Did Rip really go grave digging for Beth? Literally nobody's hands are clean on this show.

By Omar Sanchez
September 02, 2020 at 03:19 PM EDT
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Danno Nell/Paramount Network

Warning: This article contains spoilers about the season 3 finale of Yellowstone.

Just like finding exercise equipment during a pandemic, keeping pretty on Paramount Network’s Yellowstone is a cutthroat business. In the season 3 finale, the Dutton family was front and center to their own version of Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding. In what felt like seconds, Kayce (Luke Grimes), John (Kevin Costner), and Beth (Kelly Reilly) were all at death’s doorstep. 

The attacks can feel coordinated given the quick succession of events. But that’s if you don’t begin to count how many enemies the Yellowstone empire (as Jamie’s real father gripes in the finale) has waiting in the wings. Sure, signs can point to hedge fund manager Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway), who is primed to pounce on the Duttons in season 4, as the culprit but are Jamie’s (Wes Bentley) hands really that clean? 

It’s time to get out the hand sanitizer as EW breaks down the four wildest theories about what went down in that finish. After all, we can’t keep Carrie Underwood guessing for long. 

Theory: Jamie’s real father, Garrett, or even Jamie himself, killed John Dutton 

Danno Nell/Paramount Network

Oh, daddy issues. In season 3, we witnessed Jamie as attorney general realize that he isn’t a Dutton by blood. Jamie visits his real father, Garrett, in the early moments of the finale. Their discussion is haunting, given Garrett’s suggestion that the Duttons have an empire. Therefore, in order to take over an empire, you have to kill the king. 

Did Jamie take those words to heart? Later in the finale, Roarke, Jamie, John, and Cheif Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) all face each other at the courthouse for the sale of the Yellowstone ranch. According to the hedge fund team, the Yellowstone land can only be saved if they sell or if it's condemned. The only way out is to accept a half a billion dollars to sell the land. Jamie agrees, but John — with Beth on his side — isn't taking the deal gently. Could Jamie have used Garrett’s words of wisdom as fuel to get John out of the family picture? 

Theory: Jamie planted the bomb at Beth’s office 

Danno Nell/Paramount Network

Jamie and Beth have been publicly going at each other from the jump, but a line is crossed in the season 3 finale. As Bentley told EW, “There was always hope that they loved each other more than they hated each other. But I think Jamie, coming with the realization that he isn't even a Dutton, is realizing what he did cannot get fixed, or maybe he doesn't have the ability to fix it.”

Beth’s trauma from Jamie’s past decisions (on her behalf) has reached a frothing point heading into the final episode. Remember: Jamie has taken the right to her own body before by forcing her to get an abortion, and now Jamie is ready to take away her home. Shortly after the climactic meeting where the land was essentially sold by Jamie, Beth confronts Jamie and asks for a last word. Jamie gives nothing, leaving the ominous feeling that the last word may be coming in another form or fashion. John and Beth are Jamie’s roadblocks to the sale of the Yellowstone land. If the theory holds true, we may be witness to the ultimate heel turn by Jamie.

Theory: John is alive, thanks to a boomer’s worst nightmare: the cell phone

Paramount Network

John, much like another patriarch Logan Roy on HBO’s Succession, can’t seem to kick the bucket season after season. He’s battled cancer. Now he has bullets in his chest. It’s a surprise John hasn’t been revealed to be the Terminator. 

John’s seeming demise in the finale comes after helping a mother and her kid on the side of the road. He helps them change their tire, because that’s just what good guys do, when an unmarked van pulls up and shoots John into oblivion. But, the scene doesn’t end there. John is seen on the floor lying next to the car as he pulls out his cell phone. That’s right, he’s bleeding internally but at least he can still get those FarmersOnly invitations. 

The identity of John’s killer is still up in the air, but what isn’t is this: If John stays alive for season 4, we may have to crown Apple products as the real winner.

Theory: Rip Wheeler's grave digging days aren't over yet

Emerson Miller/Paramount Network

Okay, seriously, can we talk about Rip’s proposal to Beth? After Beth went out of her way to propose to Rip via a suggestion from her dad, Rip counterproposes by digging up a wedding ring by prying it off of his dead mother's cold hands. Fans are seriously questioning Rip's rather creepy level of commitment to Beth now. Is this really couple goals? If Beth is actually dead, we may be episodes away from Rip digging into her grave to give the ring back.

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