‘Yellowstone’ Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: “Phantom Pain”

Yellowstone Season 4 Episode 2
Kevin Costner in ‘Yellowstone’ season 4 episode 2 (Photo Courtesy of Paramount Network’s Social Media)

Paramount Network’s Yellowstone season four episode two finds John (Kevin Costner) taking chances with his recovery by saddling up and going for a ride, alone. Kayce (Luke Grimes) spots him riding off and is shocked, wondering if his dad’s trying to die.

Kayce follows him into the woods and finds John soaking in a hot spring, and John claims he’s just following his doctor’s orders. Kayce can’t help but smile as John points out the doctors also said he wasn’t supposed to drive but never mentioned riding a horse. John won’t back down when Kayce tries to get him to behave and declares if he dies on the ride back that’s just the way it goes.

Kayce starts to strip to join his dad for a soak, unwilling to let him ride home alone. They banter good-naturedly about their wounds and Kayce says, “If you die on the way home I’ll bury you next to Lee and then I’ll sit on your grave and I’ll tell you I told you so.”

After a few lighthearted moments, John changes the mood by revealing Beth thinks Jamie’s behind the attack. Kayce doesn’t think anyone would work for Jamie. Plus, Jamie only leased the land for the airport because he was trying to keep the ranch together. No, Kayce’s sure Jamie is still seeking his dad’s approval in his own twisted way.

Kayce believes it was the white supremacist militia and John wonders how many of them are still alive. John tells Kayce to ask Jamie for the warrants to take down the ones that remain. If he doesn’t issue them, then they’ll know where he stands.

John calls Kayce a good man. (You’ve got that right, John.) John doesn’t mince words and confirms they’re going to kill everyone left in the militia.

And speaking of Jamie (Wes Bentley), our least favorite Dutton is out on a ranch listening to a realtor try and sell him the place, complete with cattle, pens, furniture, etc. The kids who inherited it are putting it up for sale, and Jamie talks over the pros and cons of the purchase with his birth dad, Garrett (Will Patton). Garrett believes it’s time Jamie got out of John’s shadow and Jamie decides to move forward with the purchase.

Digging is halted on the Dutton Ranch when a skull is found along with other artifacts.

Series newcomer Jacki Weaver puts in her first appearance as Caroline Warner, CEO of Market Equities. She’s unhappy with what’s happening with the Montana project and asks Ellis what happens now that relics have been dug up. Construction will be halted until the remains are dated and all artifacts are removed by archaeologists. It’s unknown how long the project will be shut down.

Ellis assures Caroline the violence against the Duttons had nothing to do with Market Equities. Caroline doesn’t fully believe that and suggests they stop playing rough and start concentrating on the money angle. (She’s taking a kinder, gentler approach.) She believes she can get Thomas Rainwater to negotiate if enough money’s involved.

Caroline and Ellis meet with Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) at the dig, and Caroline proposes they’ll allow Thomas to continue building his casino by rescinding the Cease-and-Desist order. Plus, Market Equities will even fund the build. Caroline explains their funding would mean they have input on what’s built, and what they want built is a casino that caters to wealthy visitors. “Build a casino that is a destination unto itself,” says Caroline, suggesting 5-star accommodations and world-class chefs.

Her vision of his casino would make his reservation incredibly wealthy. All he has to do is back off and let them build their airport. After she walks off, Thomas tells Mo that Caroline’s making promises she can’t keep.

A visit from horse trainer Travis (played by series creator Taylor Sheridan) has all the ranch hands in a good mood. Even Rip (Cole Hauser) is in a great mood and shocked Travis has brought him a wedding present.

John’s focusing on his legacy and tells Rip and Kayce he wants to have Travis ride for them. That should help expand their brand outside of the valley and make everyone aware of Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Rip agrees Travis is a winner but says he’ll f*ck everybody. However, if he works for them, he’ll be true to the Yellowstone.

John approaches Travis with his plan and Travis explains it’ll take millions to do exactly what John wants. “When people think of horses, I want them to think of the Yellowstone,” says John.

Travis offers to build John a team that will wind up making John lots of money. Of course, it’ll cost millions to get off the ground. Kayce’s leery of putting out that much money, but John believes this is their best option if they want the ranch to survive.

Beth (Kelly Reilly) is summoned to a meeting with Bob Schwartz (Michael Nouri) and one of his minions to go over her severance package. Beth’s game is on a whole other level and instead of listening to their demands, she issues some of her own after reminding Bob he threw her family to the wolves. Beth suggests Bob retire and or else she’ll take everything from him.

Bob warns she shouldn’t try and pick a fight with a bear, believing he’s the bear since his firm owns the land next to the Yellowstone. Beth informs him he only co-owns the land. “You’ve got to read the fine print, Bob. I’m the bigger bear,” says Beth, making a dramatic exit.

Jimmy (Jefferson White) is finally discharged from the hospital with instructions his movements will be restricted to minimum walking and no physical exertion unless supervised. Plus, he has to wear a brace all the time. The doctor’s already spoken to the ranch and they’re sending a car to pick him up.

Sheriff Haskell (Hugh Dillon) shows up at the ranch with Carter (Finn Little), the boy Beth made friends with at the hospital. He got picked up trying to rob a store and claimed Beth’s his guardian. She’s shocked he said that but once she sees his bruised face, she allows him to stay.

Later that evening’s she’s waiting outside the cabin for Rip with beer and news she made Hamburger Helper but with tuna. Apparently, she had no idea Tuna Helper exists so she used Hamburger Helper, and Rip decides the best option is to go to town for dinner.

Beth casually drops the news there’s a kid inside the house who likes the tuna dish. When Rip asks about him, Beth says, “I think he might be our kid, baby.”

Rip briefly goes inside to talk to the kid but immediately turns around to grill Beth instead. Beth believes Carter is Rip 20 years ago. After all, they pretty much had the same upbringing. Beth puts it on Rip to tell Carter to leave – if that’s what he decides.

Rip decides to do just that and tells Carter to get his stuff and leave. Carter walks off into the night and Rip waits 20 seconds or so before following him. He thinks Carter will try and rip off the cars on the ranch and drags him back inside the house. Rip orders the kid to stay on the couch and swears he’s going to stay up all night watching him so he doesn’t steal anything. Tomorrow he’ll take him into town and leave him there.

After Beth says her goodnights, Rip takes Carter to a basement and points out where he can sleep. Rip’s rough with the boy and not in the least bit sympathetic to his plight.

The following morning, Rip drives Carter into town, pissed the boy “puppy dogged” Beth. He winds up pushing the kid out of the truck before they even make it to town. Carter flips him off as Rip drives away.

Rip’s barely 100 feet down the road when he throws it in reverse. Carter says he’s never going back to a foster home and Rip suggests he ask him for a job. Carter asks but doesn’t actually have any skills. Rip tests him by sending him off into a field to retrieve a plastic bag. The boy runs the entire way, which seems to impress Rip.

Rip warns Carter that if he takes him back to the ranch and he steals anything, he’s gone.

Back at the ranch, John and Kayce watch Travis and others work the horses. John’s impressed and agrees when Travis suggests additions to the team.

Rip introduces Carter to John as their new stable boy. John’s not sure he’s okay with this, even though it was Beth’s suggestion.

Lloyd delivers Jimmy to the ranch and John points out he broke his word. Jimmy promised not to get back in the ring and he did, and now he’s not useful. John’s done watching over Jimmy, but he won’t fire him because he promised his grandfather he’d take care of him. Instead, they’re sending Jimmy off with Travis. If Travis can’t make a cowboy out of him, he wasn’t meant to be one.

Once Carter’s done for the day Rip attempts to drop him off in the bunkhouse. However, as soon as they step in the drinking and bad language make Rip change his mind. (We’re treated to Ryan Bingham singing “The Other Side” during the short scene in the bunkhouse.) Instead, Rips brings Carter back to his house and Beth’s pleasantly surprised to see the kid.

Beth’s attempted Hamburger Helper with actual hamburger for dinner, and Rip compliments the meal. Beth thinks she might have actually figured out cooking as Carter stuffs his face. Rip points out this is making Beth happy and Beth does in fact seem content.

The following morning Carter thinks he’s in trouble because John beat him to the barn. John assures him he’s not and is happy the kid is the first one up and working. Carter reveals Rip taught him the trick is to never think you deserve it, and John agrees but adds that you have to try to anyway.