Yellowstone Coming Home Review
Paramount Network‘s Yellowstone: Season 1, Episode 5: Coming Home drives home how despondent the surviving children of John Dutton (Kevin Costner) have become since their childhood. It was alluded to previously by Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) that John Dutton was not an ideal father. In Coming Home, for all of the progress that John Dutton has made from being a bad father (e.g. how good he is with Tate Dutton), the viewer, for the first time, sees how destructive of a father John Dutton can be when his own interests are at stake.
Like Lee Dutton, Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) has favored status in her father’s eyes. In No Good Horses, John protected her verbally from future fisticuffs with her jealous sibling Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley). In Coming Home, John Dutton shows a glimpse of his true colors, the man Kayce Dutton ran away from, all the way to the United States military.
When Beth starts screaming in Coming Home, ragging in her room (one of the best moments in the episode), even Jamie finds it necessary to speak up on Beth’s behalf (his face and mannerisms not believing his father’s obtuseness) yet John Dutton is ambivalent. As John sees it, his only daughter’s emotional distress is a small price to pay to have a weapon at his disposable that will to do battle with his enemies on his behalf. John Dutton knows his children, recognizes their strengths and weaknesses. John Dutton wants to harness the darkness within Beth Dutton, make it fester by keeping her at Yellowstone (regardless of the damage that it causes her), aim her when the time is right, and then set her loose.
John reflects on the fact that Beth has evil in her in Coming Home but that evil is artificial, it can be mitigated, possibly excised with the right therapy, environment, and significant other. The evil inside John Dutton is ingrained, hidden to most, nefarious, and sinister, wrapped in the guise of what’s good for him and his purpose is good for the ranch and everyone that depends on its longevity i.e. the ends justify the means. In John Dutton’s case, the means is Beth, what’s left of Beth, no matter how she ends up. I don’t believe John Dutton has ever forgiven Beth for the fatal accident that what happened between Beth and her mother.
When Beth sees how tender John Dutton is to Tate Dutton, Beth goes into meltdown mode. That trigger speaks to one key event in Beth’s past – a lack of warmth between father and daughter. I can’t imagine that Beth’s father was that kind to her after her mother’s death e.g. reading to her in bed, even-though part of him may have wanted to be. Seeing that John Dutton has that capacity yet withheld it from her in the past, though that capacity may not have been present then i.e. John Dutton has grown, sends Beth over the edge.
Another scene in Coming Home where Beth steps into darkness is the truck scene, a scene that does not end in a predictable way (its strength). Instead, the viewer is given a glimpse inside the head of Beth Dutton, what she thinks about, and how she feels. As the viewer may have suspected, Evelyn Dutton is always with Beth Dutton, always in the room in the form of that loveless, tragic day. If alcohol was ever able to suppress those memories and that guilt, it has lost its potency though Beth still chases its once soothing and subduing effect. It is because of Beth’s inebriation that Jamie and she can finally be bluntly honest with one another (without lobbing bombs at each other). Beth lets Jamie in for a brief moment, lets her guard down, and lets him see her pain.
Beth’s anger, by no stretch of imagination, is equal to the broken heart that she carries with her. The woman behind the fierce and voracious personality is seen for the first time in Yellowstone during that moment in the truck scene. It’s ironic that it is with the sibling that Beth loathes. Perhaps she senses the same strength that resides in her in him, a kindred spirit (Jamie carries his own damage), thus he, of all people, might understand her pain.
The woman submerged beneath Beth Dutton’s aggressive personality is the woman that could have existed before the seed of hatred was planted in her mind the day her mother died. That “normal” woman is buried below a mound of emotional scar tissue, wreckage added to on a daily basis, and compounded by her current stay at Yellowstone.
That prisoner of the past is whom reaches out to Jamie Dutton for solace in that truck, a twisted, gun-to-the-head, cry for help that provokes enough sympathy in Jamie for him to pull Beth back from the brink. It is a beautiful moment in Coming Home and it adds more dimensionality to Beth Dutton and Jamie Dutton.
The ending of the truck scene in Coming Home sees a small, rickety bridge drawn up between the two siblings across a chasm that has existed for a long time. They might not like each other but Beth Dutton and Jamie Dutton care about one another.
In addition to the truck scene with Beth Dutton, Jamie Dutton is given his first moment to shine as a lawyer in Coming Home, showing his intelligence, his ability to control a discussion (except with his father), and his dexterity in stirring a discussion to the conclusion that he prefers. The fact that Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) positively comments on Jamie Dutton’s litigious prowess speaks to how good Jamie is as a lawyer and the impression he delivers. It is a shame that Jamie Dutton is cloistered, only doing legal work for the Dutton family. Jamie has the brains and legal acumen to work for a high-end law firm, start a law practice of his own, or be a top-notch prosecutor.
For all of Coming Home‘s serious moments, there are moments of levity. All three in Coming Home involve Beth Dutton. The first is when Bob Schwartz (Michael Nouri) gives Beth permission to kill Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston)’s business. Impressed by his cutthroat nature, when Beth says “if you were twenty years younger”, revealing what a great…dress she possesses, Bob’s reaction to the physical and mental visuals is priceless. Bob Schwartz may have never wished to be younger more in his life than in that moment. The second moment of humor in Coming Home happens at a bar between Beth, Dan, and his Dan’s wife as Beth and Dan’s hidden excursion is toyed and played with out in the open. The third moment of humor in Coming Home is the lush scene between Dan Jenkins and his wife Victoria Jenkins (Barret Swatek). At the bar in Coming Home, the viewer may not have understood why Dan felt a need to cheat when one considers the outward appearance of his wife. After Victoria became inebriated and her subterranean personality came out into the light of day, the viewer understands (at least in part). The book, in no way, shape, or form, equals its cover.
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