Season 2, Episode 9: "Enemies By Monday"
4 stars out of 5
As episode 9 of the second season opens, Kayce and Torry, Dan Jenkins's Californian bodyguard, are engaging in some paramilitary hijinks on the Beck brothers's airfield (complete with night vision and camo - although does forest camo still conceal you if you're among hangars). They drop something into the tank of the airplane - wonder what?
Then Kayce and Dutton watch the winter preparations on the Yellowstone. Kayce tells him that they'd better not make up with the Duttons - whatever that thing they installed was, it's not conducive to friendship. Kayce asks if running the Yellowstone was always such a fight. Dutton tells him that yes, for generations it's been a fight to keep the ranch (and I guess we'll see when the Yellowstone prequel comes out!).
In a brief and cute interlude, Tate gives Lucky a handful of hay. Then, in a less cute interlude, we find that Jimmy's grandfather is dead - and he's got a nasty bruise on his forehead. According to the investigators, there's no proof the bruise is a sign of fatal head trauma, but I think we know what it means.
Jimmy, meanwhile, is hauling hay with Jamie on the Yellowstone while Cowboy polishes his saddle. Jimmy tells Jamie that he wouldn't mind being a day worker himself, since Cowboy never seems to do any work, especially now that all the cows are gone. Jamie tells him he thinks his father just forgot Cowboy was still there. Which, for that matter, so did most of us. It feels like it's been a long time since we've seen him.
Just then, someone from the sheriff's department drives up and tells Jimmy that his grandfather is dead from a stroke brought about by a beating meted out by Jimmy's former associates. Jimmy is in shock, but then shock gives way to rage; as Rip rides up, Jimmy is beating the bark off a tree with an ax handle. Rip gets Jimmy to tell him what happened, and then Rip stops him from driving off to shoot the murderers. Instead, Rip says, he's going to show Jimmy how to take care of problems so they don't become new problems. Naturally, Rip decides to consult with Kayce. Kayce agrees that they'll take care of that night.
Everyone's got problems today, because just then Jamie gets a phone call from his former lover/campaign manager, who tells him they've got to talk. About what? Well, the murder of journalist Sarah Nguyen, of course, so Jamie goes to their old coffee shop to talk. He goes there immediately, and she's shocked to see him all cowboy'd up. He asks if they can go somewhere more private and she, wisely, declined. She drops a bomb: she's pregnant. If he wants to be a part of their child's life, he'll have to, like, stop murdering journalists or something.
Next, it's shopping time for Monica, who goes to a ridiculously expensive boutique specializing in fashion for discerning cowgirls. Immediately, the woman at the shop is cartoonishly racist, accusing Monica of shoplifting. Wait until Kayce hears about this! In fact, thinking ahead, declines to call Kayce, calling Beth instead. Bozeman police arrive and say there's nothing in her purse, so they decide to search her in the dressing room. The owner of the shop, beginning to realize that maybe she didn't steal anything after all, framer her by faking the theft of a ring. Just as the police are about to do a cavity search (which seems patently absurd, doesn't it?) Beth arrives and the real fireworks start. She smashes the store to bits, calls the owner the c-word, and generally terrorizes the owner. Monica intervenes before it gets any worse, getting the store owner to admit she judged Monica by her skin. Beth has her fun, but it's hard to say whether it was a good deed or not - probably not, unless two wrongs make a right. Come to think of it, "two wrongs make a right" might be the motto of Yellowstone.
So Beth and Monica go for drinks after their shopping adventure. Beth tells Monica that the shopowner hated her for being younger, prettier, and most importantly, kinder. Then she tells Monica that Kayce isn't like Monica, that is, inherently good. If she doesn't watch out, Kayce could be just as bad as Dutton. If there's any chance for him, Monica should leave and take Kayce with her.
Back at the Yellowstone, Dan Jenkins arrives at the ranch. He and Dutton joke with each other, and for a moment we can imagine a different world where maybe he and Dutton could have been friends. Jenkins suggests that Dutton buy him out, but Dutton says he can't afford it - despite the bazillion dollars worth of property, all of his money is tied up. Then he takes the opportunity to remind Jenkins that they're still enemies. Why was Jenkins there, by the way? Just to have that conversation?
That night, as Monica is prepping for the next day's class, Kayce tells her he's leaving (to take care of Jimmy's enemies, although he doesn't tell her that). She's no dummy, though, so she calls him on it: most ranches don't need people to go off after dark. Ranch work is generally done in daylight. He tells her they'll talk about it later.
In the bunkhouse, Rip prepares for the same excursion by loading his pistol. Ryan, watching, says he wants to come along too. He's already in it deep, he reasons, so he may as well wear the brand too. Rip agrees, so they all pile into one of the Yellowstone trucks. Inside, Cowboy decides that the key to living as long as he has is knowing when to quit an outfit, so he packs his bags.
Dutton and Tate are having supper, when Tate asks if he can have ice cream. Dutton asks Tate whether he thinks its fair that he have his dessert before his horse even has supper himself, and Tate agrees, running outside to give Lucky an armful of hay. Only he doesn't fully latch the gate as he leaves. Come on, Tate, you oughta know better! Tate then pauses, as if he's heard something, just as the scene cuts.
The plan to enact Jimmy's revenge involves arriving when his targets are sleeping and then drilling holes into their trailer through which the branded bunkhouse boys will pump carbon monoxide and then detonate the trailer, presumably making it look like a meth lab explosion. But Jimmy sees his belt buckle on their table and risks ruining everything by sneaking inside to retrieve it. He grabs the buckle, but that doesn't seem to be enough for him, so he walks over to the bigger of the two guys and kicks him around a little before leaving. The guy gets his gun, runs out on the porch, fires at Jimmy, and gets blown to smithereens. "You risked your life for a [expletive] belt buckle?" asks Rip. Well, yeah, he won it, didn't he?
Dutton, grandpa of the year, has already dished out Tate's ice cream, but where's Tate? Dutton checks the barn, Tate's room, and everywhere else he can think. Finally, he knocks on Monica's room. Panic ensues, just as Kayce and the branded bunkhouse boys come back from their evening murder.
Remember what the Beck brothers said? They were going to take the one thing Dutton loves (other than the ranch, of course, although I'm sure they'd love to have that). Oh boy, Kayce's really going to be mad now.
The next morning, they still haven't succeeded in finding the boy, and everyone on the ranch combs the fields for him. They find tire tracks leading to the treeline, but no one has driven anywhere near there. Kayce realizes what it means, and tears off down the tracks until he finds one of Tate's muckboots. Monica begins to scream as the episode's credits begin.
Oh boy, the Beck brothers are in for it now.