Diving Deep into ‘Half the Money’: Inside One of Yellowstone’s Most Rated Episodes

One of the most rated episode of ‘Yellowstone’ ever: “Half the Money”Season 4, Episode 1 (2021)IMDb Rating 9.3

“Half the Money” delivers a compelling premiere, seamlessly weaving its narrative threads more tightly than before. The episode throws viewers directly into the fray, with a thrilling ten-minute sequence of battles on several fronts. John Dutton, left bleeding beside the road, cleverly leaves a note describing his assailant’s van.

Kayce leverages his military expertise first to defend the livestock commissioner’s office against gunmen, then to neutralize the attackers who targeted John. At the Dutton lodge, Monica’s life hangs by a thread until Tate, their son, intervenes by fatally shooting an intruder. Meanwhile, Beth emerges from a demolished building, seeking a cigarette as she grapples with temporary hearing loss and shock.

True to “Yellowstone’s” form, the main characters survive, maintaining the show’s reluctance to eliminate its core cast—Dan Jenkins being a rare exception. The episode’s only significant casualty is Roarke, a secondary villain, who meets his end via a rattlesnake bite in a scene that, despite being my least favorite due to Josh Holloway’s untapped potential, underscores the episode’s high stakes.

Yet, the aftermath of these events doesn’t shy away from depicting trauma. Rip’s cabin, a gift from John, is destroyed by fire. John, after a two-month hospital stay, resists the overprotectiveness of his nurse. Beth’s injuries are among the most lasting, with burns marking her back. In her quest for retribution, she confronts Jamie, accusing him of orchestrating the attack in a scene that, while repetitive, sets the stage for Beth’s most compelling storyline yet.

Outside the hospital, Beth encounters a 14-year-old boy dealing with his father’s imminent death from heroin addiction. Their interaction, marked by Beth’s unusual tenderness yet straightforward manner, offers a glimpse into her capacity for compassion, challenging her usual persona.

As the episode transitions from immediate crisis to its aftermath, it doesn’t lose momentum, thanks to its character-driven focus. Additional plot developments unfold as Kayce employs stealth tactics on the ranch and Chief Rainwater launches his investigation, hinting at broader implications yet to be revealed.

Despite its dark themes, the premiere remains engaging, anchored by a blend of paranoia, fury, and grief. A particularly poignant moment comes when John acknowledges the danger faced by the ranch hands, expressing his gratitude with a simple gesture of sharing a beer. “Half the Money” sets a high bar for the season, skillfully balancing action with deep character exploration.