Yellowstone season 4, episode 8 recap – “No Kindness for the Coward”

December 19, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Paramount+, TV, Weekly TV
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This recap of Yellowstone season 4, episode 8, “No Kindness for the Coward”, contains spoilers.


John Dutton is old. This, despite the fact that he’s still not to be trifled with, shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, especially not after the fourth season of Yellowstone has spent a lot of time really dwelling on the matter. But whereas in previous seasons this has manifested as health issues and other obvious old-guy signifiers, what’s happening in “No Kindness for the Coward” is a little more subtle. After basically insisting that Rip, Beth, and Carter move into the house with him, he realizes quickly that, thanks to Beth, it might not have been the best decision. His eagerness to have family around him at that table is his own undoing; it’s the only aspect of his life around which he’s willing to play pretend. Beth’s dinner table outbursts are predictable at this point – she has too many memories bundled up in that table, and in the façade of family values that John is so eager to perpetuate. It’s Rip, of all people, who suggests that they simply eat at a different table, and they do, together, much to John’s delight.

The implication isn’t clear, but it’s there – in order for John to keep his family together, he’s going to have to change his ways.

Yellowstone season 4, episode 8 recap

“No Kindness for the Coward” doesn’t open here, but instead with a cheeky set-up for 1883 depicting John’s great-grandfather, James, being shot while in pursuit of some horse thieves and collapsing on the porch of his family’s home. Since he interrupts their dinner, there is at least a thread of thematic relevance here, but it’s mostly a cool tease – “If you do survive, tell them about me.” – for the spin-off. The same can be said of everything involving Jimmy, although that’s less cool and a bit silly given how quickly he has forgotten about Mia.

But the main plot remains compelling if a little silly. On Beth’s advice, Summer Higgins and her surprisingly numerous protestors are occupying the site of the planned airport and halting construction, and Market Equities can’t move them on with force without risking a very negative PR situation. The idea that Caroline doesn’t realize that this is Beth’s work is daft, and it’s dafter still that she actually follows her advice on the matter, which is to banish the press and then get law enforcement to remove everyone by force. Beth’s sneaky play is to tell the reporters to be there for the raid, so they film and broadcast the protestors getting knocked all over the place. How this actually benefits Beth long-term in her battle against Market Equities remains to be seen, but it’s a start.

Elsewhere, John learns that Jamie is going to run for governor in opposition to him, which we learn is an effort to strong-arm him into backing off or endorsing a proxy candidate, but you know how John is. He also goes with Rip to meet with Haskell in order to discuss how to kill Riggins, but when they get to the diner where they’re supposed to meet, they find it’s being stuck up by armed robbers. John and Rip head inside and shoot everyone, but Haskell takes a bullet in the firefight and dies right there at the table.

Will any of this matter? It’s hard to tell, to be honest, given Taylor Sheridan’s penchant for random out-of-nowhere scenes of cool stuff that don’t have much to do with anything. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Additional Notes:

Monica is pregnant, and Kayce is continuing to have a symbolic staring contest with a wolf. These two things may or may not be connected.

You can stream Yellowstone season 4, episode 8, “No Kindness for the Coward”, exclusively on Paramount.

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