In “I Want to be Him,” patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) inexplicably seduces an environmental protest organizer named (of course!) Summer, played by series newcomer Piper Perabo. Even though Beth previously insisted that her father needed to hook up with someone, when she walks into the kitchen and finds Summer there the morning after her night with John, she reacts in a way that fans found baffling. Her immediate impulse upon seeing a woman she doesn’t know in nothing but one of her father’s shirts (the television world’s way of showing that a woman has just had sex) is to threaten her with a chef’s knife.
In a discussion about the episode on Reddit, user MinhajHoss expressed their confusion. “I’m sorry but wasn’t it Beth’s idea for her dad to get some…?” they asked, to which another fan replied, “I think it was the (writers’) intention to show Beth’s instability but overall it ended up just feeling cringey instead.” User StormFortune0610 echoed the sentiment, calling Beth’s reaction “gross” and saying she was acting “jealous in a weird, dark family secret way.” Inarguably, Beth’s character has been spiraling for some time now, but this moment was just too much for many.
One fan described Beth as turning into “Sheridan’s dominatrix fantasy,” while another said they “can’t help but feel like she’s been flanderized.” A third called her “a caricature of a caricature” (via Reddit). The episode and the absurdity of the knife scene were particularly disappointing to long-time fans of the character. “As much as I love Beth,” wrote user Alwayshangry23, “…I was on Summer’s side in that scene, like really Beth you had to hold her at knife point?”