'Yellowstone' Season 3 Episode 9 Review: A formulaic penultimate episode that impresses but lacks innovation
Spoilers for 'Yellowstone' Season 3 Episode 9 'Meaner than Evil'
'Yellowstone' is one of those few series on television that urge a large audience to repeatedly tune in week after week. It's a show about the patriarch who leaves no stone unturned to safeguard his land from the impending threats from different sources. Be it land developers, builders or the neighboring Indian reservation - dangers surround the Duttons' land and John Dutton (Kevin Costner) has sworn that he will do anything and everything to sell not even an inch out.
This season as well, the dangers are aplenty and those who aim to dethrone John and take over his land refuse to back down. They hire agents to dig up the past and to blackmail him till John loses his patience. This season's penultimate episode was one such and it consisted of a lot of talk of the train station, with some even making the long journey there, never to return.
Following the events of the previous episode, the ranch hands are all up in arms to hunt down Wade Morrow (Boots Southerland) led by Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) and avenge the brutal attack on Teeter (Jen Landon) and Colby (Denim Richards). They get their revenge all the while showing their solidarity as well. This also led to Teeter and Colby paying the price for the vengeance by branding themselves with the Yellowstone symbol.
This makes Teeter the first female wrangler on the series to get herself branded - tied to the ranch in ways that she probably cannot even fully fathom yet. But it does mean that she is here to stay and that Jen Landon is very likely to reprise the role for the next season. All in all, the penultimate episode was a fast-paced installment that delivered just as it was meant to. But it was also one that fits the formula that Yellowstone had created for itself.
If you recall the previous season, just as the battle with the Beck Brothers was nearing its end, they made a vicious attack on Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly), John's daughter. She had barely survived back then and was only rescued because Rip arrived in time. At the time, Beth was broken and battered with serious injuries that she suffered on not only to her face but also her entire body. This attack had quickly turned remorseful for the Beck Brothers who invited all of John's, Duttons' and Rip's wrath upon themselves.
This time around as well, in Season 3 nothing much differs from the final few events of Season 2. After Beth's attack, the show picked up the pace, just as after the attack on Teeter, the awfully slow Season 3 started racing too.
Creator Taylor Sheridan is known to write simple stories. He prefers to focus on characters, particularly on their behaviors when placed in uncomfortable situations. But the penultimate episode of Season 3 fails on the innovative end - it doesn't bring anything new to the table, hijacking the same formula from last season. There's no doubt that the episode was entertaining, but with a heavy sense of deja vu that couldn't be shed.
'Yellowstone' airs on Sundays at 9 pm ET /PT on Paramount Network.