by Julian Spivey
The third season of Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” went out with a bang on Sunday (August 23) and then some shots and then even more shots in one of the most intense endings to a season of television I’ve seen in quite some time.
As always with “Yellowstone” the biggest question throughout the series is will the Dutton family hold on to their Yellowstone ranch in the apparently still wild, wild west of Montana when those from the outside world are trying to take it for their own.
The big bad of season three has been Market Equities and its attempt to have the Yellowstone condemned so they can build and airport for a, I believe, ski resort (honestly the legal/business aspect of this storyline this season kind of bored me). All you really need to know is the company will stop at nothing to take the Yellowstone Ranch.
The Duttons have had villains on the show come at them hard before, including the kidnapping of Kayce’s son Tate at the end of season two, but nothing has been quite as intense as the final 10 or so minutes of the season three finale entitled “The World is Purple.”
If you haven’t yet seen the episode you best stop reading right about now.
In the final few scenes, we have a bomb go off in Beth’s (Kelly Reilly) office as she’s packing up to leave after previously being fired. Then we hear gunmen coming down the hall at Kayce’s (Luke Grimes) Livestock Commissioner’s office and see him overturning his desk for cover in preparation for battle and then while helping an out-of-towner change a flat tire John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is gunned down by men in a van passing by the scene (I really want to know how they knew he was going to be there, but I guess it can easily be explained by them simply passing by on the way to the ranch). The season ends with John bleeding out on the side of the road.
What show creator and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, who has amazingly written or co-written every single episode of the series thus far, which just doesn’t happen much in television, did by setting up the possibility of three different scenarios for who may have called for the hit on the Duttons was incredible. He essentially took the classic “Who shot J.R.?” cliffhanger from “Dallas” and amplified it.
Will the Duttons all survive? Or will the show kill off one of its main characters? It would seem unlikely that all three could potentially survive such things, but this is the land of television. I would assume if one character were to go it would be Beth, which would truly set Rip (Cole Hauser) into scorched earth mode like we’ve never seen before, but I’m not sure the show wants to kill off a strong female lead.
And who did the attempted killings? Is it Market Equities (which would be my guess), Chief Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) – who has sometimes been cordial with John Dutton – but was being talked into going full warrior by lawyer Angela Blue Thunder in the finale or the disowned Jamie (Wes Bentley), who recently found out he was adopted and his birth father had killed his drug addict mother and has been at odds with his family for much of the show’s run. Or there’s a potential it could be a combination of the three.
Kudos to “Yellowstone” on one helluva cliffhanger, but it’s going to be a pain having to wait so long to find out the resolution to it.
Really the only criticism I have about the finale is what the hell was up with the scene where Rip has his mother exhumed (apparently not even for the first time) so he could take the wedding ring off her long lifeless body for Beth? No woman is going to want a ring that’s been on a dead person that long.
I’d also like to point out how great Will Patton was in a two-episode role as Jamie’s birth father and how great that first scene of the episode was, that sets up the fact that Jamie may be behind the attempted killings of his family, when he’s told by his birth father that the only way to take charge of an empire is by killing the king and taking it. I’m sure will be seeing more from Patton on the show in season four. It’ll also be fun to see Jamie, finally done with the Duttons, going against them in the future.
Also, I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I think I would be perfectly fine with “Yellowstone” ending, whenever that may be, with Chief Rainwater and his tribe taking back what once belong to them in the first place, but that’s probably a pipedream.