Shows like Yellowstone tend to ask the question of just how tough a person has to be to hold onto what’s theirs, and then how far a person is willing to go in order to do that. The answer, when it comes to the Duttons, is that they’ll fight as hard as the need to and shed every drop of blood necessary to keep things as they are, and it’s a hard lesson that their enemies are learning as season 4 continues to roll along. The failed, Godfather-like assassination of John Dutton and his son Kayce make it clear that someone was rattled enough to hire out killers that weren’t quite the caliber that was needed since the opening two episodes saw the organizer of the hit found out by Chief Rainwater and his people as they gave the mess over to John Dutton in this episode, telling him that it was his trash to deal with. As always, John was less than impressed, but the ominous way that Chief Rainwater made it known that they had unfinished business was enough to realize that any favor done to the Duttons isn’t exactly a kindness since it comes with a pointed reminder of what’s still to come.
In the meantime, the Duttons are about as much of an emotional mess as always since Kayce appears to be taking his position to a level that’s usually only seen in mafia movies since his ability to execute the hitmen with the law on his side is pretty disturbing, as is the fact that he could harass and imprison a Californian Alpaca rancher beneath his own cattle guard. It’s tough to know whether we should be rooting for the Dutton’s or hoping that their actions catch up with them at times since despite the fact that the Californian rancher, who’s about as arrogant as one would imagine him to be, made life harder for a native Montana rancher, Kayce’s job doesn’t exactly come with the power to flout the law in such a manner.
As for family matters, Kayce definitely needs a lesson in that arena as well since blaming his wife Monica for babying their son Tate, or at least allowing him to hide away from the world due to the trauma he’s faced, isn’t how things need to be done. Let’s just put it this way, Tate has been through it. From being kidnapped to killing a man to save his mom’s life during the attack on the ranch, Tate has seen and done more than he needs to at his age, and yet, one thing that Kayce did right, but in a very controversial way, was to haul him out from his place under the bed to force him to face up to what he’d done. There’s no doubt that Kayce loves his son, and it’s even more obvious that one can’t live in fear their entire life, but Tate is a bit fragile, and this has been known for a while since he’s not a tough kid, no matter what he’s been through. He’s a boy that has survived and done what he needed to in order to protect his mother, but he’s not tough in any way, shape, or form.
Kayce’s marriage might be close to crumbling since Monica is now fully convinced, even more so than before, that living among the Dutton’s is bound to be the ruin of them all. It would almost sound that she’s ready to pack up, take Tate, and simply move back to the reservation, with or without Kayce. In fact, she might leave him behind since his devotion to his father and the ranch has become nearly absolute. Part of me wants to state that Monica is just as delicate as Tate and can’t hang in the dangerous world the Dutton’s exist in, while another part of me wants to think that she’s right, and should get as far away as humanly possible. And despite how bad this situation is getting, the one between Rip and Beth, along with Carter, could be even worse. The obvious doesn’t need to be stated but I’ll do it anyway: Beth is not good with kids.
Simply taking Carter to the store to buy him a set of decent clothes ended in disaster as he favored a shirt that made her remind him of Rip at his age, an image she couldn’t take. When Rip dared to call Carter her ‘pet’ it wasn’t appreciated in the least, but Beth came to realize that he was right, since she knows next to nothing about dealing with kids. And her reaction to being taped on a video phone was another example of why swimming with sharks is better for Beth than trying to play the mother figure, since she understands the world she inhabits, and will gladly tear apart anyone that decides they know better than her. Some might have called this episode an interlude between action scenes, and they’re not entirely wrong, but they might have missed a few moves that were made simply because they were waiting so excitedly for the action to kick in again.