If you’ve watched Season 3, then you know exactly what we’re about to get into. If you haven’t, then turn back now, as we’re about to dive into intense spoiler territory.
The events of Yellowstone‘s Season 3, Ep. 5 are… many things. Tragic, infuriating, sensitive, and honestly – a bit sloppy. Fans have held issue with the episode’s revelations for the past year, and will no doubt continue to well into the future. Within, we see young Jamie, in his attempt to help young Beth with her unwanted pregnancy, venture to their local free clinic. Inside, both an abortion and forced sterilization take place, the latter being a decision Jamie makes for his sister without her consent.
There’s a lot at play here. It is difficult to navigate Yellowstone‘s handling of such a sensitive and important subject. Nevertheless, fans constantly find themselves in throws over the episode and the show’s handling of both Beth and Jamie Dutton within said events. This is particularly true on the show’s subreddit, which has become a busy hive of fan speculation and discussion. One of the most common episode’s discussed has become S3-Ep5.
Yellowstone Fans Question Writing for Beth & Jamie Dutton Arc
The most recent discussion of this episode is also the most productive and poignant. Started by redditor Accomplished_Ad_673, the conversation begins with her questioning Yellowstone’s handling of Beth’s actual procedure from her own personal experience in Sweden:
“Beth later replies to [the events of the episode] as that she had a hysterectomy,” she begins. “In Sweden a sterilization is when you cut or tie the Fallopian tubes, a hysterectomy is when one remove the uterus. Here those procedures are done laparoscopically or surgically – both under complete anesthesia (you’re asleep) and afterwards is no picnic, I had a lap surgery once and they did nothing but look but I could hardly move for a week. An abortion here on the other hand is done awake and either by pills or removal, but the aftermath is no more painful than really terrible menstrual cramps.”
“Wouldn’t anyone notice if Beth had surgery?” she asks. “Or are the procedures so different in the US? Am I missing something?”
The top response, upvoted by the most fellow Yellowstone viewers, comes from Flashdance007. Within, the redditor replies that Accomplished is “correct” in their “observations”:
“It’s a combination of things, bad writing and a social justice issue,” Flashdance007 continues. “First, it’s bad writing because they could have easily said she had a “botched abortion” that left her unable to have children. No one would have questioned that at face value. Second, they couldn’t do that because they also wanted to highlight at least one of the atrocities (forced sterilization) committed against Native Americans even up until recent decades.”
A lot of key issues are hit on by Flashdance here. But it’s worth noting that explaining Beth’s plight as a “botched abortion” might not accomplish the writer’s goal in making her hate Jamie the way she does.
Not everyone is willing to chalk this episode’s divisiveness up to bad writing, however:
“Everyone has a different experience,” replies carolyn609 directly. “A young, healthy girl having a vaginal hysterectomy would not be as complicated or painful as an older woman with an abdominal hysterectomy.”
It’s her next point, though, that speaks more directly to the matter at hand:
“That being said, why does anyone here think that John [Dutton] would notice? The ranch was his focus, everything else came second. I would imagine even moreso after his wife died,” she continues.
Too true. We’ve seen time and again that both Dutton parents were not attentive to their children’s emotional needs. At all.
Furthering this, altiuscitiusfortius26 responds to carolyn609‘s thoughts with “Youve got it right. Everyone here is making a LOT of assumptions about how they assume it would go based on today without doing any research into how it actually was back then,” before including links to both the wikipedia entries for the Sterilization of Native American Women and hysterectomies.
It’s a rough episode to stomach, no matter which opinion you favor. If Season 3, Ep. 5 proves anything, however, it’s how powerful a grip Yellowstone holds over us viewers.