Is Roarke the Biggest Threat to the Duttons in the ‘Yellowstone’ Season 3 Finale? (RECAP)

Roarke Morris John Dutton Yellowstone Season 3 Finale Recap
Spoiler Alert
Paramount Network

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 3 finale of Yellowstone, “The World Is Purple.”]

“You’ve gotta be f**king kidding me.” John Dutton’s (Kevin Costner) words about halfway through the Yellowstone Season 3 finale accurately sum up our reaction to that ending. It’s going to be a long wait to find out exactly what happened and who survived. But one thing’s for sure: John was right that he’s all out of good days.

But first, John and Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway), the hedge fund manager who had hired the Dutton patriarch’s old enemy Wade Morrow to terrorize his ranch, finally come face to face in a very crowded meeting in Jamie Dutton’s (Wes Bentley) office. However, John’s son is the one to deliver the crushing blow about the ranch’s future.

Meanwhile, Mia (Eden Brolin) begins to learn about the inner workings of the Yellowstone, namely the brands after seeing boyfriend Jimmy’s (Jefferson White) and the other wranglers’, and begins to question the future of her relationship.

And perhaps in the only happy moment of the entire episode, foreman Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) gets fiancée Beth (Kelly Reilly) a ring: his mother’s, from her finger, after her grave’s been dug up. (OK, so it’s happy, but also a bit creepy.) However, his explanation (to his dead mother) is sweet: “I met somebody. I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I could’ve gone to some store and bought her some  f**king ring, but what does that mean? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t curse. I want her to wear yours.”

Karen Pittman Yellowstone Season 3 Finale Willa Hayes

(Paramount Network)

Now, a breakdown of the cliffhangers as we must wait for Season 4.

Fall Off a Horse, Get Back on One … Right?

Jimmy drives Mia and her friend Laramie to a rodeo competition, and on the way, Mia brings up his brand. “It means I’m a part of something,” he says. She disagrees, explaining, you brand something so if it gets lost, everyone knows who it belongs to.

And considering who it means he belongs to, she’s not exactly pleased that Jimmy’s listening to John about not riding again after his injury. Jimmy was a happy man when she saw him rodeo, and that’s the man she fell in love with. Even if he’s scared, “be that man and you can have me. But be this one, I’ll see you later,” she says. “If you’re so desperate to belong to something, then belong to me and we can rodeo our way across this whole damn country. … But don’t be one of that rich man’s cattle.” He agrees.

Then, near the end of the episode, he gets back on a horse, only for it to buck him off. The last time we see him, he’s on the ground, unconscious.

Picking Sides

Jamie’s still trying to decide who his family is, and according to his biological father, Garrett Randall (Will Patton), he is. Garrett recalls coming home after a long day of work to find Jamie starving, sucking on the tip of a crack pipe. He knew his son only had one chance in life, so he killed Jamie’s biological mother. “Took her life and gave up mine, for you,” he says. “Looking at you now, I would say that was probably the best choice I could’ve made.”

John may have raised Jamie, but Garrett can tell he didn’t and doesn’t love him. The ranch is what matters to the Dutton patriarch, and Garrett thinks Jamie should be the one to run it. Since it’s an “empire,” take it, he recommends. How? “You kill the king,” Garrett tells him, and he can tell that Jamie’s killed before because “you’re a Randall. Killing is our only gift.”

John Beth Dutton Rip Yellowstone Season 3 Finale

(Paramount Network)

When Rip comes home after a long night, Beth asks, “Who’d you kill?” But when he tells her not to ask him that, she pushes. They don’t get to keep secrets anymore, she insists. In the end, they can agree they “believe in loving with your whole soul and destroying anything that wants to kill what you love.” And she has her own killing to do. After all, “they f**ked with the wrong bull.”

Then the time comes for everyone to get ready for the big meeting in Jamie’s office about the Yellowstone ranch and the airport plans, including John, Beth, MKT Equities CEO Willa Hayes (Karen Pittman), Roarke, Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham), Angela Blue Thunder (Q’orianka Kilcher) and Governor Perry (Wendy Moniz-Grillo). But Willa’s time in the meeting is cut short when news breaks that she’s been accused of workplace harassment. (Beth did warn her not to mess with her.) Roarke steps in to take charge for her, and that’s when John finally meets the man who sent the Morrows after him. (“Once you put a name to this face, you’ll never forget it,” Roarke tells John.)

But the real bombshell comes when Jamie reveals that he is the one who has legal authority about Yellowstone’s future and agrees to sell the part Roarke wants to him. Beth filed her power of attorney papers in Utah, but the state of Montana does not recognize that authority. As Jamie tells it, if he doesn’t agree to the sale, John will lose millions on attorneys after the land commission condemns the area. And Governor Perry’s hands are also tied; this is the only option.

But Rainwater and Angela speak up, with their own surprise: the basis of their class action suit will be the impact the airport has on the river feeding their oldest national park. Rainwater also offers to let John join in because of the impact it would have on his land; it wouldn’t even cost him anything. However, later, Angela suggests Thomas use the window he has to get that land back for their people.

As the meeting ends, John warns Roarke he doesn’t even know the rules of the game he thinks he’s winning. But don’t worry, John will teach them to him. And after everyone’s gone, Governor Perry tells Jamie John will one day see that he did this for him. “No, I didn’t, not anymore,” he corrects her. “From now on, what I do is for me.”

John Beth Dutton Yellowstone Season 3 Finale

(Paramount Network)

What Just Happened?!

Willa, dealing with the accusations, confronts Roarke about not playing dirty enough. He says he’ll do whatever she wants, leading us to wonder about the role he plays in what happens next…

While Beth’s packing up her office after Willa fired her, her assistant brings in a box addressed to her. Inside is another box, and just as Beth tries to warn her since she doesn’t know what it is… it explodes!

Kayce (Luke Grimes), while updating his wife Monica (Kelsey Asbille) on his day, including people wanting him to run for governor, hears gunshots before men burst into his office.

A van pulls over while John’s helping a woman and her son with a flat tire on the side of the road. The driver asks if he’s John Dutton before the back doors open and a man shoots both John and the woman multiple times. (Thankfully, the kid is out in the field, looking for car parts he dropped.)

Rip, on his way home from the cemetery, can’t reach anyone and calls Jamie, only for the Dutton to tell him he shouldn’t call him anymore. After Rip must put an injured horse in a field out of its misery (poor horse!), he notices crows circling. It’s certainly a portent of trouble.

And the episode — and season — ends with John, still alive, but bleeding badly on the side of the road, reaching for his phone, only to find it’s too damaged.

Kevin Costner Yellowstone Season 3 Finale John Dutton

(Paramount Network)

Who do you think survives?

Yellowstone, Season 4, TBA, Paramount Network