Yellowstone will kick off its fifth season on November 13 with a two-hour premiere. Taylor Sheridan’s hugely popular Neo-Western drama needs no introduction at this point. Over the last few years, the series has become one of the most popular shows on TV. Yellowstone has grown to become somewhat of a Universe of itself. With one spin-off series already completed, 1883, and at least two more on the way. But the OG Yellowstone is now returning for Season 5 and it appears the drama and intrigue are only getting bigger.
YELLOWSTONE SEASON 5 PREMIERE
Thanks to our friends at the Paramount Network, I was able to screen the first two episodes ahead of the Sunday debut. After watching both episodes, this double debut was a good move for the series. The first episode, One Hundred Years is Nothing, I found to be a bit slower and more deliberately paced than the second. This is not a knock on the episode though, it does an excellent job of setting up the new situation for the Dutton family. To accomplish this, there is a time jump from last season. It’s not a huge jump, with the most noticeable effect of this being the “wow when did they grow up” moment audiences will experience when seeing Carter (Finn Little) and Tate (Brecken Merrill) for the first time.
As shown in the previously released trailer, the new season kicks off with John Dutton (Kevin Costner) being elected Governor of Montana. I applaud the fact that Yellowstone took this route and started at the end of election night. It would have been an easy move to make the focus of Season 5 the political race for Governor. That could have undoubtedly been a prime setting for some trademark Dutton drama. But between on-screen and in real life, I think we’ve had enough political dramas in recent years. Shifting to John having already won the election, allows the series to explore what the Dutton family will do with this newfound power.
DUTTON FAMILY DYNAMICS
Yellowstone has always relied heavily on family dynamics to add tension and drama to the story, and the premiere continues this trend. Especially between Beth (Kelly Reilly) and Jamie (Wes Bently), who continue to provide some of the most tension-filled scenes in the series. I am eager to see how the season progresses for Jamie who has seen his dream of becoming Governor taken by his adoptive father and has murdered his biological father. Jamie has spent the last four seasons desperately attempting to win the approval of his fathers. Now with no father left, Jamie will be left to drift or grow. This could prove to be a true turning point for Jamie. Bently has always done an outstanding job in the role, and expect that to continue with this potential new growth.
With that being said, I do hope Sheridan brings a new wrinkle to the situation between Jamie and Beth. It could be considered blasphemy in some circles to say this, as Beth has reached Mean Queen of Yellowstone status; but personally, I feel the pure hatred between them has started to run its course over the last few seasons. While still entertaining to watch at times, it runs the danger of becoming too predictable and tired. When offered the chance to show a softer more vulnerable side, Reilly does a great job. It’s just a shame we don’t get to see it more frequently.
Last season Kayce (Luke Grimes), felt severely underutilized. Initially, it seems Kayce is starting off the season in much the same way. Now there are some genuinely heartbreaking moments for Kayce and Monica (Kelsey Asbille), that I won’t get into to avoid spoilers. However, I’m slightly concerned that this might be a return back to the same type of home-life struggles we’ve seen in previous seasons. Both Grimes and Asbille excel in bringing emotional depth to their roles in the episode. I’m just ready to see something new with them, So I am cautiously optimistic about some growth and development for both Kayce and Monica this season.
YELLOWSTONE S5 PREMIERE FINAL THOUGHTS
Overall, the premiere of Yellowstone season 5 is excellent. Having the first two episodes air together is definitely a benefit. The first episode was able to focus on setting the stage for the new season, with the second hour jumping right into what this new world looks like for the Duttons. One small issue I had with Season 4 was the lack of real interaction between John, Beth, Jamie, and Kayce. I believe this was due to COVID restrictions in place for filming to avoid any production delays. Thankfully this seems to be remedied with John, Beth, and Jamie, now all working together now in the Governor’s Office.
I’m looking forward to seeing how John wields the new power he’s been giving, while also dealing with the enemies he’s made along the way. John is certainly approaching the role of Governor with the same stubbornness we’ve seen over the previous seasons. It should prove very interesting to see if he is forced or able to adapt to this new role to accomplish his goals.
Yellowstone benefits greatly from the fact Sheridan is the writer behind all the episodes. This allows the series to progress in the direction he envisions. This cohesiveness is a benefit that many television series are not afforded. I hope that with all the other projects Sheridan has in the works, Yellowstone does not suffer. This season feels as though it will be a major turning point for the series. Time will tell which direction it goes and who is left standing.
YELLOWSTONE SEASON 5 TRAILER
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