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The latest Yellowstone brings a surprise death, while Jamie plots to steal his dad's job

With "Cigarettes, Whiskey, a Meadow and You," season 5 puts a spotlight on everything the Duttons fight for and why

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Image for article titled The latest Yellowstone brings a surprise death, while Jamie plots to steal his dad's job
Image: Paramount Television Networks

First, the good news: Clara survives the great gathering of cattle that takes up most of the run time on this week’s somber Yellowstone. Now for the bad news: the same can’t be said for Emmet, the old friend/ranch hand that dies in his sleep on John’s mountain—which, according to John, is the kind of death “every cowboy dreams of.” Meanwhile, a small nightmare awaits the Duttons back in town, because of politics and once again (*visible eyeroll*) Jamie. As Rip would say, let’s go to work:

Here’s What Went Down

On horseback, John leads Rip, Beth, Kayce, Clara and Emmet deep into the ranch’s most beautiful locations to round up roughly 1,000 cows for a big branding ceremony. The trip makes obvious everything that John fights for, and it makes everything waiting for him back in the governorship seem kinda pointless, especially when his backyard is nothing but rolling hills and magic hour. Emmet’s peaceful death (and the poignant way John relays it to the old man’s widow) reinforces that, as does Monica giving Summer a tour of the ranch and insight into the Duttons’ way of life.

And then there’s Jamie, who once again threatens to upend all of it thanks to the valley-sized chip on his shoulder and the way Sarah fills him with the promise of the governorship (and lots of ’90s-Cinemax shower sex). All Jamie has to do is give Sarah and her bosses their airport. And, well, betray his father and ruin his entire family. Classic Jamie.

Tonight’s Best Line

“Cities are the opposite of nature. They defy it, which is why they always crumble.”—Monica

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Monica (with the help of Taylor Sheridan’s on-point dialogue) sums up both the reason for, and the futility of, all the conference room debates and city politics surrounding the Duttons and their ranch. None of that really matters. What does is the knowledge she imparts on Summer about how the world really works out here. Sure, having a cause and committing fiercely to it the way this fiery environmentalist does is better than nothing. But after Monica gives Summer a tour of the Yellowstone, which is a basically museum dedicated to the Duttons and their lives there, Summer seems to realize that she needs more than just her bumper-sticker friendly convictions. She’s just punching at straw men in corner offices with political agendas, and protesting rich white folk who work to prolong that which will never stand the test of time and corruption.

Burning Questions

1. What is going to happen to Rainwater?

Rainwater’s job and influence are at risk, thanks to Angela (Q’orianka Kilcher). She has, seemingly off-screen, become director of Native American Affairs, working for the president (because Yellowstone), and shes’s invited the POTUS to the valley so he can endorse young upstart Martin for Rainwater’s chairman position. Angela is delivering on her threat to shorten Rainwater’s tenure as the leader of her people, but Rainwater is not going without a fight. What exactly that fight will look like, or what John’s role in it will be, remains unclear. Here’s hoping he gets to go all John Wick on those a-hole Secret Service operatives in TAC gear who shot and killed two dogs (pets!) because they were (sigh) seen as security threats.

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2. How will Jamie and Sarah get rid of John?

For a minute there, the final moments of the episode strongly implied that killing John was not off the table. (And, as fans know, murder doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for Jamie.) But the trailer for next week’s episode seems to indicate that Sarah is hatching a plot to impeach John from the Governor’s mansion so Jamie can move in. There are a lot of moving parts to that plan, and John has proved himself capable of outmaneuvering anyone trying to paint a target on his back—especially Jamie. We’ll see how close Jamie gets to his dream job, and how far John and Beth will go to stop him.