Yellowstone Season 4 Premiere recap – “Half the Money”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 8, 2021
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Yellowstone Season 4 Premiere recap - "Half the Money"


“Half the Money” is a frantic opener that sets the Duttons on a path of revenge and pays off the long wait audiences have been forced to endure since the end of the third season.

This recap of the Yellowstone Season 4 Premiere, “Half the Money”, contains spoilers.

The Covid-19 pandemic is responsible for all kinds of awful things, among them making us wait over a year to find out what happened after Yellowstone Season 3’s cliff-hanger ending. After a season that felt like it was pulling its punches a bit, the flurry of chaos that finally imperiled the Dutton clan in a meaningful way felt like too little, too late, and then the whole thing was depressingly over. Of course, chances were that John wouldn’t die at the side of the road, Kayce wouldn’t be shot dead in the livestock agent offices, and Beth wouldn’t be blown to bits, but suspecting isn’t the same thing as knowing. Even after a mixed-bag season, it was an agonizing wait.

Yellowstone season 4, episode 1 recap

As it turns out, nobody died in that finale. But that isn’t to say that its events won’t define this latest outing and determine the headspaces of those involved. And “Half the Money”, the first half of a two-part premiere, does deliver one surprising death in its final moments, kick-starting what one assumes will be a lot of vengeful carnage. After all, you can’t just put out a hit on the most powerful family in the state and not face some consequences.

Smartly, we began in the midst of last season’s carnage, with bullets and bombs flying everywhere. Rip manages to get John to a chopper and thus a hospital; Kayce butchers every single one of his assailants but takes a bullet to the shoulder in the process; Beth staggers from the office with most of the flesh on her back flapping loose; young Tate shot a man to save Monica; Jimmy was maybe dead? It was such a flurry of intense scenes that I was a bit woozy by the end, trying to figure out whether the show would actually commit to any of this.

After a brief flashback to 1893 and presumably a Dutton ancestor being all friendly with some Native Americans who want to bury one of their own on what is now his land but was once theirs, “Half the Money” spools forward in time, to a while after the opening, to a bearded John waking up from a coma, to Beth at his bedside, alive but annoyed (what else is new?). Beth befriends a kid named Carter at the hospital who she obviously sees something of herself or perhaps Rip in. But it’s a little while later when we eventually find out that Kayce survived, though Beth and Rip’s cabin was an unfortunate casualty.

Jimmy is also alive, though undergoing extensive physical therapy – he’s one of the items on a long list of things that Beth tells John they need to discuss, though she isn’t willing to actually discuss any of them when he gets home, immediately gets dressed and shaves and fires his new nurse. That’s when we see Kayce, in a ghillie suit. “What are you hunting?” John asks him. “Whatever’s hunting us,” is the reply, which is telling, since nobody knows who ordered the hit on the Duttons, even if they’d like to find out.

Thomas Rainwater, who still qualifies as a suspect, made an effort to uncover the culprit in “Half the Money”, letting Mo question a mouthy casino patron in the classic style of their ancestors, not out of any particular affection for John, but because whoever came for his land is probably coming for theirs next. That “whoever” is obviously shaping up to be the ongoing mystery for the next few episodes at least. Beth thinks it was Jamie, but that’d be too easy. Rip has other ideas. One way or another, Roarke probably had something to do with it. Or maybe not. Either way, though, Rip throws a rattlesnake in his face and mutters “Good riddance” as the venom finishes him off. Can’t be too careful.

You can catch the Yellowstone Season 4 Premiere, “Half the Money”, on Paramount.

Paramount+, TV, Weekly TV
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