“The first episode is a fireball. It’s wild. It’s crazy. It’s intense,” Yellowstone star Wes Bentley promises when the Paramount Network returns for its fourth season on Sunday, November 7.
Last we saw everyone, three Duttons were in life-or-death situations (“a gut punch” of a Season 3 ending, Gil Birmingham says). John (Kevin Costner) was shot, Beth (Kelly Reilly) was in an explosion, Kayce (Luke Grimes) was ducking for cover as gunmen burst into his office — and Jamie (Bentley) was telling ranch foreman Rip (Cole Hauser) not to call him anymore. Why exactly? Bentley can’t say if it’s because he orchestrated those attacks.
But the fallout of the attacks — no matter who lives and dies — will be felt across the show. Monica (Kelsey Asbille), for instance, was on the phone with her husband Kayce when those gunshots rang out. And Chief Thomas Rainwater (Birmingham) will have a role to play in the investigation into who’s responsible going forward.
Bentley, Birmingham, and Asbille tease what’s ahead.
Was Jamie Behind the Attacks?
He could have been. At the end of Season 3, “Jamie’s hurt,” Bentley points out. “Before he was rejected, but he was a Dutton. Now, he is not a Dutton, [and] a non-Dutton who knows that much is in danger. He’s also angry and lost. He doesn’t have a foundation. He doesn’t have love. He doesn’t have a home. He might act out. He’s a powerful man with lots of tools at his disposal, with a [biological] dad [Garrett, played by Will Patton] who’s a little shady.”
However, Bentley also argues that while his character may be “very emotional and fragile, he is a strategist. Is it a smart move and is Jamie smart?”
It’s Not Over
Season 4 picks up right where the finale left off, and Monica, on the ranch, is in the dark after that call with Kayce. “It’s the worst feeling because you can’t do anything but just listen on the other side,” Asbille says. “She doesn’t know who or what she’s fighting, but [her son] Tate right now is her number one priority.”
In fact, “they shot [the premiere opening] differently than the rest of the show to echo the audience’s and Monica’s confusion,” she continues. “It’s a really unsettling opening and then dealing with the aftermath of that kind of attack has huge consequences for everyone.”
The Season 4 trailer (above) shows Monica fighting for her life. Asbille can’t share much, but she teases, “She sees for the first time the Dutton come out in Tate and that’s really terrifying.”
The Investigation Into the Attacks
Rainwater may be the key to the investigation into those attacks. Rainwater’s “got information,” Birmingham previews. “He has some inside info that he may or may not use.”
So what could be preventing him from sharing that info? While he and John did have a tentative alliance at the end of Season 3, we don’t know if the Dutton patriarch will survive and who will be left to deal with the aftermath. It comes down to “moral or ethical consideration,” Birmingham explains. But while he may have to consider how it would benefit him, he points out, Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan “always incorporates compassion of the human being to human being interaction.”
That being said, Rainwater’s biggest challenge in Season 4 is “the moral dilemma of some of the ethical choices he makes in relation to some dark, dark forces that enter into the storyline.” And speaking of dark, at one point in the trailer, his right hand Mo (Mo Brings Plenty) pulls a person out of the back of a car with a hood over his head. “Sounds very violent. I’m sure the guy deserved it, whatever it was,” is all Birmingham would say. “We get to see a new side of Mo this season.”
Trying to Leave Behind the Duttons
Jamie is trying to leave behind the family that adopted him in Season 4, and in doing so, he’s spending time with Garrett, who could very well be trying to manipulate him, given their past conversations. So should he trust his dad? “If you’re asking Wes Bentley, no,” the actor laughs, before adding his character “believes this guy is not a good guy necessarily, but it has been a long time, and maybe he’s different, and more importantly than anything, he’s accepting Jamie and he’s hit the vulnerable spot of Jamie. He’s loving him. He’s showing him what it means to be a son to someone. So yeah, [Jamie’s] vulnerable to influence.”
While Bentley couldn’t get into specifics about his and Patton’s scenes, he calls them “some of the best scenes I’ve ever been a part of” and “very, very, very intense, emotional scenes.” In fact, one “left me as an actor floating. It felt like I was in someone else’s feet or something as I walked out of the house and into the real world. And it took a long time to come out of that.”
But can you blame the guy for wanting to give Garrett at least a chance? Jamie doesn’t trust anyone “now that he is definitely enemy number one,” Bentley says. For his character, his biggest challenge now is “surviving.” That’s especially true since his perfect world — “acceptance from the Duttons and to feel a part of the family” — seems impossible now.
Jamie’s not the only one who’s not a fan of the Dutton family heading into Season 4. Monica may be “someone who fights for her family, and the Duttons are family, but at this point, she’s at her tipping point. She wants out,” Asbille says. “It’s one thing when she’s struggling herself to fit into the Dutton world, but when she sees her son struggling, it’s game over.” Wherever that takes her, expect to see “some powerful changes for her this season.”
Rainwater vs. Caroline Warner
One of the new characters coming in this season is Jacki Weaver‘s Caroline Warner, CEO of Market Equities, and she and Rainwater will be facing off. “What a dynamo she is. It was lovely to work with her,” Birmingham says. “Right off the bat, we’re head-to-head contention. She’s trying to lure me in, as all developers do. That’s very accurate for present day as well: people trying to define some kind of advantage or angle to be able to use native people to get a foot in or some kind of benefit or leverage. … Caroline’s got an agenda of her own, so does Rainwater. It’s a game of poker, and we’ll see who blinks.”
Yellowstone, Season 4 Premiere, Sunday, November 7, 8/7c, Paramount Network