TV Show Review

TV Review: YELLOWSTONE: Season 1, Episode 7: A Monster Is Among Us [Paramount Network]

Kevin Costner Cole Hauser Yellowstone A Monster Is Among Us

Yellowstone A Monster Is Among Us Review

Paramount Network‘s Yellowstone: Season 1, Episode 7: A Monster Is Among Us is a pivot point episode for the relationships of multiple people and situations within Yellowstone, with very few of them changing for the better.

The tourism trade in Montana, specifically near or on John Dutton (Kevin Costner)’s property, dramatically increases in A Monster Is Among Us. If it’s like this now, with a tourism bus and its associate regalia, imagine what it will be like when the new casino and hotel opens up? No wonder John Dutton is trying so desperately to stop land development in his town. When John Dutton describes how much land he owns to the tourists, it  illustrates how desensitized he is to magnitude of his land wealth. His visual demonstration leads to the most memorable line in A Monster Is Among Us: “This is America. We don’t share land.” The historic undertones of this statement are striking, a stomach blow of truth, while the human nature overtones are blatant, not so much meant to intimidate but to edify.

The Dutton children not being present at the rancher dinner in A Monster Is Among Us is an act of passive aggression and a neon sign for the state of their family. A dichotomy is at play – one child is actively working to get from under the thumb of their father, becoming their own person (i.e. Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) setting up his campaign headquarters) and the other is trapped underneath that thumb by memories of the past, doing anything to distract from those memories, even if that thing degrades them (i.e. Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly)’s bar bathroom coitus). After what John Dutton said and did to his children in the recent past, did John honestly expect for his children to be falling all over themselves to be present at a public event with him? If he did, he severely underestimated the impact of his words and actions on his children.

Unlike some of the characters on Yellowstone that need to be told what to do or given permission to act, Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), like Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes), is capable of acting completely on his own, leaning on his own set of morals, what he’s learned, and what he has been taught for guidance. The scene with the two tourists shows his ability to think quickly, his understanding of human nature, feelings, and his compassion. Only someone that has known love can say the pragmatic things that Rip says to the female tourist.

The result of the two tourist / cliff incident certainly puts things into perspective for Rip when it comes to Beth Dutton i.e. what love and affection can prompt a person to do and not do.

What it prompts Rip Wheeler to do in A Monster Is Among Us is for him to turn away then walk away from Beth Dutton. He sees what is beginning to brew between Beth and Walker (Ryan Bingham). Instead of raging, instead of jealously, both of which would yield the same result, Rip metaphorically tips his hat and bows out. If past is prologue, you can’t make someone see you, like you, care about you. It’s either there or it isn’t. As Rip looks at Beth watching Walker play and sing a song, Rip realizes that it is not there between Beth and himself.

Rip Wheeler has been supplanted by someone that can speak to Beth on an emotional level (Rip can only speak to her on a physical and kindred spirit level). Walker proves this by teaching Beth that her horse feels her emotions e.g. basic horse psychology. Beth’s mother tried to in No Good Horses but in a grinding, unsympathetic way. Walker’s words get through because the teacher has no ulterior motive and its outside of a polarizing, scary experience.

The same is true for the words spoken to Beth Dutton by Evelyn Dutton (Gretchen Mol) after Beth’s first menstruation. The understanding and compassion shown to Beth in that conversation is no where present in their later interactions. Beth’s girlhood, in every way, ended with her first period. Like adulthood before the 1800-1900s, Beth’s adulthood began directly after her ‘flowering,’ raised in an environment where grown-up responsibilities became her own, thrust upon her by tradition (not necessity).

It is extremely hard to believe that a person like John Dutton would repeat the same mistake twice, especially after his previous private medical diagnose (and surgery) got spread around town, but he does so in A Monster Is Among Us. It’s unbelievable, truly unbelievable. Why would you do the same thing back-to-back and expect a different result? That is the definition of insanity. Why doesn’t John Dutton use his helicopter and fly to a hospital out of town or better yet, out of state? Why risk more damaging medical leaks (I can’t believe he didn’t go after the doctor – report the doctor to the medical board – for leaking his personal info) when you can easily avoid them? The writer, Taylor Sheridan, wants John Dutton to bump into Tate Dutton (Brecken Merrill) at the hospital, I get that, but John could have gone to the hospital to pick up a copy of his medical records and that is how John and Tate cross paths. Instead, something that real life John Dutton would never do is engineered, creating a narrative flaw in the script for A Monster Is Among Us and in the character of John Dutton.

It is made clear in A Monster Is Among Us that John Dutton may be in the early stages of what leads to his death. Looking at the current state of his legacy i.e. Lee Dutton being dead, John is going to be fervently looking toward Kayce Dutton and Kayce’s increasing precarious home life situation. Bit by bit, Kayce’s home life is being destroyed – his neighbors, his wife’s mind (one minute she recognizes Kayce, the next he is a stranger to her) and by extension, her job at the local reservation high school. Monica Dutton (Kelsey Asbille) is the steady bread winner in the Kayce / Monica Dutton household. That source of income is now gone but in its place will be monstrous medical bills and the bills for their regular lives. Kayce is going to be forced to look at his life, what is available, what isn’t, and make a horrid decision for himself i.e. the Yellowstone ranch – but a necessary one for his son and his wife.

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Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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