Editorial

REVIEW: ‘Yellowstone’ Returns With A Bang In Season 2 Premiere ‘A Thundering’

(Credit: Paramount Network)

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief

“Yellowstone” returned for season two Wednesday night on the Paramount Network, and it was incredible.

WARNING: THERE ARE GOING TO BE MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW. DO NOT KEEP READING IF YOU AREN’T CAUGHT UP.

We waited so long for season two to start. It felt like a lifetime, but the premiere “A Thundering” didn’t disappoint at all. (RELATED: ‘Yellowstone‘ Season 2 Trailer Gets Released, Promises Lots Of Intense Action)

The first half was a shade slow as we catch up with what all the characters are up to. Kayce is back in the ranch in a semi-leadership role, a new cowboy referred to as “Cowboy” has joined the ranch, Jamie is still running for attorney general and Beth is still doing whatever is necessary to protect her father. There are a couple major points I want to hit on.

First off, Dan Jenkins is alive. Yes, the man we thought Kayce hung at the end of season one is alive, and has a brief interaction with John Dutton (Kevin Costner) in a diner. We don’t know why he was cut down and allowed to survive, but he was. I’m assuming we’ll learn more as we go forward. Dan also said he didn’t make it a police matter because he doesn’t want John in prison when he takes the ranch from the head of the Dutton family. He wants to see John get it ripped out from him in person, and taunts the star of the show over the death of his oldest son. (RELATED: Luke Grimes Says Kayce Will ‘Face The Demons’ In Season 2 Of ‘Yellowstone‘)

In a chilling moment, John says they won’t be cutting Jenkins down if they hang him again because he’ll just do it himself. I can’t believe Dan Jenkins is still alive. Talk about a wild curveball. It was only the first episode of season two, and we already have one major unexpected event.

Secondly, in the closing moments of the show John has an ulcer that explodes and has him bleeding out. Kayce, Rip, the ranch hands and a woman there to help impregnate the cows save his life by doing a medical operation right on the spot. We also learn his cancer is gone (or was never really there), and he flies off in the final seconds of the premiere. It looks like John is going to be around for a long time.

 

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Next, what really started to crank things up in the second half of the episode was when Jimmy and some of the ranch guys got beaten badly in a bar fight. Kayce, Rip and the boys return to the bar, let a bull loose and beat the living hell out of the guys who had given them problems.

There’s just one major problem. Walker refuses to do it. Rip and him are locked in for a collision course. In the same scene, Rip tells the bartender to call him next time there’s an issue with guys from the Yellowstone ranch. Kayce responds by saying he might burn the bar down if he doesn’t. In this moment, we see the youngest Dutton son might be back on the ranch, but he’s still got darkness inside of him that eclipses everybody else.

Finally, Beth has devised a plan to great a 200-square mile moat around her dad’s ranch by buying up land, being paid by the government not to farm it and pursing aggressive expansion. With a funder in play, it looks like it might stop Rainwater.

 

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Speaking of Rainwater, he appears to have his casino approval, which means conflict is likely coming sooner than later with all of the other forces at play.

Overall, it was one hell of a great premiere. I’m glad “Yellowstone” is back, and it came back with a gigantic bang. John is cancer-free, Dan Jenkins is alive, Rip is going to deal with Walker and Kayce is as dark as ever. Season two is going to be incredible.

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