Last week we enjoyed practically non-stop twists and turns on Yellowstone. Tonight promises to be no different for an episode that was far more entertaining than the Democratic debate that aired at the same time. Here’s a recap and review of episode 2 of season 2: “New Beginnings.” This post will have spoilers.
Last week we learned that John Dutton had a ruptured ulcer and he does NOT have colon cancer after all. This is great news for Kevin Costner fans who were worried he was leaving! And just in line with John Dutton’s personality, the episode starts with his insisting on leaving the hospital as quickly as possible, whether the doctor likes it or not. He’s assigned swimming rehab and is told that he’s in this situation because he ignored a CT scan that showed a mass.
If you’re wondering just what happened to Dutton’s cancer, show fan Michele Ellis reached out to me and helped me better understand what went down with John Dutton. Ellis told me that her dad, sadly, had passed away from colon cancer so this storyline was particularly important to her. I had originally surmised that John hadn’t actually had cancer, but this is incorrect. Ellis reminded me that John did have cancer. His cancer was operated on just before he got back in the saddle (literally!) in Season 1 and tried to break in a horse right after his operation. The cowboys were whispering about why he was in so much pain. When John went to an auction the next day, his friend confronted him about it because his son was the doctor in charge. And Jamie later had to silence the doctor to make sure he didn’t tell anyone about his dad’s health.
Ellis wrote: “Anyway, he actually had the cancer, it was removed. The scan that came back (post surgery) had the mass on it and the knee jerk reaction was that the cancer came back, not that they ‘got it all.’ But being the stoic, stubborn man that they’ve written him to be, of course he didn’t go to the doctor like they advised him to.”
So it was after this that John’s ulcer ruptured because it turns out that the mass they saw was an ulcer, not the cancer returning.
On the drive back from the hospital, Kayce seems to be purposefully driving over every pothole in the road. John gets out of the car and is going to…walk home? The scenery is majestic and beautiful. This show really makes you feel like you’re there.
John wants to talk to Kayce about the wranglers and how they can handle themselves. “I think I finally understand you son,” John tells Kayce. He says that when you don’t think tomorrow’s coming, you stop factoring that into your decisions. But once you realize you’re not dying, you have a lot of regret and decisions that you have to deal with so you can start living again. He believes this is analogous to Kayce’s life and they’ll figure this out together.
After the always stunning intro, Beth is looking at property and is mad about being shown property that isn’t for sale. She throws him out of the office and tells him not to come back. “When you get your commission I want you to shove it up your…” Yeah, Beth isn’t in a good mood today. (But when is she ever?)
Now we get to see Monica’s first day in college. She’s immediately sexually harassed by a student. “Can you tell me the definition of power? It’s the ability to influence another’s behavior or course of events. That’s what I have.” She tells him that she can send him to the dean or fail him. She has power and he doesn’t have any. Looks like she’s getting the students’ respect now. She reads to them from Columbus’ journal, which is fascinating to hear. This show does not shy away from hard truths. After her class, she learns that her job even comes with housing. Looks like she’s on the road to complete independence.
Beth visits the Pelican Ranch and says the pelican they thought they saw was a decoy to scare away other birds from trout in the pond. “I’d like to buy your ranch,” she offers, adding that everything is for sale. He sarcastically says $9 million and they write him a check for that amount. Wow. That man’s life is changed.
Next, Walker and Rip have a tense moment. Walker tells Rip that he’s leaving that night and makes a comment about having a connection with Beth just like Rip does. Oh that was a mistake. Now Rip’s ready to gut him, but his assistant steps in with a gun. Walker is done with this place and ready to leave. Rip tells him that he’ll find Walker wherever he goes. Yikes. I bet Walker wishes he never met them.
(By the way, did you know that country music singer Ryan Bingham plays Walker? That explains the impressive singing and guitar moments!)
Walker leaves without even waiting for Cowboy (they say a quick goodbye.) But Kayce and John stop him on the way out. He tells them he’s quitting because he’s a cowboy and they wanted more from him. “It’s not going to happen again,” Kayce says. But Walker says someone else says differently. John tells him that he and Kayce run the place and Walker shouldn’t listen to anyone else. “Head on back to the bunk house,” John tells him.
John tells Kayce later that he hasn’t mentioned Monica at all. He needs a plan to get her back. “When Lee ran this place, he was honest and he was fair with everyone. That’s what I need from you. But you can’t be that way … until you’re that way with yourself.”
Kayce admits that he misses his son and Monica, but he doesn’t seem to believe he can do anything about it. I find it interesting that John just wants Kayce to be a decent and honest person and isn’t trying to get anything else out of him.
In the next scene, John tells Rip that Kayce needs to learn how to run this place and lead the men, but he can’t do that while living with him. “You understand what I’m asking?” Apparently, he’s asking Rip to move out and let Kayce take his spot. Interesting again… I can’t always predict where this show is going. And I didn’t predict how much that request would hurt Rip.
This episode really is focusing on Kayce and his dad’s relationship and putting a new twist on their interactions. I honestly didn’t expect John to be quite so decent with Kayce after some of the stories I’d heard last season. Kayce is coming into his own as a leader of the wranglers. It seems that John is trying to prepare him to one day take over the entire ranch, though I doubt that Kayce is aware this is happening. The job was likely originally meant for his brother who died last season, and now it’s Kayce’s turn to step into those shoes.
Rip’s not too happy though. He later says this is all a reminder that “we’re just tools; that’s all we’ll ever be.”
The scene where they’re wrangling the cattle was a nice musical montage. I like when they take moments in an episode to build the scenery and truly pull us into this “wild west” feeling.
In a later scene, Kayce and Rip have a knock-down, drag-out fight. It’s pretty brutal, but there’s no clear winner. Kayce is not going to give in or give up, even if he looks a lot more run down than Rip. Finally he wins, but it’s not an easy scene for anyone in the group to watch. “There ain’t no fighting on this ranch,” Kayce says. “You want to fight, you come fight me.”
And like that, Kayce is now the rightful leader. But honestly, I think that Rip let him win and took the blow at John’s behest.
“We made him earn it, thank you,” John tells Rip. “Now I need you two to get along.”
“I hope you can depend on him, because I haven’t seen a shred of proof that you can,” Rip says.
John says that Kayce is his son so he believes in him, but Rip reminds him that Jaime is his son too. (GOOD POINT.)
After a commercial break, we have a nice family dinner with John, Kayce, and Beth. They’re an interesting family, aren’t they? Beth asks John about the governor, but John doesn’t want to talk about that either. Beth accurately observes that if they don’t talk about work there’s nothing to talk about. And she leaves because she’s not letting anyone tell her what to talk about. (I’d love to see her character in the Democratic debates, haha.)
Kayce reminds John that he has physical therapy the next day and he is not missing it. John’s not gonna fight him on this.
Honestly, it’s fascinating to watch this family dynamic.
In the next scene, Beth sees Rip sitting alone, sulking, and decides to join him. From last season, those two really did not seem like they were good for each other, but here we are. Beth admitted that she was always worried her dad would love Rip more than her someday. But Rip is hurt. He’s feeling like John does not see him as truly part of his family. I’m not sure I believe that, but the situation with Kayce really bothered him.
Monica’s grandfather is determined to convince her to get back with Kayce: “or you will be miserable forever.”
Meanwhile, Beth is telling Kayce that he needs to go home and fix things with Monica. She’s afraid he will hurt Dutton Ranch and her dad. “When he dies, you can have this … place. I will give it to you.” She’s scared he will destroy everything if he doesn’t leave, and she doesn’t want her dad hurt. I hadn’t expected that kind of loyalty from Beth (or that kind of doubt about Kayce.)
In the next scene, we get a great moment where John Dutton is going to have to do swimming rehab in a kiddie pool with a bunch of children. You’ve got to love this scene, haha. I love how Yellowstone can shift from serious to comical in just five minutes. And Kevin Costner is great for both types of moments.
Dutton is not happy with this situation, but Kayce is enjoying it, haha. But Dutton isn’t really good with following directions. Monica’s getting rehab in the pool too and trying to learn how to use her legs again. That’s when she realizes Kayce is there too. Looks like the two are still in love.
And that’s the end. It wasn’t a dramatic episode, but it was great for character development and showing us the dynamics between John and his son versus his daughter. Kayce is trying to become a better person and John wants to help him. But where does this leave Jaime?