Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 7 Review: The Beating

Once again, there is a lot to process, so let’s get started. Out of five plot lines on Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 7, there were three that made a significant impact, and two that were a little out of left field.

From what I’ve garnered reading fan sites and discussions, the wish is for a more Shakesperean tragedy to unfold, and the lighter stories, especially, are not well received.

But the thing about life is that it’s rarely one thing or another. Why should TV be any other way?

Yellowstone Season 3 has taken a lighter approach than Yellowstone Season 2. Last season was dark.

The Beck Brothers were villains willing to go to any lengths to get what they wanted. We’ve often seen the Duttons do the same thing, so it’s a welcome diversion for the family to be a bit more introspective.

It wouldn’t be realistic for the family to rush right from one life-or-death situation into another. Having time to better develop and understand the characters on a more personal level will open more avenues for future storytelling.

Rip: When the fuck did the bunkhouse become paradise island? I mean, come on, Lloyd. You gotta be kidding me.
Lloyd: She’s old enough to vote and buy bullets. Don’t blame me for her bad judgment.

Do we need the sillier arcs, such as the girls turning the bunkhouse into Paradise Island? Nope. But it’s sure nice to see Rip, meanie that he can sometimes be, sucked along for the ride despite himself.

It didn’t take long for Lloyd to throw caution to the wind and bed Laramie. Good on him! While it is getting a little cramped in there with all the hookups, and there’s probably too much partying, the wranglers work very hard, so they deserve to play hard, too.

And the barrel racers aren’t without skills. Mia eagerly offered that she be put to work as a way to earn her keep. She’s got no desire to sponge of the good nature of the Yellowstone.

Beth allowing herself to be vulnerable and grow closer to Rip has done wonders for him. They struck gold introducing Mia and Laramie to the group because of the way Rip and Beth interact with them.

Mia: What do y’all want to listen to?
Rip: Air conditioning.

Whether it’s dancing in the bunkhouse of Mia chattering so much that Rip wants to kill Jimmy, it’s a lot of fun and a pleasant distraction from the headier storylines.

Rip laughs all the time now. Part of me worries about that and how far he’ll fall should things turn, but the other part hopes that all of the good will continue no matter what obstacles get dropped in their path.

Was there a point to the side trip to sell the bronco other than our enjoyment? Rip had advice about rodeoing for Jimmy, but overall, it seemed like nothing more than entertainment for us and unexpected interaction between Rip, Jimmy, and Mia.

Similarly, Kayce’s takedown of some cattle thieves didn’t seem to fit into the overall narrative, either. But can we talk about how sexy he looked riding that horse and the badass takedown of the thief in the truck?

What would Yellowstone be without the livestock commissioner playing cowboy? We watch for life on the frontier, not to discuss big business trying to put an end to it.

If Jamie was still the livestock commissioner, how would he have handled that situation? His efforts would have been much different and without the theatrics.

Those theatrics, from roping the bad guy to maneuvering Ryan and Hendon so they would get shot but not badly injured were top notch.

Did you see how close Hendon came to being riddled with bullets? He had scrapes on both sides of his head, and his arms were a mess. Kayce is like a friggin’ hero.

So who cares if it really didn’t do much to propel the plot? It was well worth watching. And it’s possible that Kayce discovering he robbed a little girl of her father could be the tie-in to a larger arc.

Jamie isn’t even sworn into office yet, and taking the job as Attorney General has changed his life.

We’ve long speculated that Jamie wasn’t John’s son, but the truth is much darker than expected. It was a helluva way for him to find out, and he took it a lot better than I would have guessed.

Discovering you’re adopted is one thing, but learning that your father killed your mother with a showerhead when you were an infant and that he’s in prison is something else entirely.

Jamie has always wondered why John treated him differently, but his questions went unanswered. That shot of him looking at his reflection in the Harvard Law degree hanging on the wall was beautiful. None of the choices made on his behalf make a lot of sense.

Frankly, nothing that was revealed made the situation any easier to understand, either.

Jamie’s mother was a family friend who couldn’t resist trying to reform a bad boy. For that, she paid with her life.

It seems that Evelyn wanted to do the right thing by caring for her friend’s child. And while it would seem that loving or caring for Jamie was the promise that John made to her that he often wanted to break, after his discussion with Jamie, I’m not so sure.

We know John’s stance on blood relatives. He has said what it means to him, and Beth has called him out on his treatment of Rip in its absence.

But the argument for John calling Jamie son counteracted it. He feels through caring for and raising Jamie he’s earned the right to call him son.

He even accepts that Jamie is in a unique position to reevaluate his life and his relationship with John, but he didn’t go so far as to say he loved him or give Jamie any reason not to reevaluate.

But feeling like a black sheep is a good motivator to reach out to your birth father. Jamie has got to be dying to understand himself a bit more.

The nature vs. nurture argument here suggests that Jamie could be bad by blood and because John might have fathered him differently because of that blood.

Something tells me that the discussion about how John raised Jamie won’t be examined as much as how Jamie perceived it. And we already know that none of the kids thought too much of dad when they were younger.

Now, John wants the very best for Kayce and Beth, but that was not always the case.

The events of Yellowstone Season 1 and how he had stepped out of life because he thought he was losing his changed John. Season 1 John wouldn’t have supported Beth in her desire to marry Rip.

John: You’re gonna marry him, aren’t ya?
Beth: Maybe. If he asks me, yes.
John: He won’t ask ya, honey.
Beth: Why not?
John: Not because he doesn’t want to but because he’ll never ask me for your hand, and he’ll never ask you without doin’ that. He wouldn’t want to put me in that position, even though he isn’t puttin’ me anywhere. He just won’t do it, honey, so, if it’s what you want, you’re gonna have to do the askin’ yourself.
Beth: Are you saying you’d be OK with that?
John: Are you asking me to be OK with it?
Beth: Can he have my hand, daddy?
John: Do you love ‘im? Makes you happy?
Beth: Since the moment I met him.
John: Well, happy’s all I ever wanted for you, sweetheart. You give him your hand if he gives you that.

Could the discussion between them have gone any better?

John even knows Rip well enough to know that Rip’s respect for John would keep him from ever asking Beth to marry him even if it was the thing he and Beth wanted most in the world.

Telling Beth to take the bull by the horns and giving his permission to marry was almost everything.

Everything was when John apologized for not being the father they needed.

John: I’m sorry, Beth.
Beth: Sorry for what?
John: That you thought you couldn’t come to me. That you thought I’d be ashamed or you’d be in trouble for it or whatever you thought. I’m the one safe person in this world that you can turn to, Beth, for anything, and it breaks my heart that I didn’t make you know that.
Beth: I know that now, and now is all that matters.

Maybe that realization with Beth also allowed John to respond differently, almost appropriately, to Jamie’s inquest about his adoption. Discovering that you frightened your kids so much that tragic mistakes changed their lives has to be sobering.

John made a lot of mistakes, but he’s working hard to make up for them now.

That brings up Wade Morrow. There were some tasty morsels dropped about their history. Wade was a part of the family. Maybe he was like Lloyd or Rip. But he stole something from John that you don’t steal from another man.

An affair with Evelyn seemed like a decent guess, but after congratulating Wade on having at least one son still living (which suggests Wade lost a son), John said that whatever Wade had was still in his position. Consider me stymied.

What are your theories about that? What did Wade steal that he still has? It’s not Evelyn.

Now, let’s get to the super-duper good news of the episode. Beth wasted no time pondering her desire to marry Rip, and asking him was perfect.

Rip didn’t hesitate in saying yes, either. All they want is each other, and if that means marrying, then that’s what they’ll do, even if they can’t do it legally.

That’s what I gathered by Rip’s admission that there isn’t even a record of him left that would allow them to tie the knot legally. And Beth’s response that they don’t need a contract was also perfect at a moment when they were both making all the right moves.

Beth’s timing was brilliant, as she caught him after a particularly trying day. That it was a silly woman’s behavior that had him chugging beers out of a six-pack wonderfully suited the moment.

Rip: I don’t need presents, Beth. Just you.
Beth: Well, that’s what it means. It means that you have me, that I’m yours. It means come live your life with me. The only thing I ask is that you outlive me so I never live another day without you.
Rip: I can try to do that.
Beth: OK. It’s solved. We’re getting married.
Rip: [chuckles] Married, huh?
Beth: Yeah, baby. I’m asking you to marry me. Will you do that?
Rip: I mean, I have, I’m gonna have to ask your father.
Beth: It’s handled. He saved you the indignity. So, what do you say?

As she casually commented that it could be the first chink in the armor of their relationship, she had a ring at the ready. Even better? Rip didn’t find it in the least bit odd that Beth did the asking.

Rip: [laughing] I mean, I, I’d like to have some diamonds, actually.
Beth: Is that a yes?
Rip: Beth, I can’t go to no courthouse. There’s no record that I even exist on this planet.
Beth: Yeah, well, marriage license, that’s just a contract. Me, it’s just. We ain’t goin’ into business together. See, marriage to me is, you take me in front of those mountains, in front of my family, and my friends. I don’t have any friends, but should I make some, you would stand in front of them, and you would tell them that there is no more you and I, there’s only us.
Rip: I can do that.

I would love to see a family wedding where they pledged loyalty to each other in front of that gorgeous vista. Can’t you just see Beth in a gauzy gown with yellow flowers and the two of them grinning at each other like idiots?

But there’s the other part of me that worries that the happier they are, the more likely things are to take a downward turn. IF this is a Shakesperean tragedy, then they do not get their happy ending.

A counter-argument would be that by robbing Beth of her ability to have children, Beth’s happy ending has already been altered. Hopefully, that’s as dour as it gets.

Where the heck is the rest of the season going to go from here? Logic says that something will go down with the airport and the land grab.

Beth and Angela only just got reacquainted. Will we get any information on their past as they prepare to work together to take down a common enemy?

Lynelle suggested to John an acceptable surrender, but they never filled us in on what it was. Was it just unacceptable to John, so they moved on from it?

And who is the body tossed over the hill? Yes, I know. Who will be taken to the train station? Getting rid of Jamie could significantly impact storytelling, so I do not think he’ll die. His story is just getting started.

I guess we’ll just have to watch Yellowstone online for three more episodes this season to find out. Time goes so fast with the Duttons!

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