Yellowstone Season 4 Premiere Review: The Phoenix Always Rises


Are you breathing yet?

The Yellowstone Season 4 premiere had a lot to address, and it even made time to introduce two upcoming spinoffs of this juggernaut.

Yellowstone Season 4 Episode 1 had to reveal the fates of the Dutton family after the attacks, which provided an action-packed denouement to the attack at the immediate threats, but vengeance is still on the table.

We won’t judge you if you got whiplash watching the first half of “Half the Money.” We dove headfirst into the chaos leashed upon the Duttons, checking in on everyone as the action continued unfolding.

Always thinking ahead, John used his blood to leave the clue needed to track down the assailants and end their short-lived but bloody reign of terror.

Fueled by adrenaline, Kayce didn’t stop until that vehicle was in his sights and he had access to take down those bastards.

His efforts got him hurt after escaping the initial hail of bullets in his office and opened the possibility that someone might not make it out of this alive yet.

Badass Beth was still smoldering as she made her way out of the building, finding a man with a cigarette that she needed desperately. The smoke after the fire.

With Rip with John and Kayce tracking down their attackers, Monica and Tate were left vulnerable at the house, and Tate’s already short childhood took another beating as he killed a man attacking his mother.

Outside, the wranglers were putting up a hell of a fight, leaving many that we don’t know personally for dead, but before that ended, Rip’s cabin was burned to the ground.

It all happened so fast, and the premiere leaped ahead two months, leaving behind any discussion about what happened or the potential to get mopey as wounds healed and tempers subsided.

Nobody wanted any of the Duttons to suffer permanent harm. They’ll all have scars, of course, but with every season ending with someone in grave danger who lives to tell the tale, it’s hard to take too much of their enemies’ grievances to heart anymore.

It’s almost like a comedy of errors how poorly matched everyone who enters their domain is in comparison. Just how long can those kinds of threats continue?

Maybe it’s the cantankerous streak running through their blood that allows them to skate by the misery others intend for them. Perhaps it’s karma. They only attack when attacked, which leaves most of their enemies under the impression that they’ll just let them run ram shod over the family.

It’s a lesson they don’t get much time to examine, being that the pile of bodies at the train station grows and grows. I sure hope they’ve been dumping train cars of lye down there to really clean it up good.

John was down for two months, but once he was up, his injuries healed fast. But there was headway on the attack on two fronts.

Beth didn’t disappoint with her determination to pin it on Jamie. She gives him too much credit.

Beth: It was you, wasn’t it?
Jamie: It was me what?

Jamie is still just a kid who wants his dad’s love. He’s let his insecurities lead him to some painful decisions, but as Kayce pointed out on Yellowstone Season 4 Episode 2, everything Jamie has done of late concerning their land deals was on the up and up and to the Duttons’ benefit.

At the same time, Jamie was looking for a place to hang his hat with his birth father’s support. If Jamie is involved, it’s through Garrett, and I’d suspect Jamie’s hands to be clean.

It’s time for you to create your own, shadow, son, and stop standin’ in someone else’s.


The way Garrett spoke about the Duttons suggested he might not be averse to taking them down a notch. He’s got a bad history, and reconnecting with his son could have released that old feeling, and with his prison contacts, it wouldn’t be hard to orchestrate it.

If he’s got his hands dirty, it might not take too long to find out, thanks to Rainwater and Mo, who found a guy who claimed to orchestrate the entire debacle while loose-lipped in their casino.

It’s hard to imagine anyone stupid enough to mouth off to casino personnel on a Reservation casino could muster up the intelligence to coordinate something on that scale.

Of course, we still can’t rule out that the Reservation has clean hands, as well, but it seems we can rule out any knowledge on Rainwater’s and Mo’s behalf.

When I had a chance to chat with Gil Birmingham about the fourth season, I asked him what they could gain by being a part of the attack.

You can get insight by checking out the brief interview here:

Shoring up Gil’s points was our introduction to 1883, providing a good argument for why the Native Americans on the Reservation have fostered goodwill with the Duttons. Their earliest interactions suggested John was honorable and compassionate.

The Duttons still own Native lands, but they didn’t take it, and when asked, James didn’t hesitate to share that land for burial, along with some grazing and a steer to feed weary travelers.

What they did to John Dutton hasn’t been done since they did it to us. We need to know who’s trying to take his land because they’re coming after ours next.


Rainwater’s assessment that whoever went after the Duttons for their land would be coming for them was spot on, especially since Caroline’s first order of business after Rip killed Roarke was to make Rainwater an offer that could be hard to refuse.

Whether it’s refused will depend on how Rainwater views bringing unending travelers, no matter how wealthy, to Native lands.

Their goal is to reclaim the land and greenlight the airport, and an influx of wealthy and undoubtedly morally questionable visitors and homeowners wouldn’t align well with that goal.

It will be interesting to see how it all pans out and how Beth and Caroline get alone when they’re inevitable in the same room.

The first words out of Caroline’s mouth gave Beth’s cracks a run for the money. She may not be as pretty as Roarke, but she’s got a fiery streak and business acumen that should prove formidable.

I am never early and I am never late. I am the constant your time adjusts to.


There wasn’t much going on by way of the bunkhouse, but Jimmy (as we all knew since he’s been cast on 666) is alive. His jumping-off point to the spinoff makes perfect sense in light of breaking his word to John.

They haven’t nailed down any details, but it’s hard not to imagine he’ll be sent away so someone else can try to make a man of him where John feels he failed.

It’s also worrisome that we haven’t seen Monica or Tate after they got attacked. Has she left the Yellowstone?

She was barely holding on from the moment they moved to the ranch, and then Tate was abducted. Another event could push her over the edge. Is love enough to make you feel safe? Not so far, if she and Tate are any indication.

It’s hard not to be worried about Kayce, though. John asked him to use his killer instincts to end the militia, and Kayce will do it for his father.

But we’ve seen Kayce teetering on the edge before. He still hasn’t come to terms with what he did in the service, and he’s asked over and over to use the skills he despises.

It’s not a stretch to imagine that he’ll feel the weight of that burden again. And if things aren’t good with his immediate family, that could shake up Kayce pretty good.

The Yellowstone has been struggling financially, and John’s decided to make a go of it on the rodeo circuit. It’s always fun seeing Taylor Sheridan a part of his production, and Travis is putting together a competitive team that will make it hard for others to take home the top prizes.

He also pointed John in the right direction to scoop up an established team so it won’t take as long to make a splash on the road.

More horses and horsemanship is always a win.

Beth’s wisecracks endeared her to a young boy who is following in Rip’s footsteps.

Kid: What happened to your face?
Beth: What happened to yours, you insensitive little fuck.

He’s ornery and has poor judgment, but she sees something in the boy that she cannot resist. It’s not exactly difficult to understand how she views him in correlation to Rip.

Rip, though, knows that boys like him are more trouble than good. Still, as he saw himself in the boy, even Rip had a tough time making good choices. His goal is to love and care for Beth, who has taken a liking to the boy.

Rip: This makes ya happy, don’t it?
Beth: It does.
Rip: Ya wanna know why? Cause he’s got a mean streak like a fuckin’ badger.

As soon as Beth and the boy started talking at the hospital, I saw this writing on the wall. But taking someone like him in is an enormous challenge. Time will tell if they’re up for it.

Beth is also out of a job. She was literally burning for Bob as she made him money, but they’re still following through with kicking her aside.

How amazing was her retort when he tried to claim big bear status?

You co-own the land, Bob. Ya gotta read the fine print. I’m the bigger bear.


He learned nothing about her in their time together. She would never jeopardize her family’s interest in the name of money. None of them would, not even Jamie.

Now we get to find out exactly how she’s going to play that surprising hand. She’s always got something up her sleeve, and she always keeps us guessing. Those are things we’ve come to count on with Badass Beth.

What’s your reaction to the premiere? We’re off to a running start!

What surprised you the most? Were you clinging to the edge of your seat as the action exploded on screen?

Weigh in on all of it below, and don’t forget to watch Yellowstone online if you want to live it all over again!

To leave you in a good mood, here’s a little eye candy. Enjoy!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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