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Yellowstone's Piper Perabo Dishes on the Kiss Heard 'Round the Fair

Plus, she promises more cliffhanger torture is coming.

Lauren Piester

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Season 5, Episode 7 of Yellowstone. Read at your own risk!]

Finally, the sparks between Summer Higgins and John Dutton have started to fly on Yellowstone. That's right ladies and gentlemen, they kissed. Behind a hat. At a fair. And yeah, while it was behind a hat, Piper Perabo promises it was a real kiss. "We actually kissed," she tells TV Guide. "Because you can see us moving. Adults know. Like, have you ever seen actors pretend to drive a car, and you're like that's not really how you drive a car? It's the same way with kissing. And I mean, Kevin Costner's a pro." 

Governor Dutton and his ex-con environmental advisor locked lips at the county fair after a lengthy discussion about whether it was a good idea. John's not running for another term as governor, but there were a lot of people—constituents, ranch employees, and Dutton family members—sitting extremely nearby. Thus, the hat. Beth (Kelly Reilly) can't prove there was a kiss behind the hat (though Beth already thinks they're sleeping together, so that's sort of pointless), but it's not like there's really a question. 

To be honest, John needed this moment of happiness amidst a myriad of crises. His cattle are in danger of getting sick, and if they get sick, they all legally have to be killed to protect other herds, so now he's sending his cattle and his employees to Texas (for maybe a year!) to avoid the illness. Meanwhile, whether he's fully aware of it or not, there are devastating lawsuits headed his way after his choice to put the ranch land into a conservation easement. It's all a big mess, but you can guess which of those things John cares about more. Summer, meanwhile, is gaining a new understanding of life on the ranch, and coming to realize she and John are not so different after all, even if she will still not be ordering steak anytime soon. 

After that kiss finally happened, TV Guide joined Perabo on Zoom to find out if there's a future to this relationship, and she only made us worried for what's to come at the end of the midseason finale.

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So tell me what it was like to kiss Kevin Costner. 
Piper Perabo: Actually, can I tell you the funniest part besides kissing Kevin Costner? They bought us a fair. Like, we make Yellowstone way out in Montana, middle of nowhere, and the only thing to do is go to the rodeo, but there's really nowhere to go. So we got a whole fair to come to the rodeo grounds to make this. In the rides, you have to put dressed mannequins, because any normal person would have a stomachache from riding the Tilt-a-Whirl all day. But on the first night of filming, on the lunch break, I went to see if the funnel cake guy was real, or still working, and I could hear screaming coming off the rides. The whole crew had gotten on the rides and was riding them at lunch. It made the whole energy so much better, like catering! The COVID nurse! Everybody's just up on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Imagine if you were like 15 and somebody told you, "Here's a whole fair. You can ride any ride you want as many times as you want. You have one hour. Go." It was just the funnest time. 

This whole season so far has been like one big party. 
Perabo: Here's a party! Here's a barbecue! Here's Lainey Wilson! Here's a fair! 

What comes next for Summer and John then?
Perabo: I can't wait for you to see Episode 8 [on Jan. 1]. I don't even know. Like, I don't even know what to say. So much is coming in [Episode] 8, and then I don't know what's coming next. Then there's like a giant, unanswered thing. 

Kevin Costner and Piper Perabo, Yellowstone

Kevin Costner and Piper Perabo, Yellowstone

Do we at least get Beth's reaction in the next episode?
Perabo: Well I mean, Beth is sitting right there. And Beth and I have been working things out. I wouldn't say we're friends, but we're figuring out how to be on the same team. 

But have you figured it out enough that she's okay watching you kiss her dad?
Perabo: I think that's probably why we used a hat. Is anybody okay watching anybody kiss their dad? 

When we talked last season, you said they'll never have the same viewpoints, but they can both adapt. How do you think that's going, especially on his part, since we've seen her adapt?
Perabo: He's not good at adapting, but you see it in this scene where Lainey is singing at the big barbecue after they bring the cattle in. It's like we take in things the same and find the same beauty, it's just our heartbreaks are different. I think those lines are really telling. So Summer is being exposed to this bigger world and this love of ranching and a whole different way of life, and it is opening her eyes to a wider picture of the world. And what I like about that, as a person who had never been to Montana before I made this show, and who had never been on a cattle ranch, I'm having the same experience. I didn't really know what they were doing or how much work it took. I thought they gave the cattle names, like a dog. I really didn't understand, so Summer's understanding aligns a lot with my understanding. I like that the story does that. And I don't want to speak for Kevin, but I think what John Dutton loves is bigger than just a single issue. He's really about the loyalty, family, conversation of the land, and on those big issues, he and Summer are kind of on the same page. 

In the grand scheme of things, they seem to want the same thing. They just have different ways of going about it. 
Perabo: It's so American. Like different parts of the country, we all want similar, large-picture goals, and we're trying to figure out how to get there together. 

What kinds of conversations have you had with Kevin about their relationship?
Perabo: Like, zero. When I talk to Kevin, we talk about his band, or movies. I hang out with Kevin Costner, I never ask him what he thinks John thinks. It's just pretty fun to hang out with Kevin Costner. He had just done a show right before we did the fair, and I was really interested. Like how was the crowd? He loves music so much. I just never ask him what John is thinking. 

That makes sense, because it's not like you would ever know what John is thinking anyway
Perabo: For me to work, the point is for me to feel comfortable with Kevin so that John and Summer have as much space as possible to see what happens. 

What are you hoping happens?
Perabo: I always tease Kelly and say I'm gonna marry your dad and take the ranch. She's like, "F–k you." But I don't think Summer has a chance. She's pretty low on the succession there. I don't know. I don't really know how this is going to work. It's the same thing, like big picture, it seems like it should work. The small steps, I'm like okay, but how do we… But you must have been in relationships where it's like, I don't know how this is going to work, but let's just go out one more time because this is so fun. And then you just sort of, I don't know, if he's a good kisser, you see what happens. 

Is John just trying to tank his political career? I know he said he's not running again…
Perabo: That's one of the fun things about that scene at the fair. Senator Perry said it to him earlier that if you aren't gonna run for a second term, you have so much power to do the right thing or do the right thing for you and not worry about getting reelected. And I think that advice has kind of set John free, but he's still running the show, and now he doesn't have to answer to anybody, and that's a little dangerous. 

I just can't imagine a real life governor having an affair with their environmental advisor who they sprung from prison to live in their house. 
Perabo: It should be running in a lot more news!

It feels like it should be a much bigger deal that he hired you in the first place, without even mentioning the kissing.
Perabo: It's really inappropriate. Yeah. I loved that the midterms in America were happening in real life as John Dutton became governor of Montana. I was like, "Did you guys know how to time this, or is this just amazing timing?" But it was just good luck. 

How would you prepare people for the next episode, given that it's the midseason finale and you don't even know what comes next?
Perabo: Well here's the thing. I think if I was watching Yellowstone, I would always be mad when the show stops going, because Taylor Sheridan is so good at the cliffhanger and how much hangs in the balance. Like, there's no comforting everybody for what's coming and then how long they're gonna have to wait. I remember this from other seasons, like when we were waiting for [Season 4]. Taylor put pretty much every character in danger and then, like, blackout. I was like, "You want people to wait over a year to find out if Beth's okay?!" But he likes to torture everybody like that, and…more of that is coming. 

Just for fun, I need to ask about the dinner scene and the fight in "Watch 'Em Ride Away." That was one of my favorite scenes of the whole show. What was it like to film? 
Perabo: Kelly and I worked on that fight for a long time, so we knew the shape and what all the moments were gonna be, but we hadn't rehearsed the dinner scene or after. So we did the before and after in a single day, and then it's like two and a half nights to shoot the fight, so one of the trickiest parts was like, how much blood is on my face? And if there's that much blood on my face, does it get in the mashed potatoes? We're like, she spits out her tooth, but which tooth? Should you see it? But it was really fun to film. She and I get along in real life really well, so hating each other is really fun. 

What was funniest to me is that the whole dinner was insane. Why was it only meat? Why doves? And poor Gator! 
Perabo: That's what I was gonna say. When we shot that scene, and he has to bring out all the meat…we were getting ready to rehearse, and we were like, "Hey Gator, who made all this?" He said, "I did." He got up at two in the morning in real life and started making f–king dove. And then he has to shoot the scene with all of us. Talk about a guy who does two jobs at once. He really is Gator, and he really is Gator, you know? 

Poor guy. 
Perabo: I know! And we're like, "Can we eat this?" And he's like, "No, I only made 40 doves."

Yellowstone continues Sundays at 8/7c on Paramount Network. Seasons 1-4 are now available to stream on Peacock.

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