1923 Episode 7 Review: The Rule of Five Hundred
Yellowstone fans are occasionally, and forgivably “bloodthirsty,” it’s simply one of the accepted truths of the fanbase. There is a need for an occasional shot of violence, and this episode does not disappoint in that regard. In the continuing story of Teonna Rainwater’s (Aminah Nieves) escape from the residential school, this particular subplot picks up when Teonna’s father, Runs His Horse (Michael Spears) discovers the corpse of his mother in her isolated cabin.
Pete Plenty Clouds (Cole Brings Plenty), who is an ally of Teonna’s, finds Runs His Horse to tell him the news of Teonna’s escape, and the bloody violence that preceded it. They hop back on horseback and split up to try and find Teonna, and warn Pete’s father, Hank (Michael Greyeyes).
Naturally, it is too late, as the priests first catch up with Pete, now on his own. As mentioned before, Sheridan has a natural talent of writing villainous characters that almost need to be taken out. The Yellowstone universe has always had antagonists that have earned their death, and these priests are no different. They spout hate-filled dogmatic righteousness as they beat Pete simply for standing up for himself. They tie him up and one of them drags Pete behind his horse on a path back towards the residential school and a similar fate to Teonna’s.
Before the most notable and furious priest can exact any more violence on a bloodied Pete, Runs His Horse saves the young man in one of the most cathartic deaths in the history of this television universe. It is another great shot of visceral, but necessary violence, that surely satiates even the most discerning audience palette.
The other two priests find Teonna, and while they originally think she is a young man and not the murderous girl they are looking for, these men are not discernable in their hatred. They go to attack her, meaning to take her back to the residential school, but luckily, Hank is able to shoot both attackers. While he goes to see if Teonna is ok, one priest, who survived the gunshot, grabs Hank’s gun and shoots the beloved confidant, killing him. Before the priest can do the same to Teonna, the young woman bludgeons him with a rock. Teonna lets out another powerful yawp, giving sound to the fury of her ongoing struggle.
This entire sequence is extremely satisfying, but it cannot help but feel Sheridan is merely placating the audience as we await true satisfaction.