Yellowstone season 4, episode 5 recap – “Under a Blanket of Red”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 29, 2021
View all
Yellowstone season 4, episode 5 recap - "Under a Blanket of Red"


“Under a Blanket of Red” is a slower-paced episode that moves pieces into position for the back half of the season, but the laidback vibe exposes some cracks in the foundations.

This recap of Yellowstone season 4, episode 5, “Under a Blanket of Red”, contains spoilers.

“Under a Blanket of Red” is a classic calm-before-the-storm episode. Like Beth, it has irons in plenty of fires, but it’s content to languish under the stars for now while various ongoing subplots continue to percolate. The slower pace does reveal some minor issues, but by and large, we’re inevitably moving in the direction of some major conflicts and violence that’ll hopefully deliver a fair amount of payoff to all this dilly-dallying. One hopes, anyway.

Yellowstone season 4, episode 5 recap

With the brakes pumped on the attempted assassination subplot – Jamie deals with that, more below – John is left to mope around the ranch and lament the absence of his entire family, other than Beth, who continues to read relevant passages from her book aloud and badly explain intermittent fasting. John is at least given something to do when he decides to intervene in a protest held outside Kayce’s office, where he meets Summer Higgins, a passionate activist whom he attempts to sway around to his point of view by inviting to the Yellowstone, but “Under a Blanket of Red” only shows us the journey through Montana’s rolling plains. They’ll arrive at the ranch itself next week, presumably, where they can continue to find common ground. I have to say that if any show was going to become weirdly preachy about how ranching and environmentalism are basically the same and everyone should all just get along, I wouldn’t have imagined it was this one. Still, I don’t mind surprises.

On the subject of surprises, a minor one is that we keep checking in on Jimmy. I was perfectly happy for him to walk off into the sunset last week. We could have returned to him in 6666, the planned spin-off, and we could have gotten a sense of Texas there. There’s no real need for his early lessons about centipedes and being a cowboy to be taking up real estate here; it just bogs down what is already a languidly paced episode in the first place. I never thought I’d say it, but less Jimmy would be welcome at this point.

I’m also not necessarily sure I buy Tate having magically gotten over his PTSD thanks to a few trips to the sweat lodge and a change of scenery. I understand why the show has returned to the reservation – it gives Rainwater something to do, at least, since his role in Montana’s land deals seems to have considerably lessened – but I can’t help but feel the whole dynamic would have been more interesting had Tate and Monica stayed at the Yellowstone.

“Under a Blanket of Red” does deliver some classic Beth action, though. Virtually every line she spews this week is pure, unfiltered Beth goodness, and when she returns to the offices of Schwartz & Meyer to reveal her new controlling interest, fire everyone, and move the entire operation to Montana, it’s a great moment. It does make one wonder how Beth is going to make good on her promise of running Market Equities into the ground from the inside (won’t they just fire her when they realize what she’s up to?) but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to seeing John’s reaction when the ranch starts hosting weddings.

One thing I’m not buying at all is the relationship between Lloyd and Walker. The former is adamant about wanting the latter dead, and Rip is punishing him for trying to facilitate that in last week’s bunkhouse bust-up. It’s bizarre how much mileage Yellowstone is trying to get out of this, honestly. Mia is still at the ranch after claiming she was going to leave, which means Laramie is still there, and Lloyd is insanely annoyed about this relationship. It honestly just feels like the writers have no idea what to do with Lloyd and are forcing him into a position where he needs to be written out. Let’s say he kills Walker and then Rip kills him, or he attempts to kill Walker and winds up dead, or something along those lines. I’m sure it’ll make for a touching moment since everyone – especially Rip – loves Lloyd, but if anything like that takes place, will you really feel like it happened organically?

Anyway, here’s the important thing. Jamie offers Riggins immunity if he confirms that his father organized the hit on the Duttons, and while we don’t actually see confirmation either way, it’s easy to assume from his reaction when he returns to his own ranch that Riggins answered in the affirmative. But Jamie is thrown a curveball by being confronted by Christina and their son – I’m not ashamed to say I had to Google this just to bring myself up to speed on the storyline since I’d forgotten it happened. But it puts Jamie in an interesting position. It now seems that Jamie fathering his own child is contingent on him being nowhere near John and the Yellowstone, which gives him another reason to side with Garrett and keep quiet about what he has learned. A bit of an ass-pull development? Yeah, sure. But if it makes for some decent drama going forwards, then who am I to complain?

You can stream Yellowstone season 4, episode 5, “Under a Blanket of Red”, exclusively on Paramount.

Paramount+, TV, Weekly TV
View all