Yellowstone season 1, episode 5,“Coming Home,” moves at a pace that may frustrate viewers as the plot does progress but, once again, the focus is on the characters. Specifically, the Duttons and what it means to call the ranch home as someone born to it and someone who is branded as a show of loyalty to John Dutton.
At the top of the episode, viewers familiar with Taylor Sheridan will recognize him immediately as Travis Wheatley, a horse trainer who is showing John, Jamie, and Rip prized stallions to either bring into the fold or use as a stud in the hopes of breeding exceptional horses. They are all, however, incredibly expensive; the priciest horse is upwards of $5 million dollars to own and $4,000 to stud.
Jamie doesn’t think it’s feasible to even consider purchasing a stallion, telling John that he can’t do it. But, as has been made obvious since the first episode, John isn’t a man who responds well to hearing what he can and cannot do. A pin is put in the discussion about the stallions when Monica and Tate arrive at the ranch. As soon as John is informed about Kayce being arrested by the Broken Rock police, he starts making calls to help his son. He also sends Jamie to go get his brother.
Kayce Dutton and Thomas Rainwater come to an agreement
Down at the station, Kayce is telling Chief Thomas Rainwater, Ben Waters, and Mo what led to two bodies being discovered on the land Ture Gas was set to dig on. Once they learned the men had kidnapped Danny Trudeau’s daughter and that Kayce had happened upon them and rescued her, the tension seemed to ebb out of the room. But even with it being a lawful killing, there was still the issue of burying the bodies to cover the crime.
Kayce said he didn’t have the right to make a decision that would impact another man’s child especially since Danny didn’t want to put his daughter through the turmoil of having to explain what happened to her. Thomas acknowledged the truth behind his statement, but he also noted that there’s a difference between what is right and what is law.
Jamie’s entrance into the room changed the whole dynamic of it. Being an experienced and talented lawyer, he began asking questions that showcased that as much trouble Kayce could get into so could Ben. They knew Kayce was the one who killed those two men because the slugs matched those shot from the barrel of a gun on file. That gun, however, was Ben’s. He’d exchanged barrels with Kayce when he and Thomas covered up Kayce’s mercy killing of a racist meth maker on reservation land in episode 2, “Kill the Messenger.”
Kayce was allowed to leave with Jamie, after he and Ben once again switched barrels, and Thomas said he’d come up with a suitable solution to the predicament they’re all in and be in touch. Jamie wouldn’t give Kayce back all of his gun in order to keep him out of trouble. Once the Duttons left, Thomas warned Ben and Mo to be wary of lawyers as they’re the best at breaking the law because they know it.
John’s attempt to get Kayce and Monica to stay at the Yellowstone fails
Jamie takes Kayce back to the family’s ranch where Monica and Tate have been waiting on him. John had told Jamie that he was going to do what he could to make sure that he doesn’t lose another child. To assist in this effort, Jamie made a call to Mel Thomson, the president of Montana State.
It was John’s hope that getting Thompson to extend a job offer to Monica would get her to convince Kayce to stay at the Yellowstone. But, though the salary started at $70,000 a year and she’d be an assistant professor of Native American Studies while being able to work toward her doctorate, Monica turned the job down.
She explained that there isn’t a line of teachers waiting on the Reservation to replace someone when they leave. If she walks away from her job at the school, her kids will suffer and she won’t do that to them. John told her that he makes decisions based on what’s best for his family and he’d be failing his own children as a father if he considered other families above his own.
Monica understood his position and thanked him for arranging the offer, but she doesn’t control Kayce just like he doesn’t control her, that’s what makes them work as a couple and life partners. It was this statement that got him to realize how perfect the two are for each other, but he said it with exasperation because he believes they’re both without logic.
A prime example of this is John’s request that Kayce break in the stallion he gifted him. No one has been able to ride that horse for long no matter what has been tried. Kayce insists that he wouldn’t come work for his father and the two argue about his stubbornness. However, Kayce does acknowledge that the horse wouldn’t be much of a gift if his father couldn’t ride it so he says he’d train the horse but he wouldn’t accept John’s money.
John refuses him. He never thought Kayce owed him an apology even with his youngest son interfering in the cattle round up that ended in Lee’s death. The two part with a greater understanding of one another’s perspectives but still nowhere near being on good terms.
Kayce has his own dust-up with his own son, Tate, after this exchange. Tate adores his grandfather and the ranch. There’s been so much upheaval in his life on the reservation lately that it’s no wonder he wishes he could live at the Yellowstone, especially since he thinks his home sucks.
I believe this could be due to all the sadness since his aunt and uncle recently died violently and his cousins no longer live there. Kayce, however, doesn’t stop to think about this and his hackles instantly rise because he and Monica have been doing their best to provide a good home for Tate, and it doesn’t sound like his son is appreciative of all that they’ve done for him.
His sharp words upset Tate and the child goes running back up to the house, and Kayce is resigned to the fact that he messed up. Tate is fine by the time he sees him again, largely because John has invited them all to stay the night and has offered to house Tate up at the main house so Kayce and Monica can have some time to themselves at the cabin on the property. Kayce and Monica choose to stay for the night, and Kayce also states there’s nothing wrong with the stallion he brought his dad.
For John, time with Tate is a way for him to do right by his grandson the way he wasn’t able to do right by his own kids much of the time. Tate is happy and well adjusted, his own children? Not so much.
Beth teaches Jamie what it means to lose
“Coming Home” continues Beth’s mission to wreck Dan Jenkins’ life. She’s speaking to Bob Schwartz, her employer at Schwartz & Meyer, at what looks like some kind of country club. Always with a drink in hand, and a caustic word on her lips, Beth sees her opportunity to strike when Dan Jenkins walks in with his wife, Victoria.
Beth promises Bob that she’d be bringing Dan down which excited the banker. Sure, Dan’s a friend but business is business. He’s also interested in opening an office in the area so that Beth can run it and help her father, which is why she hasn’t been back to Salt Lake and won’t be for awhile.
Seizing her moment, Beth goes up to speak to Dan and Victoria at the drop, dropping innuendos as she does so that seem to go over Victoria’s head. Dan clearly wanted her gone, but Beth quickly charmed Victoria into wanting to become friends as Beth had planned.
By the time Beth gets done spending time with the Jenkins’, she’s drunk off her behind. Due to her impairment the valets won’t let her drive so she calls Jamie to pick her up. Her brother was not at all enthused but he still got his keys and went and got her.
To the surprise of no one, they argue in the car. Beth once again makes terrible comments about Jamie’s sexual preferences, weaponizing his possible homosexuality as a means of hurting him. While he throws back how terrible she is as a human being and shoves her face against the window. I’ll be glad when they both knock this off because it absolute trash behavior.
Beth asks him if that made him feel better and Jamie admits that it did. In retaliation, Beth hurls the accusation that Jamie’s never lost anything at him. It’s why he’s had such a soft life and why John always needs her to come home and do the dirty work he can’t do. Jamie reminds her that he lost their mother and their brother just like her, and that’s the last straw for Beth.
She pulls out the gun Jamie had in the glove box, cocks it, and holds it under her chin. Jamie, in a fit of evilness, tells her to shoot herself and do them all a favor. Beth explains that Jamie had never actually lost someone because in order to lose them you have to have them.
There was no love in Evelyn’s eyes when she last looked at Beth before her death. Having seen the flashback in episode 3, “No Good Horses,” we know that to be true. Beth has had to carry that burden her whole life, to know that her mother, even with death coming to take her, never loved her. Then Beth pulls the trigger.
It’s a heart pounding moment but, thankfully, Beth didn’t kill herself in Jamie’s car. It was obvious that she wouldn’t since this series is on its fifth and final season and Kelly Reilly is very much still a part of the show. But, still, my heart was pounding. I have no idea where she actually shot but Jamie swerves the car and his heart is clearly in his throat, too.
In what’s probably the kindest, brotherly thing Jamie will ever say to his sister on this series, he tells her if hating him keeps her from hating herself then he’ll be there for her because that’s what family is for. It was a touching moment but, unfortunately, it didn’t soothe Beth entirely.
When they get home, she overhears John reading about amphibians and reptiles with Tate. She makes sure they don’t see her as she listens in and smiles as she does but then she charges down to her bedroom, closes herself in the closet and begins to scream her head off.
Beth is screaming even as John has left Tate to go speak to Jamie. Her brother reminds their father that she’s only going to get worse the longer she stays on the ranch. John knows that but he says he needs her to stay because she can be something that he can’t. Beth can be evil and that’s what John needs while in this fight to keep the family legacy intact.
However, it’s implied that Beth is about to meet her match. After Dan and Victoria get home, his wife suggests the trio could get up to some trouble together again though it’s clear she means sexually considering Dan snipes that their daughters are just down the hall. Victoria, drunk and frisky, tries to get her husband to sleep with her but when he declines, she picks up the clothes she just got out of and tells him she’ll handle it herself.
Dan, exasperated with Victoria who had been loudly proclaiming that for the first time in two years she isn’t bored, focuses his attention on dealing with Beth. He places a call to a woman named Melody Prescott, his Beth most likely, so she can come to down and take care of this Armageddon level of a situation, and Melody says she’ll be there in the morning.
Walker joins the Yellowstone ranch
The least interesting part of episode 5 is the introduction of Walker, a recently released ranch hand who gets offered a job by Rip. Yes, it’s a continuation of what John told Rip to do in episode 4, “The Long Black Train,” but it’s slow moving nonetheless.
We learn two things about Walker. He was in jail for manslaughter because he got into a fight that ended in a man’s death due to how hard he punches. Also, he plays the guitar and writes songs. Walker plays one for the group upon request in the bunker, but his version of a happy song isn’t well received because it’s essentially about all the wrong he’s done.
Before he’s branded, as all criminals who come to work for the Yellowstone are, Rip gives him an opportunity to back out, but he chooses not to because he needs the work. Like John’s right hand man told Jimmy, this ranch and the other branded men are his home and family now. The brand speaks to their loyalty and it’s something you live up to though I do wonder what Monica’s feelings are on it.
She witnesses Walker’s branding, unbeknownst to the men around the camp fire. Monica had walked out of the cabin after she and Kayce disagreed on what’s best for Tate. She wanted to really consider that they may be keeping Tate from a good life on the Yellowstone, and he insisted Tate had a good life right where he is on the reservation.
Kayce left the discussion before they could really get anywhere and Monica stepped outside for some air only to see Rip, Walker, Jimmy, and Lloyd by the fire. Perhaps she’ll be changing her tune based on what she saw considering Kayce has a Y branded on his chest, too. We’ll have to see what happens in episode 6, “The Remembering,” on Sunday, Oct. 8.