Not since Julia Sugarbaker told Marjorie about the night the lights went out in Georgia has a female performer given audiences a feast of camp and fury like Kelly Reilly serves every week on “Yellowstone.” And I, a gay man, am here to say that she ate, no crumbs, she is Mother, and whatever we’ll be saying next year because we no longer live in a world that won’t discuss Reilly’s performance as Beth Dutton. With the first half of Season 5 now available to stream on Peacock with the rest of the series, I need to go on the record about something.
Yes, I watch “Yellowstone” (or as most publications call it “That Show Your Parents Love”). Yes, it is problematic and messy and sometimes cringe, and yeah, OK, I do tend to bear down on the fast-forward button when the men are talking about, I dunno, familial duty and fatherhood and whatever patriarchal stuff straight men dressing up for an office job in cowboy togs meaningfully discuss.
Beth doesn’t dress like a woman living on a ranch. Wearing more kohl than Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra,” she stalks through Montana in leopard-print coats, wreathed in cigarettes and alcohol fumes and sometimes clad in jarring cottage core that enhances her unpredictability. Would a woman wearing cap sleeves really order a double Tito’s and then reprimand the waitress for correcting it to a martini by saying, “A martini has vermouth and is enjoyed with friends. I don’t like vermouth, and these aren’t my friends”? If it’s Beth Dutton, she will, and you’ll record it and post it to Instagram stories with the caption, “Me on a first date.”