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The Dutton civil war finally begins on Yellowstone's underwhelming mid-season finale

Jamie's daddy issues earn him a trip to "The Train Station" as Season 5 reaches its halfway point

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Image for article titled The Dutton civil war finally begins on Yellowstone's underwhelming mid-season finale
Image: Paramount Network

Jamie Dutton may not be the worst person ever made, but he’s definitely in contention for the honor. John Dutton’s trash nepo baby of a son fired the first official shot of the Dutton Family Civil War by swinging the wrecking ball of impeachment at his dad’s governorship on Yellowstone’s mostly underwhelming mid-season finale, “A Knife and No Coin.” The disappointing cliffhanger spends most of its run time doing what the uneven season five has done at large: Promising an all-out war between the Duttons in a way that feels like the narrative is just stuck in place. All talk, very little action. “Knife and No Coin” finally propels Jamie, John, and Beth closer to endgame—with Beth and Jamie in a race to see who can kill the other first.

Here’s what went down this week

We’ll have to wait until season five returns this summer to see who wins the Shakespearean sibling rivalry between Jamie and Beth, but the episode ends with the two planning to put hits on each other to save the ranch. Which, at this point, Beth seems to realize is a lost cause.

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But she fights because the fight is all she knows—especially when her brother, the living manifestation of daddy issues, keeps giving her fuel to stay in the ring. This week, Jamie has outdone himself: While John joins frenemy Chief Rainwater to give a press conference to protest the proposed pipeline through their respective lands, Jamie speechifies Montana politicians into voting for impeachment. The subtext of Jamie’s conjecture-heavy plea is basically “My daddy didn’t love me enough, so now I’m making it EVERYONE’S problem,” which makes it all the more satisfying when Beth breaks into Jamie’s house and punches him in the head with a rock. (This show LOVES settling arguments this way).

Their confrontation is what fans have been waiting for all season, and it ends with a twist: For the first time, Jamie has leverage over his sister. He is unfazed by her threat to leak photos of him disposing his first murder victim at “The Train Station” because if she does that, he will expose all the bodies John put there long before his got added to the pile.

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Beth didn’t even know the Long Black Train and its final destination was a thing. And when she confronts her dad about using what he calls “a trash can for everyone who’s ever tried to attack us” (so good), Beth seems rattled at the depths of her dad’s ranch protection efforts. But not rattled enough to stop her from suggesting to her dad that his son should be The Train Station’s next passenger.

Image for article titled The Dutton civil war finally begins on Yellowstone's underwhelming mid-season finale
Image: Paramount Network
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This week’s most messed-up scene is...

You thought the above was it, didn’t you? That’s cute.

Leave it to Jamie to one-up his sister’s wish for killing him by asking Sarah, his half-naked lover-slash fixer, if she knows anyone who can help him go on the offensive and take out Beth first. You stay classy, Yellowstone.

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Burning questions for the rest of Season 5

1. Who will Sarah call to kill Beth?

Of course Sarah knows folks in Virginia who could make Beth’s demise look like an accident. And of course she casually just mentions it like she was asked for good food recs. Whomever she taps from her rolodex of corporate-approved assassins, you can expect John to sick Kayce and his Liam Neeson-in-Taken-style skills on them.

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2. What’s John going to do about the wolves?

Nevermind the impeachment. I mean, yeah, that’s a big headache for John—but the dead wolves are a four-alarm migraine now that the local news has put out a story saying they were likely killed on John’s property.

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This report invites federal scrutiny, and John’s “trash can” ain’t big enough to hold every Game and Wildlife agent in the state. The greatest threat to the ranch is the guy who has spent years doing anything to protect it, so it will (hopefully) prove to be more satisfying that the season so far to see how John gets out of this mess.