8 Big Ways Yellowstone Just Set Up Its Season 4 Finale (And Beyond)

John Dutton was in a happiness-destroying mood this week.

Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn’t yet watched Yellowstone’s penultimate Season 4 episode!

In some ways, it feels like Yellowstone only just debuted Season 4, considering how long fans waited to learn what happened to the Duttons after the attacks. Yet here we are, with nothing standing between fans and the latest big finale. That is, if you count “the seeds of what could become Yellowstone’s most devastating rivalry” as nothing. Taylor Sheridan took many of the characters on a wild ride in Episode 409, and John Dutton’s burst temper was only one of the major takeaways as we head for this season’s endgame.

Below, join me in focusing on the variety of ways “No Such Thing As Fair“ tossed out the stepping stones leading up to the tenth and final episode of Yellowstone Season 4. And since the scythe-clawed cat is already out of the bag, let’s jump right into John and Beth’s harshest dinner conversation yet. 

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

John Putting Beth In Her Place

Though Beth’s intentions were mainly in the right (i.e. the most Dutton-friendly) place when it came to using Summer as a chaos-causing pawn of protest, the fact that she did so out of spite, and without John’s awareness, may have put a permanent crack in this beloved father-daughter relationship. What’s more, getting Summer out of jail is causing John to call in a favor that he would rather not have to rely on, which is obviously more fuel for his anger at Beth, who didn’t help her case by antagonizing him so hard over stopping the deadly diner robbery.

It’s heartbreaking anytime a parent makes a child aware they’ve caused disappointment, of course. But for Beth to hear it straight from John’s mouth inspired pure nightmare-infushed horror, and Kelly Reilly’s performance hit all the shocked-sober notes. This isn’t a wound that will be mended quickly or easily, and it can only get more complicated in the finale, which could very well split them apart for a Beth Vs. John arc in Season 5. As much as I would hate it, I would love it. 

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Beth Learning Tyrell Riggins’ Name 

I’d almost forgotten that Beth has continued believing all season that Jamie was responsible for the attacks, considering she blames him for everything else already. But that took a shift in Episode 409 as John finally offered her the name Tyrell Riggins, though he definitely didn’t have all the facts straight in describing the motivating factors. Now that Beth has more information, however, it’s only a matter of time before she is able to connect the true dots that do indeed lead back to Jamie. 

Not that she’ll likely listen to his honest claims about not having started it, since his post-discovery silence will probably ring loudest of all. And now that John expressed his disappointment in her, she might not stop coming after Jamie until he’s gutted and strung along a fenceline. The question is just how will the characters get to that point?

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Jamie Finally Grasping That His Past Isn’t Exactly A Win For His Political Career 

Lord knows why it took this long for Jamie to fully come to the realization that anyone’s politically motivated attempts to dig into his personal history with either bloodline will easily unearth a smorgasbord of sinful and repugnant behavior. And how did nobody tell Christina before now that Garrett is a murderer? That should have been a Day One convo upon her return. Day Two, tops.

There aren’t many moves that Jamie can make that won’t spark lots of attention and skeleton-wrangling, especially if he’s dedicated to taking John on in the governor race. But since Jamie’s storyline hasn’t really reached a fever pitch just yet, I can only assume Yellowstone will blow his world apart before Season 4 is finished. 

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John Threatening Garrett

Even if Garrett appeared agreeable to Jamie regarding Christina’s advice to ditch his biological old man, he doesn’t seem capable of truly backing away from this situation that he’s bogged himself down into. Call me kooky, but after seeing his intense diner confrontation with John, I don’t exactly believe that Garrett will heed John’s warning, nor that he was fearful of it in the slightest. Because this dude is apparently also out for revenge against John concerning the circumstances surrounding Garrett’s arrest for murdering his wife. And revenge always ends with clandestinely dumped corpses in Yellowstone

If John does end up ridding the world of Garrett, it definitely won’t be with Jamie’s goodwill in mind, and you can bet that the younger man wouldn’t view it through such a lens. Jamie’s not so naive that he doesn’t see the problems with his biological father’s methods, but he’s also a spineless little shit that can’t propel himself away from terrible situations. So I would fully expect him to angrily hold John accountable for destroying his family, rather than thanking John for saving Jamie from his own future jail time for one reason or another.

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Beth Airing Sorrows Out With Walker Instead Of Rip 

Even when Rip and Beth’s relationship isn’t at its most unbreakable, they still inspire fans to wish their bond back to perfection. So it was a very particular kind of heartbreaking to see Rip realize that Beth followed up on her “dinner” with John by sobbing out all of her pent-up emotions with Walker, of all people. It was supposedly due to his ability to play sad songs for her to cry to, but opting for Walker instead of Rip is not only one of the seven deadly sins (may not be correct), but it’s also a massive slap in the face to the person who has weathered Beth’s storms more often than just about anyone. Even if he sometimes kills the mood with assurances that he and all other humans will be dead one day.

Did Beth choose to avoid crying on Rip’s shoulder because she was upset with him for not joining her at the dinner table with John? Was she too ashamed to talk to him about John kicking her out of the family house, so soon after they were asked to move in? Or was it simply a matter of seeing how happy he was watching Carter run the poker table on the ranch hands, and not wanting to disrupt his sporadic sense of glee? Whatever the reason, America’s favorite fictional Montana couple will be starting off the Season 4 finale on awkward footing.

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Kayce Attempting To Learn His Connection To That Wolf

In perhaps the most baffling of Yellowstone’s Season 4 storyline, Kayce went from addressing post-attack family traumas to achieving pure happiness by moving away from the Yellowstone ranch, had a shot at infidelity with Avery’s sudden and horned-up reappearance, and is now in the midst of trying to find out the core meaning and connection behind the wolf that he’s been seeing. Not exactly the most straightforward narrative path, and I was truly shocked at how Episode 409 closes out so quietly on the onset of Kayce’s journey amid the prayer ties.

I have literally zero idea where this is all going, though I’m sure he’ll have some kind of vision regarding his relationship with Monica, and her current pregnancy. Will he be scared away by the thought of raising another young child under such dangerous circumstances as “being a Dutton?” Could he convince himself that leaving the family is a safer plan for them instead of sticking around and working through any issues? I just hope it all ends up being worth it in the end.

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Jimmy Leaving Emily And The Four Sixes Ranch 

After having to witness Beth’s self-esteem falling to pieces T2 style during her stress-inducing conversation with John, I wouldn’t have thought that Jimmy and Emily facing a downward turn in their still-developing relationship would be anywhere near as emotionally fraught, and I would have been wrong. In the span of just a few episodes, Jefferson White and Kathryn Kelly’s characters have meshed together so well that I already want to defend the idea that he should once again break his word to John entirely to stick around the Four Sixes to be with Emily. Which doesn’t make any sense, considering Mia sucks so hard for convincing him to break it the first time, but the bit about Mia in their conversation just made it all the more clear how much better Jimmy is with Emily.

Now, as romantic as that “Wait for me” scene was, it obviously in no way guarantees that Jimmy will find his way back to the 6666 ranch with any sort of speedy timeliness. There are myriad ways for Jimmy and Emily’s coupling to get blown apart, either literally or figuratively. But I’m interested to see what will happen if John attempts to stop the burgeoning cowboy from heading south again. Could Jimmy find it in himself to tell John in his face that he was leaving for the love of something other than horse-trading? Let’s not forget that John was the one who gave Jimmy the quasi-advice that someone who truly wants to be with him will still be there when he comes back around, which was about Mia in the moment, but obviously can be ported over to Emily. 

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

The Interim Sheriff Calling John Out 

Despite their many disagreements, John Duttona and the late Donnie Haskell knew when a situation was important enough to brush those things aside to take care of business. Even though the now-former sheriff’s decisions weren’t guided by morals as strong as John’s, their relationship was still important to the idea of keeping true to John’s idea of order and justice. With Hugh Dillon’s character no longer in the picture, though, it looks like John may have tough roads ahead when it comes to the local police having his back. That is, unless the interim sheriff is all bark and no bite.

Portrayed by Rob Kirkland, Commander Bill Ramsey is in charge for the near future, and one of his first unofficial orders of business was telling John that rules are no longer meant to be broken in town now that Donnie isn’t running the show anymore. Not that John showed any form of fear or intimidation, as it would be beneath him, that conversation very likely added to the shaking rage that John displayed later in the episode. Having friends in high places is always more useful when those friends’ immediate subordinates actually have the same point of view, rather than the opposite one. This interim sheriff situation probably won’t become too complicated in the Season 4 finale, but I expect it to have major repercussions as time goes on.

I don’t even want to believe that Yellowstone Season 4 is wrapping up completely on Paramount Network on Sunday, January 2, 2022, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Check out tons of other shows heading to the small screen soon with our 2022 TV premiere schedule!

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