Are you filled with dread right now?
While Malcolm wasn't sending as many overt messages on Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 8, viewers got a taste of his plans, and they aren't pretty.
With Monica clinging to her marriage despite her fervent wish to live far away from the Yellowstone, her acquiescence might have unwittingly put her child right into the line of fire.
It was with a great sense of foreboding that everything unfolded, and it's utterly nuts that now is the time Monica and Tate move to the ranch.
With all that is going on, you'd think Kayce and John would want the people they love far, far out of the Becks' reach.
That's the only thing that kept Dan's family out of the fray. He's gotten off very lucky compared to the Duttons and the Reservation.
At least Jimmy got the meth-heads off of his back. That's as good a place as any to begin.
Worrying about those lost souls might have been more than the Yellowstone gang could have handled. It seemed strange that Jimmy didn't confide in Lloyd and Rip the true nature of his troubles, but maybe it was for the best.
With the Becks hanging over their heads, the ranch needs nothing else to worry about, and the wranglers aren't exactly known for their cool demeanors.
The visit to clear his name brought up Avery again, though, and she's still a strange outlier in Yellowstone Season 2. Where did she go and
While going into hiding because of the work she originally did for Rip was a possibility, now that Dan and Rainwater are joining forces with John to keep the Becks at a distance, that seems a little less likely.why?
The other thing that sent up a red flag about the meth heads was Jimmy giving over his belt buckle.
Jimmy loved that buckle. He loves his grandfather more, of course, but unless Jimmy tells Lloyd that he gave the buckle to his grandfather along with the cash, Lloyd will likely question where it is. They were both too proud when it was won for him not to notice.
But it would make sense for Jimmy to give his grandfather the buckle as a keepsake. Proving how he changed since working at the Yellowstone would be a nice gesture.
It's too bad that's not where it really went.
The Becks really did a number on Beth and Rip. Beth looks like hell, and if Rip is spending any time away from the wranglers and in bed, you know he was about as close to death as Rip could get without going the whole way.
Have you ever seen anybody as excited for an ice cream/vodka smoothie as Beth was to get her concoction?
It put John and Beth outdoors when Rainwater and Dan arrived, the former to covet the Dutton land and the latter to connect with Beth in light of what she suffered.
Dan: Did the Becks do that to you?
Beth: My face was just the appetizer.
Dan: [groans] I'm sorry.
Beth: What doesn't kill us, Dan.
Dan: I don't believe that. I don't believe it makes us stronger. Harder, perhaps.
Beth: Harder's the goal.
Dan: I don't think you can get much harder.
Beth: I'm shooting for Teflon.
It's almost difficult to remember that Beth once had a threeway with Dan and his wife. That seems like a lifetime ago, but in spite of his troubles with the family, Dan still thinks of her fondly.
He had a soft spot in his heart for Beth, and it was that spot that put him more directly into the Duttons' sights.
Enemies joining forces to fight a common enemy is historically significant, and it's no less relevant today.
The more mighty the opponent, the more power it takes for them to fall.
Rainwater and Dan made a pact with John about putting an end to the Becks' reign of terror in the only way they can -- they're going to kill him.
While John and Kayce had already decided that during Yellowstone Season 2 Episode 7, it was important to get the other two on board so they could pull off the finality of their choice without enemies circling the wagons.
Dan had wisely considered recording the entire meeting just in case John and co. wanted to throw him under the bus. They'd already hung him from a tree; why not expect the worse?
Rainwater made a good point about his participation in illegal activities.
Just by the nature of his job, if he gets caught doing something as dastardly as an outright murder, he won't be the one to suffer.
All of his peers would be similarly dragged through the mud, and all of their people would be on the hook for killing a prominent while businessman no matter how much he did to deserve it.
Dan uttered the oath that he wanted the Becks dead and will offer the help of his special forces bodyguard, while the bodies will get buried on the Reservation.
Even if people dare to look on the Res, they won't find anything. It's where bodies get buried and stay buried.
Since John and Kayce will be the ones getting their hands dirty, John absconded with the recording. It's Kayce who will really be on the line, but John wants to be kept abreast of every move. There's no hiding from the Yellowstone's dirty deeds on this one.
Kayce wants to protect his family, and after what he did when deployed, killing to protect the people he loves makes a lot of sense.
But will they kill Malcolm before Malcolm strikes again?
If it wasn't apparent, Malcolm doesn't like not getting what he wants.
If you read my interview with Neal McDonough who plays Malcolm, you know they went to great lengths on set to get the scene of him wrecking his office just right.
It was worse than a child's tantrum, and a hell of a lot more expensive. And yes, that was a real TV he destroyed. Anything for the craft!
Teal: You know, this gets any bigger, people are gonna start to notice. So how far you want to take this thing, Mal?
Malcolm: They're not leavin' us much choice. We take this thing all the way.
Teal: Well, this thing doesn't just stop with John Dutton.
Teal: He runs this thing with his children.
Malcolm: I SAID. All the way.
Teal: So who do you want to start with?
Malcolm: The one he loves the most.
Teal needs to get a spine before the Duttons sever his. He's the more reasonable of the Becks. Going to the lengths that Malcolm wishes over a land dispute is dancing with the devil no matter how the Duttons retaliate.
Malcolm wants to get the one that John loves the most, and he went to great lengths to determine who that was.
With the heel of his boot, he properly singled out Tate as the most beloved Dutton. What he doesn't know is that love manifests across the board from John on down the line to the wranglers.
John just asked Monica to give his family and the Yellowstone a shot. She sees the glee in her son's eyes as he waits for Kayce to break Lucky, but to her, those moments are few and far between.
At least partway through the hour, Monica was still holding back from Kayce. He's a man's man even if he gives her space, and that attitude wasn't working for him.
Still, he wasn't up front about what happened with Beth, either.
Monica: What happened to your sister?
Kayce: 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. 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.
Monica: This place isn't a home, Kayce. It's a giant Alamo. You're a prisoner here. So is your sister. So is your father. And now we're prisoners, too. This isn't us, Kayce. My relatives live in smaller houses than this room.
Kayce: You want to live in town, we can live in town. K? I can drive to work just like everybody else. I don't care where I live, as long as we live together.
John made good points about the world outside of the Yellowstone being just as dangerous as what she's witnessed in her short time there. Still, even Kayce knew she'd gotten swindled by his old man.
John's cajoling and Monica's turnaround, even suggesting to Kayce she'd love to fill the house with children to make it a happier place, set things up nicely for her whole world to come crashing down.
But would Malcolm really kill a child?
That's the thing. Malcolm doesn't do anything by himself. He was so angry in his office because the Dutton's took the fight to his backdoor, and he doesn't get his hands dirty. He has people for that.
In his mind, they've left him no choice but to engage on their level -- when he'd already raised the bar with mutilations, Beth's assault, murdering Jason, and the casino site guard.
Beth and Rip were closer than ever after he saved her life. Battered and bruised, they found solace in each other if even for only a short time.
It's heartbreaking that Rip had to let go of their moment early to keep from getting too attached to a life that wasn't his, but it's hard to blame him.
When John thanked Rip, it wasn't only for saving Beth's life, but for letting her go, too. John knows that if Rip didn't respect him as he does, there could be a lot more between Beth and Rip.
Beth's goal may be to become as hard as Teflon rather than allow herself to get hurt, but that doesn't stop her from imaging how things could be.
The only thing more heartbreaking than Rip leaving her to quell his attachment to a life he can't have was Beth's similar experience watching Rip and Tate.
Just like Beth is an entirely different person around Rip, when around Tate, there is a softness about Rip that he rarely allows anyone to witness.
Beth knows that Rip would be an incredible father and husband, but it's all out of her reach. Is there anything that could change on the ranch for Beth and Rip to explore that love? Probably not.
No matter where they end up, they'll be in love with each other forever, never fully opening their hearts to anyone in the same way. It's a true romantic tragedy.
With only two episodes left for Yellowstone, the Duttons have a lot to contend with. Will their meeting in Jackson's Hole provide the evidence they need to trap Malcolm?
Why do they need to see the plane to kill him, anyway? That was lost on me.
Does anyone else dearly want to visit a dude ranch after watching Yellowstone each week? The cinematography is stunning, and even the simplest scenes can be breathtakingly gorgeous.
Are you worried that Malcolm will harm Tate?
You can always watch Yellowstone online, but be sure to come on back and share your thoughts on all things Yellowstone!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.