‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 Premiere Brings Duttons Together — in Tragedy (RECAP)

Luke Grimes in 'Yellowstone'
Spoiler Alert
Paramount Network

Yellowstone

One Hundred Years Is Nothing/The Sting of Wisdom

Season 5 • Episode 1

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the first two episodes of Yellowstone Season 5, “One Hundred Years Is Nothing” and “The Sting of Wisdom.”]

Yellowstone Season 5 gets off to a heartbreaking start for one of the Duttons, has another two in jobs they don’t want, and makes a fourth the focus of the family’s enemies.

A time jump between seasons means Monica (Kelsey Asbille) is three weeks away from her due date in the premiere — and when she needs to go to the hospital, Kayce (Luke Grimes) is away, tied up with work. Their son Tate (Brecken Merrill) offers to drive, but it’s Monica behind the wheel when an animal steps on the road and another driver is distracted. The horrific crash — of which we see the immediate aftermath at the beginning of Episode 2 — results in Monica and Kayce losing their baby.

“I had a brother,” Tate, who has a broken arm, tells his grandfather, John (Kevin Costner), when he, Beth (Kelly Reilly), and Jamie (Wes Bentley) join the family at the hospital. “For an hour, anyway. … They named him John.” It’s a gut-wrenching visual to end the premiere: the family gathered outside the hospital room, in which Kayce holds Monica on the bed.

Kayce and Monica spend the second episode at home, and when he takes Tate to school, his son asks about his mom. She’ll be OK,” Kayce assures him. “We’re all gonna be OK. It’s just gonna take time. You lost a brother, I lost a son, she lost more. He was a part of her, so she lost part of herself, if that makes sense.” Tate asks if they’re going to try again for another one. Kayce doesn’t know. Tate thinks they should; he liked having a brother.

They need to have a funeral, Monica later tells her husband, but she wants it to be just them. She also wants to bury him at the ranch, so they can always visit him. Kayce knows John will say yes. “When you said you saw the end of us, is this what you saw?” Monica asks. No, Kayce never saw this coming. “This won’t be the end of us,” he says, and he’ll never choose that.

Other notable developments over the first two episodes:

  • Wolves have been eating dead cattle, and when Ryan (Ian Bohen) and Colby (Denim Richards) spot two doing just that, they shoot. The only (major) problem? They’re from the park and wearing collars. If the collars are motionless for 12 hours, it will send out a distress signal and they’ll end up on the news. If people find out they killed them, they’ll come for the ranch. They call in Rip (Cole Hauser), who has them put the collars on driftwood to send down the river and tells them not to tell anyone. But then one of those pieces of driftwood gets caught up in a dam. Uh-oh.
  • As governor, John announces his plans to undo certain things, namely Market Equities’ developments, including that airport and making non-residents pay taxes and fees. Since he’s not going to be running again in 2026 and doesn’t care about getting reelected, he has power. Jamie tries to argue that some of that’s not legal, but Beth just tells him to make it so (and refuses to pour him a drink after). John’s objective is simple: “I love Montana, but I’m doing this for our ranch. We measure every decision against what is good for the ranch. The ranch comes first.” And he starts getting what he wants after a meeting to ensure that the land Market Equities has leased isn’t rezoned (from agricultural, which means they shouldn’t be able to build an airport or condos).
  • John makes Beth his chief of staff. As he puts it, “you got me into this sweetheart, you’re going to get me through it.”
  • Caroline (Jacki Weaver), declaring “we’re taking the gloves off. I’m tired of playing with these f**king hillbillies,” brings in Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri) — and she takes notice of the fact that Jamie doesn’t look up to the fight. Uh-oh.
Kelly Reilly and Wes Bentley in 'Yellowstone'

Paramount Network

  • Count Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) as one of the people iffy about John as governor. He’ll kill the hotel and airport, which is good for land, he notes, but he doesn’t see how it’s good for them yet. And let’s just say that Angela Blue Thunder (Q’orianka Kilcher) being around probably won’t be a good thing.
  • Beth offers Rip a “blanket apology to generally cover the past,” worrying about all the time she robbed them of together. But he’s happy, he assures her. That being said, he is concerned about the ranch in 10 years and that John will lose the place.
  • Beth reminds Jamie that the Duttons aren’t his family, John’s not his father (with a reminder of what happened to his biological dad — ouch!), and he doesn’t have a chance to earn redemption in the first of what are sure to be many confrontations between the two. “Your political career was over the moment you chose your father over mine. You’re in my prison now. And if you ever forget it, I’ll put you in a real one,” Beth warns him. Oh, and she wants him home on the ranch where she can keep an eye on him. “Say yes, ma’am.” And he does.

Yellowstone, Sundays, 8/7c, Paramount Network