Yellowstone season 1, episodes 1 and 2 recap: “Daybreak” and “Kill the Messenger”

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Yellowstone. Photo: Kevin Lynch/Paramount Network

Yellowstone, Season 1, Episode 2 recap: “Kill the Messenger”

The deaths of Lee and Kayce’s brother-in-law are the catalyst for most of the action in Yellowstone‘s second episode “Kill the Messenger.”

As the episode begins, Jamie is summoned to the governor’s office. They’ve learned something worrisome.

Everyone was under the impression that Lee and Kayce’s brother-in-law, Robert Long, killed each other. But forensics shows that the bullet that killed Lee severed his spinal cord before he died, In other words, he wouldn’t have been able to use his hands to fire a gun. Further, Long’s death looks like an execution.

The case has already made the national news and is being framed as a racially motivated killing. So when the forensic details are discovered, it’ll look like a cover-up on John’s part. And that will lead investigators to start looking for the person John’s covering for. The governor promises to hold back the forensic report for a week to give Jamie time to make the problem go away.

Jamie and John quickly deduce that Kayce had something to do with Long’s murder, although Kayce refuses to admit to anything. Jamie wants to dig up Lee’s body and cremate it in order to eliminate some of the evidence.

In addition, they need to make sure no witnesses will speak out about Kayce riding to the ranch with Lee’s body. Through some elaborate machinations, John reaches both the Bureau of Land Management agents who witnessed the return of Lee’s body. They agree to keep their mouths shut about what they saw.

Then, the medical examiner unexpectedly releases Long’s forensic report to the tribal police. With the news that Long was killed execution style, Rainwater sees an opportunity — if Lee wasn’t the shooter, the killing could be the end of John Dutton and his pesky ranch. Unfortunately, the only person Rainwater and the chief of police know was nearby when Long was gunned down is Kayce and they suspect Kayce won’t take their side against his family.

In order to protect Kayce from further issues stemming from the medical examiner’s actions, John dispatches his ranch hand and heavy, Rip (Cole Hauser), to take care of him. Rip deletes the forensic reports about the killings off of the ME’s computer, chokes him until he’s unconscious, and then starts a fire to make it look like the ME killed himself.

Meanwhile, Kayce calls his former SEALs commander and tells him he’s thinking about rejoining. The man tells him to get his bags packed and get ready to go.

Monica overhears the conversation and as they drive to pick up Tate, she asks him why he wants to leave them. Kayce says he needs to provide for the family. but Monica calls BS. After all, he was fine being a broke horse trainer until both of their brothers were killed a week ago. She demands the truth, but as Kayce starts to tell her, a trailer explodes as they drive by and they skid off the road.

A badly burned and injured man begs Kayce to kill him. When Kayce hesitates, Monica tells him to do it and turns away.

Later, the tribal police and Rainwater arrive. They agree Kayce did the right thing and cover up the mercy killing.

Afterward, Kayce and Rainwater go to a sweat lodge together. When Kayce returns home, Monica asks him if he’ll stay if she lets him keep whatever he’s hiding from her a secret. Kayce claims that if he stays she’ll learn what he’s hiding. Monica swears there’s nothing he could do that she won’t forgive him for, but he disagrees. Then Tate calls for Kayce and Kayce goes to spend time with him.

The episode ends with John scattering Lee’s newly cremated ashes at John’s wife’s grave.