[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Yellowstone Season 4, Episode 4 “Winning or Learning.”]
Was Jamie (Wes Bentley) behind the attacks on the family that adopted him, the Duttons (Kevin Costner‘s John, Kelly Reilly‘s Beth, and Luke Grimes‘ Kayce)? Beth has made it very clear in Yellowstone Season 4 that she thinks he was, and in “Winning or Learning,” John and Kayce test her theory.
John has Kayce bring the file on the man who hired the mercenaries that tried to kill them — he’s in prison — to Jamie. John wants to see if Jamie’ll get the man’s prison records and set up an interview for Kayce and the sheriff. If he balks or stalls in any way, they have their answer. Kayce may be the only one on Jamie’s side; he doesn’t think his brother could be responsible and thinks his father should just talk to him. That’s not happening until John has the answer to this.
Meanwhile, it seems that Jamie finally has the father he’s always wanted, with his biological dad Garrett (Will Patton) not only offering to have dinner ready when he comes home from work, but also giving him something he’s always wanted: praise. “You did all this on your own,” Garrett says. “You always had strength, son. I just helped you find it.”
When Kayce brings the file to Jamie, he calls his brother out on not visiting or calling after their near-death experiences. (Jamie blames Beth.) “I have yet to stop fighting for my family,” Jamie claims. “I was the reason there was police protection for him at that hospital for two months. I was the reason that there was no investigation into the murders at the ranch.” He also brings up the men who attacked John and whom Kayce killed. “There’s what’s just and there’s the law,” he argues. “They are not the same thing, and I am the reason no one is sitting in prison learning that hard lesson right now.”
Kayce then turns the conversation to why he’s really there and gives him the file — and Jamie is touched when he’s told John wants him present for the interview. The only people you can trust are family, Kayce says. Jamie will do it. And to Jamie’s surprise, the brothers end their conversation with “I love you.”
So it all seems to be going great … until Jamie gets the man’s prison record and begins reading his cellmate history. On it: Garrett. “Oh my God,” Jamie says. Did Garrett order the attacks, or is there a twist coming? Which family will he choose?
Meanwhile, Beth meets with Market Equities boss Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver) — and Ellis Steele (John Emmet Tracy), who does not appreciate her crude language whatsoever —and receives a job offer. Come work for Caroline, and she’ll help her defend the ranch. Beth’s counter: give her her controlling interest in Schwartz & Meyer. Beth wants to bankrupt her former boss. After Beth leaves, Caroline tells Ellis, “I think she can make Montana the fastest growing state in the nation. Behind every milestone of human history stands a monster. And that’s our monster.”
Later, Beth tells John of the offer. As she points out, he went into politics to control things the ranch can’t. Her working for the company he’s fighting against might have the same effect. Most importantly, her loyalty is the one thing on this planet John doesn’t have to worry about. She says she can still make a business out of this place for him.
Elsewhere in the episode:
- After Monica (Kelsey Asbille) told Kayce she hated him and the ranch, he offers a solution: They move off the ranch, near the reservation. “He’s never going to get better staying here,” he says, referring to their son, Tate (Brecken Merrill). “Neither will you.” Monica’s very much on board, grabbing the suitcases immediately. But it’s not permanent, Kayce assures his dad as they leave.
- Jimmy (Jefferson White) tries, but can’t find the words to put in a letter home to his girlfriend Mia (Eden Brolin) as he continues on his journey to become a cowboy John will let back on the ranch. It won’t be easy.
- Tensions boil over in the bunkhouse between Lloyd (Forrie J. Smith) and Walker (Ryan Bingham). Punches are thrown … especially once Rip (Cole Hauser) catches wind and reminds them of the rule about fighting. There’s no fighting on this ranch, and if they want to fight someone, fight him.
- Rip offers Carter (Finn Little) some advice after he pissed off Beth during their shopping trip: He has no future beyond the ranch, and if he doesn’t win her trust back, he won’t have that, either. There are two roads in life: one is you’re winning or learning, the other is losing all the way to the grave. Choose quickly, or life will choose for you.
- After learning that Rip doesn’t know his birthday, Beth chooses one for him: September 28.
Yellowstone, Sundays, 8/7c, Paramount Network