Yellowstone season 5 episode 8: Beth and Jamie prepare for war

Wes Bentley in Yellowstone
Wes Bentley in Yellowstone (Image credit: Paramount Network)

NOTE: this post contains spoilers for Yellowstone season 5 episode 8, "A Knife and No Coin."

It's hard to believe that we've reached the midseason finale for Yellowstone season 5, mostly because it feels like very little has actually happened so far. While "A Knife and No Coin" does get a bit more of the wheels spinning for what could very well be a big, enthralling final six episodes when the western returns in the summer, it's a perfect example of the methodical pace Yellowstone has been employing so far this season.

Things open up with another flashback scene, picking up as young Rip (Kyle Red Silverstein) and young(er) Lloyd (Forrest Wilder) and John (Josh Lucas) dispose of the cowboy Rip killed after insulting Beth. Because of this, John informs him of what wearing the Yellowstone brand means, that he can never leave, he only fights to protect the ranch and those on it, but that he has a home forever. As we know, Rip accepts these terms.

We then follow up with another person who wears the brand, getting to see Jimmy (Jefferson White) for the first time this season. Though he was given permission to move on with his life at the 6666 ranch by John in season 4, we see just how much the brand and the lessons he learned have made him to be a true cowboy. With this reintroduction and the Yellowstone cowboys on their way down to Texas with cattle, we should expect to see more of Jimmy in the second-half of season 5.

As those preparations to move the cattle are being done, John (Kevin Costner) talks with Monica (Kelsey Asbille). With Rip heading to Texas and John finally acknowledging he should probably do this governor job he has, he asks Monica if she and Kayce (Luke Grimes) will stay on the ranch and look over it, giving them a house on the property they can fix up and call their own. Monica agrees. 

Kelsey Asbille in Yellowstone

Kelsey Asbille in Yellowstone (Image credit: Paramount Network)

John then says his goodbyes to Rip (Cole Hauser) and has a tender moment with Kayce. Kayce is surprised by this show of emotion, but Rip seems to know that everything is about to change for John.

And it is, as Jamie (Wes Bentley) takes to the floor of the Montana State Assembly to deliver his speech calling for an investigation into John, with the ultimate goal being impeachment. This is intercut with a speech John gives at a press conference supporting Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) and the efforts against the pipelines being planned to run through the reservation. Unfortunately, while at the press conference, the impeachment news breaks. John tries to clean up the situation, calling it political theater and asking people to remember the real issue of the pipeline, before he leaves.

Clara (Lilli Kay) is shocked by the news but says that right now Jamie's claims are all conjecture, but John knows that's enough to get things going, as this fight isn't about the truth. He says it has to be fought with menace. Clara says she doesn't know how to fight with menace, John promises that he'll teach her.

When Beth finds out about the impeachment, her response isn't all too surprising, calling Jamie a "mother f***er." She gives a quick goodbye to Rip — Teeter (Jen Landon) and Colby (Denim Richards) also have a sweet goodbye — before she heads to confront Jamie. When he doesn't answer, Beth breaks into his house and hits him over the head with a rock, telling him he is either going to resign or she is going to release the photo of him dumping Randall's body. Jamie doesn't blink though, revealing to Beth what the "train station" is and that if she tries to turn him in, it'll also implicate John. Jamie makes his case that he is doing all this to secure the future of the ranch, that John is the greatest threat to it and deep down Beth knows it. Sarah (Dawn Olivieri) comes down the steps as the two argue, confirming for Beth that she is just as much behind this. She warns them that this war is just beginning.

But first, she wants to hear about the train station from John directly, who does confirm. While she's clearly disappointed (whether it's because she didn't know or the fact that they have it at all is hard to say), she now suggests that the train station is where they should take Jamie. Jamie has similar ideas, saying he wants to go on the offensive against Beth and asks Sarah if she knows professionals to hire and kill her; of course, she does.

The episode ends with Kayce and Monica talking about moving into the house on the ranch. Kayce reveals that the vision he had in season 4 told him his choice was going to be between the ranch and Monica, so he is worried about that. But Monica believes this could be good for her recovery after losing the baby and that maybe this could be a way for them to have both — a life on the ranch and their family.

At times the first eight episodes of Yellowstone season 5 have felt more like music videos highlighting the way of life of a cowboy, thanks to all the current songs being included in just about every episode. The larger plot of the season felt like it took a back seat in the first half, but there’s some juicy stuff for the final six episodes to deliver on when Yellowstone season 5 returns.

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Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.