“The loss of a child forever changes your family,” Kelsey Asbille begins of Yellowstone Season 5’s heartbreaking tragedy. Together with Kevin Costner, the two actors are breaking down what many fans are calling one of the finest moments from the entire series as part of the latest Behind the Story.
“She’s navigating how to survive on a daily basis, and be there for her husband and her son,” Asbille continues of Monica Dutton after the loss of her second son, John, a mere hour after birth. Yellowstone Season 5 has given the young actor her strongest material yet, resulting in a powerful performance that’s pulling hard on audiences’ heartstrings. Pair that with Costner’s John Dutton in Episode 4, and you have a recipe for truly gripping drama.
It’s also an opportunity for proper Indigenous representation, as baby John receives a traditional burial by his Broken Rock kin. “It’s another instance where we get to share the philosophy of the way Native people see transitioning over,” Thomas Rainwater’s Gil Birmingham adds.
“To have this funeral and ceremony, it was so beautiful and so moving,” Asbille recalls. But it was that scene with Costner (that everyone’s talking about) that brought her to tears even before putting it on camera.
“I told Taylor [Sheridan] that I read that scene with John and Monica on a plane, and I just started balling,” she laughs of first receiving those lines from the Yellowstone mastermind. The scene took the same toll on audiences, thanks to a pitch-perfect speech Sheridan wrote for Costner.
‘That graveyard is filled with family. And the child is family’
Yet this moment also serves as the biggest bridge for these two characters to fully embrace familial love in all of Yellowstone; something fans have also been hoping for. “They are different, which is obvious, but it’s important,” Costner adds of the moment. “But that graveyard is filled with family. And the child is family.”
“For better or for worse, she has now had an experience that allows her to understand a side of his grief that she’s never been able to understand before,” the episode’s director, Christina Alexandra Voros, explains of Monica and John. “And it’s beautiful.”
“When it comes to family, that’s really their common ground,” Asbille offers. “And I think, in that moment, she feels permission not only to grieve, but also to live her life again.”
“It is a bridge that gives you hope that their relationship could go to places that we have not seen,” Voros continues.
Relive ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 4’s Most Touching Moment
“I know how you feel,” John begins in this pivotal scene. “Wished I didn’t, but I do – I buried a son right over there,” he laments of the late Lee Dutton (Dave Annable).
“I remember,” Monica replies.
“Blaming yourself aren’t you?” the patriarch asks as he sits beside her. “I did that, too. Still do some days… I’ll tell you something I never told anybody. I had a brother for about eighteen hours. His name was Peter. He was born early. His little heart wasn’t strong enough. Not much they could do back in those days; not a lot they can do now. So they just gave him back to my mother. Doctors hoped, we prayed, and neither worked.
“It changed my mother. It hardened her. She never tried to have children again. Years later, I was grown and Lee had just been born. Both my parents are looking at him, taking turns holding him. And my father got white as a ghost, looked at my mother and said ‘Peter lived a perfect life. All he saw of this planet was you, and all he knew was that you loved him.’
“That boy lived a perfect life, Monica,” John tells her of baby John. “We’re the only ones who know it was brief. All he knew was you. And that you loved him.”
What a scene. For more on how it all unfolded, be sure to see our John Dutton Just Revealed a Heartbreaking Family Secret in ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Episode 4 next.
The Duttons return for Season 5, Episode 5 next Sunday, Dec. 4, exclusively on Paramount Network.