There is some housekeeping to address before diving into Yellowstone Season 4 Episode 7.
For all of the griping that's been done about the ineffective 6666 push, Taylor Sheridan's deft touch still packs a punch.
Another spinoff coming soon didn't need the same promotional efforts, but it's going to be a winner.
Having had the chance to watch the first three episodes of 1883, which studies the Dutton family history in relation to the Yellowstone ranch, you'll need to trust my recommendation to get Paramount+ if you haven't already.
Following the erstwhile dolt, Jimmy has been kind of a bust, but the Yellowstone franchise has so much life, and 1883 is an understated, elegant, and brutal affair.
It's a significant contrast to what we've explored so far of 6666, and Jimmy as a focal point is dragging down Yellowstone as we lean into the final episodes of Yellowstone Season 4.
Our general Jimmyness of this one found a more hardened and skilled Jimmy participating in daily cowboy activities at the 6666.
Jefferson White has taken some care to portray the man slowly emerging from his former, unfocused self.
I just jacked off a horse.Jimmy
There is some backtracking with his foray into horse breeding and the introduction of a woman who is the spitting image of Mia, but there's some progress.
But it will take a longer time for 6666 to reach the level that you'll find when 1883 premieres.
Jimmy's departure helped to contribute to Lloyd's overall mood of frustration and escalated his feud with Walker. While it was addressed on Yellowstone Season 4 Episode 6 with a knock-down, drag-'em-out fight between Lloyd and Walker, Lloyd rose up and beyond the challenge to be better when given the opportunity.
Some of the best friendships grow out of adversity. Getting Walker a new guitar was probably more a gesture of atonement than friendship, but if you've read Walker's reactions as the two butted heads, you'd see that he was making overtures of friendship to Lloyd all along.
With so much emphasis on arguments and discourse, the two of them finding enough common ground to form a bond would be an excellent way for the tale to progress.
So all that "this is your home for life" is just talk? Fuckin' scared for life, and it don't mean nothin'?Teeter
Teeter's plea with John to allow her to stay revealed two things. The first is that John had no idea who currently wears the brand, and the second is that it definitely means something.
That was a question many had as John ordered the end to their involvement in the bunkhouse. He didn't know the whole story. Not that he does, and we do, here's hoping that any negative elements coming from Teeter and Laramie remaining are in the past.
The horse rustling Kayce and Rainwater were addressing gets solved, but not without revealing what seems to be the purpose of its inclusion in the first place.
Rainwater: Watch out for that one.
Kayce: Why? She trouble?
Rainwater: When they look at you like that, they're all trouble.
Kayce talks a good game about his family, but when Avery announces her love for him (strange as it was), it's hard not to see this as a significant turning point in his marriage.
Fans have called Monica a nuisance since Yellowstone Season 1, but Kayce has stood by her side throughout. But the fact is that Monica doesn't fit in with his family's way of life, and although he tried to pry himself away from it once upon a time, his heart is fully immersed in it now.
Avery's interest and eagerness to talk about it were evident to Monica from the get-go. It's gotten under her skin, and she can't let it go.
Kayce: What are you doin'?
Avery: I don't know.
Kayce: I'm married.
Avery: I noticed. [she waits] Do you believe in love at first sight?
Kayce: Yes. I fell in love with my wife the first time I saw her.
Avery: That's how I felt when I first saw you. My fuckin' luck.
Kayce: Well, it can't be loved. God wouldn't let you love somethin' that can't love you back.
Avery: Yeah, he would.
It doesn't seem like their relationship can withstand too many more hits. Perhaps considering Avery will force Monica to step up her game and be a true partner to Kayce.
It doesn't seem like something that will be easily swept under the rug, and how Kayce and Monica address Avery's influence will be interesting to explore.
With their absence, John has been thrust into a lonely existence that he doesn't like. It's an excellent idea for Beth and Rip to move into the lodge, but Beth was absolutely on the mark about it being Rip's decision.
Beth: You look sad.
John: Nah, I look lonely. There's a difference.
As we were falling in love with Beth and Rip's relationship, John shared with Beth how he felt about Rip being family -- he wasn't, and he never would be.
John: Rip living in the bunkhouse is something you can overcome if that's what you choose to do, Beth.
Beth: Don't you dare make this about me. He looks at you like a father.
John: But I'm not his father, honey. I'm Kayce's father. And Rip's not being punished, alright? I'm making a shift. He's making the sacrifice. How it works out, how I reward that is how I see it settle. I hope that's enough for you.
Beth: It's always enough for me.
John: OK, honey. Now go ruin someone else's day.
Beth: That's the plan, daddy.
Beth holds onto everything, stored away carefully but ready to be taken out and dusted off at any time. When John asked her to move into the lodge, she knew that John had to fully accept Rip as a part of the family to do that. Not just Beth's family, but his family, too.
There has been movement in this direction ever since John made his pronouncement, and John revealed his heart to Rip when he got tongue-tied from asking the man to move his family into the lodge.
Everything about that scene was golden but especially how Rip included Carter, who had made amends with Beth and was, in very short order, fitting in like the son Rip told Beth Carter would never be.
John: You know, the lodge is where the family belongs. That didn't sound like a question, did it? It's a question.
Rip: Uh, um, are you askin' us to come live up there?
John: That's what I'm askin'.
Rip: We've got that stray kid with us, sir. Do you want that?
John: Stray kid's just fine. No stray dogs.
Rip: Shit, you know I don't like dogs.
John: Well, then. It's settled.
There is so much similarity between the relationships of these men, and it unfolds beautifully.
When Beth influences the people she loves, she does it with her whole heart. Her arguments are nearly impossible to dismiss.
Her passion for the Yellowstone and keeping it in the family is no different.
Beth sauntered into Market Equities with a massive chip on her shoulder, but when she got the full scope of the operation, it almost knocked her off balance.
They're moving forward with upending everything Montana and her family have represented for generations. Turning a ship of that magnitude into another direction wasn't going to be easy, but she was still up for the task.
But when Lynelle opened up another possibility entirely, Beth saw the future.
John: You know, there are things about my son that you do not know, things that make him unfit for your office.
Lynelle: He's the devil we know, John. I'll take the risk. I mean, unless you want to run for governor. Then I'll gladly endorse you.
It's been a few episodes since anyone has been all that involved with hunting down who was responsible for the grave attack on the family. Jamie, initially eager to hold Garrett accountable, is settled into his little world with the reintroduction of Christina and their baby.
However it all came to be, whether orchestrated by Garrett or just coincidence, Garrett and Christina know how to play Jamie.
How Jamie has built a successful law career when he's so easily manipulated has never been explained. He's never entirely focused on what's right. Instead, he's focused on what will bring him the appreciation he wants so badly.
He's like the ultimate example of social media's influence on modern culture. He walks around with like buttons or hearts below him, and with every like, he finds more motivation. With every thumb down, he gets close to swinging from the rafters.
Garrett's now set his sights on getting Jamie elected to governor. He ignores his history, which wouldn't go far in making Jamie the best candidate. He also ignores Jamie's history and all of the skeletons in Jamie's closet that would break the guy in two if revealed.
John: Lynelle! I'll take it.
Lynelle: Take it? Take what?
John: Your endorsement; I'll take it.
Lynelle: You are going to run for office just so your son doesn't get it?
John: That's how bad he'll be for everything you and I worked so hard to protect. He'll destroy it all. So if you want the devil you really know, here he is.
Lynelle warned John that he would be the focus of intense scrutiny given the questionable deeds of his past. But John will never be harmed by what he's done. He's got too many allies and people thankful for how far he's willing to take things to get results.
It could get ugly, but it won't be devastating. The same cannot be said for Jamie.
Beth's excitement that she could end Jamie's role in the Montana government if John became governor surpassed her excitement at the thought of shutting down the airport and expansion plans they're facing.
But it's hard not to wonder if poking the bear that is Garrett was the right move. Surely, it sets up another clash between them all that will make the last dust-up seem like child's play.
With all that Jamie has to hide and how ineffective he is at tempering his emotions, he'd never survive going toe-to-toe with John for governor. Garrett might push him to do it, but they're no match for Beth, John, and their many allies.
This is just the beginning.Beth [whispers in Jamie's ear]
Before it gets to that point, it seems likely that what Jamie uncovered and subsequently buried about Garrett's involvement with the attack will leave him gasping for air literally and figuratively.
And, honestly, as much as I have enjoyed Wes Bentley's performance as Jamie, it almost seems like taking out Jamie would be in Jamie's best interest. He's been pulled in so many directions and has no idea how to straighten up and fly right.
Using him as Montana's punching bag is cruel. Saying goodbye so that Beth and John can focus on saving their heritage against more significant evils would be more exciting to watch.
But that's just what I think. What about you?
After you watch Yellowstone online, jump into the conversation and share your thoughts on "Keep the Wolves Close."
I'd also love to know if you'll be saddling up for a historical jaunt from Texas to Montana in 1883.
I look forward to hearing from you!
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 Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.