Season 2, Episode 10: Sins of the Father
4 stars out of 5
We're here! The final episode of the second season of Yellowstone and, I sincerely hope, a bloody end for the villainous Beck brothers. But in the first few moments of the episode, we meet a member of the Dutton family we've never seen before, not even in flashbacks: John Dutton Sr., played by the great Dabney Coleman, perhaps best known for playing the lecherous boss in 9 to 5 and the lecherous director in Tootsie. Here, at nearly 90 years old, he gives a brief but showstopping performance as Dutton's father, who gives him a few parting words as the pair look out over the ranch: he knew that Dutton would sneak in and steal a cookie every night as a boy.
It's an uncommonly tender moment from a show that's better at depicting stark violence than familial love, but that's what makes the scene effective. And as we snap back to the present day, we see Dutton and Rip sitting on the porch, Rip with a rifle across his lap. Dutton says his whole life has been losing things he loves, but he's not going to lose this one (meaning Tate, of course). I guess it's time for some cowboy justice.
Torry monitors Dan Jenkins's property from his vehicle while Jenkins broods from inside his ultra-modern mansion. Torry gives the all-clear moments before a bullet pierces the driver's side window - and his head. Goodbye Torry, we hardly knew ye, and you weren't much of a bodyguard, considering how many times you were beat up by Duttons.
The black-clad paramilitary goons storm Jenkins's estate as the developer grabs another bottle of wine. But Jenkins sees them a moment before they see him, allowing him to time to grab a revolver out of his kitchen. Between the slats of the pantry, he watches as the bad guys prowl his property. He fires through the door, killing one of them, and then grabs his silencer. He fires his clip into the second intruder, killing him too, but sustaining a wound to his shoulder. He goes outside, stunned, and doesn't notice a third who shoots him. He dies repeating his mantra throughout the show: "I have every right to be here. Every right."
At the Yellowstone, the Duttons assemble and discuss the plan. First, Dutton says that Beth has to be clean of the plan - and it's true that however nasty she can be, she's probably the least murderous Dutton. Next on the itinerary is sippin' some whiskey, which Dutton does, before brooding, "this is going to be the end of us. But we're going to do it anyway."
The always worthless Sheriff Haskell arrives at Jenkins's property to inspect the carnage. Jenkins is already dead. Then Haskell drives to the Yellowstone, and Dutton presses him to choose sides once and for all. If he chooses the Dutton side, he'll have to trust Dutton every step of the way. Dutton asks what kind of security the Becks use, and it turns out he uses off-duty police rented through the department: men who just happen to be Haskell's cousins. Dutton tells him to tell them to stand down, which Haskell agrees to do, but Haskell also points out that the only way for Dutton to control the narrative is to make the conflict about cattle, get a warrant, and make it at least somewhat legal.
That evening, Dutton's secured the warrant. Kayce snaps it up and leaves to do what he's gotta do, in cowboy parlance, but not before saying goodbye to Monica, who says that she won't "face this world" without him. And after Kayce gets him back, she makes him promise her something very un-Monica: she makes him tell her he'll kill them both. Then he does a very Kayce thing: he says he sure will.
Malcolm Beck goes for a drive and is pulled over by Haskell. Malcolm begins threatening him immediately, but Haskell insists that the thing needs to be brought to a peaceful resolution. Malcolm balks at being called by his first name and expresses a wish that Haskell had children so they could mess with them too. Then he calls Teal and tells him to get out of the house and go to Great Falls because Haskell's switched to the Dutton side.
Dutton then calls Rainwater and warns him that the Becks are coming for him just like they came for Jenkins. But Rainwater might be a tougher nut to crack than Jenkins. Rainwater expresses that, at least in this matter, he is on Dutton's side.
Kayce arrives at the Beck's with the warrant and is allowed in by the Sheriff's men (a cousin of Haskell?). Kayce goes in, gun drawn, letting himself into the house. He wanders through the vacant hallways of yet another Montana mega-mansion before finding Teal on the toilet in his elegant marble bathroom. Kayce shoots him several times before getting him to reveal that they hired a local militia to take Tate to the Crazy Mountains. Teal begs to be allowed to at least get off of the toilet before dying, but Kayce declines to acquiesce to that request. Bang! A bullet to the heart, and that's one less Beck to deal with. But why didn't he go to Great Falls when Malcolm called? I guess he didn't get the message.
Dutton sets off from the ranch, but before he goes, he hands a paper to Beth. He tells her to read it and then make the changes to his will outlined in the paper. When he's gone, Jamie asks what it says. She tells him it's none of his business.
She finds Rip feeding the horses and asks him to walk with her. Still holding the paper, she tells him what it says: the long and short of it is that Dutton has left the ranch, or at least guest house previously occupied by Lee, to Rip. Rip hears the news, as well as the letter's suggestion that Dutton considers Rip to be his son, and actually starts crying.
Dutton, clad in his livestock agency jacket, meets with Kayce and Mo, Rainwater's driver. He asks Kayce to go get Rip, as they'll need the manpower if they're going to storm a fortified position and Dutton intends to use Rip to draw their fire away from Kayce and the others. Along with the help of another livestock agent, they arrive at the militia compound. Mo uses greasepaint to paint the traditional symbols and charms of war on their horses, and then they set off for the militia camp. Dutton, in another moment of tenderness, Dutton apologizes for having to ask this of Rip on the same day he named him a son. Rip sees it another way, saying there's no better day.
They storm the house, shooting several militiamen and arresting a few. Inside the house, amidst the confederate flags and "don't tread on me" banners, they find a bald man sitting like a guru on the floor. Kayce asks him if he knows where Tate is.
"I sure do," the bald man says before shooting himself in the head (I guess this was more than a job for them, although I'm not sure why some right-wing militia would be so compelled to help some corrupt casino owners that they'd be willing to die for them, but whatever).
Outside the building, Dutton sees someone trying to escape and blasts him twice with his rifle. It's Malcolm Beck. Dutton shoots him once more when he reaches for his gun. Then Dutton lays out his options. Malcolm can tell him where his grandson is right now and maybe Dutton will call a chopper to take him to the hospital, or he can die in the dirt. Malcolm sputters for a while and Dutton monologues, but ultimately he reveals that a man in Whitefish has the boy. Dutton says he'll call that chopper now but Malcolm tells him it's a waste of time, he's not going to make it to the hospital. Ok, Dutton says. Does he want to die in company or die alone? Beck decides on alone, telling Dutton, "I wish we'd never met."
"Yeah, I bet you do," Dutton says.
The next morning, Dutton's livestock agency crew along with Haskell and some other Sheriff's deputies are in Whitefish. They bust down the door and breach the property. They blow away several skinheads while some kind of Nazi metal plays on the TV before finding Tate, his head shaved, in the bathtub. Tate screams before realizing it's his father come to save him, and Kayce pulls him up into a hug. They drive back to the Yellowstone to the accompaniment of pensive guitar plucking. Beth goes outside to have a celebratory cigarette and sees Rip leaning against a tree.
"We're going to lose this place, you know," she tells him.
"Maybe so," he says.
When they do, she says, she'll sleep for a year. Rip says that if she wants some company, he'll sleep with her. Dutton comes outside and starts to cry. Beth sees him, but lets him have his privacy.