Spoilers below for the Season 4 finale of Yellowstone, so be warned if you haven’t yet watched!
To be expected, Yellowstone closed out its fourth season without forcing viewers to wonder whether or not the core Dutton family members would still be alive for Season 5. But that doesn’t mean the finale was lacking in game-changing moments that set high stakes for the future of the western drama’s many characters. If I was a betting man who knew zilch about how serialized storytelling worked, I’d put all my money on Jacki Weaver’s Caroline Warner to win it all, but that’s not what this is about.
Despite a winter hiatus from round-ups highlighting Yellowstone’s most memorable and meaningful dialogue, I am now back to celebrate the meta bard Taylor Sheridan and the many talented players within this Montana-set saga.
1. “And when it’s gone, baby, I’m gone.”
When Cole Hauser’s Rip presents a possible future in which he and the ranch might not exist anymore, it sounds like a goddamned dystopia. To say nothing of his follow-up line about breaking promises.
2. “I’m nobody’s mother, ever. You got it?”
While I do believe that Carter overreacted like a mofo to Beth’s snappy comments, and showed far too little confusion to her calling him “baby” with her initial reply, there was nothing but fire and pitchforks behind her declarative reminder that she’s unable to conceive children. Which itself served as foreshadowing to her threats to Jamie later in the episode when she hinted at telling Rip the truth about her abortion.
3. “Yeah, I think she wants to kill somebody.”
Walker is not a dude who would ever be stereotyped as someone who overexplains a situation, nor someone who overthinks a situation. So for him to instantly give Rip that perfectly summarized analysis of Beth’s questions was a hoot. As many times as people on Yellowstone no doubt want to kill people, it’s not often when somebody just lays it out there so crisply.
4. “She done dry-fucked him right there, didn’t she? Yes, she did!”
As a gleefully petty viewer who enjoys being on the Mia-dismissing bandwagon, I don’t often find myself feeling a need to celebrate the character’s actions. But anybody making Ryan feel slightly less sure of himself is a win, and anything is instantly made better by Teeter loudly commenting about it with her R-rated exclamations.
5. “She’d have a point if we sold hamburgers, Lloyd.”
Along with Beth’s nerve-grinding quotes, John’s reflective mini-speeches, and Teeter’s perverse drawls, Taylor Sheridan & Co. are also equally masterful at crafting (and delivering) lines that would serve as absurdist non sequiturs without a scene’s very specific contex attached. The bunkhouse scenes tend to serve as a dependable breeding ground for such lines, as is the case with Ryan’s half-aggravated response to Lloyd defending Mia’s line about McDonald’s. It doesn’t matter what it really means, though, because it’s a plainly silly sentence regardless.
6. “Well, that’s gonna go over like a fart in church.”
Whenever Jimmy introduced Emily to the room as the new love of his life, Jake allowed his inside voice to escape with the amusingly observational line above, which sounds like it would have come from a Jim Ross-esque ringside commentator at whatever the closest wrestling promotion is to the Yellowstone ranch. “He looks as nervous as a one-legged tick locking eyes with a time-strapped veterinarian, and it’s crimson masks for everyone!” Also, for what it’s worth, a fart in church would have made for a way more breezy experience than Mia clocking Jimmy and then rumbling with Emily.
7. “Chances are good.”
Here we have the rare “Best Yellowstone Line” that wasn’t just spoken by one person. Indeed, when post-scuffle Emily inquired about the the chances of whiskey being housed somewhere in the bunkhouse, several of its residents gamely answered with the above. It’s too bad we didn’t get to then watch Kathryn Kelly school the boyz in cards even better than Mia did, but it’s enough to know that the group was as impressed with her as they were with the “new” Jimmy.
8. “Well to be honest, I wouldn’t have minded the interruption.”
I have to imagine that few moments on the ranch could be more embarrassing than any ego-draining experience that just happens to be witnessed in secret by John Dutton. (Maybe I just still have an emotional hangover from John expressing his disappointment in Beth, but these feelings do predate that scene.) But then I guess Jimmy’s pride wasn’t exactly at risk in the face of Mia’s emotional breakdown, and any John-shaped port in a storm would have been better than dealing with that particular flavor of rekindled heartache.
9. “So the wedding’s gonna be in, what, 75 years?”
Jimmy went from getting horse-bucked into the hospital to getting horse-chapped down at the Four Sixes ranch in Texas, all because he didn’t honor his promise to John Dutton, and instead allowed himself to be guided by Mia’s determination. And even if John doesn’t have a fully rounded idea of what Jimmy went through during that stretch, he certainly grasped the younger cowboy’s loyalty and ability to learn from his mistakes. So rather than making Jimmy wait three-quarters of a century to make a bride out of Emily, as joked about in the line above, John graciously told Jimmy he was free from any and all personal debts, while still affirming that there was a place for him at the Y if things didn’t work out in Texas. Granted, John didn’t actually look Jimmy in the eyes while saying it, but still.
10. “Let me in, you fucking child! Look at me! This is your vision! This is your destiny!”
Okay, truth be told, this entry isn’t so much about the lines being as great as the moment itself. Kayce’s fractured dreams/visions allowed for Dave Annable to return as the late Lee Dutton for the first time since Episode 207, and it was easily the hardest swing Yellowstone has ever taken at delivering pure horror. Seeing Lee get all demonic with blood oozing out of his mouth was certainly a jolt for viewers, but I feel like Kayce is going to have those growls echoing in his head for quite a while. (Although it probably helped to soothe fears that the scene immediately flipped into something more illicitly sexual.)
11. “That’s why you have been such an effective nuisance for so long.”
I can’t think of many other instances like this, but Jacki Weaver already deserves awards recognition for her recurring role as Caroline Weaver, and almost entirely for playing the one character on Yellowstone who can and will readily rain verbal hell down on Beth Dutton, and has both a valid reason for doing so, as well as the resources to back up her threats. So in a slight different reality, the entirety of Caroline’s explosive rant would serve as a single entry. But instead, I’ve split it up into two, with the above making the cut for Beth being referred to as an “effective nuisance,” which I would easily believe got under Beth’s skin more than the direct threats made soon after.
12. “I don’t care how much we spend, or how long it takes. I’m gonna put a public restroom where your fucking house is. I’m gonna chop down every tree, and dam every creek. I am going to rape your fucking ranch to death.”
Speaking of direct threats, it doesn’t get any more direct or threatening than the above. I don’t really know what else to say about it. Maybe just “good luck, Beth.”
13. “See you, Cal. You’ve been as uninteresting as I expected.”
Beth has never met a setback that couldn’t quickly be soothed with a down-punching pivot to whatever weaker-than-thou soul happens to be nearby. In this case, Beth couldn’t get the final word in during her “chat” with Caroline, so she gave Cal his final Dutton ribbing. Though he might be too Cal to have appreciated it. Oh, that Cal.
14. “Are you two a couple?”
With all the mostly playful back-and-forth shit-talking that Ryan and Colby have dealt out over the years, it was only a matter of time before someone suspected them of being in a relationship. As opposed to just assuming everyone is in a relationship with Colby’s mom. Ohhh! [Looks for someone to fist-bump]
15. “That hooker is getting fucked up her peehole.”
Speaking of Colby’s mom, as opposed to doing other acts in her name, Walker joined the fun in ripping on Denim Richards’ character, which sparked another classic Teeter line. Though this was the first one to involve someone’s urethra being penetrated. First time for everything, I guess.
16. “I’m not much of a fighter. I might make a cowboy yet.”
The scene featuring the above line features some of Jimmy’s finest moments, as he lays out exactly why trying to get his cowboy swagger in the ranch-filled Texas is so much more ideal than trying to do it amid the endless struggles of fighting for a single ranch in Montana. And while I’m sure most of Lloyd’s emotional reaction was tied to the evolved Jimmy leaving in general, I can’t help but think some of Lloyd’s tears were sparked by the realization that he’ll never be able to unstick himself from being one of John Dutton’s loyal minions.
17. “Sweetheart, that’s a priest. We aren’t fucking Catholic.”
Props to John for his continued efforts to raise logical points in the face of Beth’s impulsive actions. And what better way to give a nod to the family’s religious leanings, or lack thereof, than by dropping an F-bomb in front of a priest? That’s the Dutton way, goddammit.
18. “Jimmy, shut the fuck up. Nobody cares about your goddamned chili.”
How many other top-rated TV dramas would spend more than a minute’s time in a high-profile season finale talking about whether a chili’s distinct nature changes with the presence of beans? I’m willing to go out on a limb and say it’s just Yellowstone, but I am not offering my own opinions on the matter, as there are only so many hours in the day, and I’d rather eat chili than discuss it.
19. “Stall cleaner can…stay where he is.”
The Wire vet Jim True-Frost was a treat as Yellowstone‘s shockingly calm kidnapping victim, Father McGreggor, and was an A+ addition to Beth and Rip’s off-kilter nuptials. The entire performance was solid, but my favorite moment was his reaction to Carter. I’d imagine “stall cleaner” falls somewhere under ring bearer in the wedding party hierarchy.
20. “Beth, I’m not your buddy, okay? I’m your father, so can you factor that into our conversations going forward?”
Sure, John is fully aware that his daughter and his most loyal confidante have been knocking boots for decades. But does that mean it ever gets easier for him to have that reality directly addressed? Not a chance. That said, I do wonder if the late Evelyn Dutton was always so free and flighty with her sexuality and anatomy in the way that Beth is. Seems like it has to be nature over nurture in this particular case.
21. “It’s her last fucking hug. Let her have it.”
Admittedly, this line probably wouldn’t have made the list under different circumstances. But consider that Summer had just been given an extremely harsh prison sentencing after being lambasted by the judge, and just as she’s trying to find one last shred of comfort before being taken out of the courtroom, that whopper of a truth bomb was dropped by one of the only people in Montana she’d consider an ally. Granted, she should have just taken his advice in the first place.
22. “Cancer of entitlement is eating everything. Might just snip away at the symptom.”
While Pat Skipper’s Judge Mitch had some salient points to go along with his less pleasing opinions, the line above is a nicely put encapsulation of what fuels Yellowstone‘s drama. Since it’s usually the most entitled people judging others the most harshly for it. And this is a show where entitlement is as available as oxygen and badass sunsets.
23. “Jimmy, cowboys don’t say goodbye. They say see you later until we’re in that fucking dirt. We’ll say our goodbyes then.”
There you go again, Rip, referring to going away and things being gone, and I don’t wanna think about all that! Especially knowing that Lloyd is still all broken up about it all. DON’T GO AWAY FOREVER, JIMMY!
24. “I’ll say this: she’s persistent.”
There are a lot of ways Emily’s first trip to the Yellowstone ranch could have been disastrous, thanks to Mia’s chaotic presence. But she’s clearly a perfect addition to Jimmy’s life, as cemented by the above comment, which was a measured observation that refrained from passing any form of judgment on Jimmy for having been with her, and wasn’t nearly as harsh of a description as she could have used for Mia. I heart Emily.
25. “He is a disappointment and my greatest failure, but I raised him and I love him, as much as I’ve tried not to.”
I almost wish Yellowstone‘s Season 4 finale had ended right after this line was said, as it’s such a hilariously well-crafted “fuck you” to Jamie. John truly seems like he believes that he gives more of a shit than he actually does, too. If he really cared that much, he would have just stopped with “and I love him,” instead of running a jackhammer across the overly sensitive testicles of Jamie’s inner child.
With Season 4 now as kaput as Mia’s appreciation for anything Texas-related, Yellowstone will keep fans guessing about what’s coming next in Season 5. Relive the fun by streaming episodes on Peacock, or awaiting the next massive marathon run on Paramount Network. And check out everything else that’s hitting the small screen soon with our 2022 TV premiere schedule!