SPOILER ALERT: This contains spoilers from the Season 5 premiere of “Yellowstone,” which premiered Sunday, Nov. 13 on Paramount Network.
“Yellowstone” has returned, and John Dutton (Kevin Costner) won the race for governor. But don’t worry: He totally hates it! The position is completely in service of keeping his family’s land, despite the efforts of Market Equities and all the enemies the Dutton family has made along the way.
Along for the ride are John’s kids: The iconic Beth (Kelly Reilly), who is ride or die for the family; human weasel Jamie (Wes Bentley), who has been neutered due to Beth’s blackmail after he murdered his biological father; and livestock officer Kayce (Luke Grimes).
This season’s epic double-episode opener left us with many burning questions and loose thoughts, which are outlined below in real time.
Episode 1: “One Hundred Years is Nothing”
*Has anyone ever been so emo about being elected governor as John?
*John is in no way interested in representing all of the people of Montana. At least he’s honest when his opponent, whose name is, I believe, Mr. East Coast Liberal Venti Latte, calls him to concede.
*Is Jamie’s lowest moment when everyone runs out of the campaign war room to celebrate and they turn the lights out on him while he’s still in there? Embarrassing!
*Beth’s death stare at Jamie while the confetti is falling…how did that not bore a hole straight through his head?
*Shoutout to Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver) for throwing not only her glass in disgust but the whole bottle of liquor too. She’s very mad!
*Is Jamie dumb enough to work with Market Equities now? His family is going to be SO skeptical about anything he pitches.
*Young Beth is expertly played by Kylie Rogers. Maybe Taylor Sheridan’s next project should be a “Gossip Girl”-esque spinoff about the young bunkhouse.
*Big, romantic scenes with Beth and Rip (Cole Hauser) are great, but…Rip’s kind of right? It seems like Beth has apologized many times for the past. It’s all good! Let’s look to the future.
*Random thought: If Chris Pratt dressed up as Rip for Halloween, why didn’t his wife Katherine Schwarzenegger dress up as Beth?!? The costume opportunities are endless and, frankly, more engaging than a garden fairy. And yes, before everyone gets annoyed, the garden fairy outfit was tied to their two adorable children, whose costumes were a butterfly and a bumblebee. But let’s dress up those kids as Lil’ Jamie and Lil’ Governor Dutton and we can all celebrate!
*Beth’s “vodka makes me happy” line…Is this finally the season that the hard-drinkin’ Duttons have to get help for their boozing? That’s a pretty depressing line in the context of this “finding your happiness” conversation!
*Honest question: Should Kayce and his family just spinoff into their own show? Starting last season, they seemed increasingly out of place within the ranching and political intrigue of the main show. Maybe just give him a “Walker, Texas Ranger”-esque spinoff where we get to know his family more, his fellow lawmen and the true codes of the livestock agents. These vignettes — like seeing those free-healthcare-loving, fancy-pants Canadians at the border give up jurisdiction because American prisons are notoriously tougher on law-breakers than our criminal-loving neighbors up north — seem increasingly half-baked.
*What was John’s holdup when asked to recite his name? Haunted memories? Underlying medical issues? Stage fright?
*Judging by this swearing-in ceremony, the best way for Jamie to get ahead in politics is simple: Wear. A. Big. Cowboy. Hat.
*Totally here for Jamie and Beth’s bickering. His murmur of “We’re all going to prison” is one of the episode’s best lines.
*The driver is too much of a sycophant right out of the gate. He will definitely betray the Duttons.
*Welcome back, Teeter (Jennifer Landon)! Your magnificent accent steals every scene.
*The Shane Smith And The Saints performance is a good reminder that “Yellowstone” has one of the best alt-country soundtracks in the game. The show’s official Spotify playlist is full of bangers.
*All this Nero talk…way to kill the vibe of the party, Rip!
*What an awful car crash! It seems like Monica (Kelsey Asbille) has the worst luck of any character on television. She just can’t catch a break!
*Monica lost the baby?!? And they named the baby John?!? Heartbreaking!
Episode 2: “The Sting Of Wisdom”
*Brecken Merrill does a fantastic job in a claustrophobic scene as Tate struggles to get out of the car wreck, as well as his subsequent shock and hysterics while searching for his mother.
*Sending a pin to 911 with your location…pretty smart move, Tate!
*Things are getting pretty heavy…let’s check in with Rip’s tasseled chaps and enormous belt buckle.
*Chief of Staff Jim Roberts probably should have introduced himself to Governor Dutton earlier on in this transition…
*It’s fun watching John squirm once he realizes his dream of a Ron Swanson-esque existence of eternally ditching meetings won’t get him anywhere politically.
*Ouch, Beth! Her cutting words about fathers to Jamie…yikes!
*What a sad episode! If you need some emotional relief, click here for a bunch of pictures of dogs dressed up as cowboys. Yellowstone Ranch might not run as efficiently if they were in charge, but how cute would it be?!?
*While the cowboys are trying to fend off the wolves around the ranch, John is trying to fend off political wolves. Metaphor alert!
*Market Equities’ new secret weapon, Sarah (Dawn Olivieri), seems like a knockoff Beth. Oh, the fights they will have!
*Ugh, Jamie’s absolutely going to fall in love with Sarah, isn’t he?
*Don’t worry, valet character with just a few lines: Beth’s car payment metaphor was very confusing.
*As if this episode wasn’t tragic enough, Rip has to shoot a horse? Jeez!
*Never thought we’d see a — checks notes — mountain biker trying to hit on Beth, but good luck!
*Ah, nothing like a classic, five degree Beth burn. Magnifique!
*Another “Yellowstone” special: Walk up to someone and wordlessly sucker punch them in the face when they ask “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
*Rip’s intimidation and manipulation skills are second-to-none. Though none of his schemes this season can match putting a poisonous snake in a cooler, shaking it and throwing it in a man’s face, the driftwood meets wolf collar scheme is pretty smart.
*Maybe this isn’t the vibe they’re going for, but is John going to hook up with his new assistant Clara (Lilli Kay)? He does like younger women, but this would be a little much. Related: Is he going to officially pardon his protestor fling Summer (Piper Perabo), or just let her sit in jail?
Phew! That’s it until next week. In the meantime, check out Variety‘s Season 5 preview, including interviews with Hauser, Reilly and Bentley.