In the “Yellowstone” recap, Jamie looks for answers, Beth faces a rival and the bunkhouse boys seek vengeance…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It was taught early on during the first season of “Yellowstone” that a man carrying the brand of the ranch has certain power and responsibilities different from everybody else working there.
When Jimmy was first starting out, another ranch hand assaulted him and Rip made him pay while reminding him that he never puts his hands on a man with a brand or lest he’ll face the consequences. Later in that first season, Walker (Ryan Bingham) joined the ranch fresh out of prison and he also received the brand but when tensions with Rip were too high to ignore any longer, he was ready to walk away.
But as Walker learned, a man with the brand stays at Yellowstone until they’re buried on the land.
When Kayce was tasked with killing him after it was clear Walker could no longer co-exist with Rip any longer, he decided to show mercy while offering the guitar playing ranch hand a second chance. He told Walker to leave the state and never come back or he wouldn’t escape again.
Well as we saw in last week’s episode, Walker failed to listen to Kayce’s warning after he crossed paths with Rip and Lloyd.
Meanwhile, the thorn in John Dutton’s side known as Wade Morrow struck a serious blow a week ago when he and his son tramped Colby and Teeter on the Yellowstone ranch after they decided to go skinny dipping. As expected, Wade wasn’t just poking at his former boss for the fun of it — he was being bank rolled by a man who had a vested interest in pissing off John Dutton.
And finally, Jamie and Beth both face a crossroads of sorts in their own lives. For Beth, she’s met an enemy with the money and resources to go toe-to-toe with her in any boardroom battle while Jamie is desperate to know where he comes from, even if he may not like those answers.
With only one more episode to go this season, let’s recap the penultimate episode of “Yellowstone” titled “Meaner Than Evil”…
Ghosts of the Past
Despite being trampled by horses to close last week’s episode, Colby and Teeter survived but not without quite a few cuts and bruises. Colby tends to Teeter’s wounds and after literally stapling her face shut, the two finally share a kiss.
In classic Teeter form, she tells Colby that he should have fucked her while she still had a face but they’ll work on his timing.
Back at the bar where Rip and Lloyd stopped for a drink and found Walker still very much alive, he’s finishing up a set and turning down a one night stand with a woman who likes his music. Walker probably should have taken her up on the offer because as soon as he walks outside, Rip and Lloyd put a sack over his head and kidnap him for a return to the one place in Montana he most certainly doesn’t want to go.
Meanwhile, Kayce and Monica are waking up the morning after she helped set a trap that got a predator killed. She’s still feeling the after effects of that adventure while Kayce reminds her that she definitely shouldn’t do that again.
The bigger conversation is about a meeting at Tate’s school later that day but Kayce argues that if his son is meant to run the ranch one day, isn’t his education better served at home? There his mother can teach him everything he needs to know from books and his grandfather will teach him everything he needs to know about the ranch. The way Kayce sees it, his father was the best possible teacher to carry on the legacy of this family.
Monica resists at first while reminding Kayce that John never struck him as a child but he did put a brand on his chest as a reward for being his son. Rather than arguing about this now, Monica decides they’ll deal with Tate’s schooling another day because she’s going back to bed to nurse the sore body she’s still feeling after her sting operation on the reservation.
When Kayce gets outside, Lloyd is waiting for him with a message to meet Rip at the new barn.
Once he arrives, Rip tells Kayce that he found something that was supposed to be dead and he reveals Walker tied up in the back of his truck, very much alive. Inside, Kayce explains how he gave Walker another chance so long as he left the state and never returned but the former convict reminds them that he’s already on parole and skipping out on that would just result in him running for the rest of his life.
But isn’t that better than being dead?
Kayce then offers Walker an alternative solution — he can return to work at the ranch and past sins will be forgiven. Walker will have to do something to earn their trust back, however, and while he scoffs at this idea at first, Kayce is quick to remind him of the alternative. Walker concedes and he’s back as a ranch hand at the Yellowstone-Dutton Ranch.
His return couldn’t come too soon because Rip and Kayce then find out about what happened to Colby and Teeter at the hands of Wade Morrow and his son. They both know vengeance needs to be dished out but John points out that his old rival may be ballsy but he’s not stupid.
John knows this brazen attack on their side of the fence was an obvious attempt to goad them into an irrational response. So John gives his blessing for Rip to dish out some vigilante justice but do it in a way that doesn’t come back to haunt them — and he wants what Wade owes him to be returned.
A Painful Lesson
In order to try and save her father’s ranch from being taken over by corporate raiders, who don’t really give a damn about the people whose land their stealing, Beth Dutton went to war with a powerful enemy in Market Equities.
Despite her best efforts, Beth was only able to cost the company several billion dollars to their shareholders after shorting Market Equities’ stocks but ultimately it wasn’t enough to tame that beast. In response, Market Equities CEO Willa Hays bought up every available share of Schwartz and Meyer — the company that employs Beth.
So when Beth returns to work the next morning, she finds Willa Hays sitting behind her desk, looking awfully comfortable in her chair. Except now, Willa reminds her that the chair and the desk now belong to Market Equities — and Beth is fired.
Rather than make a scene, Beth just gets a knowing smirk on her face as she offers Will a reminder about those who have chosen to wrong her in the past.
Beth: “I’m gonna hang your diploma above my toilet in my guest house. You have my word.
Willa: “Like I said you’ve got to let the sting fade and then we’ll talk.”
Beth: “The sting never fades with me. It is a painful lesson and one you’re about to learn.”
Beth leaves the office and returns home without her job.
Later that night at dinner, Kayce makes the ill informed mistake of bringing up business, which prompts Beth to tell her father how she got fired from her job that day while using some rather colorful language. After Tate is told to leave the table, Kayce remembers why his father tries to keep the conversations a little more civil during dinner.
As for Jamie, he refuses to let his past go after discovering that he was adopted.
So using his power as the state attorney general, Jamie looks up where his biological father is living after he was released from prison. Garrett Randall killed Jamie’s mother when he was just six months old and he went to prison for more than 30 years as a result. John Dutton and his wife Evelyn raised Jamie as their son and never told him about the parents who gave birth to him.
Despite his family roots still being intact with the Duttons, Jamie can’t help but wonder about his father.
So he goes to pay Garrett a visit — played by wonderful character actor Will Patton — and their conversation isn’t much except for Jamie being offered a warning from his father. Garrett tells his wayward son that he killed his mother because she sold her body for drugs and they were both knee deep addicts when he took her life.
“I killed everything I ever loved and everything that ever loved me.”
~ Garrett Randall
Jamie turns around to leave but he just can’t let this go. He needs to know where he came from so he goes back to confront his father again, except this time he won’t be sent away so easily. Garrett relents and offers his son some coffee so they can finally talk.
How the West Was Won
After trampling Teeter and Colby with their horses, Wade and his son go to pay a visit to their benefactor — Roarke Morris.
It seems the slick businessman hired them to poke the bear at Yellowstone-Dutton in order to force John Dutton to do something illegal that could then be used against him in court as they seek eminent domain to take his land. As of yet, John hasn’t retaliated in such a manner to give Roarke the upper hand he needs.
Wade asks if they can bring on more men because the ranchers at Yellowstone have the vastly outnumbered. Roarke gives them the go ahead while telling Wade that he needs to get John to respond soon or he’ll end up being the one who pays.
Back at the bunkhouse, Rip is gathering the troops for their planned vengeance against Wade and his son. When Mia and Laramie show up, Jimmy tells them they need to go while everyone is loading up weapons for the hunt that’s about to happen. Mia is concerned but Laramie can’t help but notice the new addition of Walker to the bunkhouse.
Once everybody was geared up and ready, Rip led them out to the fence line where an ambush was set.
With Walker by himself repairing the barbed wire that had previously been cut down, Wade and his son decide to cause a little more ruckus since John Dutton was dumb enough to send one man out her on his own. Except as soon as they start riding towards Walker, he jumps on his horse and races towards the woods where the rest of the ranch hands spring into action after the trap works to perfection.
Wade is ultimately captured thanks to Rip tossing a lasso over him while riding away. His son didn’t quite make it that far after he run into a tree branch, got knocked off his horse and fell to the ground where his head slammed against a rock. Wade’s son was killed instantly and Lloyd can’t help but feel like he got off lucky.
As the torture is about to begin, Wade tells Rip that Roarke Morris was the man bank rolling him into taking a shot at the Dutton ranch, which is pretty much what everybody expected was happening. Rip then tells Wade that he’s going to die today but not before John gets back what he’s owed.
It’s then revealed that Wade carried the brand from the Yellowstone ranch on his chest, which means he was supposed to be there for life until death but somehow he obviously escaped. Rip tasks Walker with retrieving that brand as proof that he can be trusted again and he reluctantly agrees while offering a few words to Wade before he skins him to remove the brand.
“Mister, I don’t know you but if you’re wearing that brand you must be a bad man. If these motherfuckers want it back, you must be even worse. Karma comes in all shapes and sizes. Looks like it’s me today.”
As soon as the skin is removed, Wade is hoisted into the air with a noose around his neck until he strangles to death.
Later that night at the ranch, John talks to Casey about the necessary steps it will take to protect this ranch, which might include actions just like the ones that ended with Wade Morrow and his son being killed. John reminds his son that evil will come at him in all directions and it won’t stop until its won or you find a way to beat it. The only way to beat it is to be meaner than evil (thus the title of the episode) while simultaneously trying to find a way to still love your family.
In other words, to protect this place Kayce will have to be wiling to do the unthinkable while attempting to maintain enough love in his heart to care for his wife and son. Is that possible? Only time will tell.
While this is happening, Lloyd and Walker take a ride across state lines into Wyoming where they dump Wade and his son’s body into a ravine. It’s the same location where many bodies have been dumped before because Lloyd explains this particular county has no population, which means no law enforcement. Lloyd believes there are a lot of bodies hiding in that particular ravine because that kind of frontier justice was how the west was won in the first place.
Walker’s return under these circumstances leads me to believe he didn’t just come back by accident. Instead, is it possible that Walker was another plant by Roarke Morris and he might have just gathered the intelligence necessary as a witness for the prosecution to bring down John Dutton and his entire ranch? There’s definitely more to this story than meets the eye.
As for the rest of the bunkhouse boys, Rip knows killing Wade is the vengeance that Colby and Teeter required but now they must also pay a price of their own. Rip then brands both Colby and Teeter, which means they are Yellowstone for life and eventually death.
Next week brings the “Yellowstone” season 3 finale at 9 p.m. ET on the Paramount Network.