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The Monica Scene That Went Too Far On Yellowstone

Over the course of the epic contemporary Western "Yellowstone,"  Kelsey Asbille's Monica Dutton has been through a lot. In addition to nearly being killed more than once, Monica has recovered from a series injury, acted as an advocate for the people of the Black Rock reservation, and worked as a professor while (temporarily) living as a single mom. Audiences have also seen her character put her own life and body on the line to bring a serial rapist to justice and ensure the safety of other women. Recently, however, audiences have yet to see Monica do much except occasionally react to various traumas.

This has led to some fans feeling that Monica's storylines have been, as one Redditor put it, "reduced to some bad 80s paperback romance novel." Season 4, in particular, seems to have left Monica Dutton behind. As Redditor u/TormundGingerBeard observed, "some of the main characters have been sidelined...Monica, especially." 

In Episode 6, titled "I Want to Be Him," fans were almost treated to a return to Monica and Kayce's (Luke Grimes) previously compelling storyline and dynamic. Unfortunately, this didn't pan out. Instead, Monica's only tension came from an egregious and uncharacteristic bout of jealousy that, given what she once was for the series, took the recession of her character just a bit too far. 

Episode 6 took another chunk out of Monica's already-diminished character

When Kayce (Luke Grimes) gets called to assist in the retrieval of some stolen horses, Monica and their son Tate (Brecken Merrill) accompany him. The horses belonged to former Yellowstone horse wrangler Avery (Tanaya Beatty), a character with whom Kayce never had much interaction, but who Season 4 tried to posit as a potential threat to Kayce and Monica's relationship. Upon seeing Kayce and Avery interact for less than thirty seconds, Monica becomes uncharacteristically jealous. "Who the hell was that?" she asks, before noting that Avery is "pretty good looking" for a wrangler, pointing out that she's Kayce's "type," and later referring to her as Kayce's " little b**** in the tank top." 

Historically, part of what made Monica a compelling and nuanced character was her ability to demonstrate a quiet strength, resilience, and rationale that served to position her as a kind of foil to Beth's (Kelly Reilly) more volatile and aggressive displays of strength. Monica's catty, jealousy subplot, however, not only appears to contradict the character fans have come to appreciate over the series' first few seasons, but it also exists not to add any sort of dimension to her character, but to illustrate what a "very, very good boy" Kayce is. When Avery (rather randomly, given her character's history) throws herself at Kayce later on, he's able to gently reject her advances. This is all well and fine for Kayce, but many fans felt the thin subplot did a major disservice to Monica's character. 

Many fans feels Monica deserves more from the writers

"I don't understand the jealousy angle with Monica," wrote a fan on the series' subreddit, who felt it "[seemed] gratuitous." Others were quick to agree, and one fan expressed their thoughts on why Monica's character has grown less and less three-dimensional. "I blame the writers," wrote user u/TheVue221. "I've come to believe this show needs some writing help for the women characters ... Beth, initially a great character, is getting more cartoonish. The other women characters are so flat..."

Fans on a separate Reddit thread were equally fervent in their disappointment with Monica this season. One Redditor wrote, "whoever wrote Monica like this needs to be taken to the train station," alluding to the place the Duttons bring people to "disappear" them. They went on to call Monica's jealousy storyline "so stupid and illogical." 

User u/QuakerOats9000 agreed, writing, "The jealousy bit was written so poorly." They also said that it "felt like they hired some 9th grade drama students" to write this particular conflict, and that they "laughed at how ridiculous that was." It's a pretty harsh insult, but perhaps not unwarranted. As user u/urbannoangeldecay noted, echoing what others have said, "The women on this show are so poorly written....We like seeing independent, smart and secure women in television." Something more akin to, say, Monica's character from earlier seasons, who possessed strength and intelligence we've yet to see from her in Season 4.