“Blood the Boy” saw Jamie take drastic measures to silence the truth, while young Jimmy finally found a talent.
This recap of Yellowstone Season 2, Episode 6, “Blood the Boy”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The opening scene of “Blood the Boy” explains, in flashback, how Jamie Dutton became a lawyer. His father applied to Harvard on his behalf and told him to. And for anyone who has watched this show since the beginning, this should come as no surprise. John raises his children in the same way he nurtures his land: So that eventually they’ll provide for the family. To John, his family is everything.
Why is that? Because he loves his family, or because if his family are united he can retain control of his land — and thus his power? This question is pretty central to Yellowstone and always has been. But the better question in “Blood the Boy” is how all that loyalty comes home to roost. Why else would Jamie desperately strangle a journalist, other than because he felt like he had to?
On some level, John knows that all his children are products of himself; that all their actions are, in a way, his fault. But where does their own personal responsibility begin and end? By committing murder, especially in the way he did, Jamie stopped being the product of his father’s control and started being his own kind of villain.
What he did was as much a consequence of cowardice than anything else — he was terrified of taking responsibility for his own words, and one suspects not entirely because of the damage it might do to the family. It’s because it exposes him for being exactly the kind of man Beth has accused him of being all these years. And who does he turn to for help but Rip, the one person who is technically not a part of the family.
Rip helps, but mostly for his own ends. He uses the disposal of the reporter’s body and vehicle as an excuse to frame and thus get rid of Walker, but the end of the songbird rancher isn’t quite as final as Rip would have liked thanks to Kayce. When the prodigal son offers to take Walker to “the train station”, you expect the worst given what we’ve seen from Kayce this season. But the scene goes the opposite way. There’s still enough good in him to confirm what Monica says to her physical therapist, the burgeoning relationship with whom she seems to end in “Blood the Boy”. He’s a good man, he’s just done bad things.
That description doesn’t apply to many of the characters in Yellowstone, some of whom, like the Becks, seem to relish being bad men. But it applies to Kayce, and I think Rip on some level. It applies to many of the ranchers, and it certainly applies to Jimmy, who finally enjoys some good fortune in “Blood the Boy” when he becomes a rodeo champion. He needs the money to pay off his debts, but he gets what he has always wanted — some validation. Perhaps that fleeting moment of happiness and success is all that we’re going to get from the rest of Yellowstone. There doesn’t seem to be much of the stuff left to go around.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.