[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 2, Episode 8 of Yellowstone, "Behind Us Only Grey."]
John Dutton (Kevin Costner), Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham), and Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) are united against one enemy: the Beck brothers. (But don't worry; they'll all go back to plotting against each other once this threat has been taken care of the Dutton-way.)
Meanwhile, Monica (Kelsey Asbille) wonders if moving onto the ranch was such a good idea, and Jimmy (Jefferson White) settles his debt (though Avery's move with the bear spray costs him his prize belt). But hey, at least Jamie (Wes Bentley) seems to be finding his place (despite his obvious concerns about an episode-ending car ride).
However, that'll never happen with Beth (Kelly Reilly). "One day ... someone will love you and you'll love somebody," she tells Jamie. "And I can't wait to take that from you. Even if I have to kill it with my bare hands, I will take it from you." (It's too bad this wasn't to Malcolm, but it's good to see that, no matter how much healing Beth has to do following the attack, she's still the same Beth.)
Everyone vs. the Becks
The day after the attack, Beth is bloody and bruised, and who can blame her for her response when John asks how she's feeling? "Like I just left the f***ing spa," she tells him. Chewing is out, but a smoothie made of ice cream and vodka is doable (and sounds more like something Beth would have for breakfast) as she watches Rainwater and Dan arrive for their meeting.
"My face was just the appetizer," Beth tells Dan when he stares at her in horror. "What doesn't kill us, Dan." But he doesn't believe it makes them stronger. He does think he understands John and Beth better being on the ranch. The thing is Beth understands herself less when she's there.
What John, Rainwater, and Dan understand is that something needs to be done about the Beck brothers. After all, look what Malcolm (Neal McDonough) and Teal (Terry Serpico) have done to them. They've brutally killed one of Rainwater's employees. They attacked Beth. And poor Dan, they pulled his liquor license. (Dan's problems are really eye-roll inducing next to the others'.)
While the three men will always be enemies, at least they fight fair, Rainwater points out. Their new threat does not. They'll find the thing they care about most and kill it. Dan knows that John wants them to say they should kill the Becks — and John knows he's recording their conversation for his protection.
In turn, Dan and Rainwater both seal their roles in the matter, with the former saying they should kill the Becks and the latter promising that he can make sure no one looks when "things" get "lost" on the reservation. John pockets the recorder since he'll be the one doing it and turns down Dan's offer to bring in people he knows in L.A. to help. (Considering how easily John took down Torry, Dan's "people" probably wouldn't be much help.)
But John better get to planning fast, because Malcolm is angry and is going to "take this all the way," he tells his brother, starting with "the one [John] loves the most." Cue a transition to Tate (Brecken Merrill) that has us very worried.
And it just gets worse. After a guard at the casino gate on the reservation is murdered (clearly the Becks' doing), John takes Kayce (Luke Grimes) and Jamie to the crime scene. At least here we get a bit of levity, as Jamie clearly worries that his father and brother plan to take him somewhere and feed his body to the wolves or something along those lines, given his focus on the gun on Kayce's belt. But he's just there as a lawyer. "Where'd you think I was taking you?" John asks. Jamie's too busy remembering how to breathe to answer.
John calls Malcolm to set a meeting, during the day, in a square where everyone can see. And when Malcolm hangs up, he puts his foot down on Tate's photo (among pictures of the rest of the family), sliding it across the table to his brother. "Who he loves the most," he repeats his earlier line. Uh-oh.
The Realities of Being Part of the Dutton Family
Monica gets a good look at what the "wolves" Kayce was dealing with the night before did to Beth, who assures her it was "business," not her father or boyfriend. "What kind of business does that?" Monica asks. "The family business," Beth says.
"My father used to tell me stories about people trying to take this place, about all the wars he had to fight to keep it," Kayce says when she returns late at night from a class trip. "I never believed him. I believe him now. There's people who, all they care about is more — how to get more, take more — and they'll stop at nothing, as long as it leads to more."
After that, it's no wonder Monica is already reconsidering moving in on the ranch. She doesn't need that big room they're now living in (though she does like the bathroom).
"This place isn't a home. It's a giant Alamo," she tells Kayce. "You're a prisoner here. So is your sister. So is your father. Now we're prisoners too." But he's fine if she wants to live in town, as long as they live together. This'll be the least of John's worries, he assures her.
That doesn't stop John from convincing her to give the place another chance. The city is dangerous too, he points out, as is the reservation.
Beth & Rip: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Rip's (Cole Hauser) "I love you" doesn't change much for the two. Instead, even though the doctor told him to rest in bed, he insists on making the (painful) walk "back to the bunkhouse before I get used to this," he tells her as he leaves her in bed.
But we do get quite the touching moment as John thanks Rip for what he did for Beth. "I mean it," he stresses. "I know you do, sir," Rip says in reply. "I know."
And the same man who killed the two men who attacked Beth is also the man who helps Tate with his horse and buttons up the kid's jacket. "Turns out he's just a big teddy bear," John comments to his daughter.
Despite everything that has happened so far, doesn't this just feel like the calm before the storm?
Yellowstone, Wednesdays, 10/9c, Paramount Network