Paramount Network’s Yellowstone season two comes to an end with an episode that manages to tie up almost all loose ends while still managing to leave plenty of intriguing plotlines to explore in the show’s third season. Kudos to the season two writers, directors, and actors for delivering a hugely entertaining, completely engrossing season that, unfortunately, was far too short. I could have used another three or four episodes to answer some lingering relationship questions, but this 10 episode season certainly delivered on season one’s promises.
Season two episode 10 begins with a touching flashback to John (Kevin Costner) assisting his ailing father, John Dutton Sr. (Dabney Coleman), onto a horse for one last ride. We learn where John’s grit and determination to keep every inch of his ranch came from.
John has a heart-to-heart talk with his father who admits he isn’t the same man he was when John was younger. That man is the man John will miss. John Sr. breaks down as he describes how much he misses John’s mother and brother. When he says he loves his son, John replies, “It only took 90 years.”
John wraps his father in a loving embrace.
Flash-forward to current events at the ranch, and John acknowledges to Rip (Cole Hauser) his life’s been a series of losing things he loves. He’s not going to lose this one. (Does he mean Tate, the battle over the hotel, or his hold on the ranch? It’s likely we can check the “all of the above” box.)
Dawn’s breaking as Dan’s bodyguard watches over his employer’s home. He calls in that all’s quiet and is immediately shot dead in the driver’s seat of his car upon hanging up.
Dan (Danny Huston) refills his glass of wine, unaware there are killers lurking just outside his front door. Fortunately, he’s on alert and spots an intruder who’s just entered his house. Dan’s able to grab a gun before hiding in a kitchen closet. He watches through the slats of the door as the man enters his kitchen, gun at the ready.
Dan manages to get off a few shots before the intruder spotted his hiding place. As he exits the closet another intruder enters, and Dan’s shot in the exchange of gunfire. He did manage to take the man down before being shot. (Score one for a man who, at this point, is one of the good guys.)
Grievously injured, he steps outside and looks to the sky. A third assailant stands just feet away and shoots Dan without pause. The third assailant then retrieves his cohorts.
As Dan is lying on the ground struggling to live, he whispers to himself, “I have every right to be here. I have every right. I have a right. This is America.”
He coughs up blood and draws his last breath.
Back at the ranch, John has gathered his children for a meeting. He tells Beth (Kelly Reilly) she has to walk away from this, and when she protests – which is exactly what you’d expect her to do – he explains he needs someone to be there for Tate when he comes home. John, obviously, doesn’t expect all of the Duttons to survive this next stage in the war against the Becks.
Beth reluctantly agrees.
Jamie (Wes Bentley) calls Malcolm Beck irrational and says he’s not considering the repercussions of his actions. He believes Malcolm’s acting out of arrogance, and John wonders why that matters.
“This is going to be the end of us,” says John, adding, “We’re going to do it anyway.”
Sheriff Donnie Haskell (Hugh Dillon) arrives at Dan Jenkins’ place which is already set up as a crime scene. Cops are all over the place investigating the multiple murders and Dan’s body is covered except his face.
Haskell leaves that scene and heads over to the Yellowstone Ranch. John knows Donnie’s now completely convinced of the Becks’ intentions and needs Donnie to choose a side.
Sheriff Haskell, who’s being blackmailed by the Becks, wonders how they’ll be able to keep all of this murder and mayhem from the public. “You trust me every step of the way,” replies John, not explaining any further.
Sheriff Haskell assures John he can only keep a lid on this story for a day. He explains the Becks have off-duty officers as security, and John asks if they’re his friends. Donnie confirms they’re his cousins and John instructs Donnie to tell them to stand down.
Donnie agrees but warns John that in order for this to look legit, John will have to get a warrant based on what happened to his cattle.
John does as instructed and the warrant comes through that night. He hands the paperwork off to Kayce (Luke Grimes), but looks torn about sending his son off on this deadly mission. “Don’t worry, dad. It’s about the only thing I’m good at,” says Kayce.
The following morning prior to leaving, Kayce takes a seat on the edge of Monica’s bed. He swears he’s going to get their son back. “After you do, I want you to promise me something,” says Monica, lying in bed and not looking at her husband. Kayce agrees and Monica finally turns to face her husband. “Promise me you’ll kill him,” she says, dead serious.
Kayce promises he will kill both Beck brothers.
Meanwhile, Malcolm’s being driven away from his property. He stops and informs the officers standing guard at his gate that his brother’s still inside.
Not far down the road, sirens go off behind Malcolm’s car. Two squad cars pull him over and one of the officers is Sheriff Haskell. He demands they pop the trunk and Malcolm wonders if he really believes he’s that stupid.
Haskell warns Malcolm they need to bring this situation to a peaceful end. Malcolm cusses him out and even threatens his unborn children. Sheriff Haskell lets them continue on their way and Malcolm immediate calls his brother and warns him to get out of the house, explaining the Sheriff is no longer on their side.
Sheriff Haskell calls John and informs him Tate wasn’t in the car. “You better keep your word or I’m a f**king dead man,” he says, ending the call.
John calls Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) who’s already heard the news about Dan’s death and Tate’s kidnapping. John believes Thomas should stay on the reservation and Thomas confirms he’s prepared for what may come next.
However, Thomas has made his own plans. He’s sending someone to John to help with the next step in the battle with the Becks. “On this I stand with you,” says Thomas. John’s sincerely appreciative of Thomas’ declaration of support.
After getting off the call with Thomas, John calls Kayce and simply says, “Do it.”
Kayce arrives at Malcolm’s house and the one remaining sheriff stationed outside asks for his warrant. He shows the officer and Kayce’s allowed to enter the property. The cop drives off and doesn’t follow Kayce down the driveway.
Kayce enters the home and quietly makes his way through the main living areas. He then climbs to the second-floor bedrooms and encounters Teal Beck (Terry Serpico) sitting on the toilet. Before Teal can react, Kayce fires off two shots into his stomach.
Kayce demands to know where they’re keeping his son, but Teal claims not to know. Kayce shoots him again, warning he can shoot him multiple times before he dies. Teal finally admits his brother used the Montana Free Militia to handle the kidnapping.
Kayce asks where they’re headquartered and Teal reveals their base camp location. He cries as Kayce asks, “Don’t you know about my family? You didn’t think we’d fight back?”
Teal admits no one ever fights back. They weren’t prepared for a war with the Duttons. He begs for his life and says he doesn’t want to die on the toilet. “I promised my wife I would kill you. All a man has is his word,” says Kayce before finishing the job. He then takes Teal’s gun and fires it a few times before dropping it by the dead body slumped on the toilet. (A fitting way for a Beck to die.)
Kayce calls his dad to give him an update. John’s relieved to hear Kayce’s fine and that one brother is down.
Beth and Jamie join their dad outside the main house, and he hands Beth an envelope. He wants her to make an amendment to the family trust. He tells her to read it and do as it asks. “I know who loves me. I know who’s loyal. I always have,” he says before walking away.
Beth reads the document but won’t tell Jamie what it says.
Beth catches up with Rip while he’s feeding the horses. He’s concerned that he should be helping the family and confesses just feeding the animals feels wrong at this moment. She asks that he walk with her and they head out into a field and toward a large house inside a fence. She opens the letter and reads it to Rip.
The letter reveals that John recently had an epiphany. He thought he let his great-grandfather down by not having enough sons to carry on with the ranch, given that two of his sons had either quit or died.
“Then one day not too long ago I realized that I have enough sons after all,” reads Beth. Rip doesn’t understand and Beth explains, “He’s saying it’s yours.”
“Mine?” asks Rip, stunned.
They hold hands and then Rip walks ahead into the building. He quietly cries and Beth, she of the ever-present acid-tongue, contains herself and only says, “Well I guess there’s no accounting for taste, but I guess it’s the thought that counts.”
They look around the large room full of furniture covered in sheets. Rip’s overcome with emotion and leaves the room to sit on the front steps. His breathing is still rough as he attempts to maintain his composure.
Rip asks Beth to read the letter once again. She does, without complaint.
Rip smiles and says, “He called me his son.” “Yeah, babe, he sure did,” says Beth, gently.
Kayce’s back at the ranch with his family when the man Thomas Rainwater sent to help arrives.
John prepares to leave and instructs Kayce to get Rip. Kayce’s confused and John explains, “Can’t risk you, son.”
Kayce heads over to Rip’s new place and explains Tate’s with the militia. Rip asks how he can help and Kayce explains they need to figure out how many people they’ll be going up against. During war they’d use an armored vehicle for the job. “We don’t have any armored vehicles,” says Kayce, adding that he’d do the job himself but can’t.
Rip understands and agrees to draw the militia’s fire.
It’s pitch black when they arrive at the militia’s camp. Kayce and the other Livestock Agents appear armed and ready for the siege, but Thomas’ man only has his pistol. When Kayce asks if he wants a rifle, he explains he’s best with his pistol. Kayce’s concerned pistols can’t pierce armor and the man assures him he won’t be aiming at their chests.
The Livestock Agents used face paint to negate any reflections from the light. The man sent to help asks for it and performs a brief ceremony on Rip’s horse so that he’ll see danger, stay safe, the bullets will bounce off, and he’ll move fast. Unfortunately, he can’t perform the same ceremony on Rip.
The group’s finally ready and John joins Rip to apologize he’s asking for this today of all days. John tells Rip he’ll be covering him.
Kayce believes the militia men are loaded for bear, including thermal.
Rip rides up and immediately shots are fired. Gunfire’s exchanged and members of the militia outside the house are either shot or placed under arrest. The agents advance into the building and take control. One militia member is left, seated on the floor with his gun within reach. Kayce inspects a nearby room and then asks if the man knows where his son is. He smiles and answers, “I sure do.” He quickly picks up his gun, places it in his mouth, and kills himself.
John’s handling the situation outside when a man approaches. John tells him to stop and when he doesn’t, he shoots him. The man turns out to be Malcolm Beck.
John tells Malcolm he deserves worse than this and when Malcolm reaches for the gun he dropped, John shoots his arm. He gives Malcolm his word that if he tells him where Tate is, he’ll take him to the hospital.
“If there’s a heaven, and I sure hope so, this is your last chance to do something that just might get you in it,” says John, taking a seat on the ground next to the sprawled-out Malcolm.
The men watch from a distance, not understanding what John’s doing. Kayce even admits he doesn’t understand what’s going on.
John talks about his future and Malcolm’s limited one – if he refuses to disclose Tate’s location. Malcolm eventually says the name of the person holding Tate in Whitefish, Montana.
John is going to keep his word and call for a chopper, but Malcolm realizes he’s not going to make it. John then asks if Malcolm wants company as he dies or if he wants to be alone. Malcolm chooses a solitary death.
“I wish we never met,” says Malcolm. John chuckles, “I bet you do.”
Multiple sheriffs working with the Livestock Agents break down the door and take out the Nazi-loving white supremacists holding Tate. Tate’s in the bathtub, scared to death and frantic when Kayce attempts to hold him. It takes Tate a minute to understand he’s safe. They’ve shaved his head, but otherwise he appears uninjured.
Kayce cradles his son in the backseat of the truck as they return to Yellowstone Ranch.
John didn’t make the trip to Whitefish and receives the call at home that Tate is safe. Beth and Monica are huddled on the couch as John enters and tells them the good news. Monica and John share a lengthy hug.
Beth steps outside to smoke and spots Rip standing under a nearby tree. He admits he’s never far away, and she says she believes they’re going to lose the ranch. “Maybe so,” replies Rip.
Beth responds, “I can’t f**king wait.”
She wonders what Rip will do if he’s not working the ranch. He thinks he’ll be doing the same thing he’s doing now, but on a different ranch.
When Rip asks what she’ll do, she laughs as she says she’ll sleep for a year. “if you want some company, let me know,” says Rip. Beth smiles a genuine smile that lights up her face and replies, “I will,” as he walks away.
Beth’s about to return to the house when she sees her father on the porch, crying. She’s tempted to go to him but chooses not to.
The final shot of the episode is a gorgeous view of the ranch with the sun playing off the clouds hovering over the mountains.
More on Yellowstone:
- Yellowstone Series Review
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 2 “Kill the Messenger”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 3 “No Good Horses”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 4 “The Long Black Train”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 6 “The Remembering”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 7 “A Monster Among Us”
- Recap of Season 1 Episode 8 “The Unravelling: Part 1”
- Yellowstone Season 1 Finale Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 1 “A Thundering” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2 “New Beginnings” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3 “The Reek of Desperation” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 4 “Only Devils Left” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 6 “Blood the Boy” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 7 “Resurrection Day” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 8 “Behind Us Only Grey” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 9 “Enemies By Monday” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 1 “You’re the Indian Now” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 2 “Freight Trains and Monsters” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3 “An Acceptable Surrender” Recap
- Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 4 “Going Back to Cali” Recap