In the season 2 premiere of Yellowstone, the episode begins with Rainwater, portrayed by Gil Birmingham, having a vivid and foreboding dream. He envisions himself standing on the plains, surrounded by unsettling imagery including a burning tree and a woman engulfed in flames. In the dream, he encounters Dan, played by Danny Huston, whose face is severely burned. The encounter turns hostile, with Dan pulling a gun on Rainwater. The tension escalates until Rainwater abruptly wakes up, leaving the audience with an ominous start.
The episode then delves into various developments:
1. New Man on the Ranch:
– John, portrayed by Kevin Costner, and the Yellowstone cowboys embark on a mission to retrieve stray cows from a forested area. They employ dogs to assist in the operation. Kayce, played by Luke Grimes, takes a risk by venturing into the forest alone to retrieve a remaining cow. Despite concerns raised by Lloyd, John commends Kayce’s decisive action, emphasizing that it’s only reckless if one cannot see it through.
– A newcomer named Cowboy, portrayed by Steven Williams, arrives at the Yellowstone seeking work before heading to Arizona. John directs him to Kayce, which piques the interest of both Kayce and Rip, played by Cole Hauser, as hiring ranch hands is typically Rip’s responsibility.
2. New Environments:
– Jamie, portrayed by Wes Bentley, is now residing with Christina, played by Katherine Cunningham, after being cut off by John. Jamie appears uneasy in this new setting, particularly when faced with the hipster atmosphere that Christina seems oblivious to.
– Beth, portrayed by Kelly Reilly, is in the process of securing a new office space, albeit with no intention of making it a long-term arrangement. She opts for a six-month lease, asserting her preference to avoid being in Boseman the following year.
– Rainwater presents his casino proposal to the tribal council, outlining the potential benefits of owning the land and incorporating it into the reservation. While one council member questions the project’s benefits, he stands alone in opposition.
– Monica, played by Kelsey Asbille, visits the university to accept a teaching position. Although the Native American Studies class she was promised has been postponed, she agrees to teach American History, intending to provide her perspective on the historical events.
3. Challenges and Challengers:
– Beth selects a new candidate, Cassidy Reid, portrayed by Kelly Rohrbach, for John to support in the attorney general race against Jamie. When John remarks on Cassidy’s resemblance to Beth, she takes satisfaction in the knowledge that Jamie will be displeased.
– Cowboy expresses dissatisfaction with the rest of the Yellowstone crew. Tensions escalate, leading to a near-confrontation with Ryan. Rip intervenes, but he also grapples with Walker’s reluctance to integrate with the group.
– Kayce seeks clarity on how the separation will work regarding his visits with Tate. Monica allows Kayce to watch over Tate as he sleeps, though it’s evident that the separation weighs heavily on her.
4. A Bull Walks into a Bar:
– Avery, portrayed by Tanaya Beatty, suggests an unconventional activity called cowboy poker, which involves sitting at a table in a corral and facing a charging bull. The daring game leads to a surprising turn of events, leaving Avery shaken but unharmed.
– Later, at a bar, a confrontation erupts when a man approaches Avery. Jimmy intervenes, resulting in a violent altercation. The Yellowstone cowboys find themselves outnumbered and defeated, prompting them to take matters into their own hands.
5. John’s Regrets:
– John encounters Dan at a diner, observing the rope burn around his neck from the previous season’s hanging. Dan reveals that he intends to stay in Montana and deliberately avoided involving the police, anticipating a future clash over the Yellowstone.
– Back on the ranch, John experiences a sudden health crisis, leading to a diagnosis of a ruptured ulcer rather than colon cancer. Despite the absence of anesthesia, the vet performs a critical procedure to stabilize him. John and Kayce are then airlifted to the hospital.
– During the journey, Kayce attempts to offer reassurance, emphasizing that without cancer, John isn’t facing imminent death. This prompts John to confront the realization that he must rectify numerous unresolved matters.
The season 2 premiere of Yellowstone sets the stage for a series of intricate developments, including personal challenges, power struggles, and impending confrontations, all against the backdrop of the ranch’s dynamic and often treacherous environment. The episode culminates with John’s newfound determination to address his lingering regrets and uncertainties.