Why season five may be John Dutton's last… SPOILER ALERT: JACI STEPHEN – Daily Mail

By Jaci Stephen For Dailymail.Com
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Howdy y’all!
Yes, it’s finally arrived.
Amid much advertising and glamorous promotion, the much-anticipated two-hour premiere of Season 5 of Paramount’s Yellowstone dropped last night, with its usual mix of family rivalry, death and destruction, and enough commercials from Buffalo Trace Distillery and Duluth Trading Company to send viewers rushing to the nearest horse sale to become ranchers.
But be warned. If a life of the great outdoors was enough to drive the writer Ernest Hemingway to shoot himself, heading into Season 5 of Yellowstone, you’ll be reaching for that bottle of Buffalo Trace in an attempt to drown your own sorrows. Death, death and more death. The 3M’s of broadcasting – Montana‘s Mountainous Mortuary.
With hints of HBO’s Succession in its emphasis on family heritage and destiny, Yellowstone also focuses on the same thing that is tested in Logan Roy’s family – loyalty, and the ongoing tests it faces. Yellowstone has always been Dallas with Hooves, but the spirit of the premiere appears to be taking it in a slightly new direction – The West Wing with Elks.
Unlike Succession, however, Yellowstone lacks the ability to make the audience switch loyalties at any given time. In Succession, all the characters are vile – but we love them anyway. Who do you side with, in Yellowstone? So far, the elks.
Going into Season 5, John (Kevin Costner) is just a misery, Jamie (Wes Bentley) a wimp who for the most part looks like a cardboard cutout, Beth (Kelly Reilly) a monster, and Kayce (Luke Grimes) – well, just a bore. At least 2 hours into Season 5, these characters are the same as they were in Season 1 – one-dimensional and miserable.
Going into Season 5, John (Kevin Costner – above, middle) is just a misery, Jamie (Wes Bentley  above, left) a wimp who for the most part looks like a cardboard cutout, Beth (Kelly Reilly) a monster, and Kayce (Luke Grimes) – well, just a bore.
With ruthless 5th generation rancher John Dutton newly elected Governor of Montana, there was tension from the outset, not least because he clearly doesn’t want the job, unlike his adopted son Jamie. But it’s not hard to see why John’s taken it, given his distaste for anything that threatens his family’s legacy. He wasted no time in reversing his predecessor’s work by revoking the lease of the multinational real estate villain with designs on his family’s land. Or maybe he just wanted a bigger hat.
It all makes for a strange hybrid of the outdoor – rounding up cattle, showing off on horseback – and the corporate indoor world of office politics.
And what a tiny office John has! Look out of the window. Montana is over 147,000 square miles. Is this really the best they can do for the Governor? Americans own butter dishes bigger than that office.
Indoors is also where females get to do most of their stuff (apart from the one token female rancher who rarely speaks). The women, as always, come across as stereotypes rather than real, fleshed-out characters.
Monica (Kelsey Asbille) has never seemed to be more than an adjunct to husband Kayce. Why, for example, when Kayce did his bizarre foray into the unknown in Season 4, staying alone in the outdoors without food or water to seemingly ‘find’ himself, did Monica not just say ‘You’re not going. Now shut up with all this Oprah nonsense and make some coffee’?
Beth has walked straight out of the Boadicea/Lady Macbeth School of TV Females and has not one redeeming feature – not even her hair, which permanently looks as if it has had a run-in with an elk. Mind you, given this place, most people probably have.
Determined to keep step-brother Jamie in his place, her character is given the most laughable soap style lines of all, usually in an office. ‘You’re in my prison now,’ she told Jamie, having persuaded him to kill his own father (season 4), after which she took photos of him removing the body. ‘If you ever forget it, I’ll put you in a real one.’
In Succession (scene above), all the characters are vile – but we love them anyway. Who do you side with, in Yellowstone? So far, the elks.
Yellowstone has always been Dallas with Hooves, but the spirit of the premiere appears to be taking it in a slightly new direction – The West Wing with Elks. (Above) Dallas, starring Larry Hagman as J.R Ewing (left), Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing and Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing (right).
For all his supposed legal know how, Jamie doesn’t know the first thing about women. Beth even made him say ‘Yes, ma’am,’ to her. Just shoot her, mate. There must be five bullets left in that gun you used to shoot your dad.
Outdoors, it’s all gone a bit Disney. Dead animals are the mainstay of many a Disney success, and there were loads yesterday, not least the dead buffalo, killed when Monica’s car collided with a truck and she subsequently lost her baby – another death.
But – and here’s the real Ahh! Disney moment – the guys discovered the poor calf that had been left without its mother. Oh, no! It’s Bambi all over again. Naturally, they took no time in giving the calf a cuddle and loading it onto a horse to take it back to safety. Or make a curry. Who knows.
The Montana mortuary was growing by the minute. Dead elk, dead fish, dead flowers, and possibly even a dead man, last heard choking in his shower, all victims of the appropriately named Dick Wheeler Construction company, who had been ordered to spray everything with something apparently EPA approved.
And let’s not forget the dead horse. Inexperienced ranch hand Carter (Finn Little) went out with the guys but failed to keep his eye on both the cow and the ground, and the horse was seriously injured after falling in a badger hole.
The poor animal had to be shot on the spot. Cue Carter in tears. Foreman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) was also close to tears when he had to break the news to John about his beloved animal.
Misery upon misery. Never have so many emotional men been gathered in one place. Think Dallas Buyers Club – with bells on.
With ruthless 5th generation rancher John Dutton newly elected Governor of Montana, there was tension from the outset, not least because he clearly doesn’t want the job, unlike his adopted son Jamie.
Such was the animal death count, you have to wonder whether Yellowstone will ever make it to Season 6. There’ll be no animals left. Just men throwing pieces of rope around and playing cards.
At least John manages to spend a bit of time both indoors and out, although he is clearly more at ease when surveying the family’s land than he is in his new office, firing people and saying f**k every so often. Everyone does that a lot, by the way, but the word sticks out like a sore thumb – well, hoof – as if it’s thrown in to try to make the series seem daring, when really all it’s about is riding horses. 
As always, beautifully shot amid extraordinary mountains and waterfalls, it’s all a great advert for the Montana Tourist Board, but coming into Season 5, you can’t help wondering if the audience is soon going to echo the feelings of another merciless developer Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver) when she said, ‘I’m tired of playing with these f*****g hillbillies.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

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