'Yellowstone' season 2 episode 1 review: Tensions in the Dutton family are still running high

The violent, tragic family drama continues. The series returns to television on June 19, 10 pm ET/PT.

                            'Yellowstone' season 2 episode 1 review: Tensions in the Dutton family are still running high

It goes without saying that Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Costner is the key attraction in Paramount's family drama 'Yellowstone'. Actor, director and producer Costner has appeared in a dozen and more films, but it is playing the powerful patriarch of a family of ranchers fighting to keep their land to themselves that he does remarkably well. 

Created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, 'Yellowstone' follows the Dutton family, led by patriarch John Dutton (played by Costner), who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the all of United States. His land is constantly under attack by those it borders: land developers, an Indian reservation, and America’s first National Park. The series could be deemed as an intense study of a violent world away from media scrutiny, where land grabs make developers billions, and politicians are bought and sold by the world’s largest oil and lumber corporations.

A still from 'Yellowstone' (Image courtesy: Paramount Network)

Tensions between the Dutton family are still high into the second season. The first episode of the second season, which is set to premiere on June 19, 2019, at 10 pm ET/PT, is titled 'A Thundering' and literally sweeps us into the family drama. The wounds from the first season have not yet fully healed. The Duttons - and by the Duttons we mean mostly John Dutton - are still reeling from the death of the oldest son Lee Dutton.  Kayce Dutton (played by Luke Grimes) isn't doing all that well either. His PTSD is still getting the better of him and he continues to struggle with tensions within his own family, with his wife Monica (played by Kelsey Asbille) and his son Tate (played by Brecken Merrill). At the same time, Beth (played by Kelly Reilly) continues to work tirelessly for her father. 

The Dutton ranch is described as the size of Rhode Island and Costner's John continues his long battle to defend and preserve his legacy despite his failing health. It looks like Kayce is finally settling into his new role at the ranch. In another corner of the world, a damaging article threatens to expose John and interestingly, Jamie Dutton (played by Wes Bentley) is at the heart of it. 

In the first season, John's lawyer son defied him and launched a campaign for state attorney general following which he was banished from his father's inner circle. He is also visited by his mood-swinging, aggressively unstable sister Beth, who shows up at the campaign headquarters to cut his credit cards and sever all other ties to the family. 

The Dutton family at dinner (Image courtesy: Paramount Network)

The first episode of the second season begins on a lull. The patriarchal John is still making sure that he does everything within his might to protect and preserve his land, his legacy. Till the end of the episode, when things suddenly pick up the pace we see Dutton Sr. struggling to keep his life. 

'Yellowstone' was 2018’s most-watched new cable series and the most-watched drama series premiere on ad-supported cable television since 2016’s 'The People vs OJ Simpson'. During its nine-episode first season, 'Yellowstone' garnered more than 20 million digital views. Costner is making a comeback to television with perhaps one of the biggest productions on the screen. It remains to be seen if the second season will match the popularity of the first season. Either way, 'Yellowstone' reels us in almost immediately in the first episode, and obviously, Costner, in all his stern glory, is a marvel to watch. 

The second season of Paramount's 'Yellowstone' returns on June 19, 2019, 10 pm, ET/PT. You can watch the trailer for the second season here: