When Yellowstone Season 2 premieres on Paramount Network on June 19, Luke Grimes will find his character, Kacey, settling into a much different routine on the ranch.
John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is beginning to prepare his son for command of the ranch, and it gives Kacey a lot to think about as he learns more about his father's ways.
We had the opportunity to chat with Grimes recently, and he shared his thoughts on what lies ahead.
What do you think is motivating Kayce to stay at Yellowstone?
It's 100% Tate. You know, I think he's run as far away from his family as he could and was trying to create his own world and ran into a lot of problems.
Once Monica left him, his only choice was to try to figure out how to make a future for Tate. I think he felt like his only option was to go back to the ranch and try to help his father keep it.
Do you think that Tate loving being at the ranch so much during Season 1 was part of his motivating factor?
Yeah, I think he knows it would be a really good life for him versus the life that he was providing. Which, you know, a lot of that reservation stuff was to show that the way of life there is sort of lawless.
And his son was being put in danger, and he knows that at least on the Yellowstone, his son will be safe and possibly have a much better future than he could provide.
Kayce's getting a lot closer to John and getting a lot more responsibility on the ranch. How far do you think he's ready to go to step into John's shoes?
That's a lot of what Season 2 is about for him. Just kind of learning what the actual responsibility level for running an operation like that is and taking the steps necessary to learn little by little how to be able to fulfill that responsibility.
I think that's where you find him. He's had no interest in doing that before. He is like a cowboy at heart and loves being a cowboy more than running a ranch. And it's about the switch and growing into that other pair of shoes.
Yellowstone has pretty much its own set of laws. And even though living on the reservation might have felt lawless, to the inside world at Yellowstone, it's kind of the same. Does he know the full extent of what kind of crimes are committed at Yellowstone?
Yeah. I think growing up around it he has a good idea of the ways in which they'll bend the law to do what they need to do to protect the ranch.
But I think what you're watching is him going from thinking he's going to be a part of that to realizing that he's going to learn more of the politics. And it's sort of that struggle between being in the bunkhouse and being on the low level and actually going up and learning how to do what his dad does.
What kind of problems is he going to run in with Jamie during Season 2? Y
You mentioned politics and there's nobody more political in the family right now than Jamie. And since there's a kind of a family feud going on with who's going to be in the attorney general's office, how does Kayce fit into that?
I think the whole family has their issues with Jamie right now, as they feel betrayed. Kayce isn't really involved with all of that, in the politics of everything. To him, it's just his brother. And Kayce has a big heart, and I think you're going to watch them sort of reconcile some stuff.
We know that there was a line that Kayce drew with his family when Monica got pregnant. Is there any kind of line that could come up now where he would choose to try to win her back versus forging forward with Yellowstone life?
I think in his dream scenario, he could make both work. He could somehow get her to fit into his world because it's already shown itself that he couldn't fit into hers. And I think the dilemma and the big struggle for him is he's in love with this woman, but somehow they can't seem to manage to find a life that works for both of them. So yeah, he's going to try.
If John's health improves, what does that mean for Kayce?
Oh, does his health improve? We find out pretty quickly what's going on with that. Obviously, it's a situation where John sort of kept that from everyone. So there's that big reveal, and then also how do we fix this and where do we go from here.
The season premiere is pretty batshit crazy. On a scale of one to 10, where does it rank compared to what follows?
I will say the whole season is really intense. There's a lot higher drama in Season 2. Everything really comes to a head.
Is there anybody that you haven't had a chance to interact with as Kayce that you would really like that chance?
You know, Beth and Kayce didn't really get a lot in Season 1. Their relationship is, it goes a little deeper this season. That was really nice; I really liked working with Kelly and was hoping to get more of a chance to do that.
What do you like most about Kayce, and what advice do you think he could use?
Well, the thing I've always liked most is that as misguided and mentally, emotionally messed up as he seems to be, he's always trying to do the right thing, even if he sometimes doesn't. He's always trying to do the right thing. And he has a big heart.
And what advice do you think he could use?
That's funny. You know, it's hard. My first thing that came in my head would be to like, listen. But then when you think about the nature of the show, you never know who the good guy or the bad guy is. And I think that's sort of where he's at. He doesn't know who to listen to. The advice I would give is to see a therapist.
Yeah. Someone who has nothing to do with any of this that he can just talk to.
And my final question for you is how much growth are we going to see for Kayce from the beginning of the season to the end? What's the trajectory of his arc?
The theme of this show is that nothing really ever gets resolved. When it feels like it's going to, one more thing happens. It always keeps that pressure. And it's the same in Season 2.
As far as an arc, he's always on the verge of making progress. But then something else will come along. I think it's kind of the beauty of why people get hooked on this show.
Yellowstone Season 2 premieres Wednesday, June 19 on Paramount Network. The premiere will be simulcast on CMT.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.