Sometimes you have to make the hard calls, and that is precisely what John Dutton did on the latest episode of the ratings hit Yellowstone. Kayce is barely back in the Dutton family saddle, and John decided to put him to the test. Having returned to the ranch at the end of Season 1, Kayce has been living in the bunkhouse with the other cowboys.
Following his brush with death and subsequently getting a new lease on life, John decided it was time for Kayce to get a promotion. One that also led to the demotion of John’s right-hand man and loyal enforcer, Rip. In a “behind the story” Yellowstone video, Kevin Costner explained the reasoning behind John’s shocking decision, saying:
So, John doesn't have, what you'd call, a great bedside manner. I know this is a bitter pill. I get that. He needs to see if Kayce can do it. The reality is Kayce is not gonna run the bunkhouse the rest of his life. So Rip is gonna have that position again. Because you're who you've been to me, you're really important. But John doesn't have the bedside manner.
Kevin Costner nailed it regarding John’s bedside manner. He ripped Rip’s heart out, and he did not even seem to struggle with it. Maybe there was more inner conflict than he let on? It is possible. I do think he cares about Rip and that Rip handled things well.
In the featurette, Kevin Costner explains that there was no way for John Dutton to soft sell what he had to tell Rip. Nothing to sort of cushion the blow on the latest episode of Yellowstone. Costner continues that John has to measure what Rip’s reaction to experiencing a downturn is, saying:
But I also have to see how people behave when it doesn't always go their way. In this instance, it doesn't look like it's going Rip's way. . . That's where you get measured in that moment. Are you gonna pout or you gonna go back to work? And Rip goes back to work. Rip has a place there, but it has to do with, where John's concerned, is how is he gonna behave with this right now?
Was John Dutton testing Rip as much as he was Kayce? Rip had the tougher challenge in this episode. There is not just the angle of Rip getting usurped. He also seems wary of Kayce’s ability to take over the ranch, period.
I think Rip proved himself to John Dutton in this episode. He did everything he wanted. Rip stepped aside, purposely picked a fight with Kayce and publicly allowed him to win the bout. That took a lot out of him. What is sad is what Rip really seems to want is not a position at the ranch.
He wants John to care about him and to be a part of the Dutton family. By the end of the latest Yellowstone, Rip seems to have lost all hope of that. He appeared to think he was just a means to an end. Rip also has significant doubts about Kayce and even brought up Jamie as an example to prove his point. Is Rip right? Has John made a mistake?
Viewers will find out when Season 2 continues. A third season of the show is also on the way. Unfortunately, it will be an extra week before Yellowstone fans get to see the Season 2 fallout of John’s shocking decision. The show is going on a brief break for the July 4th holiday. There is an intense trailer for the season to help tide you over.
Check out the actors explaining everything in their words via the video below. As a massive fan of the show, it is fantastic to hear them given voice to the unspoken moments on Yellowstone. Kevin Costner and the rest of the ensemble really go in-depth on everything. Here it is:
Did you catch Kelly Reilly saying that Beth “loves” Rip at the 6:33-mark? Is there hope for them, after all? I hope so. Them becoming a couple was on my Season 2 wish list. Beth seemed to be taking a potential step in that direction. Rip has always wanted more between them. Maybe Beth is realizing she wants that too.