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Yellowstone Rip Wheeler Cole Hauser Paramount Network

Spoilers ahead for the Season 3 premiere of Yellowstone.

Yellowstone’s Season 3 premiere was full of some incredible takeaways. However, one of John Dutton’s most significant moves came when he resigned as the livestock commissioner. After Kayce turned down the offer and Beth expressed zero interest, John ended up passing the torch and naming Jamie as his successor, which meant John not even seeming to consider Rip for the job.

Jamie getting the job on Yellowstone did not come without some coaxing from Beth of all people. Yes, the same Beth who hates Jamie with the intensity of a million fiery suns, and I have some ideas for why she's so spiteful. She reminded her father that when Jamie acted with his best interest in the position, they would benefit. Where does all of this leave Rip?

Remember, Rip is the one who John finally showed some gratitude towards last season. When the position for livestock commissioner was up for grabs, I wondered if John would pick Rip for it. Instead, his name never came up as an option. Is that a position that Rip would have wanted or been willing to take if John had pitched it to him? Yellowstone’s Cole Hauser told me:

When your boss comes and says you’re going to do this, you basically go ‘yes, sir,’ and that is the way that Rip is. But the livestock commission is politics and Rip is not a politician.

Rip is definitely not a politician, whereas Jamie has been an aspiring one. In the not-too-distant past, the result of that led to Jamie betraying John and ultimately killing a reporter to keep said betrayal from going public. That Yellowstone history lesson has not been lost on John. In the Season 3 premiere, he told his lawyer son that if he betrayed him again, he would be “dead” to him.

Where does all of this leave John’s right-hand man, Rip? He is protective of John and the ranch. Cole Hauser has previously relayed that Rip has a soft spot for Jamie because they have both been dealt harsh blows by the Dutton family on Yellowstone. But does Rip agree with John putting Jamie in the position of livestock commissioner? Hauser told me:

There are things I’m paid for, and things I’m not paid for, and one is not to give my opinion to John Dutton. If he asks for it, then I’m sure that I would speak on it. But it’s not Rip’s position, and I don’t think he gives too much thought to it. He trusts his boss knows what he’s doing, and that’s that.

Rip trusts John, but can viewers believe that it was the best decision? The ranch needs Rip a lot more hands-on than it does Jamie. The fan-favorite knows the ins and outs of that world, while Jamie is more used to swimming the political waters. That said, Yellowstone is a drama, and John’s decision has to have some sort of fallout.

Jamie just got back into John’s graces, and I would not define them as “good” at this point. I doubt Rip would either. John did talk Jamie out of taking his life. However, one of the mysterious pieces to Yellowstone’s elaborate puzzle is why John does not seem to really love him.

Jamie did do everything that John asked before the show began, and it still did not endear him to John. Rip has done similarly and been content doing so. Jamie, on the other hand, seems to have ambitions beyond handling his father’s business, and Rip has seen that up close and personal.

Remember, it was Jamie not answering a call that would have helped Rip that led John to demand Jamie to drop out of his political race. Hence, their period of estrangement when Jamie refused, which is another critical thing you need to remember as Yellowstone Season 3 unfolds. If Rip knows that John’s plan is a bad one, he is clearly ready to go down with the ship.

Watch John’s decision play out throughout this summer as new episodes of Yellowstone air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount Network. If you want to catch up on Jamie’s betrayal and Rip’s unspoken perspectives, stream Yellowstone when it becomes available on NBCUniversal’s upcoming streamer, Peacock. The service launches nationally on July 15.

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