Yellowstone: Why Isn’t Roarke Morris’ Death a Hot Topic In-Show?

by Jon D. B.
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(Photo Credit: Yellowstone Gallery, Paramount Network Press Center, Viacom)

Double understatement: After the best shock death in Yellowstone‘s history, Roarke Morris has been completely swept under the rug. Be warned, major spoilers for Yellowstone are ahead.

Roarke Morris did the Duttons dirty, so the Yellowstone did him dirty in kind. Death by rattlesnake is a horrible way to go no matter how it happens. But to have a western diamondback flung at your face from out of a cooler held by a strangely okay-with-this Rip Wheeler? Now that’s about as unfortunate as it gets.

The scene sent audiences into a frenzy, and rightly so. It was the only shock death granted by the Yellowstone Season 4 premiere after a year-and-a-half of wondering which Dutton family members would survive. Spoiler alert: they all survived.

Josh Holloway’s Roarke Morris, however, died on his back in the forest with Rip’s boot in his chest. And we haven’t heard a damn thing about it since. What gives?

Roarke Becomes Dust in the Wind. Market Equities Rolls On.

As Yellowstone Season 4 rages on, Morris’ name hasn’t come up once in the four episodes following his death. There’s no investigation into his murder, no questioning from Beth, and no big media coverage of the millionaire-playboy-fly-fisher’s demise. At first glance, this seems par for the course. Yellowstone may be one of the most entertaining shows ever to hit television, but it is rife with plot holes. We love it anyway, sure, but again, it’s still holier than the Pope eating a fine swiss.

Roark’s posthumous absence has nothing to do with his manner of death, either; something we covered extensively with a pit viper expert. Instead, it has everything to do with Yellowstone‘s evolution: something the show sorely needs.

Season 4, Episode 2 would introduce us to Market Equities’ new self-professed “big dog,” Caroline Warner. The fearless femme fatale, played by a perfectly emotionless Jacki Weaver, is here to shake everything up for the Duttons in ways Roarke never could.

For starters, Warner is the CEO and majority shareholder and wields infinite power by comparison. Morris was a “corporate raider” much like Beth Dutton, and she played on her level. The two were a mean match. Caroline, however, isn’t looking to match Beth. She’s looking to put her in her place.

‘Yellowstone’ Finally Switches Up the Chess Board 4 Seasons In

As a result, Yellowstone Season 4 builds up a Queen on the chessboard in the form of Weaver, whereas Roarke and Beth are simply Knights; or Rooks on a really bad day. John Dutton has proven a King in his own stubbornness with his land. As such, it will take a Queen to move his story along.

For four seasons, we’ve seen the same game play out: John protects his land while enemies try and fail to take it in its entirety. Only Market Equities has succeeded in taking a piece of the Dutton Yellowstone – and that was through lease by Jamie.

If this chess match feels stale, that’s because it’s been played the same way for three full seasons. And now, with Roarke out and Caroline in, the show is finally changing the rules. Warner wants Beth to “find her something better” than her father’s ranch. “F*ck the Yellowstone,” in essence. Move on. Tackle bigger and better things.

And that’s exactly what a good show does to become great: keep things fresh. Evolved.

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