Stream it or skip it?

Well, it is no longer necessary to hold one of your horses. Yellowstone (Paramount Network) is back with an all-new fifth season, and this time around, John Dutton (Kevin Costner) isn’t just the boss of America’s largest ranch, he’s become the governor of Montana. That won’t stop the troubles, however, inside and outside the family and the land he’s sworn to protect. While the first four seasons of Yellowstone included nine and ten episodes, they also saw growing viewership, so that by the fourth season, the show was attracting nine million pairs of eyes per outing. And all that’s done is give series co-creator Taylor Sheridan a big 14 episodes to continue telling the Duttons’ story.

Opening shot: John Dutton (Kevin Costner) gazes at himself in a bathroom mirror, contemplative. Since we last saw him he’s seen the inside of a tanning booth, got a trim and a bit of dye, but it’s all part of the presentation package – the elder Dutton is now the 26th Governor of Montana, and his opponent is calling to concede the race.

The essential: Where does the patriarch/owner of the largest contiguous family ranch in North America go when his battles are no longer about taming an angry steer or lassoing the unwhispered horse? He goes to the governor’s mansion. And when John Dutton arrives at the start of Season 5 – thankfully, Yellowstone Co-creator and writer Taylor Sheridan spared our midterm election-weary selves from watching his campaign – the taciturn but grumpy veteran rancher finds out what he probably already knew. “You don’t have any friends in this building, John,” outgoing Governor and incoming Montana Senator Lyelle Perry (Wendy Moniz) tells him. But as Dutton swears up and down that he will only sit for one term, Perry also reminds him of the power it gives him. The rancher-turned-politician doesn’t have to compromise for anyone.

There will be sacrifices, however, as Dutton informs him of his fiercely protective daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly) and his son, State Attorney General Jamie (Wes Bentley). And the Duttons who win the Governor’s mansion have their enemies boiling, especially the sharp-suited people of Market Equities, CEO Caroline Walker (Jacki Weaver) and the real estate shark (John Emmet Tracy). While Beth took out murderous insurance on Jamie’s family loyalty at the end of last season, she will have to watch her for Caroline, who could see a Dutton she can return to the GA who has always stood up. imagined as governor.

At the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, foreman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) must reassure true love Beth, who is officially now his wife, that her private heart is as big as her formidable mind, even though only he is allowed to see it. “You have to find someone new to fight with,” he told her. And Rip isn’t a fan of the pomp and circumstance of his boss’ new job, especially when it comes to the disruption of beach life. He keeps Lloyd (Forrie J. Smith), Teeter (Jennifer Landon) and all the cowboys in the dorm attentive as he worries about the ranch’s longevity. And while brave cattle officer Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) catches horse thieves near the Canada-US border, the operation takes him away from his pregnant wife Monica (Kelsey Asbille), who is in serious trouble – literally. – when severe labor pains forced her to go to Billings Hospital.

Photo: Paramount Network

What shows will this remind you of? Yellowstone continues to include echoes of Longmire, the western ensemble drama that ran for six seasons spread across A&E and Netflix. But Tyler Sheridan’s hit is also busy building its own universe from the hooves up. The Yellowstone prequel 1883 concluded last February and will have its own spin-off series in the next 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, with David Oyelowo. Also coming soon 1932starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford as Cara and Jacob Dutton, and Sheridan is also working on 6666a Yellowstone spin-off about the giant ranch in Texas where Dutton ranch favorite Jimmy Herdstram (Jefferson White) went to learn the cowboy way.

Our opinion : The opening salvo of YellowstoneThe fifth season of delights in comparing the forest vista and day-to-day operations of Dutton Ranch life with the confined office spaces and overworked, superficially serene public events that represent John Dutton’s new life in the state capital. . When the fifth-generation rancher is about to be sworn in, he takes a considerable break, long enough for viewers to consider he might just revisit this busy new gig. But once he says the words with his hand on the Bible, he is extremely happy to put on his big black cowboy hat again. A little comfort in the life and freedom of which he is no longer able to be a full part.

Dutton is sure to tackle governance with the same gruff, buck-stop-here attitude he’s employed for centuries in breeding and parenting. But it’ll be fun to see which haters get upset, because as we learn in “A Hundred Years Is Nothing”, they already do. Her strained relationship with Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) of the Broken Rock Reserve hangs in the balance, and Market Equities CEO Caroline Walker gets one of the episode’s nastiest lines when she says: “I’m sick of playing with these fucking hicks. .” (The considerable punch of this dialogue is due in large part to the fantastic Australian actress Jacki Weaver.) Yellowstone always balances earthiness against tragedy, and while both sides of that equation have had victories against the Dutton family, they’re still mostly and remarkably unscathed. How long can this last with an even higher profile and even more enemies?

Sex and skin: Nothing in the first episode.

Farewell shot: John, Beth, and Jamie divert the motorcade of governors to a medical center in Billings, where they find Kayce curled up next to Monica in her hospital bed. Tate is outside nursing a broken arm. “I had a brother,” he told his grandfather. Baby John Dutton lived an hour…

Sleeping Star: The sleeping stars of this first episode of season five are obviously the actors who play younger versions of the show’s main characters. In a flashback, we see Kylie Rogers and Kyle Red Silverstein as high schoolers Beth and Rip, respectively, with Rogers channeling Beth’s fiery, self-assured intensity that Kelly Reilly portrays. Not only that, we even briefly catch a glimpse of Forrest Wilder as the younger and equally naughty version of Head Cowherd Lloyd!

The most pilot line: It’s telling when John reveals to Beth and Jamie how frustrated he is with where the Duttons landed when he was patriarch. “We are embarrassed for the sacrifice it took to give us a home,” he says. “But I’ll tell you what, sacrifice is exactly what we’re going to do.”

Our call: SPREAD IT. It’s time to cowboy with another season of drama, damage, deception and John Dutton doing what he thinks is right, and damning his critics if they disagree. Season 5 of Yellowstoneits longest to date, has the future of the Duttons, their ranch, and the complexion of the state they call home in its steady rifle sights.

Johnny Loftus is a freelance writer and editor living in Chicagoland. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glenganges


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