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Season 4 of ‘Yellowstone’ Ends on a Simmer


Season 4 of ‘Yellowstone’ Ends on a Simmer

Season 4 of Yellowstone probably wasn’t what many expected it to be. But in retrospect, there was no way these 10 episodes could live up to the final minutes of Season 3, a finale that tore across our screens with no fewer than four “Wow, did this super-beloved character really just die?” cliff-hangers. When John, Kayce, Beth, and Jimmy were all confirmed alive within the first 10 minutes of Season 4, a sinking feeling of being toyed with began to set in. Are the Duttons (and by extension their servant, Jimmy) superheroes? Immortal? Too big to fail? Will this world ever demand consequences for anyone that matters? Does it not have the requisite will to go for the jugular? And leaving aside my bloodlust, the finale of the previous season seemed to work toward a massive reordering of the chessboard: Roarke and Market Equities, the Broken Rock Reservation (at the urging of Angela Blue Thunder), and Jamie’s newly revealed biological father, Garrett Randall, were now all in the hideous mix, leaving the Duttons in the face of multiple existential threats.

These dire, multipronged showdowns seemed primed to take the series’ goofy ethos (which made it a super enjoyable and audacious ride, even to tenderfoot Californians like me) to an epic breaking point, but ultimately, the end result was underwhelming. The Broken Rock Reservation hardly played a part in Season 4, save for just sort of helping out from time to time with this or that. Mo Brings Plenty, one of the most intriguing characters on the show up to this point, was reduced to being the wise Native who explains to Kayce the importance of vision quests and wolves. Thomas Rainwater, the formidable and respected adversary to the Dutton Crime Family, has been a ghost all season.

What did we actually get? More B-roll of cows and horse tricks than usual. Tim McGraw cameos. A guitar being smashed. A wisecracking orphan with a heart of gold subplot nobody asked for. Sure, Roarke got bit by an angry snake and Garrett Randall will no longer be around to say chilling things at the breakfast table, but everything sort of feels … exactly the same. The…

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