‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 Episode 7
Throughout this season, Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan has been preparing his audience for the ending. The end of the majesty of the purple mountains of states like Montana as they become overdeveloped and lose all character. The end of the cowboy way of life and ranches across the country that can no longer sustain the life and land they have known, in some cases, for generations. Most poignantly, Sheridan may even be preparing the audience for the end of Yellowstone itself.
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“The Dream is Not Me” keeps even the most die-hard fan wondering what’s coming next, something that’s been lacking this season for the first half dozen episodes. Sheridan does a good job of creating intrigue about the future of the ranch and some of the characters, but what’s really interesting is how often he looked to the past first.
Sheridan’s formatting for this episode was certainly well balanced, and it begins with another flashback to a young Rip (Kyle Red Silverstein) and a younger, more masculine John (Josh Lucas). For the most part, these flashbacks served a purpose that was surface level at best. Beth (Kelly Reilly) has often reflected on how cruel she was to her now-husband Rip (Cole Hauser), but her trip down memory lane only showed how loyal Rip is to Beth no matter what — a fact well established. this point.
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Seeing John in his prime could be a reminder of who the man once was, perhaps showing viewers why he continues to fight as a dinosaur to stave off extinction. It’s a reminder of the passion that the once emotionally stoic John displayed. Yet once again, as of yet, it still hasn’t been revealed why Sheridan kicked this era so much this season of the show. This episode’s flashback filled in a little tidbit of Rip’s history, as we learned why he’s the Marked Man who will forever wear the “Y,” but unfortunately, again, there was nothing new about what was discovered about the character.
“The Dream is Not Me” is a perfect example of season five’s flaws in the fact that it’s slow, character-driven, and somewhat repetitive. So why is this episode arguably the funniest of this early season? Simple. Sheridan remembered two things the show really lacked – heart and joy.
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Don’t get me wrong, this reviewer is very aware that season five had moments of joy or moments of heart, and has often talked about how the most memorable bits of their respective episodes were. But “The Dream is Not Me” seems to have a lot more to it, and that’s why the stakes have finally been raised. The audience, as if for the first time, began to invest.
These stakes come in several basic subplots. Overwhelmingly, we learn that the cattle may have caught the blight from the local bison and need to be moved far from the ranch, resulting in Yellowstone having to lease land to the south. That means spending money John doesn’t have and losing key members of the ranch’s extended family as they transport the herd and make sure they can thrive in their new home. Rip, Teeter (Jen Landon) and Ryan (Ian Bohen) will likely be gone for the better part of the year, throwing a wrench into several romantic relationships at the ranch.
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Beth and Rip can be apart. Teeter and Colby (Denim Richards) could have their first real relationship test. Unfortunately, that also means it could be the end of this season’s blossoming romance between Ryan and Abby (Lainey Wilson). Even though the stakes have finally been raised, there’s a cautious cynicism to be found watching this episode, as again some of it feels all too familiar. Ryan and Abby’s brief romance, which turned possibly problematic, mirrors what Jimmy (Jefferson White) and Mia (Eden Brolin) went through when Jimmy had to leave for Texas. They fought for him to leave too, and even before when she told him to be the man he wanted to be and not just fulfill his debt to Yellowstone. Ryan pleads with Abby, preaches that this is his dream and his existence sounds a little empty simply because the show has done this before. Jimmy had to choose between duty and love, and now so did Ryan.
One romance that seems to be thriving is the oddly provocative pairing of Summer (Piper Perabo) and John. Summer is making strides to understand how the other half lives and it was a joy to witness her vaccinate the calves and really try to be a part of that way of life. The romance is a bit forced to be perfectly honest, but the dynamics of the characters’ underlying differences actually make their scenes together worthwhile.
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However, the most praise goes to the development of the two characters, who have been together for more than four seasons. There just can’t be enough hype when it comes to Monica and Jamie’s characters. Time. Monica (Kelsey Asbille) never got the recognition she deserved as a character because unfortunately she was typically relegated to being the voice of reason, which many viewers just don’t want to hear. But the respect and relationship building Sheridan wrote for this character was tremendous.
It was almost the beginning of the show when Beth came to Monica’s rescue when she was wrongly profiled and humiliated at the local store, and here we are, years later, and we finally have another exchange between sisters-in-law that shows some love and a lot of respect. Monica calls Beth out on her behavior, which few people can do to Beth, and Beth responds by telling Monica why she’s never been mean to her. They share a tremendous bond when Beth reveals her secret about losing her ability to have children. This moment showed those two previously mentioned keys to the show’s success, heart, and joy. Even though it’s a sad shared experience that these two women went through, there was something so overwhelmingly touching, and yes, joyful, about seeing the two bond.
Which brings us to Jamie (Wes Bentley) – the most interesting character in the most interesting story. Don’t bother reading it again – you read it right the first time. While Monica is finally taking center stage, Jamie is also evolving, and perhaps into the only form that suits the character, as Jamie is quickly becoming a full-fledged villain, and this reviewer is all for it.
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The character was beaten and bullied throughout his life. He never won any real battles and seems to have finally cracked. His alliance with Sarah (Dawn Olivieri) is unfortunately predictable as it becomes increasingly clear that she is merely manipulating him, but seeing Jamie as angry and vengeful as he was in this episode is a thing of long-awaited beauty. John’s last move to protect the ranch was selfish and short-sighted, but of course John doesn’t care, but maybe he could if Sarah convinces Jamie to use it against his adoptive father. Real f