Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2 Review: New Beginnings

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Yellowstone features some of the fiercest women on television!

Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2 had plenty of testosterone-fueled action, but Beth and Monica stood up for themselves and against tradition in a set of compelling scenes and subplots.

It'll be interesting to see what, if any, fallout there will be from this.

(TALL) Monica's First Day - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2

Monica's decision to take the teaching job seemed like it wouldn't go anywhere good. While her desire to teach the history of American colonization from an indigenous point of view is noble, it seemed like she would likely have to choose between keeping her job and telling her truth.

I applauded her response to Trent, but when the Dean walked in, I was sure that was the end of her teaching career, or at least, that she would be pressured to tone down the anti-colonialism.

What you know of history is a dominant culture's justification for its actions, and I don't teach that. I'll teach you what happened to my people and to yours, because we're all the descendants of the subjugated, every one of us.


Most shows would have done just that, but Yellowstone went in a different direction.

That's one of the reasons I love this show so hard -- it's authentic and gritty but also nuanced and unpredictable!

Related: Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 1 Review

Of course, there's no guarantee we've seen the last of Trent. He apologized, and the Dean thought that was that, but I tend to agree with Monica that Trent was far from being won over.

Girl: You the teacher's aide?
Monica: No, I'm the teacher.
Boy: I saw this video on Porn Hub and this is exactly how it starts.
Monica: Misogyny. How refreshing. If you work in a Pocohantas joke, you'll hit the trifecta.
Boy: Well now that you mention it..
Monica: What's your name?
Boy: Trent.
Monica: Can you tell me the definition of power, Trent? Hmm? It's the ability to direct or influence another's behavior.or course of events. That's what I have. I can remove you from this class and fail you or I can send you before the Dean for violating the student code of conduct. These are all things that can alter the course of YOUR life. That's power. And you don't have any.

And when a snotty kid who's used to being the one with all the power is told he has none, that doesn't generally go well.

Fighting for Respect - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2

Of course, the Dean is all smiles and employment perks now, but that might not last forever, especially if Trent's parents have something to say about Monica disciplining their son in the future or if anyone's unhappy with the version of history Monica is teaching.

Monica has bigger problems to deal with than Trent, though. It may be harder to stand up to her father and his belief that Monica and Kayce are married for eternity if she chooses to continue living apart from Kayce.

Tate: We're moving?
Monica: You like it?
Monica's father: Where you moving?
Monica: Run a bath,buddy, outside.
[Tate goes]
Monica: The university offers housing for faculty.
Father: What about Kaycee?
Monica: It's closer to Kaycee.
Father: That's not what I mean. You gotta really think about the decisions you make, honey.
Monica: I have thought about it. It feels right. For Tate and for me.
Father: Remember this. You two were married in ceremony, not in some courthouse. Ceremony. That means you're married to him in the afterlife. No matter what you do in this life, you two are stuck together. Want to decide something? Decide how you two are going to work it out our you two will be miserable forever.

She's in a tough spot. Her desire to protect Tate from John and the violence on the Dutton ranch is understandable, but Tate is half Dutton, and he adores his grandfather and father. 

It wasn't clear how often, if at all, Tate sees Kayce. Monica said the townhouse on campus was closer to the ranch, but John's comments and Tate's reaction to seeing Kayce at the pool suggested that Tate hasn't seen Kayce at all since the separation.

Related: Luke Grimes on Yellowstone Season 2, Kayce's Motivations, and Future

That doesn't seem to be good for Tate, and if he's anywhere near as inquisitive as he was on Yellowstone Season 1, he's going to be asking a lot of questions about his father and grandfather that Monica isn't prepared to answer.

Rip Goes on the Attack - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2

As for Kayce, is he respecting Monica's wishes or just running away from his failed marriage?

Kayce wanted to be there for John, most likely because of John's health scare and continued refusal to listen to doctor's orders.

Kaycee: Maybe a little too soon to come home?
John: Yeah, I could say the same to you,
Kaycee: What's that mean?
John: It means you don't fight, Kaycee. Wranglers get worked over, let the wranglers handle it.
Kaycee: How am I supposed to sleep in the same room with men I won't defend?
John: You aren't. I'll fix that problem too.
Kaycee: You gonna walk home now? I don't even know whose field this is.
John: Me neither. Ten years ago I did. I think I finally understand you, son.
Kaycee: Yeah? You wanna explain me to me, I'm all ears.
John: You know, there's bein' scared to die, son, and know when it's comin;. When you know it's coming, tomorrow stops factoring into your decisions cause you know you're never gonna see it, and then you live. You realize you ain't dead and you're not gonna die and you gotta face all them decisions you made. And out of all that you gotta figure out how to let yourself start living again.

But Kayce has never fully been comfortable with John or the ranch.

Before Monica ended things with him, he was strongly committed to protecting the indigenous people on the reservation even though that sometimes put him in conflict with John. Those divided loyalties don't go away just because Monica doesn't want him around.

Kaycee: Rip ain't nothing but a bully.
Beth: No, he's not a bully, Kayce. He's exactly what our father turned him into. What do you think he's turning you into? Boy, it sure was easy for you to walk away from a life that you worked so hard to build.
Kaycee: Beth, she doesn't want that life anymore.
Beth: Let me guess. She left you because she was afraid of you turning into him. Instead of proving her wrong, you come here and you take a crash course in how to do it.

Plus, Beth was right -- Kayce listening to John's advice and allowing him to train him in how to run the ranch was the best way to prove Monica's fears right.

And Kayce doesn't want to be a ranch owner. He wants Monica and is settling for his father's ranch because he can't have her.

Related:Yellowstone's Kelsey Asbille on Monica's Season 2 Passions and Struggles

It was inevitable the two of them would run into each other eventually, though, especially since Kayce was so insistent on avoiding Monica altogether.

Beth and Rip - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2

John didn't help anything with his refusal to follow doctor's orders (no surprise there) and his disruption of Monica's physical therapy session. The end-of-hour stare was somewhat of a trope, but Yellowstone more than made up for it by weaving together so many threads to make it happen!

John's refusal to take physical therapy seriously, the Dean suggesting Monica take advantage of it, Kayce being all beaten up from his fight with Rip, and both Monica and Kayce's families pressuring them to reconcile all came together to create that final scene!

Well done, Yellowstone.

Walker and Rip Stare Down - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 1

The Rip and Walker drama is the least interesting part of Yellowstone. Rip was right that Walker could find another ranch in Montana to mooch off of, and I wish Walker had gone through with leaving!

But Beth and Rip's relationship is always a high point. 

Despite the sobriety issues Beth had in Yellowstone Season 1, she's always been the strongest of the Dutton kids. She is unafraid to stand up to John or to anyone and doesn't really care what anyone thinks, making her impossible to control.

It also means Beth is the only one with the balls to defend Rip, who has been demoted to persona non grata for the purpose of installing Kayce as head of the ranch.

John Wrangling - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 1

She displayed a softer side while talking to Rip, and then turned around and got on Kayce's ass for kicking Rip out of his own home just to score points with John that Kayce probably doesn't really want.

Go, Beth! I'm not sure which was better: her tough talk to Kayce or the way she handled that idiotic real estate agent and then turned around and bought the Pelican Ranch after all.

John on the Ranch - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 1

No Rainwater or Jamie on Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2, but with Beth buying up all that land and John being forced by his illness to groom Kayce as his heir, there's no doubt a confrontation with Rainwater is coming.

Related: Enjoy UNLIMITED access to thousands of Movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video. WATCH ANYWHERE. CANCEL ANYTIME!  

The Duttons will likely prevail after a roller coaster of a conflict, but it should be a hell of a ride!

Beth: Rough day at the office?
Kaycee: It was hard, but good.
Beth: What happened?
John: Let's not talk about work at the dinner table.
Beth: Did you meet with the governor yet?
John: What'd I just say?
Beth: What would you like to talk about, Daddy? What should we share? He's been up since 4 AM working. You go to bed at night thinkingabout work, wake up doin' the same. If we don't talk about work, we have nothing to talk about. Are you suggesting we eat in silence? Is that what you want?
[John sighs]
Beth: Are you shushing me, Daddy? I am a 35-year-old woman. When we sit at a table I will talk about whatever the f** I want.

It will also be interesting to see how John deals or doesn't deal with not being able to be the head of the ranch anymore. He's already rebelling against his physical therapist, while on the homefront, Beth is doing her best to undermine the alpha male culture and Kayce's interest in running the ranch.

What do you think, Yellowstone fanatics? What's going to happen next in the battle between the Duttons and Rainwater? How will Kayce's divided loyalties play out? And will he get back together with Monica?

Weigh in below, and don't forget you can watch Yellowstone online if you missed anything.

Yellowstone continues to air on the Paramount Network on Wednesdays at 10 EST/PST.

New Beginnings Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (22 Votes)

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2 Quotes

[Kaycee drives over a pothole] Kaycee: Sorry. Didn't see that one coming.
John: Jesus. What are you, aimin' for them?

Keith: I did my best to straighten your incision. Looks like your vet used a bread knife. Well, it's healing. Soon you'll be free to terrorize small children at the rec center's pool.
John: Yeah.
Keith: Not a joke. I want you swimmin' twice a week. With an instructor.
John: Oh for God's sake, I know how to swim.
Keith: You don't know how to swim the rehab biz. My office will put you in touch with a rehab counselor. You know, you're in this situation because you didn't listen to your doctor. He saw a mass on your lung and told you to get a CT scan. And now you've just had major surgery for what a pill could have fixed.