One man’s victory could very well be another’s defeat in Season 5 of Yellowstone. When the Paramount Network drama returns with back-to-back episodes on Sunday, Nov. 13 (at 8/7c), John Dutton will be sworn in as the governor of Montana… which may well leave frenemy Thomas Rainwater wanting to do an altogether different kind of swearing. The impact of the rancher’s new role is “very ambiguous, because it’s kind of the deconstruction of some alliances and plans that had already been set in place in Season 4,” says Gil Birmingham, who plays the chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Broken Rock.
“Market Equities was not anticipating John being a policy maker and entering the political field, which is going to be a very different power position of leverage for him,” the actor continues. “I know that his objective is for his own land, so I’ve got to reassess. I don’t know quite how that’s going to affect us.”
At least he doesn’t know all of the ways that it’s going to affect his people. But he can guess at some — like that John will do his damnedest to make sure that not a single roulette wheel is ever spun at the casino that Rainwater has in the works with Market Equities. “I know it’s going to disappoint the tribe, because there are 300 jobs that are going to be lost,” Birmingham tells TVLine, “and there are promises that Rainwater’s made to the reservation, and those things are gonna fall apart, which will make him vulnerable. We’ll have some internal conflict as a result of that.”
Rainwater could also find himself in over his head with Market Equities. Having made a deal with the devil, there may now be hell to pay. “That was always the risk,” Birmingham acknowledges. “It’s very appealing to think that [Rainwater] could accelerate his own objective with raising revenue… to be able to acquire the land faster and get down the road further.” But if his plan blows up in his face, hey, “that’s what happens when you take risks.”