Review of Yellowstone Season 5 Episodes 1 & 2
Yellowstone fans are treated to a double-sized premiere of the Dutton family drama in a deliberately paced and character driven opening.
Episodes 1 and 2 of Yellowstone Season 5
Taylor Sheridan, creator, showrunner, and cowboy-at-heart deity, is often praised for his intense, gritty, and typically crime-driven dramas, but the prolific writer is underappreciated for his sense of balance. It’s one of the main reasons Yellowstone’s audience keeps growing, even as the show enters its fifth and rumoured final season, and how it’s kept viewers hooked the entire time. Sheridan is well-versed in pacing.
The Duttons were targeted by an unknown group of assassins in the season’s first episode, which was literally explosive. Kayce (Luke Grimes), the Duttons’ youngest son, pursued those who came after him and his family with the indignant vengeance that only a Dutton could bring. The season 4 premiere was filled with blood, bodies, and bullets, giving viewers exactly what they wanted to see.
Do not expect that in the season 5 premiere.
The narrative jumps forward since the last time we saw the Dutton clan in the first episode of this season, and things are looking up for the family. John Dutton (Kevin Costner) has been elected governor of Montana, becoming the state’s (and thus his ranch’s) steadfast and obstinate gatekeeper. Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz) has been elected Senator, putting the Duttons and their allies in a position of real power to begin the season. If you’ve seen the trailer for Season 5 and what it might hold, there’s nothing shocking or surprising so far. If you expect John to rock the boat right away, be prepared for a gentle sway rather than a violent ride.
The season 5 premiere is more concerned with the promise of a bumpy ride, but those promises are certainly intriguing. Last season, one of the loose ends was Beth (Kelly Reilly) and her mistreatment of the Dutton black sheep, Jamie (Wes Bentley). Since it was discovered that Jamie’s biological father (Will Patton) was responsible for the Dutton attack, Beth manipulated Jamie into killing his father and tucking him neatly back into the Dutton family pocket. However, if some of the moments Sheridan sprinkled into the first episode pay off, the Jamie storyline could end up being the most interesting thread this season.
When John and Lynette finish their joint victory speeches, Beth is by his side, but Jamie is a little further away, keeping his distance. This occurs again when John is sworn in later in the episode, and the Duttons’ long list of enemies notices the schism between alleged family members simply by studying Jamie’s reactions to his adopted father’s victory. When the confetti falls on John’s celebration, Jamie and Beth share a long stare, and for a brief moment, it appears Jamie has a plan, as he tries to stare down Beth. Even his sister notices his unusually confident demeanour.
Of course, Jamie’s smirk is quickly removed from his face. Bentley and Reilly truly shine in these first two episodes, reigniting the hatred that had taken a back seat in the previous season and setting up what appears to be an explosive conclusion to their love/hate (but mostly hate) sibling dynamic. Reilly reminds the audience what a viper Beth can be, and Bentley continues to show Jamie’s perpetual fear behind those steely-gray eyes, as he has for four seasons.
These character-driven threads are, in fact, the strength of the first two episodes. It’s not as exciting as last season’s premiere, but it does what any safe premiere should do: it sets up the rest of the season. There is some wiggle room within that descriptor, “safe,” as Sheridan promises that this boat will eventually rock and likely throw some of the Dutton family overboard, but the most important moments are buried in the final 10 minutes of “One Hundred Years of Nothing.”
Part of the slight jump forward also shows a mature Tate (Brecken Merrill) at home with his pregnant mother, Monica (Kelsey Asbille), who has certainly grown since last season. Kayce receives a call from a panicked Monica as she enters labour while chasing horse thieves into Canada and back. She has no choice but to load herself and Tate into the truck and attempt to drive herself to the hospital, while Kayce rushes to see his family.
Tragic events occur, and Tate, Monica, and her baby are all involved in a horrific crash. Monica and Kayce lose their baby boy, whom they named John after the Dutton patriarch, and the family puts politics and rivalry aside to grieve together.
The moments that follow are frequently dimmed, but the alternate occasion “ The Sting of Wisdom ” formerly again gives Grimes and Asbille an occasion to do what they’ve been serving for 4 seasons now, and that’s being the heart of the show. Kayce’s story throughout the show is the bone that reflects the most concentered path to the chaos that surrounds his blood, and Monica is invariably the voice of argument. They’re designedly the middle ground that Sheridan has created to make what could fluently decline into psychodrama into relatable situations.
Kayce struggles with his duties as a father, hubby, and a sire. They’ve connubial cases. They’ve plutocrat cases. In short, they’re the most popular characters, and the two impersonators and their astral performances are, at moments, undervalued in a world of political conspiracy, kick- burro cowhands, and fiery love. “ The Sting of Wisdom ” is such a brilliant compellation for the occasion as Kayce and Monica have learned consequently numerous inestimable assignments to come wiser, and those assignments have frequently come at a high freight. Grimes and Asbille truly give refined and predicated performances, and are fluently the highlight of the first two occurrences.
Which brings us to the forenamed sense of balance that Sheridan brings. With the darkness, comes light. With the tragedy of Kayce and Monica’s loss in the alternate occasion, it balances the festivity of John’s palm, which includes some important demanded laughs while the Dutton estate hands drink and dance. With Jamie being beat down by his family formerly again, comes the pledge he may eventually fix Beth formerly and for all. With John being down from his cherished Yellowstone because of his new position, comes Rip( Cole Hauser) principally running the show, and a touching scene between a veritably overgrown Carter( Finn Little) and his putatively surrogate forefather– figure, John.
The first two occurrences can be stylish epitomized as a collection of excellent moments. Ryan( Ian Bohen) chancing a possible love– interest at the gubernatorial regale. The preface of John’s adjunct, Clara( Lilli Kay) who seems to be a new supporter. The preface of Sarah Atwood( Dawn Olivieri) who in every conceivable way seems to be a match for Beth. John, in his first days in office, formerly stretching the law and abusing his power to the chagrin of Caroline Warner( Jackie Weaver) and indeed Jamie. Rainwater (Gill Birmingham) appears to be under threat from the snake-like Angela Blue Thunder (Q’orianka). All great stories, but simply thrown our way in the premiere occurrences.
The real issue is, the two premiere occurrences have a lot going on, without anything actually truly progressing. Indeed before the season 5 caravan was released, cult had to know John was going to win the election, but it still does n’t change the fact the Duttons are at war with request Equities. The estate is still in pitfall, Beth and Jamie still detest one another, and Kayce and Monica have to deal with another major blow to their marriage these are all story vestments that are n’t each that new, and so occasion 1 and 2 this season feel kindly redundant.
Sheridan, on the other hand, will undoubtedly do what he always does, which is comforting. He will bring equilibrium to the season. Much like the explosive season 4 premiere, which was followed by a fairly slow season (to be fair), the season 5 premiere may be setting up one of the most explosive seasons in the show’s history. These character moments are important, of course, but if they aired in the middle of the season instead of the premiere, viewers would likely dismiss them as “filler” episodes. It remains to be seen whether the balance can be restored.
Yellowstone season 5 premieres Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Paramount Network in the United States and the following day on Paramount+ in the United Kingdom.