‘Yellowstone’: 10 Best Episodes | IndieWire

Love it or hate it, it’s impossible to avoid “Yellowstone.” Here are the best details.

Love it or hate it, it’s impossible to avoid “Yellowstone.” The Paramount Network Western series, co-created and written by Taylor Sheridan, is one of the most popular series on television right now (and a No. 1 Emmy nominee for Best Production Design). The series follows the Dutton family, a Montana ranching family led by patriarch John (Kevin Costner). Along with her three children, she does everything she can to maintain her family’s farm.

With how ubiquitous the show that ended the first season of Season 5 was, it’s a good time to look back and celebrate the episodes that made “Yellowstone” the show it is today.

Here are the 10 best episodes of ‘Yellowstone’.

10. “Daybreak” (Season 1, Episode 1)

This is the episode that started it all. On the one hand, “Daybreak” is a standard pilot. Introduces the Duttons and their central conflicts. On the other hand, it accurately announces the type of show when the eldest Dutton, Lee (Dave Annable), is killed in a shooting. From that moment on, the series shows the intricate web of love that is being a Dutton child and how quickly (and often) violence invades the farm. We also get the best introduction to Beth’s (Kelly Reilly) proposal to Rip (Cole Hauser). We don’t know much about these two, but it’s clear that they have an intense and passionate chemistry.

9. “The Knife and No Coin” Season 5, Episode 8

Halfway through season 5 was Beth and Jamie’s crossroads. Jamie decided to finally grow a little backbone and try to hold John accountable. He also revealed to Beth that if she got in his way, he would reveal everything about the family train station where all the Duttons’ bodies were piled up. Is this the moment Jamie finally becomes fearsome? Probably not, but it leaves the audience wondering if all the loose threads connected to Jamie Dutton will eventually be tied up by Beth herself.

YELLOWSTONE, from left: Luke Grimes, Kevin Costner, “Resurrection Day,” (Season 2, p. 207, aired August 7, 2019).  photo: Emerson Miller / ©Paramount Television / Courtesy: Everett Collection


Everett Collection

8. “Resurrection Day” (Season 2, Episode 7)

This has to be on the darkest Yellowstone episodes. This was the episode where the Beck brothers, the evil duo who wanted to be part of John’s ranch, sent a group of henchmen over to threaten Beth. It was one thing to see Beth’s poor assistant die—another person whose mysterious disappearance was apparently never questioned—but it was another thing to see Beth swing and try to fall even as she was threatened with sexual assault. As if that wasn’t enough, Jamie tried to kill himself and little sister Kayce (Luke Grimes) sent out some corpses to act as a gruesome surprise. There were so many! But through blood and horror, I was able to show how determined the Duttons are, even when their lives are in danger. It was the first time he felt that the Duttons had reached a point of no return.

7. “No Good Horses” (Season 1, Episode 3)

It’s surprising that we didn’t see Dutton family matriarch Evelyn (Gretchen Mol) until Season 1, because so much of Beth’s self-worth is in her relationship with her mother. As “No Good Horses” unfolds, Beth’s relationship with her mother is built on harsh judgments and Beth’s own guilt that the accident that killed Evelyn was her fault. It is also an episode that shows John’s deep love for his wife. Although she’s been involved in relationships ever since, it’s clear that Evelyn is growing up in her world, so much so that she says in the episode, “today is the day I want to forget.” We don’t know much about John and Evelyn’s marriage, so here’s hoping viewers get the Mol sometime in the coming episodes.

6. “Blood the Boy” (Season 2, Episode 6)

Remember when Jamie killed two people? Well, maybe the show doesn’t care to dwell on this subplot much, but it all started with this Season 2 episode. In one of the many moments where Jamie expresses his anger towards his family, he talks to a reporter named Sarah (Michaela Conlin) about the corruption he was a part of in the Dutton clan. Unfortunately, he felt this was not right and asked Sarah to retrieve his quotes. When she refused, Jamie jumped up, slammed her head into her car and strangled her. Jamie has always been conflicted with his capacity for violence, and this episode showcased Wes Bentley’s talents perfectly. Hearing her cry and “I’m sorry” as she strangled Sarah was a strange and heartbreaking feeling. If someone is so desperate to not be like his father, Jamie will certainly resort to violence when it suits him.

Kelly Reilly, Kevin Costner


Courtesy of Paramount

5. “Horses in Heaven” (Season 5, Episode 4)

We saw Beth and Jamie verbally (and physically) in a car; This happened back in season 2. But from the moment Beth discovered that Jamie had a car seat—and that he had a secret son from a previous relationship—everything changed. It wasn’t fair to Beth that Jamie, the man who took away her chance to decide whether or not she wanted to be a mother, was given the chance to be a parent. And Jamie realized it was another nail in his already overburdened coffin. It’s unclear how Beth plans to “take” Jamie’s child from her, but there’s no doubt she’s up to something after the last episode.

4. “Cowboys and Dreamers” (Season 3, Episode 5)

The previous seasons were filled with brief teenage flashbacks of the Dutton kids, and this one was no bigger. Here we see why Beth hates Jamie. Pregnant with Rip’s child, a teenage Beth went to Jamie for help. Jamie took Beth to the local clinic at the Broken Rock Reservation to keep things quiet. The problem: The clinic only allowed abortion with sterilization. Yes, Jamie sterilized her sister. It may have been a chance for Beth to justify her hatred of her brother, but it also hinted at what Aboriginal women experience with forced sterilization. It was gutting an episode.

3. “Enemies By Monday” (Season 2, Episode 9)

We often talk about Beth’s inability to find anything for peace and it’s hard to see that she has friends. But Beth’s closest connection to another woman might be her sister-in-law Monica (Kelsey Asbille), and this Season 2 episode showcased that beautifully. Monica experienced serious racial profiling when she entered a store, forcing her to strip in front of strangers. This resulted in Beth saving her and making the salesgirl pay for her racism. Not only was this a great show for Beth and Monica to understand their need for each other, but it also gave Monica a major plot line. In Season 2, Monica really tried to place herself in the Aboriginal issues, and it was a big moment for her when she realized that even though she’s John Dutton’s daughter-in-law, she doesn’t enjoy the privileges that come with it.

2. “Grass in the Streets and Weeds on the Rooftops” (Season 4, Episode 10)

This season finale lacked the bombastic punch of last season, but it set off a chain of events that we’re still dealing with in Season 5. It was an opportunity to showcase Kelly Reilly’s many styles, especially the bold dress and coat combination. He entered a prison and spoke to someone who revealed that Jamie’s biological father had masterminded the Dutton attack. This forced Beth to tell Jamie to decide whether to deal with her father or Beth to reveal to John what had happened. Jamie murdered his father (because of course he did!) while Beth took a photo of Jamie’s body being disposed of as future leverage. When Beth wasn’t scheming, she kidnapped a priest at gunpoint to marry him, and Rip left the dress and coat to do double duty. The wedding was especially important as it was a moment of true happiness for Beth, leading her to try to find a kinder, simpler way of life… while still being Beth Dutton.

1. “The World Is Purple” (Season 3, Episode 10)

“Yellowstone” season finales are always epic events, and this one was no exception! It all culminated in a massive attack on the Duttons: Beth was blown up in her office, John was shot on the side of the road, and Monica and her son were threatened at the Yellowstone ranch. Several other sites have compared this episode to the “Dallas” episode “Who Shot JR,” and it’s understandable why: the season finale ends with the audience not knowing who, if any, survived the Duttons. Fortunately, the Season 4 premiere said they all did, but the attack set in motion a harsh change.

Season 5B of “Yellowstone” will premiere this summer on the Paramount Network. 1-4. you can watch season 1 on Peacock.

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