jimmy is still hanging in there. He lost his hat, but he’s in control. A rider comes up alongside him and grabs Jimmy to get him off the horse.

The rider tells Jimmy he just won. Jimmy is in shock about what just happened. He asks the wrangling cowboy what he’s supposed to do now now?

“Wave to the crowd and throw that hat.”

Photo: Paramount Network

Jimmy does and revels in the moment. He walks up to the registrar who congratulates him and tells him they’ll get him paid. Jimmy collects his winnings from the rodeo, including a big ‘ol belt buckle. Lloyd looks so proud of him and Jimmy is just tickled with himself. 

The Ranch. Jimmy gets back to the bunkhouse and proudly shows off his new belt buckle. The wranglers congratulate him. Jimmy asks where Avery is and the men tell him that she left. Packed up her stuff and left. Walker enters the bunkhouse. He gathers up his stuff and wishes the wranglers an “adios, assholes.” Colby quips that leaving the Ranch “is getting contagious.”

Outside, Walker has his stuff loaded into the back of the pick up truck as Kayce rolls up, asking where he’s going? Walker tells Kayce Rip’s taking him to the train station, and Walker says he’ll figure it out from there.

Kayce tells Walker he’ll drive him. Rip questions whether Kayce even knows where the train station is … man, there is a lot of subtext and code being used in this testosterone-fueled conversation. Rip goes to bunkhouse and does not look happy.

Driving along, Kayce what Walker did to be leaving and Walker is super vague. Kayce is pressing for details on what happened and Walker tells Kayce what happened is between Walker and Rip.

Kayce pulls over just after passing over the state line into Wyoming.

Walker gets philosophical about how people like to think that they aren’t animals, that we’ve evolved, but prison is a reminder that humans haven’t evolved. 

“You can forget bears and  wolves and snakes and all that shit. We’re the meanest fucking thing on this planet.” 

This strikes a chord with Kayce who can relate to every word Walker is saying. Kayce asks what Walker’s word is worth and Walker responds his word is worth his life. Kayce asks if Walker can forget everything he saw and heard on the ranch and Kayce promises to hire him back. By then, Kayce continues, he’ll be running things and things will be done differently.

Photo: Paramount Network

Walker thanks Kayce. In a quick moment, Walker flips something metal alongside his right leg and looks like he tucks it into his boot. Maybe he’s put away a weapon thinking Kayce isn’t going to do anything to him?

Kayce starts driving again and Kayce suspects that one day, Walker will be able to repay the favor that’s been done for him tonight. Namely, not being killed.

Commercials.

The Ranch. Tate is spending the night at the Dutton Ranch.  He’s going deer hunting with his dad and grandpa the next day.  John hears the name Sarah Nguyen come up on the television and it catches his attention. John asks Tate to run along to bed. Alone, John turns up the volume on the news.

The reporter continues, discussing Sarah’s drowning in the river and how dangerous a spot this has been for kayakers this year. John walks from his office to the living room, looking weary. He finds Jamie sitting there, drinking something brown and strong. John asks his son to look at him.

“How do we move on from this? I don’t know how to do that.”

Jamie tells John he had no choice and John replies there’s always a choice. John tells Jamie he could have been the one to jump in the river, but that hurting himself never entered his mind. John leaves, disgusted. 

Paramount Network.

We get a brief cut to Jamie’s ex, Christina. She’s also watching the news report about Sarah. She looks alarmed and her mind is churning. 

The Ranch. Early the next morning, Rip and Lloyd are up early having their coffee and agree it’s time to wake the wranglers. Dude, it is pitch black outside. The moon is still lighting up the grounds. Everyone wakes up and another day has begun on Yellowstone Dutton Ranch.  

In the main house, John, Tate and Kayce are preparing to go deer hunting. John warns Tate about the seriousness of what they’re about to do. About the power and responsibility of taking a life and that you cannot bring back that life … even if it was a mistake (John gives a pointed look at Kayce).

“Killing is the one thing you cant undo.”

Paramount Network.

In the woods, Kayce gives Tate instruction on how to aim and get himself into position. Tate, a buck in his cross hairs, follows his father’s instructions and takes his shot.

**The single round in the open area is startling, even when you know it’s coming. Nothing sounds like a gun being fired.**

Tate landed his first buck on his first shot. The reality of killing something sets in for Tate as he stands over the dead deer. Kayce and John don’t notice the look on his face as they open up its abdomen. John tells Tate to come closer to the deer as they have to “blood him.” Tate asks what does that mean. Kayce tells Tate it’s a way to honor the animal.

Kayce smears the blood across Tate’s cheeks and forehead. Tate isn’t okay at all with the dead deer and his dad finally notices. Kayce tells him killing is part of survival and every creature on the planet does it.

Tate asks if something will kill them too? Yes, it could be a bacteria so small you’d need a microscope to see it or it could be a big old bear.

“There’s no such thing as dying of old age. Something kills us all.” 

The episode ends as the camera pulls away from this familial ritual; a rite of passage of sorts. It’s almost as if we’re intruding if we stayed any longer.

Photo: Paramount Network.

End scene.

***

Thoughts.

Before we start, can I say forgot how much Josh Lucas (Young John Dutton) is a ringer for a younger Kevin Costner. The casting department gets an A in this department.

Young John Dutton thought he had his kids all figured out.

Jamie was to become a lawyer. Lee would run the Ranch. Beth would be the shark and Kayce was the spare who he didn’t put a lot of stock in. At least, not until Lee’s death shifted his paradigm. I’m not suggesting that John doesn’t love his kids, by any stretch, but I just don’t think he put much stock in Kayce prior to Lee’s death.

And, it turns out that Jamie is the spare. The cold look on John’s face when he told Jamie he had a choice in not killing the reporter, that he could have jumped in the river himself. Ouch. I feel like Jamie is on a collision course with his own insecurity. We’ll see how that plays out. 

Then you see the other side of John with the final scene of him Kayce, and Tate. Following Kayce’s revelations about his military experience, John’s definitely softened up when it comes to dealing with this son. And there are echoes of that in the lessons John gives to Tate when they’re out deer hunting. The power of a rifle and having to mean it when you use it because there’s no do-over when it comes to killing.

Jamie. Oh, Jamie. What the Fuck, Jamie?!?  You got some real passive rage issues to deal with. Your tactic of sneaking up on women and hitting them from behind … I see you for what you are. You are a coward and you have taken zero accountability for what you’ve done to get you to where you are now. His whispering to himself, at the top of the episode, that he doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him shows how emotionally immature he is. Playing the victim and not being accountable for what he’s done. Chicken shit. Sarah was right to call you that moments before you killed her. 

I’m not sure about Martin. He knows Monica is married and that she is having a hard time dealing with her situation. I know he’s very interested but his speech to her when she spurned his advances was just cold. And I also think he’s using their Native American connection to his fullest advantage. I think Monica will realize he’s not good for her. This is a moment for her to make a choice: is it Kayce or is she going to move on?

Sheriff Donnie’s warning on the side of the road finally made clear for John that it was the Becks that killed his cows. Unfortunately for a man who doesn’t really like to play well with others, this new truth is forcing John getting some unlikely allies in his corner: Sheriff Donnie  and Dan Jenkins, to start. And maybe Thomas Rainwater soon enough.

The Becks/Jenkins/Rainwater/Dutton situation is about to come to a head, it has to. There’s about to be a knockout punch thrown from one of these hot headed men because they have been dancing around each other in the ring for a bit now. 

Jimmy gets a win!!! I was so thrilled for him. He finally got a minute in the spotlight and finally someone wasn’t telling him what a worthless piece of shit he is. Although you see how much his balloon was deflated when he learned that Avery left. 

Just an aside. If I was a chiropractor, I would set up a pop-up clinic outside one of these rodeos. Watching how these riders get jostled around just makes my back ache.

The dichotomy of honor and dishonor in these cowboys is so palpable. I mean, they fight and drink worse than frat boys but there’s also this high degree put on keeping your mouth shut even if you utterly hate the person that put you in that position. Like Walker and Rip. Walker was beat to a bloody pulp by Rip, denigrated by Rip and duped into being an accessory to murder by Rip. yet he tells Kayce what happened is between them. Well in part he has to keep his mouth shut for his own liberty, but you get the drift. And what the hell did Walker have? By his side in the car with Kayce? A switchblade? Honorable dishonor. [Ed. Note: My take from that whole scene, after it was said and done, was that Rip was planning on killing Walker and Walker knew it. And so did Kayce.  “Train station” was being used as a euphemism for the long dirt nap. Not sure, though.]

I gotta put this out there. Those wranglers seem so fluid and transient by nature. Avery up and left, Cowboy hasn’t been seen in a few episodes. They just float with the wind. Yet, Walker has been saved once from leaving by John and Kayce and now has an open-ended job offer at the Yellowstone Ranch with Kayce at the helm. Is Walker’s saddle made of solid gold or something? All he’s been has been whiny and lazy at the work on the ranch. 

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

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