The sordid, tumultuous affair between Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) on “Yellowstone” has slowly built up a passionate romance atop a shaky foundation to become the heart and soul of the series. They’re both classic archetypes with fatal flaws who seem diametrically opposed at first, only to become two star-crossed lovers that get tangled up in each other’s orbits. The finale of season 4 saw the couple at their happiest, getting married on the Dutton ranch (who could ask for a better venue?) surrounded by ranch hands and loved ones.
When we last saw them on the season five mid-season finale, “A Knife and No Coin,” Rip was tasked with transporting the endangered cattle south for the winter, along with Jake (Jake Ream), Teeter (Jennifer Landon), Ryan (Ian Bohen), and Walker (Ryan Bingham). Beth stayed behind to help her father (Kevin Costner) deal with the financial crisis brewing at the ranch and his ongoing political battles as he deals with the reality of being the governor of Montana. Beth must eventually also deal with the potentially deadly family feud w ith her brother Jamie (Wes Bentley) that goes way beyond the normal sibling rivalry. Jamie is inadvertently responsible for Beth’s inability to have children, a devastating fact that she’s hiding from Rip.
The old adage that distance makes the heart grow fonder will be put to the test when the second half of “Yellowstone” season 5 finally airs, hopefully sometime in 2024. That’s also a lot of time for audiences and the cast members to speculate on the fate of Rip and Beth, a storyline that will undoubtedly be the central focus when the show returns. To keep the fire stoked, Reilly chimed in on where she thinks Beth and Rip will wind up in a new featurette on the Blu-ray and DVD release of season five part one. And she’s not so sure it will be a happy ending.
Haunted by the secrets of the past
In the behind-the-scenes featurette (via Parade), Reilly seemed to theorize that Beth Dutton may be too damaged for her pure-hearted, loyal-to-a-fault husband. Beth may not believe she deserves to finally be at peace, and fears that her dark family secret may ruin whatever good is happening in her life. Reilly tends to agree, saying:
“Beth is haunted by her past. She has a lot of regrets and she has a lot of secrets that he doesn’t know. So there is something that is under the surface that will one day, I’m sure, come, and she’s probably certain that she will lose him.”
Reilly also went into some detail about how her hatred of Jamie may wind up causing Rip to do something that he won’t be able to walk away from, something that goes beyond the family’s protection. Up to this point, Rip has accepted Beth wholeheartedly, faults and all. The secret she’s been holding onto, however, may be too much for them to bear if and when it comes out into the light. Reilly continued:
“He doesn’t know any of that, and she’s protecting him. So there’s a weighted burden in her heart that she cannot share with him. He’s trying to reassure her and love her, but he doesn’t know the truth.”
For now, it’s probably best that Rip is away from the constant drama at the Yellowstone ranch, and his absence also means that he won’t be as likely to find out about Beth’s infertility, which jeopardizes their future and any chance of continuing the generational legacy that the Duttons have forged over the course of a century. Personally, I’ve got faith that Rip will stay by Beth’s side until the wheels fall off.