To cut right to the chase: “Gretchen Mol is outstanding as Evelyn Dutton. Let’s hope she gets more screen time soon!”
Such are the words of Redditor BuilderTexas, who posted the topic to Reddit. They did so alongside a version of the excellent Yellowstone press photo of Evelyn you see above. As fans who’ve watched all 3 seasons know, Gretchen Mol’s performance finally gave a backstory for the ever-looming specter of late Evelyn Dutton: mother to Lee, Kayce, Jamie… and Beth.
Through flashbacks, Mol’s fantastic talent brings a sharp edge to Evelyn. She’s a woman who’s clearly been the victim of emotional abuse herself, and through this uses a deep, misguided love to shape the woman we know as Beth Dutton. It’s a character type we’ve seen Mol play before. And it’s one she does brilliantly.
“Oh snap. I didn’t realize that was her. LOVED her in Boardwalk Empire,” replies Redditor Latz3.
“I didn’t recognize her either,” another fan adds.
If you watched the phenomenal Steve Buscemi-led Boardwalk Empire, too, then you’ll remember Gretchen Mol the instant you see her in character as Gillian Darmody: the strange, overly-devoted mother turned murderer. Mol is an incredible actor, and brings much of the same unstable energy to Evelyn on Yellowstone.
Or as Redditor VeryLowIQIndividual puts it: “She is the cause of all the bad vibes around this generation of family. Beth has patterned her whole persona around her mothers…” Not wrong!
‘Yellowstone’s Gretchen Mol Gives Life To Beth’s Tortured Backstory
“She was very bitchy and unfair to Beth in that flashback, showing the mother’s death. Of course, Beth would grow up very messed up as a result,” agrees HanginginWesteros in reply
Then, fan JudyLyonz comes in with the ultimate question: “Did they ever give a reason for why she was so hateful towards Beth? John thought she was a saint and she volunteered to take a baby when she didn’t have to. What gives?”
Redditor sophie2527 has the Outsider-approved answer with the full lowdown:
“There was one episode a while back where Beth was remembering getting her first period on Christmas morning. Her mom helped her clean up, got her in a hot bath, then basically told her “from now on I’m going to be hard on you, to make you tough like a man, just like my mother did for me. You’re going to hate me for it, but it’s for your own good.” I assumed the bitchiness was part of the ‘tough love’.”
There you have it. It may not be a justification that works – as the emotional scarring that results from Evelyn’s “tough love” creates a glaring weakness in Beth (as it would in any sane human being). But it fleshes out one of the show’s biggest mysteries with great fervor.
And that mystery
is was: why is Beth Dutton the way she is?
For more on this family dynamic from the Young John Dutton actor, check on Josh Lucas Described Why Death of John Dutton’s Wife Made Him ‘Relentless Towards His Own Family’ next!