Yellowstone No Good Horses Review
Paramount Network‘s Yellowstone: Season 1, Episode 3: No Good Horses divulges the mystery behind Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly)’s personality and the multiplying depths of The Dutton’s power in Montana. Next to her father, Beth Dutton may be the most interesting and damaged person on Yellowstone.
In the previous two episodes of Yellowstone, the viewer was shown the result of Beth Dutton’s past traumas. In No Good Horses, the viewer is shown their cause. The viewer may never have imagined that a mother could be as tough and domineering as Evelyn Dutton (Gretchen Mol). Evelyn Dutton is not just rigid, she is unforgiving regardless of: gender, age, familial attachment, or circumstance. In essence, Evelyn is the perfect match for John Dutton (Kevin Costner) but I digress.
The horse accident in No Good Horses is a catalyst – it ends one chapter of Beth’s miserable childhood and begins another bleaker section. Before the accident, Beth is relentlessly browbeat by a mother trying to mold her into a strong woman, a mirror image of herself. After the accident, Evelyn’s last significant act is to blame her daughter for the accident, wedding Evelyn’s possible death to the guilt, agony, and shame that Beth already felt in that moment.
It’s unbelievable that a mother could blame their child for an accident, that a parent’s depth of compassion could be that shallow. Because of that character deficiency in Evelyn Dutton, it made the scene, Evelyn, and that moment in time far better than they would have been if Evelyn’s personality had been constructed in any other way.
Evelyn Dutton’s taunts and final words did immense damage to Beth. The shame of believing that she had been weak and that this weakness led to her mother’s death hardens Beth, eventually turning her into the tough, independent, self-reliant woman that her mother always wanted her to be. The unrelenting side-effects, however, are: a nihilistic view of life, deleterious boldness (the nudity), fearlessness (starting a fight with a man – her brother – wanting to be hit back), alcohol and drug use, wanting to do anything for her father (to make up for the death of his wife), and eternal guilt.
Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley)’s jealousy of Beth Dutton in No Good Horses, the only Dutton daughter, is understandable. John Dutton never sees Jamie’s full worth (his academic and career achievements), only what Jamie lacks. The things, however, that Jamie says (referring to Beth as a cancer) and does (engaging in a fist fight) in No Good Horses makes the gulf between his remaining siblings and himself even worse. Love, animosity, and hate are currents that seem to run side-by-side in the Dutton household. Jamie Dutton and Beth Dutton exemplify them. The clash between the two siblings in No Good Horses is the inevitable eventuality, in no small part spurred by Jamie being passed over for a government position in lieu of Beth.
Beth does not just blame herself for her mother’s death. Whether Jamie is being spiteful to get to Beth or not, his words land, bringing that guilt and anger to the surface, the guilt that others blame her for Evelyn Dutton’s death. Other people like Beth’s father, John Dutton.
Though dead for decades, John Dutton still has not gotten over Evelyn Dutton. If he had, he most-likely would have boxed up his deceased wife’s clothing years ago and married Governor Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz), a person that he has an emotional and sexual rapport with, as depicted in No Good Horses.
Of all the emotions present in No Good Horses, whether its fondness or loathing, tomfoolery is the one that the viewer is not expecting. Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) reveals himself to be a self-confident and arrogant idiot in No Good Horses. Why Chief Rainwater tells John Dutton his master plan, like a third-rate comic book villain, in No Good Horses is unexplained and baffling. What is the point of telling the enemy your battle plan before you have executed it or have the resources to execute it? To scare John Dutton? If that is the reason, Rainwater has not done enough research on his opponent. By giving John Dutton the heads-up, Chief Rainwater gives John time to prepare for and prevent what is coming down the line (reinforcing the theory of Chief Rainwater’s imbecility). Now John Dutton realizes that he is going to need people in political office, more than he already has hence his move with Beth Dutton in No Good Horses and his agreement to back Jamie Dutton’s higher office ambition.
Not all of John Dutton’s children have lofty ambitions. Lee Dutton did not and neither does Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes).
No Good Horses shows that Kayce Dutton is an inherent do-gooder, putting his own well-being on the line for a stranger. If he sees a wrong, Kayce rights it or tries to right it. During his criminal chase in No Good Horses, the wrangling technique that Kayce employs shows the viewer that at his core, Kayce is a cowboy. What Kayce does for a Native American girl and later with her family shows what a friend Kayce is to the Native Americans on the Montana Reservation, that he sees no difference between himself and them. Through the reservation grapevine, I am sure that word will positively spread about Kayce Dutton’s character (if it has not already). I am also sure that the narrative harbingers shot, burned, and buried in the ground in the second and third act of No Good Horses will come back to roost and soon.
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