The Great Yellowstone Rewatch: S2 E5: "Touching Your Enemy"

The Great Yellowstone Rewatch

As the episode starts, we're in another flashback. This time, the subject is a post-patricidal Rip, working hard to earn his keep on the Yellowstone. Then a young Beth primps in front of the mirror to make herself attractive for him. The other cowhands seem, for some reason, to have something against Rip, spitting at him as they ride by. Beth, meanwhile, tries her hand at flirting with Rip - she calls him John's pet, but then tells him its ok to watch her walk away. But when the old cowboy remarks on the "swish in her hips," she tells him to "eat ****."  

In the bunkhouse, that same mean cowboy begins, for no apparent reason, to beat Rip with a spoon, making fun of him for "falling in love today." Rip, predictably, beats the crap out of him before a handsome young cowboy with a goatee - presumably young Lloyd! - breaks up the fight, tells Rip to go to bed, and tells the cowboy he had it coming.

Rip goes to his sleeping berth, no more than a pallet next to where they keep the livery supplies, to find Beth waiting for him. Crying, he tells her he killed his family through inaction (although we know he quite literally killed his father) and Beth tells him they've got something in common, since she killed her Mom the same way (a stretch, but obviously a big motivator for her). They share their first tentative kiss.

Back in the present day, Beth is standing by the corral watching the cowboys go about their business, notably Walker. She offers something approaching an apology to Rip, saying that her infatuation and inferred sexual relationship with him resulted from her "seeing something" in him that she thought she could make her own. Rip tells her she never has to apologize to him, before riding away like a true gallant. I still think we'll see him kill Walker someday, though. 

After the credits, it's worth noting, we see the director of this episode is John Dahl, MSU alum and noted director of Red Rock West and The Last Seduction, among others. He's a good director, and it's nice to have him involved in a Montana show. 

Then, another scene around the dining room table, which offers Beth another reason to blow up and storm out when she calls out the perceived hypocrisy of John allowing business talk at breakfast but not at dinner. Out of the five episodes of this season far, this is the third meal she has ruined by shouting and storming out, which means it is becoming a highly recurrent theme. After she left, Dutton tells Kayce to just go tell Dan Jenkins they know he is the one that air-dropped the clover, even though they really don't and it's just an assumption. 

In the kitchen, the argument over what constitutes a dinner table continues and then shifts into Beth's irritation that Rip no longer lives in the house. Dutton explains it simply - the ranch foreman, a position Kayce now occupies, lives in the foreman's house. Rip lives in the bunk now because he wants to. It's not Rip's punishment, it's his sacrifice. For once, Beth seems to understand. "Now go ruin someone else's day," he tells her with love. She says, "that's the plan, Daddy."

Meanwhile, Monica's class is on their field trip to the Indian Relay, where the handsome Martin continues to try to turn Monica's head. He explains the finer points of the Relay to the class, as well as different ways a Crow warrior can come of age, including jumping from one horse to another and counting coup. After the mock-relay, Martin plays his hand again, inviting Monica to the real Relay in Wyoming. She looks sad. JUST GET BACK TOGETHER WITH KAYCE ALREADY!

The bunkhouse boys are practicing their reining and sliding. Rip's a mean hand at it, and he's preparing for when Travis (show creator Taylor Sheridan) brings his family for a little friendly competition. Jimmy sees it, and apparently thinking it can't be that hard to stop a galloping horse, sees it as an opportunity to make a little money, since he owes $8,000 to his former meth buddies. The always sage Lloyd tells him a cowboy can work extra all he wants, but he ain't getting paid for it. Rather, if a cowboy needs extra money, he wins it. Too bad Jimmy's not great on a horse. Hmmm... does that portend a future in the rodeo for Jimmy?

Poor Jamie. As soon as he's back in his family's good graces (sans Beth, of course), he keeps getting calls and texts from journalist Sarah Nguyen, the writer doing an exposé on the depth of Dutton's corruption. So much so, in fact, that it is clearly getting in the way of his lawyering, much to Dutton's irritation and Cassidy Reid's puzzlement. Finally, Dutton tells him to just answer the phone.  

Nguyen tells him that she needs to corroborate a couple of his quotes before she gives Dutton a chance to respond. Uh-oh. And here he was getting in with the family again. He tries to rescind his permission to quote him, but she tells him it doesn't work that way (which he ought to know, as a lawyer), and then he threatens to sue. She's not put off. Jamie's in trouble. He can't weasel out of this one so easily. 

Then on the porch, Dutton and Beth share a brief but philosophic moment, wondering together what the place looked like before any Dutton ever arrived there (aside: we'll find out soon).

Meanwhile, Jenkins has hired the protection that Rainwater told him he'll need and that the Beck brothers demonstrated the necessity thereof. His new bodyguard Torry (Wolé Parks) shows him how to shoot a 9mm pistol, and Jenkins takes to it fairly quickly. Jenkins says he feels like a god, and Torry replies with a typically Yellowstone line of dialogue: "Whoever holds the gun is God. Until you pull the trigger, then you're the devil."  

Time to put that training to the test. As Jenkins pulls into the driveway of his mansion, Ryan and Kayce are waiting for him. There's a tangle of guns, disarms and punches, and before it ends Kayce has managed to usher Jenkins, at gunpoint, into his living room. Torry then shows up, pretending to be an employee of Big Sky Roofing (whether intentionally or not, that's the name of a real company, albeit one based out of Kalispell). More blows and disarms. In half a second, Ryan's on the ground, cuffing himself and then climbing into the trunk. He tells Torry he's law enforcement, but then so is Torry, apparently moonlighting as Jenkins's bodyguard. 

Inside, Kayce is giving a speech about how all the Duttons want to do is live their lives the way they've been doing for a hundred years, and they have no intention of killing Jenkins. He finally comes to it and accuses Jenkins of killing the cattle, a charge which Jenkins vehemently denies, saying he wouldn't even know how to kill them (true...) but he wishes he had. Just then, Torry enters. More punches, more disarms. A nice glass coffee table gets broken. More drawn guns. Again Jenkins insists that he didn't kill them. Kayce finally starts to get the picture, and leaves, but not before making fun of Torry for being from California.  
Kayce then tells Dutton what we've already been suspecting. It wasn't Jenkins. Somehow it turns into a conversation about their experiences as men that have fought and killed. At Dutton's insistence, Kayce tells him a war story - it seems that in Pakistan he once shot a high-value target who had taken his own wife and child as hostages. Kayce made a quick decision, and the decision was to open fire, killing them all—pretty dark stuff.

That evening, Sheriff Haskell is enjoying a football game at his modest house when he gets a delivery. He opens it to find a bottle of bourbon and a bullet, along with a note that reads, "don't forget who you work for."

The next day, Haskell is giving a press conference in which he takes 100% of the responsibility for the death of the rancher's son in the previous episode, even going so far as to apologize to the Montana Livestock Agency. Beth asks Dutton how he got Haskell to say that, and Dutton, stumped, says he didn't. 

Jimmy's got a lot to learn when it comes to sliding. Walker's trying to show him, but in his estimation, it's not too likely that Jimmy will win any money at it. Jimmy manages to do it, but not well. Travis arrives along with a whole family of rodeo sharks from North Texas. They go one by one, and all of them make a good show of it. Jimmy wanders into the arena, and Travis decides, at Rip's prompting, to teach Jimmy a lesson. If Jimmy loses, he'll have to pay everyone who did better than him, and, predictably, he gets last place. Aw darn, now Jimmy owes even more money. Will Jimmy ever win? Before Jimmy gives it another try on Travis's horse, Lloyd tells him to get off the horse. Rip, who doesn't seem to have much tenderness towards young Jimmy, insists that he pay everyone up the chain. 

Finally, Jamie repeats another mistake when he should know better: he asks Beth for advice. Admitting to her the problem he's gotten himself into with Sarah Nguyen, he pleads with her to help him. But does she help him? No, she drags him by the hair all the way down the hall to Dutton's room. Dutton notes that in all his years, of all the times he's seen Beth real, real angry, he's never seen her this angry. The episode ends with Jamie in tears, sniveling, and Dutton standing over him, waiting for an explanation. 

Yellowstone ranch at night
Source: Paramount

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