After rivers of bloodshed, Yellowstone’s fourth episode turns down the mayhem, taking time to reset the chessboard that includes major moves from Market Equities and plots by the turncoat team of Jamie and Garrett Randall.
The episode opens, however, on the road to Texas, the series making strides to simultaneously tease its spinoff series 6666, which is in development and will take place at the famous Four Sixes ranch. (Despite the 1893 flashback in the Yellowstone season 4 premiere—itself something like a tease for the upcoming 1883 prequel series—we have yet to revisit that side of the Yellowstone universe since, with the entirety of episode 4 taking place in the present, shortly after the events of episode 3.)
The main development this episode, however, concerned the series’ newest antagonist.
Last week introduced the baddie when Rainwater and Mo handed John Dutton the man who organized the militia attack on his family. The man told the group he was hired by a federal inmate named Higgins to organize the attack. John then killed the man at the “train station,” resolving to gain more information on Higgins.
This week, that information is ours. In the closing moments of the episode, we’re given the season’s first big reveal: Higgins is more connected to familiar Yellowstone characters than we previously thought.
Here’s what happened in episode 4.
After acquiring information on his family’s attacker from Rainwater, John gives the Riggins file to Kayce. John asks Kayce to get prisoner records through Jamie and to set up an interview with the sheriff. John wants to use Kayce’s conversation with Jamie to also gage Jamie’s loyalty to the family, telling Kayce “if he balks… we have our answer”—meaning if Jamie is unwilling to help in the pursuit of the man behind the attack, his loyalty has been decided.
John says if Jamie responds favorably, he’ll meet with Jamie himself.
After being ousted from Schwartz & Meyer—and after threatening Schwartz with destruction—Beth meets with Caroline Warner, the new CEO of Market Equities. While head of Mergers and Acquisitions for Schwartz & Meyer, Beth had bled Market Equities stock prices, an action Warner now threatens to file litigation over. After the threat, which Beth takes with a Beth smirk and Beth-sized sip of liquor, Warner reveals what she’s after: the land trust that Beth set up for the Yellowstone. Beth’s answer: not for sale.
Warner counters (apparently forgetting her own threat), explaining how she’s already leasing part of Jamie’s share of the ranch and that the ranch will continue to lose money anyway. Stubbornness, she says, is not a successful business model.
Warner then makes an offer (for some reason now on the defense): Beth will join Market Equities to help oversee all development in Montana, protecting the Yellowstone by making Market Episode billions in other projects. Presuming the offer too good to be true (because Beth still hasn’t agreed to sell any part of the land trust), Beth makes a seemingly impossible demand: in exchange for her working with Market Equities, she will acquire all of Market Equities’ shares in Schwartz & Meyer, helping her vindictively ruin them.
Later, Beth confers with John over the potential employment, explaining how it might be useful for her to work for the enemy. She also expresses disbelief at Warner’s offer, suspecting there’s something else behind the overly fair deal.
The Bunkhouse Show
Jimmy heads to the Four Sixes Ranch with Travis and begins to warm up to the idea of ranching in Texas. When he arrives, Travis then takes off, leaving Jimmy alone to face his horse fears.
Back at the Yellowstone, Lloyd makes a poor judgement call with Rip away, telling the others to bring sick cattle back near the stables. When they group returns, Rip and John chew out Lloyd in front of the others, embarrassing him; Walker had already suggested leaving the cattle out in farther fields. In the bunkhouse later, Lloyd and Walker finally have it out, with Lloyd instigating a fight and Rip coming in to assert his alpha status, breaking the two up before beating down Lloyd and reminding all the rule no one seems to follow: no fighting on the ranch.
Rip also enforces more tough love parenting with Carter, telling him he has only one option left in life: not screw up his “job” on the ranch.
With Monica and Tate still traumatized from the attack, Kayce suggests the family temporarily relocate to the reservation, a decision Monica has been wanting to hear for months. John disapproves, however, when the three drive out, commenting on how the ranch has become a place everyone wants to leave.
Kayce meets with brother-who-left, Jamie, over the inmate Higgins. He asks Jamie for prison records and an interview. While Jamie says that would be impossible, he offers to still attain Higgins’ records and set up something more on the books. When Kayce says John wants Jamie to do the interview, Jamie looks surprised. Kayce’s visit seems to complicate Jamie’s loyalties once again.
Jamie stands on his new land with his father, Garrett Randall, remarking how it’s the first thing he’s ever owned. He then thanks Randall for invigorating him, signaling a growing bond and trust between the two. Their plan still appears to be land acquisition at the expense of the Dutton family. Later, when hearing about a lawsuit aimed to stop development of the Market-Equities-backed airport, Jamie plays hardball, vowing to push the development forward, anyway. The development would put further pressure on the Yellowstone to sell.
During his talk with Kayce, however, Jamie seems to buckle; he still desires John’s approval, appearing chuffed when told John needs him. He affirms his loyalties to the Duttons, a gesture that in earlier episodes felt empty and manipulative, but now feels increasingly genuine.
Jamie then explains to Kayce why he never visited John in the hospital: he was using his position to squash investigations into the attack on the ranch that left several militiamen dead; to visit John would have complicated his impartiality as Attorney General.
At the end of the episode, Jamie receives prison records for Higgins. One sheet lists all Higgins’ previous cellmates. On the list: Jamie’s father, Garrett Randall.
It seems that whatever storm is coming for the Duttons, Randall may play a big role. The next move, however, is Jamie’s.
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