“Behind Us Only Grey” sets the stage for a violent finale as new, unlikely alliances are formed, and a true enemy formulates a chilling plan.
This recap of Yellowstone Season 2, Episode 8, “Behind Us Only Grey”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
“Behind Us Only Grey” was what in most shows would be described as a filler episode. But they never feel like that in Yellowstone because even at its quietest it’s full of great stuff — meaningful character development and snatches of fine writing, that kind of thing. Aside from a sequence in which Monica took her history class on a field trip to a casino rap concert that went on way too long, “Behind Us Only Grey” had a moment-to-moment pleasure in almost every scene.
But the pleasure looks set to give way to extreme violence and general unpleasantness as we approach the finale, and that looming dread can very much be felt all throughout this episode, by the show’s audience and its characters. Beth is trying to obscure scars both physical and psychological, while Jamie is attempting to atone for succumbing to his more desperate, cowardly impulses. But these aren’t characters at the end of their journeys; they’re in transition, and more trauma awaits them. John can see it, which is why he’s willing to break bread with his two most longstanding but fair enemies: Thomas Rainwater and Dan Jenkins.
As those three are united in common purpose against an enemy more ruthless and dangerous than any of them, the Beck brothers — especially Malcolm — are conducting their own crusade, driven to manic extremes by the Duttons’ failure to be intimated. On two separate occasions in “Behind Us Only Grey”, Malcolm expresses a desire to take away everything John Dutton loves, and on both of them the camera focuses on Tate, who is now living at the ranch with Monica and Kayce.
Monica can sense the impending ruin. She describes the ranch as an Alamo, and the Duttons as prisoners in it. And the overabundance of foreshadowing here virtually ensures that she isn’t wrong. The Becks are coming for Tate after Yellowstone spent weeks convincing us that reconciliation between Kayce and Monica was what we wanted. Little did we know that it would endanger their son above everyone else — I suppose that’s what we get for expecting anyone in this show to find happiness.
There are two episodes left in this second season, and you have to imagine neither of them will feature much happiness at all.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.