Television

Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 3 Review: Tall Drink of Water

That day sure didn’t end how Beth planned.

By the end of Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 3, there aren’t many people on the canvas whose days ended any better.

Is it time to worry about the family and the ranch?

Kayce and Monica are in the thick of their grief, and Kayce’s only recourse to keep his family from falling apart is to step away from his position as livestock commissioner.

It’s a decision that will have ramifications far beyond his nuclear family, and I wish he would have allowed time for another to be appointed before stepping down.

But grief has that effect on you. Watching Monica in such a dark place scares Kayce, so he’s doing the only thing he knows how to do at the moment — commit to being closer to his family.

With so much going on elsewhere in the family, Kayce and Monica are carrying the burden of their grief all alone.

I’d like to think that if John weren’t Governor and Beth wasn’t in the middle of the Market Equities mess, they’d be there for their brother.

Even Jamie has abandoned him, and Kayce was his only real connection to the Dutton family after he discovered his dad.

Jamie put on all the bravado he could muster against Market Equities’ lawsuit, but he couldn’t help but be intrigued by Sarah. Now that everything Market Equities had been gunning for is dust, Sarah has been let off her leash, whatever that means.

Beth’s maneuvering between Schwartz and Meyer and Market Equities scuttled billions of dollars worth of plans, but as Sarah gets her claws into Jamie, it will pit Beth and Jamie against each other in an even more volatile state.

With nothing left, Jamie is only biding his time with his former family. He’s got no willpower, so don’t expect him to remain on the up and up with John’s vision (or lack thereof) for Montana and the ranch.

If he gets a big player backing him, Jamie will sink his teeth into the family that raised him and the man that, despite everything, loves him.

Beth will undoubtedly want to use Jamie as her get-out-of-jail-free card, but if she’s in a vulnerable state, why wouldn’t Jamie use it to his advantage?

And damn, Beth, it’s time you listened to your husband. Give the guy some credit for accurately reading the room.

Beth: We need to celebrate.
Rip: Yeah? What are we celebrating?
Beth: I really fucked somebody over today, and it felt great.

As soon as Beth uttered the word bar, Rip knew their evening wouldn’t end well. But damn, he loves his wife and gives her free reign even when his common sense is screaming for him to put his foot down.

Before John was governor, he could easily manipulate (or at least try to manipulate) even the direst situation to his advantage.

Something started to swing in the other direction during Yellowstone Season 4, though, when his request for Summer to be treated leniently went unheeded. That move blindsided him.

Given Summer’s inclusion in the previously-on segment before the premiere, it’s surprising that one of his first moves in office wasn’t to commute Summer’s sentence, especially since he knew that Beth was at the heart of her misdeeds.

Beth will need help to get out of an aggravated assault charge, and John’s hands might be tied.

By this point, people are looking in every nook and cranny, trying to find dirt on John Dutton and his family. Sure, he has his friends, but the nouveau riche are working to tear him down.

It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Beth is in jail and in need of help after what she did to Summer. The Duttons have written their own rules for over a century, and eventually, they might have to pay the price for their success.

The new sheriff isn’t a family friend, and he’s certainly not friendly. He will be trouble. When Rip asked him if he knew how much trouble he’d get into for Beth’s arrest, my first thought was that Rip didn’t see the bigger picture.

The timing of her arrest couldn’t be worse.

John needs her in his corner in the governor’s office; she needs to keep tabs on her political maneuverings. Rip has his hands full with the Fish and Wildlife commission. John is running the state. And Jamie is wading through grief.

Hell, even Rainwater is at a crossroads with Amber breathing down his neck.

There aren’t a lot of friends that can come to Beth’s aid. The best story would be for her to suffer a little. She’s always in control, and I’d love to see how she’d react if she lost her edge.

It might at least keep her from using someone again like she did Summer. There are lessons Beth needs to learn, but she’s been damned lucky until now.

Time will tell if that’s going to change and what hardship will befall the family if it does.

On top of it all, John isn’t acclimating well to the job. He might have been swept up in the need to save the ranch when he ran for office, but now that he’s in it, he’s having trouble deciding how to put the ranch and the state on equal footing.

John’s focus was always on the ranch, but he did a lot to support his fellow ranchers, too. If he only thinks about the ranch, he’s not doing his best by the people who have always supported him and put him in a position to change the ranch’s fate.

The recent flashback scenes show how his life resets and starts all over again with new players.

When wolves were initially released in Yellowstone National Park, it didn’t take long for them to stray from public land to private.

Rip wasn’t much older than Carter when he found his first calf gutted by wolves. It isn’t hard for him to empathize with Carter in a similar situation because he was Carter.

Who else has a full heart knowing that Carter is part of their family?

Orphans don’t get shipped off around here, Carter, in case you haven’t noticed.

Rip

That scene was so emotional, two orphans at different phases of the same life. How Rip and Beth have embraced Carter is like their whole relationship has come full circle.

But as sweet as that is, Rip still has to deal with the very real threat of the Fish and Game commission breathing down his neck.

John was in a much better position decades ago. He had more room to maneuver. The release was brand new, and the west was a little wilder than it is today.

The wolves didn’t have web pages and fan clubs at that time, and at the time, John didn’t mince words about how he’d handle the situation if it continued.

John: And remember this. Rancher support is the reason you were able to reintroduce them in the first place, but if you can’t protect us like you promised, then they will be forced to take matters into their own hands. They’ll have no choice.
Keith: Killing an endangered species is a felony, John. I’d remind the ranchers of that.
John: You don’t know me well enough to call me John. It’s Commissioner Dutton. If the Fish and Wildlife officers aren’t on my front porch by Friday with a check, well, you’re gonna get to know me real well.

John’s position of power seems more like a stumbling block to business as usual than it will actually help the ranch beyond what he accomplished on his first day.

With his family in disarray, there’s no telling how this will all come down.

But I really appreciate the storyline of the gentrification of the west at the expense of the people who live there. So many ideas seem brilliant on paper but are anything but brilliant in execution.

Short of putting an electric fence around all 3,471 miles of Yellowstone National Park, how did the government expect to keep the species in the park? Why didn’t they have plans for the inevitable?

Wrangler: I thought they weren’t supposed to leave the park.
John: Well, I guess they didn’t tell the wolves that. If they did, they ain’t listenin’.

Is making wolves an endangered species an open invitation to the rancher buffet? Surely not, but without a plan to handle wolves who turned to cattle for food, it might as well be.

As it stands, the wolf debacle is another step in many leading up to potential disaster for the ranch and the Dutton family.

Revisiting the Young John Dutton era makes me wish that, when the Yellowstone spinoffs reach that point, there was a full-blown spinoff dedicated to John and Evelyn and the young kids.

They need to get on that and shoot it now so that the actors don’t age out of the roles.

Tell me what you think about the mountain that John has to climb to keep his family and ranch together. Will things get worse before they get better? Will they get better?

Don’t forget that you can watch Yellowstone online, and please share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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