Yellowstone season 1, episode 7 recap: ‘A Monster is Among Us’


At the end of last week’s episode of ‘Yellowstone,’ Kayce was administering CPR to an unresponsive Monica who had suffered what initially seemed like a minor head injury while breaking up a schoolyard fight.

A large chunk of episode 6 revolved around John’s desire to bring Kayce back to the ranch for fear he might end up in jail or worse if he doesn’t. But Kayce resisted and Monica didn’t help — when Jamie arranged a job offer at the local college for her, she turned it down.

As I pointed out last week, though, killing Monica off would be lazy writing. It’s likely to get John what he wants because his will now be the loudest voice in Kayce’s ear.

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It also absolves everyone of really wrestling with the issue of why Kayce left in the first place and what it means for him to return.

Of course, Monica wasn’t dead at the end of the episode, and at the beginning of this episode “A Monster is Among Us,” we don’t get an immediate resolution to that cliffhanger.

Instead, we start with John noticing a group of Chinese tourists in a field as he drives past. Realizing they are ogling a bear from way too close a distance, he pulls over, grabs a shotgun, and tells them to get back. They refuse.

To get them to leave, he tells them they’re on his land and therefore trespassing. The tourists don’t believe him, though. They say it’s wrong for one man to own all that land – he should share it.

In response, John fires his shotgun into the air and the tourists flee. As they get on their bus, John declares, “This is America. We don’t share land here.” An ironic comment given his ranch’s namesake, Yellowstone National Park, is next to his property, but also insight into John’s worldview.

The credits roll, and when they finish we finally get back to what’s going on with Monica.

After performing surgery on her, the doctor goes to see Kayce who’s sitting in the waiting room with Tate. The doctor explains that Monica’s alive but she suffered an epidermal hematoma and is currently on a ventilator.

The doctor can’t give a prognosis so soon after the surgery but he’s hopeful. Kayce goes to see Monica who is unconscious and not breathing on her own. Kayce is upset by what he sees.

In the waiting room, Tate tells the woman who’s watching him he wants to see his mom. When she won’t let him, he gets aggressive, hits her, and refuses to be subdued. A team of hospital workers hold him down as he screams.

Kayce comes in at that moment. Ever the role model, instead of asking someone what’s going on, he immediately punches one of the people holding Tate down. Two of the workers subdue Kayce as the doctor runs in.

He tells Kayce he needs to leave with Tate. Kayce refuses, but the doctor insists that he won’t be welcome back until he finds someone to supervise Tate that Tate will actually listen to.

Meanwhile, John is speaking at a fancy dinner about the business of ranching. After his speech, he notices Jamie’s place at his table is empty.

That’s because Jamie is at his campaign office with the attractive campaign manager the governor set him up with last week. She gives him a rousing speech about the ability to make a difference through politics, but Jamie sets her straight — he’s not an idealist, he’s in it to get power.

When she points out he already has power, he tells her he wants more so he can protect his family and others like his — the opposite of change. The campaign manager thinks this is the most idealistic thing a politician has ever said.

They have a moment but Jamie doesn’t act and the campaign manager gets back to work.

When Jamie returns home, John is waiting for him. He’s mad Jamie didn’t attend the dinner. Jamie is confident he has the votes of everyone at the dinner, but John isn’t so sure, he says he feels a shift, whatever that means.

Meanwhile, Beth is in her room crying. We flash back to Christmas, 1996. The Dutton family is passing out gifts but Beth isn’t with them. Her mother goes to get her and finds her crying in her room. She’s gotten her first period and clearly doesn’t know what’s going on.

Evelyn draws Beth a bath and gives her a speech about men and women and how women are strong but get beaten down because they’re told they’re weak. So Evelyn will be hard on Beth to make her as strong as possible.

After the flashback, Beth gets up. She goes to the barn and saddles a horse with resolve. She starts riding and falls off in no time.

As she lies on the ground, the new ranch hand, Walker, comes up to her and comments on her fall. She gets angry and tries to ride the horse again, failing miserably.

Walker, realizing she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing, gets on the horse and rides with ease. Beth asks him how he does it. He shows her how to communicate with the horse so he relaxes. Beth gets back on the horse and finally manages to ride him smoothly.

At the hospital, Monica’s great-grandfather is doing a ritual to heal her, but the sage he’s burning sets off the fire alarms and sprinklers. Just as an orderly pulls him out of the room, Monica wakes up.

Elsewhere, Rainwater and Jenkins are negotiating the contract they agreed on last week. Jenkins comments that from the contract he can’t tell what Rainwater really wants, so Rainwater tells him: He wants the Yellowstone Ranch, and he’s willing to split it with Jenkins.

Jenkins comments that neither of them can afford the ranch, but Rainwater insists he has a plan. He isn’t willing to let Jenkins in on it, though. Not until the contracts are signed and they’re partners.

After Rainwater leaves, Jenkins meets with his fixer. She’s planning a lawsuit against Dutton for altering the river’s flow. Dutton did it to block the power source to Jenkins’ development, but in the lawsuit, they’re framing Dutton’s actions as a violation of the Endangered Species Act — a felony. Jenkins is thrilled.

At the ranch, a process-server shows up. After an extreme overreaction by Jamie who pulls a gun on him, the man throws the papers for the lawsuit at him and leaves.

Elsewhere on the ranch, Rip takes Jimmy and Walker to look for the bear John saw earlier. He intends to kill it, but after they spot it, they realize no one brought a gun, so they ride at the bear screaming instead. The bear charges. Jimmy falls off his horse and climbs a tree but the bear tries to push it over to get to him. Rip and Walker rope the bear and drive it away.

At the hospital, John consults with his doctor about his cancer. As he walks out, he sees Tate in the waiting room. John asks him what he’s doing there.

Later, John is in Monica’s room with Kayce, Tate, and Monica’s great-grandfather as the doctor tests her responsiveness. John pulls the doctor aside and asks how bad things are. He says he’s optimistic — she has spoken, she’s aware of her surroundings — but he’s concerned about her lack of motor skills.

At the ranch, Rip rides alone looking for the bear. He spots it but it runs off as he hears chatter in the distance. He finds two tourists hanging from the side of a cliff. He throws a rope to the woman who speaks English but the man, who doesn’t, wrestles her for it. In the process, he knocks her off the cliff and she falls to her death.

Realizing what’s happened, the man drops the rope and lets go of his hold on the cliff. As he falls to his death, the bear charges Rip who shoots it dead.

Meanwhile, John arrives back at the ranch with Tate. John is in pain. He tries to ignore it but when it’s too much for him, he finds Beth. He asks her to watch Tate and goes to his room where he vomits blood. John realizes he’s not the picture of health he’s been trying to pass himself off as.

At the hospital, Kayce is trying to get Monica to eat. She can’t use a spoon to feed herself and she asks repeatedly where Tate is.

As the episode ends, Beth takes Tate to eat with the cowboys. Walker is singing again and Beth is clearly into it. Rip walks in and sees Beth with Walker and walks out again.

Well, at least Monica isn’t dead, but it seems like her road to recovery won’t be an easy one. Meanwhile, Kayce isn’t handling his responsibilities well. He’s forgotten to feed Tate but he doesn’t ask for help until his father offers.

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While I’m glad Monica didn’t die, Monica’s recovery and Kayce’s need for help could still help John get Kayce back at the ranch.  On the other hand, if John becomes too sick to ignore it anymore, things could change for everyone.

Only three more episodes and two more weeks until the season finale of Yellowstone, so we should get more answers soon! While you’re waiting for next week, check out our recap of episode 6, and stream the series so far on the Paramount Network.