Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3 Review: The Reek of Desperation

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Hey, y'all! Welcome to another Yellowstone review where we're going to deep dive into plot and actions to try to understand what the hell is going on in Montana. 

If you're looking for a full and detailed recap, you can visit this link: Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3, and if you want to see the bounty of quotes I gathered, take a peek at Yellowstone Quotes.

There is a new player in town on "The Reek of Desperation," and the ones we've already come to love are battling away for their slice of happiness. Something tells me it will be seasons before they find any of that.

An Unforeseen Proposal - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

Let's begin by talking about Jamie.

There is a story behind the character that has yet to get revealed. We need to know why he went from aspirations of working on the ranch to going to law school.

Announcement Speech - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

As the middle son, Jamie seems to be the least loved of the bunch. John probably always planned on Lee taking over the ranch operations. His love for Kayce shows no bounds. But Jamie?

He is the Dutton kickball.

There's no secret agenda, Jamie. I want tribal issues to get the attention they deserve from your office, and I want the same of her. That's not deceptive, Jamie, that's being a good politician. Isn't that what you want to be?


Jamie had a massive decision to make about joining forces with Rainwater after his family screwed him.

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Giving Jamie's political platform and even his speech to Cassidy to run as his opposition proves that even within the family, making enemies is something the Duttons do very well.

But Rainwater? He always has an agenda. He wants adulation from his people in addition to screwing his oppressors. Anyone who isn't Native American should be duly warned.

Going Against Dad - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

Thankfully, Rainwater's approach didn't settle well with Jamie, and that says a lot considering Jamie has done plenty to work over his father as a result of what Jamie considers his betrayal.

After all, still looming out there is that reporter who wants to do an expose on John Dutton because she's green with envy that he has a foothold in a beautiful state and she does not. (And yes, that's how I see it.)

It was shocking that Jamie went to Beth, of all people, for advice. It's something he's done on numerous occasions despite her treatment of him. Their relationship alone begs for more clarification on Jamie's place in the family.

Jamie: I need you to forget how we feel about each other and remember one thing -- we're family.
Beth: I love how people think that word entitles them to absolution from the people whose lives they ruin. We owe you nothing.

Beth's advice to Jamie is to think about everyone else but himself for once. That he was in her office asking for her help shows that he was already doing that.

Begging for Help - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

Jamie, though, has middle-child syndrome. He has no self-esteem, and he can't make a move without the approval of others. Getting it from his family is what he wants the most.

Jamie ultimately decides to quit the campaign. Hallelujia! If it means I never have to see the face of that candy-ass girlfriend/manager of his, it's well worth the effort.

Will it ultimately earn Jamie brownie points with John? Probably not. He has so much on his plate that he doesn't even know where to begin.

His relationship with his kids comes to light when John visits Lynelle (Governor Perry) to try to get her to sway Jamie off of the campaign. He didn't realize her actions had already done the job.

John: It's your replacement I'll choose next.
Lynelle: And so the pack turns on itself. I guess that was inevitable.

It's through their meeting, though, that we get a better understanding of them as parents. They've both lost their spouses and want their kids to be their lives, but they fail miserably.

John: You got in the middle of the family.
Lynelle: Don't you dare wave that flag at me. We don't have families. We have employees we're related to. Can you name the last time you had a conversation with one of your children about how their day went or how they feel or what they dream of? Yeah, I can't either.

Despite their differences, the two have each other to lean on. He's known her since she was the Rodeo Queen. They see themselves in each other, and that drives them together even while they both lean too heavily on the memories of their dearly departed.

We're Not Screwin' Are We - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

I was surprised that John didn't realize he has been trying to reach at least one of his kids.

He has asked multiple times about Kayce and Monica, and he seems invested in their relationship. John wants Kayce to have the life he had but without the death of his wife far too early.

If Kayce recognizes that John has been reaching out to him about more than work, he might not realize it. His scope doesn't go far beyond his nuclear family with Monica and his work on the ranch which was apparent when  Kayce innocently asked Jamie where he'd been lately.

Every Dutton has enough problems for an entire family, and they're all battling them while trying to be a family.

Beth gets irked to no end anytime her father tries to act like a father. She's incredibly angry about where Rip has landed as a result of Kayce's promotion.

Beth in the Corral - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

When Jamie implored Beth to act like a human being, I wished he could see her with Rip.

Rip humanizes Beth. Theirs is another story that needs examined.

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She's both torn that Rip won't leave the ranch and go somewhere he'll get the respect he deserves and that he didn't fight Kayce to the best of his abilities on Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 2 so that Kayce would have turned tail and left Yellowstone for good.

Rip and Beth Connect - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

When she loves, she loves fully. But she holds onto it for fear of what her father would do with that love.

Given what we know about Rip, he sees John as a father. He's loyal. He will do whatever John wants because of the life he got from the man at Yellowstone. Beth wants Rip to see more than that, but Yellowstone is his family.

She sees him held back from his dreams because John favors his blood son over all that Rip has offered. Rip sees the entirety of a world of which he would have never been a part if not for John.

That's what the difference between backgrounds means, and that could be why they don't fight harder to be together.

Loyalty's Reward - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

It would definitely be difficult for John to overlook the fact that Rip is a hired hand, but Beth stopped being afraid when her mother died. 

If they both pushed for their love, they might conquer external obstacles, but could Rip ever live up to Beth's high standards? She was born with a silver spoon. He was born to polish it.

You can tell John feels something about the way he's treating Rip, though.

When Beth erupted into laughter at the family dinner after Kayce wondered where Jamie had been, for the first time, it sent John from the table instead of his daughter.

Getting Away from the Dinner Table - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

It's clear he has not known what to do with his kids since his wife died. 

He can't reach them beyond the mechanations of the ranch, but it's not because he doesn't want to. He just doesn't know how.

Wes Bentley on Yellowstone Season 2

When he took his frustration over his children and left the house, he was faced with Rip toiling away in the fields, tool in hand. Rip doesn't question John. 

When John saw Rip, he turned his back and wished like hell he had his wife to lean on so that he better understood his motivations. 

Alone Again - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

I'd like to know the history of bringing misfits onto the ranch for a second chance.

Was it Evelyn who inspired John to start that practice? It's cheap and loyal labor, to be sure, but John considers his cowboys and wranglers an extension of himself, and it doesn't seem like a masculine thing to implement.

For his part, Rip has continued to have Kayce's back at a time the younger man needs it the most. John can't demand respect for Kayce among the men, but Rip can practically guarantee it.

Rip has a longer rope to use to ensure the wranglers do what they're told. 

Rip: You ask them questions, Kayce, and the questions will never stop. You tell me what you need, and I'll take care of it. They won't question me.
Kayce: Well, you said they need to respect me.
Rip: You let me handle the wranglers, and you'll have both. That's my job.
Kayce: Alright. Get them up to pasture nine. You choose the way.
Rip: I don't choose the way. I make sure no one questions yours.

John can use every opportunity to teach Kayce a lesson, but Rip has already learned all of those lessons, and if not for him at Kayce's side, things would likely fall apart.

Making Amends - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

With so much on Kayce's mind, I have to wonder if he's got it in him to be a good leader at the Yellowstone.

He's still struggling with Monica and Tate living away from him, and getting university housing felt like another step farther instead of them getting closer (which they are in proximity).

The less-than-savory things he's done in the past are weighing on him. That was obvious when he held his breath while getting deputized into the Livestock Association.

John: Kayce, what makes you think you wouldn't pass a psych evaluation?
Kayce: My whole life.

There is so much he doesn't understand about the shoes he's stepping into. Is he stepping into them in the same way Jamie stepped into the shoes of a lawyer? 

That doesn't seem to have worked out as it was intended. John better keep Rip happy because he might need him when it all gets to be too much for Kayce.

Duttons On Horseback - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

In addition to all of the turmoil already afoot, new dilemmas were introduced by way of Jimmy and a couple of powerful Montana brothers.

I've come to really like Jimmy. His old friends, though, are stepping into territory they do not understand.

Luke Grimes on Yellowstone Season 2

It wasn't too long ago that Jimmy realized that nobody messes with people from the Yellowstone, so when his meth buddies came a callin', it was weird that Jimmy didn't turn to rip or Lloyd for help.

He seems poised to handle them himself, but Jimmy is out of his league in a lot of different areas. This one is unlikely to be different.

It brought Jimmy and Avery closer together, though, and resulted in some of the more comedic aspects of the hour.

Lloyd: Jimmy, you ain't got sense enough to pour warm piss outta your boot.
Jimmy: Look, I know it's an insult, but I just don't know how.

Dan Jenkins Hoarding Power - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

That brings us to Dan Jenkins and the Beck brothers.

Who the fuck is Dan Jenkins?


I wondered why we had never heard of these brothers if they have so much pull in Montana. Then I realized they spelled it out when they met Dan.

They stay in their lane. Everyone in Montana is into something different, but when the Dan Jenkins and the Rainwaters of the world intend to put a casino within 30 minutes of Yellowstone, everyone gets involved.

Shortly after Rainwater and Jenkins went fully in on their desire to create said casino, the Beck brothers smelled an opportunity they didn't want to miss.

Neal McDonough Joins Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

I'm not going to go into a lot about them right this minute because there is more to come.

Not only will their story evolve as Yellowstone Season 2 continues, but I'll have an interview for you tomorrow morning with Neal McDonough tomorrow morning. He reveals a lot!

His character is cutthroat and doesn't mince words. He points out to Jenkins that Dan has probably gotten taken by Rainwater. It's in that moment that I see Jenkins as someone who just wants to be a part of things in Montana.

Instead, he's getting f*cked at every turn. He's so darn concerned with money and putting his stamp on Montana that he didn't look into all of the things we know Beth did -- including annexing the land to the reservation. 

Now he knows Rainwater might cut him out of his own deal. That's a nightmare and an embarrassment.

Terry Serpico as Teal Beck - Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3

Considering Beth's desire to buy land and scoop it out of Rainwater's and Dan's hands, the Beck brothers are bound to get involved with the Duttons. And, oh, we've already seen the Becks on the Dutton's porch in a trailer!

The casting of Terry Serpico as Teal solidifies years of waiting for someone to do something about the crazy similarity between McDonough and Serpico. They're also both terrific actors, so I can't wait to see what they'll bring to the table long-term.

What did you think about the flourish of activity on "The Reek of Desperation"? 

Are you glad Jamie is out of the race and can focus on the family again? Would he have just been a tool to tear the family to pieces since he reeks?

How do you think the Becks are going to make everyone's lives difficult?

Is there a future for Beth and Rip?

What about Kayce and Monica?

Hit the comments with your thoughts on all things Yellowstone, watch Yellowstone online, and be here tomorrow for our interview with Malcolm Beck himself!

The Reek of Desperation Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (20 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

Rip: You ask them questions, Kayce, and the questions will never stop. You tell me what you need, and I'll take care of it. They won't question me.
Kayce: Well, you said they need to respect me.
Rip: You let me handle the wranglers, and you'll have both. That's my job.
Kayce: Alright. Get them up to pasture nine. You choose the way.
Rip: I don't choose the way. I make sure no one questions yours.

Well, the whole world's a test, son. Don't let them ever trick you into thinkin' different.