‘Yellowstone’ season 2 came to an explosive conclusion on Wednesday night as the Dutton family squared off with the Beck brothers in a bloody, final showdown…
‘Yellowstone’ season 2 came to an end on Wednesday night as the war between the Dutton family and the Beck brothers ended in a lot of bloodshed.
In the penultimate episode, Kayce Dutton and his wife Monica were horrified to discover that their son Tate was kidnapped by the Beck’s as part of a power play they’ve engaged in all season long while trying to stop Thomas Rainwater and developer Dan Jenkins from opening a casino nearby, which ultimately drew the Dutton family into the fight as well.
The season finale racked up quite a bodycount after Kayce exacted revenge on Teal Beck by shooting him dead while he was sitting on the toilet in his own house. Dan Jenkins was also gunned down after the Beck’s sent a hit squad to his house and after killing two of them, he thought he was safe until a third masked man emerged to shoot him dead. And Malcolm Beck was another casualty after he was shot and killed by John Dutton when the family arrived at a compound to rescue Kayce’s son Tate.
‘Yellowstone’ season 2 featured a number of major storylines including Kayce being groomed to take over his father’s ranch one day, which caused massive problems in his marriage. Meanwhile, Beth Dutton — arguably the best character currently on television — suffered a brutal attack at the hands of the Beck brothers but ultimately survived and grew closer with her savior, Rip Wheeler. Rip also got some good news in the season finale after John bequeathed him a house on the Yellowstone property while inviting him to officially join their family, almost like an adopted son. And then there’s Jamie Dutton, who murdered a reporter to keep her quiet after he had given her an inflammatory interview about his father that would essentially sink him in the public eye. Jamie then found out that his ex-girlfriend was pregnant with his child as he was still trying to reconcile in his own head that he had murdered someone.
There was a lot to unpack from that finale but ‘Yellowstone’ co-creator Taylor Sheridan tried to put it all into perspective while also looking ahead to season 3, which is already in production with a planned 2020 debut date on the Paramount Network.
The opening scene of the ‘Yellowstone’ finale was actually a flashback where John Dutton shared a few final moments with his father, who was played by Dabney Coleman. It turns out, Sheridan worked with Coleman early in his career and he was very excited to reunite with him for this pivotal scene that showed why John (played by Kevin Costner) is so protective of the land that belongs to his family.
“When that happened, I’d written it but I believe I was prepping a movie in New Mexico and I think he reached out and said he would be really interested in doing something,” Sheridan said about the casting decision. “I had worked with Dabney many, many years ago, almost 20 years ago, as one of the young pups. He’s a Texas guy and was such a gifted, giving actor and I was really struck by how good he was, and how kind he was, to this kid who was guest starring on his deal.
“Its funny; I’ve employed a lot of people who were good to me when I was a young actor. Buck Taylor was in the first thing I ever did. I put him in Yellowstone. There’s something about that show that lends itself to hiring friends and family.”
As for Dan Jenkins, the real estate developer who tried to strong arm his way through John Dutton only to find out he was up against an entirely different kind of enemy, met his demise during the finale. As he spat up blood in his final breaths, Dan was still defiant while saying that he had every right to buy land in Montana no matter what the people there thought of him.
Sadly in the end, Dan was never made for that world and he paid for it.
“In essence, here is a guy who got between people who have literally been fighting for what they’ve gotten, for their entire lives. His fights had always been by proxy,” Sheridan said. “Abusing, bending or manipulating the law. Having someone else fight for him. Now, he’s in a place, the world of Yellowstone, you will reach a point where these people will actually just fight themselves. It becomes a zero sum game and you’re the zero.
“That’s where he ended up. It does say something metaphorically about the interloper who comes in, and the possible consequences of that. It plays with that notion, for sure.”
The end of the season also brought the Dutton family together with some past enemies including Thomas Rainwater, the Native American chief who is determined to annex the land his people once owned that now stands as part of the Yellowstone-Dutton ranch. The battle between the Duttons and Rainwater was the central focus of the first season but they banded together to fight a common enemy in season 2.
So what does that mean for their relationship going forward?
“Here’s the thing. They’re great enemies, only in the fact that they both want the same thing. Literally, the same piece of land for very different reasons,” Sheridan said. “You have to respect both of them for their positions. Rainwater’s position is the simplest and morally purest of the show. Get this, it was taken from us and look at the consequences to the people who held it, once it was taken from them. He 100% should try to get it back. And John Dutton should 100% try and keep it. And so they’re going to continue to fight.”
— Yellowstone (@Yellowstone) August 29, 2019
Looking ahead to season 3, Sheridan says to expect an even deeper exploration of the core characters, particularly the Dutton children.
“Season Three really explores these relationships,” Sheridan teased. “In Season One, you’re building the world and giving it a trajectory and in Season Two, you are paving that road. Once we all know what that road is, I’ll give a Game of Thrones example. Once we understand all the players and what they want, then we understand the threat that’s really coming and the hero we think is coming, well now we can slow the world way down and look at what makes these people tick and keep putting them in situations that will show their true colors.
“I promise you next season, there are people on this show who are 100% not what they seem to be. And there are a few people who are exactly what you think they are but don’t believe they could actually be that. And it’s about figuring out who’s who.”
In many ways, Sheridan has only started to scratch the surface with what we will eventually learn about Kayce, Beth, Jamie and now Rip as the surrogate third son to John Dutton and the damaged kids he’s raised.
“Oh yeah, and you will learn in Season Three just how damaged. So to me, that’s really beautiful and fascinating to explore,” Sheridan said.
Next season on ‘Yellowstone’ will also see ‘Lost’ veteran Josh Holloway join the show in a pivotal role as Roarke Carter, a handsome, charming, shaggy-haired hedge fund manager with ambitious plans in Montana. Sheridan couldn’t say too much about the kind of character Holloway will be playing but he’s a different kind of animal than the enemies that the Dutton’s have faced previously.
“We’ve seen the way John Dutton fights crooks, but there are different kinds of crooks,” Sheridan said. “Some break the law, and some know how to manipulate the law to their benefit. Those are much more common and dangerous. Josh’s character falls into that category.”
With ‘Yellowstone’ season 3 already into production and the show serving as a breakout hit for the fledgling Paramount Network, Sheridan knows his job is probably secure for as long as he wants the series to run but there is an end game already in mind. He can’t say for certain how many seasons ‘Yellowstone’ will go but he already knows how he plans to end it.
“I know how the whole thing ends,” Sheridan said. “At some point you’re going to run out of ideas, and you want to end it about six episodes before that. Will that be six years? I don’t know. Paramount wants it to run as long as it can, but it’s a quality show, and we don’t want this to become “CSI: Bozeman.” We want it to be true to itself.”