Yellowstone season 2 premiere review: There’s a bull in the bar

There’s a bar fight, and then there’s what Yellowstone season 2 brought you during the premiere. This is an episode that brought you everything from bar room brawls, someone knocking a bottle over someone’s head, and even a bull running loose in the bar. This is probably as close as we’re going to get to a literal representation of the phrase bull in a china shop.

At first, this bar brawl started off in typical Western fashion, with us seeing a classic case of a guy beating up another guy over a woman. Word quickly spreads and we interpret this entire exchange as Cole Hauser doing what he can to flex his Montana muscles. If someone messes with anyone at Yellowstone, he’ll find a way to come at them with the horns — even if that means a literal set of them sometimes.

You could consider some elements of the season 2 premiere as a reset, and a way to get some newcomers to the series on board and understand how ruthless some of these characters can be. If the bar scene didn’t cut it for you, consider what we got with “Cowboy” at the meal table earlier on in the episode. That showed both Cole’s status on the ranch, but then also the perception of Jimmy as an atypical cowboy, the sort not everyone else wants to take seriously even though they should.

Now, let’s get to another classic Yellowstone conflict — someone threatening to take the ranch away from them. This is what we got with Dan, who threatened John Dutton and made it clear that he wanted him to be on the ranch when he eventually found a way to take it from him. There’s nothing that he wants more than being able to see him miserable and in ruins. We don’t foresee Yellowstone rushing things to where this crisis comes to a close — there are more pressing things to deal with right now. The good news is that Dutton has Beth working on his side — she’s still the business expert of the ranch and she’s working in overdrive to make sure that people like Dan don’t turn local land until housing subdivisions.

Speaking of which…

Was anyone out there worried that John was going to die at the end of the episode? He closed out the premiere being helicoptered out of the ranch after what looks to be an ulcer. He was worried about it being cancer, but using the limited medical equipment and know-how at the ranch, it was determined that it wasn’t cancer, though there are clearly still some other problems. Some of it exists within Dutton’s own psychology, as he’s worried that he is perhaps living too much as though he has cancer — basically, not grabbing the bull by the horns himself.

On a different emotional note

Monica is doing her best to try and get away from some of the family. She’s worried about Kayce, his responsibilities, and also having her son involved in this sort of life. Her goal is to make sure she pushes forward as a teacher — that way, the atrocities committed against Native Americans are not forgotten. In between this and balancing things out with Kayce, she’s going to have a difficult season ahead for her. The tears she shed in the middle of the episode really speak for itself.

CarterMatt Verdict

There’s no doubt in our mind that Yellowstone is setting the stage for some great stuff in season 2, including local politics (Beth and Dutton looking to support candidates outside the family) and also power struggles over the ranch itself. There were new points of view, business battles, and then also fisticuffs.

Was the premiere exactly what we were hoping for? Well, for the most part yes, but there are some Western tropes that could be expanded and there was one gratuitous bar shot of a woman’s rear end in jean shorts that felt totally unnecessary for the tone of this show. It still has some rough edges that need to be rounded out, whether it be its expression of sexuality or some of the characters’ aggression. Its strongest moments come within the heart of its characters, and when it focuses on that, it becomes untouchable.

Want some other Yellowstone news?

If you missed it, the show was renewed for a season 3! Check out the story over here.

What did you think about the Yellowstone season 2 premiere? Be sure to share in the comments. (Photo: Paramount Network.)

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