Yellowstone Season 3: Biggest Surprises, Disappointments & More

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Now that you've had time to calm down after all that happened during Yellowstone Season 3, we're going to bring it bubbling to the surface again.

There's no doubt that the season earns an A on its report card, but that doesn't mean it got all high marks.

Take a journey with us as we discuss the best and worst fo the season, and then be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!

Best Story

Time to Get Real - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 8

The fight for the Yellowstone became all-encompassing in the third season.

Every character had something on the table in relation to it.

The Duttons want to save their family's future. Even if some believe it would be better to cut and run, they always treated it with the importance it deserved.

Everyone from the Governor to Rainwater discovered their own interests somehow intersected with the Duttons, and it was glorious.

Biggest Surprise

Is There Some Different Kind of Truth? - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 7

Did anyone think Jamie was going to be the progeny of a murderer?

Sure, we had a lot of questions about why Jamie seemed like the black sheep of the family, but the truth was something quite unexpected.

John's reaction almost made it seem as if he cared for Jamie, a feeling that has hardly been prevalent during the series's run as he manipulated the boy and the man to do his bidding.

This surprise also sets up the Greek tragedy of what's to come. We can't even fathom where it goes from here (and that's without the possibility that Jamie was involved in the murder attempts).

Unfulfilled Promise

Willa Takes Over - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 9

Remember all the hoopla over the ladies of Yellowstone?

If you're a true fan and watched the promotions, then you know what I mean. They even did a promotional video with the regular cast and crew talking about the women and what they'd bring to the canvas.

And then, it turned out they didn't bring much at all in many cases.

Outside of Teeter and Mia, the others were hardly well-drawn examples of strong women and their many facets. We get that it's a man's world on Yellowstone, but if you're going to introduce a handful of new women, some quite talented, at least use what you've got.

Best New Character

It's Teeter - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 2

Teeter is a great addition to the bunkhouse. She brought a lot of life and humor into its midst.

The Texan was barely understood when Rip and Lloyd first talked with her, but they found her skills impressive enough to come on board. After all, she couldn't throw a wrench into their male-driven bunkhouse.

Except Teeter, while sometimes difficult to understand, has a heart. Once she took a liking to Colby, it was all over and inevitable that they'd be a match.

We could have never known how much they'd experience together. And that experience led to both taking the brand. Is Teeter the first female to take it? If so, we can't wait to see what it means.


Caught in the Act - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 2

Whether you're a romantic or craving a loving, committed relationship for the ages, Yellowstone has you covered.

Despite the upheaval their family suffered during Yellowstone Season 2, Kayce and Monica came back stronger than ever.

They're communicating on a level we never expected, and Monica even made amends with her father-in-law, coming to understand their similarities.

Dancing in the Dirt - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 2

Beth and Rip started the season strong and never looked back.

Once concerned that John wouldn't approve of them, Rip accepted a proposal from the love of his life on the front porch of his home, and it was beautiful.

These couples are the real deal, and we hope they're intact when Yellowstone Season 4 premieres.

Audience-Voted Most Irksome Development

Tarnished - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 9

The audience has spoken, and they find something very irksome.

We're lookin' at you, Mia and Laramie. We're sorry, but by the end of the season, even I had regrets for welcoming them into the bunkhouse.

It was sweet that Mia fell in love so easily with Jimmy. Heck, who wouldn't? But the more she learned about the atmosphere at the Yellowstone, the less she liked it. Her attempt to get him to reconsider his arrangement and get back on the horse might have left him dead. Thanks, Mia.

And, frankly, Laramie is too easy. Going from Lloyd to Walker like that was just gross. There's nothing else to say about that.

Most Disappointing New Character

Roarke Doing Business - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 5

This is similar to thoughts on the women on Yellowstone. When you get an actor with the panache found in Josh Holloway, you use it.

Beyond the first two episodes, Roarke fell flat. He went from a charming scoundrel that could have connected with Beth to a mustache-twirling villain with barely any airtime.

At least Holloway will return for the next season and didn't wind up killed by a posse of wranglers. Although we fully expect he'll wish that was his fate if he had anything to do with the shootings and bomb.

Still, what an uninteresting development after such a wicked casting decision.

Most Implausble Development

Don't Open That - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 10

Yes, it's a TV show. But that doesn't mean that I don't want it to make sense.

And, frankly, it didn't make a lot of sense that anyone we've met before could have pulled off such a complicated and well-orchestrated attack on the Duttons.

Taylor Sheridan has got some splainin' to do when the show returns, and I'm going to hold his feet to the fire. How did anyone know where they'd all be so it would happen simultaneously? And who had the time to plan it?

Whoever did this, it better be examined and not left to our imaginations like the conclusion of the Beck brothers' situation as we wait for a plane to fall out of the sky thanks to Kayce's machinations. Plot points matter!

Best Episode

Like Father Like Son - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 4

Three of this season's episodes earned 4.75 stars from me, so it's time to double down on what worked.

And I'm picking Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 4 as the best of the season.

There was so much to love on "Goin' Back to Cali." We learned that Jimmy was alive, and it was celebrated in a kick-ass scene in which John showed how much the wranglers really mean to him.

It was also during this episode that Rip and Beth began talking about how real things had gotten between them when Beth first admitted she wanted him to call her wife and then admitted that she could never give him a child.

Beth Shares a Painful Secret - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 4

Kayce accepted the offer, not that he had a choice, to become the Livestock Commissioner from Lynelle, and he and Monica had one last wolf-infused sexy romp on the side of the mountain to celebrate.

And it all ended with one final possibility in the line of suspects for the Duttons attempted slaughter -- the biker gang that John was poised to shoot and bury right on his property.

This episode had it all from stunning vistas to smooshy relationship moments to John awaiting his fate on a rock in the pasture, surrounded by his devoted wranglers.

Dang, it was good stuff and the rest of the season just toppled into place from there.

Most Frustrating Episode

Protecting the Ranch - Yellowstone

It's the finale for all of the reasons noted in the Most Implausible Development section above.

It's great when all hell breaks loose, but it was almost nonsensical that Kayce and John were gunned down at the same time that a bomb explodes in Beth's office on Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 10.

And our cast of characters who might be responsible lean towards the land development deal, with most of them only recently realizing that it was time to go violent or go home because the Duttons weren't handing over 50k acres without a fight.

And that cliffhanger is too reminiscent of Dallas in its heyday, something I'd never want to compare Yellowstone to -- until now.

Best New Hero

Today You Made A Difference - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 8

Let's hear it for Monica Dutton!!

Kayce's wife has learned a lot from him. She sees the lengths he's willing to go for the causes he supports, from finding his son to selling horses out from under the government to secure a decent future for a widow and her family.

Taking his lead, Monica realized that she couldn't allow her people to suffer the loss of another woman to violence, even if it meant using herself as bait for a killer on Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 8.

Joining forces with Rainwater and the Reservation, she put it all on the line leading to a body farm left by a deranged murderer. She was a little shook up, but we couldn't be prouder.


Lynelle and John at the Rodeo - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3

This is the space for those things that we need to understand. Some of them already mentioned because how could I help it?

Let's start here: what the heck happened to Jamie's baby on the way? That girl doesn't seem like the type to allow Jamie off the hook, but we didn't get a peep about that development all season.

That's reminiscent of the Beck situation in which Kayce put an explosive into the tank of their private plane, and that was that. Surely, that bomb exploded. So, what happened??

When Lynelle first talked with John about the airport's proposed invasion of the Yellowstone, she offered to John an acceptable surrender on Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3.

The Wolf - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 4

But we never learned what it was, and by the time they were discussing it amongst two dozen people, it seemed to have dissipated.

And finally, what happened to the wolf??

All of the symbolism seemed so significant, but as soon as they packed up camp, we never about him again. He loved Kayce. Surely he followed them down the mountain! Ok, not really. But geez. That stuff is so aggravating!

Character We Can't Wait to Get to Know Better

Killing Is Our Only Gift - Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 10

OK. I'm saying it. I want to know more about Garrett Randall. Is he a stone-cold killer. or has he repented for his sins?

It's no secret that he's on the list of those who could have perpetrated the finale disasters, but after his discussions about death with Jamie, isn't that too on the nose?

Garrett wasn't proud when he suggested to Jamie that the only thing Randalls do well is kill, even if he was simultaneously suggesting that Jamie kill the king of Yellowstone.

Despite all of it, the character offers a lot of intrigue and drama for the future, as long as he's not immediately eradicated for executing the violence. And let's be honest, Will Patton is worth the effort. Please let Garrett's story be beefier than Roarke's.

Best Action Sequence

When you're filming in the west on a ranch, it's hard to look farther than the excitement those things can provide.

And on Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 5, Kayce gathered everyone he could to help him corral a whole herd of horses, and it was a spectacular scene.

When we talked with Forrie J. Smith, he shared how much it meant to him to be able to use his cowboy skills to be a part of it, and if he's excited about it, then you know we weren't wrong to find it so magnificent.

It's something we never get to see anymore, and we relish the beauty and sportsmanship required to accomplish it.

What did you love about the season? What frustrated you?

Sound off in the comments, and remember that you can watch Yellowstone online to see it all over again.

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 X and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Yellowstone Quotes

Jimmy: They're fuckin' angry!
Rip: No shit they're angry, Jimmy. Their job's to fuck, and they ain't fucked in six months.

Lloyd: God damn, boss. That was awfully restless.
John: It's only restless if you can't see it through.