TV Show Review

TV Review: YELLOWSTONE: Season 1, Episode 8: The Unravelling: Part 1 [Paramount Network]

Josh Lucas Yellowstone The Unravelling Part 1

Yellowstone The Unravelling Part 1 Review

Paramount Network‘s Yellowstone: Season 1, Episode 8: The Unravelling: Part 1 gives the viewer the backstory not only on Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) but on the Rip Wheeler / John Dutton (Kevin Costner) relationship. The viewer may have previously wondered where Rip came from, what made him who he is (outside of John Dutton’s influence), and how Rip and John met. Though those questions are answered in The Unravelling: Part 1, the viewer couldn’t have imagined how tragic Rip’s backstory would be nor the quality of the scene where John hires Rip – them on the side of the road, John’s stance beside the truck, John’s questions, Rip’s responses, Rip asking for permission to keep eating – good setup (how it is staged), good writing, and good acting.

Rip’s scene with the couple, the rope, and the bear during A Monster Is Among Us was one of the best scenes in the episode (in part because it was unexpected). The followup to that scene in The Unravelling: Part 1 does not disappoint. It must have been difficult for Rip Wheeler to do the honorable thing since he exists in the grey-dark realm of a criminal. Though disheartening that the authorities don’t believes him, even when he tries to come into the light, do the right thing, and tell the truth, what did he expect? Rip Wheeler is The Hand of the King, the black hand. The word is out about him in town and that word a.) influences how people perceive him and b.) influences how people perceive what he tells them. Unlike Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark from Game of Thrones, who had a reputation for being honorable, Rip Wheeler has a reputation for the opposite.

That reputation has a similar affect with Fish and Wildlife Officer Charlotte Skyles (Heidi Sulzman), even after she is impaled by her own obtuseness and her life is in Rip’s hands.

After the accident, Rip speaks to her the exact same way he spoke to the tourist couple that died in A Monster Is Among Us, telling her truths that she didn’t want to hear in a voice that has not a shred of guile in it. It is the voice of the human being that still resides in Rip Wheeler’s body, the part that his father wasn’t able to destroy, not even after he killed Rip’s brother and mother.

The same mistake that Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) made in No Good Horses i.e. telling his enemy his plan before he had executed it, Beth makes in The Unravelling: Part 1. In this case, it wasn’t exactly the same type of strategic mistake, though a shade of hubris is present. Beth thinks that she has a three hundred and sixty degree view of Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston)’s financial situation and all of his resources but she doesn’t. Beth doesn’t know about the deal that Jenkins has cooking with Rainwater. Beth doesn’t know that Rainwater needs Jenkins. It’s in Rainwater’s best interest to keep Jenkins solvent. I have no doubt that Rainwater is going to come to Jenkins rescue but the price that Rainwater will charge for that rescue might mean that Jenkins will be completely written out of the financial upside of the casino deal. Jenkins might be helpful when it comes to the destruction of the Duttons but if Rainwater is as perspicacious as he seems 99% of the time, Jenkins will be watching from the sidelines by end of The Unravelling: Part 2.

Many assumed that the head injury that Monica Dutton (Kelsey Asbille) suffered in The Remembering caused her to forget her marriage and affection for Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) in some way, shape, or form. That assessment is wonderfully inaccurate – it would have made Yellowstone predictable. Instead, something wholly different is executed in The Unravelling: Part 1 i.e. realization, and through that realization, significant change. Kayce’s marriage to Monica has been the bedrock of his existence away from Yellowstone. With what is said outside of the hospital in The Unravelling: Part 1, it seems that stabilizing element is gone, at least it is from Monica’s side of their union.

The meltdown between Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) and John Dutton in The Unravelling: Part 1 has been brewing for some time. Unfortunately, it happens at a critical moment when Jamie is needed the most, raising the stakes litigiously and emotionally for almost everyone involved. John Dutton has been restraining Jamie’s ambitions most-likely since he graduated from law school – Jamie wanting to use his acquired abilities for himself and others, John Dutton wanting Jamie to use those skills solely for the preservation of the Duttons and the Yellowstone Ranch. The fight between the two of them in The Unravelling: Part 1 is a.) both men finally having enough of the other,  b.) punishment for Jamie Dutton not being on call 24/7, and c.) their paths irrevocably diverting from one another, Jamie’s toward the future, John’s stymied in the past and present.

Even if someone else was holding Jamie Dutton’s phone during interviews and so forth for his campaign, when it was given back to him, didn’t he see all of the calls from Rip Wheeler and his father? Is Jamie saying he wasn’t in possession of his cell phone for a two day time period? Who doesn’t check their phone or listen to their messages for two days, especially at the beginning of a political campaign? Why wasn’t Jamie upset that his campaign manager didn’t alert him to the calls? None of these questions are answered in The Unravelling: Part 1 expect one – Jamie is not upset with Campaign Manager Christina (Katherine Cunningham). On the contrary, their mutual attraction is finally made physical, ratifying her position on Jamie’s shoulder, his id manifested. From that perch, Christina will be able to give voice and encouragement to Jamie’s desires, telling him to put those first and foremost, not the ones belonging to John Dutton.

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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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