Yellowstone Season 5 Episode 5 Review: Watch ‘Em Ride Away

We’ve also had more than a taste of what younger John was like in his prime. This has been a consistent treat this season as Lucas in each episode seems to get more and more comfortable with wearing the John Dutton suit. It has grown on him much like the impressive mustache John sported decades ago, and his particular emanation of what older John (Kevin Costner) and his whisky-soaked idiolect sounds like shows how carefully Lucas has studied Costner’s performance. 

While it may not yet be clear as to why we keep getting scenes of younger John, there have been countless scenes this season where Sheridan has pointed out what life used to be like. In almost every episode, we’ve seen the Yellowstone crew lend a hand to a neighboring ranch, buy a fellow cowboy a drink, or in today’s episode, bring in every day-worker in the state to help out. No doubt, these are real ranchers or cowboys used in the show, (as Sheridan has often done), and it is undoubtedly that he is trying to say this show is done merely playing cowboy, and that it’s time to actually show cowboys. 

John even says “Nobody knows what the hell we do any more, and it’s time we remind them” as a clear statement to everyone watching about this forgotten piece of Americana that Sheridan lives and breathes. This could be because, rumor has it, this may be the penultimate season of Yellowstone, and so, perhaps Sheridan is already feeling nostalgic. Or perhaps, he’s showing his fans exactly how this show is going to end. His constant story threads of how ranchers are a dying breed, or how fires wipe out entire swaths of nature, or how much of this world is moving too damn fast could very well be the point of an otherwise meandering season. 

If that’s the case, then Sheridan’s writing is perhaps more effective than previously given credit for in our previous reviews, but it could still be argued that his writing has certainly been stronger. As the entire Dutton family and the crew prepare to wrangle the Yellowstone cattle, the biggest subject of contention around the ranch is how Summer (Piper Parabo) has returned to John’s house, his legal guardianship, and even his bed. It was an already fairly convenient story thread to get John to grant a pardon to Summer using his governorship, but Sheridan’s writing surrounding Summer in this episode was particularly obvious.

Beth has been her usual charming self this entire season, and because of that, there have been several rivalries either ignited or reunited surrounding the Dutton’s only daughter. In this episode, her hatred for Summer comes to a head in a much needed fight scene between the two characters. There is palpable tension between the two women, perhaps because of their ideologies, perhaps because of their different levels of fondness for John, but regardless, their scrap is the highlight of “Watch ‘Em Ride Away”. Yet Sheridan’s set-up to the fight is about as subtle as Beth’s right-hook. The very first time we see Summer this episode, she interacts with Yellowstone’s adopted stray, Carter (Finn Little) and outright mocks the kid when he brings up God. The bizarre political divide that Sheridan has reinforced this season grows even more unambiguous when he gets the show’s most liberal character to mock a child for simply believing in God. Regardless of political stance, this particular scoff seems so out of pocket, it is an obvious attempt to stoke the fires.

Fans of the show must realize how intentionally antagonistic Summer is in this episode. So much so, it became forced and borderline unnatural. Never before was she this purposefully rude or ignorant, even mocking another fan-favorite, Gator (Gabriel Guilbeau). While her political or dietary views may differ, prior to this episode Summer has always tried to address both sides of the spectrum, which is what made her relationship with John so interesting. It seemed that since Sheridan had made up his mind that there had to be a fight, he hurriedly threw gasoline onto the flames to force combustion.

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