Yellowstone season 4, episode 2 recap – “Phantom Pain”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 8, 2021
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Yellowstone season 4, episode 2 recap - "Phantom Pain"


“Phantom Pain” settles into a new normal as Beth and Rip take on a surprising responsibility.

This recap of Yellowstone season 4, episode 2, “Phantom Pain”, contains spoilers.

The question on everyone’s lips in “Phantom Pain” is who ordered the hit on the Duttons, which we saw take place in both the Season 3 finale and the first half of the Season 4 premiere. There are plenty of suspects – the Yellowstone ranch hasn’t exactly been agreeable to those who felt they had a claim to the land it was built on, after all. But some are likelier than others.

Yellowstone season 4, episode 2 recap

As we know, Beth suspects Jamie, who’s seen here buying a 1000-acre cattle ranch with Garrett in his ear. His efforts towards securing his own independence likely won’t mean anything good for the rest of the family, but, as Kayce says to John, “Killers don’t seek their victim’s approval”. Jamie is many things, a coward among them, but he’s not the type to have goons execute his father and siblings. Beth has always despised him, so it makes sense she’d assume the worst, but Jamie’s leasing of Yellowstone land to Market Equities isn’t the smoking gun she thinks it is.

Market Equities, though, still aren’t to be trifled with. In “Phantom Pain” they dig up Native American relics, grinding their development progress to a halt and forcing them to fly in another bigwig, Caroline Warner (Jackie Weaver), whose job is to keep things moving by appealing to Rainwater’s sense of greed. Market Equities might be willing to fund his casino development if he’s willing to make it the kind of casino that would attract high-end clientele from all over the world, but as Mo says when Rainwater tells him of the offer, if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it’s not true.

For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with Kayce that the militia was responsible as payback for how the Duttons recovered Tate. I don’t necessarily think John buys that line either, but he’s willing to have Kayce wipe them out nonetheless, just to be safe. His efforts to justify good men doing bad things for the right reasons sounded like rather convenient justifications for taking the law into one’s own hands, but you can’t maintain power for so long any other way.

With the Duttons obviously under attack, John wants to make a point about the ranch by purchasing extremely expensive horses and sending them touring all over the state. He’ll also be sending Jimmy with them, having entrusted the young man to Travis’s care after he once again broke his word to the Dutton patriarch about rodeoing. He’s done trying to make a man of him. That’s one broken promise too many. It’s a shame to see Jimmy go, but the show has gotten plenty of mileage out of him. He’ll be missed, but we can live without him.

Most of “Phantom Pain” concerned Beth and Rip taking on Carter, the young kid from the premiere who Beth met at the hospital. He’s brought to the ranch by Sheriff Haskell after trying to hold up a convenience store with a screwdriver and naming Beth as his guardian, and since she sees so much of Rip in him, and is told by Haskell that the kid has basically no hope of any life beyond prison and/or death, she takes him in. Rip, at least initially, isn’t keen on the idea. But the big softie can’t keep up the pretense for long. After trying to drop him in town, he hires him as the ranch’s new stall cleaner. And after trying to drop him into the bunkhouse, which is as much a nest of debauchery as ever, he takes him home to Beth, where the three of them sit around the table and eat Hamburger Helper. It’s the closest thing to domesticity any of them have ever known. As if the Duttons didn’t already have enough to fight for.

You can catch Yellowstone season 4, episode 2, “Phantom Pain”, on Paramount.

Paramount+, TV, Weekly TV
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