Beth's Yellowstone season 5 arc has fans divided

Kelly Reilly and Wes Bentley in Yellowstone
Kelly Reilly and Wes Bentley in Yellowstone (Image credit: Paramount Network)

Note: this post contains some spoilers for Yellowstone season 5.

Since the very beginning of Yellowstone, Kelly Reilly's performance as Beth Dutton has been widely seen as one of the show's best qualities. Beth is fierce, witty and tough, but also loyal to her family, or at the very least to John Dutton (Kevin Costner), and able to show a softer side on occasion — particularly with Rip (Cole Hauser) and their adopted kid Carter (Finn Little). But so far in Yellowstone season 5, some fans are worried about Beth's arc.

One of the key relationships for Beth throughout the entire series has been the one with her and Jamie (Wes Bentley). Things with her older, adopted brother have always been contentious, but as the layers have been peeled back it's gotten downright hostile, particularly on Beth's side. Entering season 5, Beth appeared to have Jamie in her pocket after snapping a photo of Jamie dumping his real father's (Will Patton) body after killing him, but the relationship changed pretty quickly from that.

In Yellowstone season 5 episode 3, Beth is arrested for a bar fight after an out-of-towner makes a move on Rip. In episode 4, she reminds Jamie of her ability to destroy him should she so choose, pressuring him to make sure no charges are filed against her. However, when she learns that Jamie has a son, she goes ballistic. Despite Jamie's pleas that him taking Beth to the abortion clinic (where Beth was subsequently sterilized as a child) is the biggest regret of his life, Beth is unsympathetic; she vows to take Jamie's son away from him somehow.

This continuous feud between Beth and Jamie is turning into more of an annoyance for many fans, as they've seen it play out for four and a half seasons now with little change. Some viewers also don't believe that Beth has grown as much, particularly in regard to accepting responsibility for her own actions.

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However, in Yellowstone season 5 episode 5 fans got a reminder of what makes Beth Dutton so much fun to watch, as she dukes it out with Summer (Piper Perabo), literally. Completely against John bringing Summer to their home, when Summer tries to guilt the chef and everyone at dinner about eating meat Beth has had enough and takes Summer outside. They brawl, with Beth eventually forcing Summer to tap out, but (with a little help from Rip) ultimately mend things with her, saying that if she shows her family respect that's what she'll get back.

Many fans have quickly called the scene not just one of their favorite Beth moments, but a highlight from all of the neo-western’s five seasons.

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Beth is such a fiery character that it's not surprising fans can be just as easily turned off by some of her actions as they can revel in them. It's also clear that her and Jamie's relationship needs to come to a head, and with Sarah Atwood (Dawn Olivieri) pushing Jamie into another choice between his own interests and that of his family, it's likely coming. Whether it will prove satisfying for fans or not is to be determined. 

New episodes of Yellowstone season 5 air on Sundays on Paramount Network in the US and Mondays on Paramount Plus in the UK.

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 Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).