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Warning: Major spoilers about the ending of Yellowstone**'s third episode, titled “An Acceptable Surrender,” are discussed below.**
Welp, I did not see that coming, Yellowstone fans. This show has definitely had its share of twists and turns, but the way Season 3's third outing ended caught me completely by surprise. The Duttons gathered with Rip, Lloyd, and the governor to watch Jimmy’s big rodeo ride, but despite everyone's jovial spirits, the event turned into something potentially tragic. And I'm sure many fans were left wondering about the same question I had: did Yellowstone just kill off Jefferson White's Jimmy?
The hit Western may have done that, and it unfortunately happened right after Yellowstone seemingly introduced Jimmy to the girl of his dreams – as played by impressive Season 3 newcomer Eden Brolin (daughter of Josh Brolin) – when he headed out to compete in the rodeo. Lloyd was worried that Jimmy was not fully focused on the task at hand, and he turned out to be right.
Jimmy seemed to leave the gate sooner than he expected, and the next thing viewers knew, he was splayed out and unconscious as medics came to tend to him. Kevin Costner's John Dutton looked worried, and he was not the only one. Jimmy is an O.G. character on the Paramount Network drama, dating back to Yellowstone’s first season, so his death would be a massive blow.
Viewers have watched Jimmy go from being the reluctant new guy on the ranch to basically becoming Lloyd’s adoptive son, which was something that both Jimmy and Lloyd acknowledged in this episode. It is a character journey that Yellowstone even called back to ahead of Season 3. Was the show trying to get the audience even more attached to Jimmy knowing that he would be killed off in the first half of the season?
This is a rare thing to say, but I think this Yellowstone twist could go either way. Jimmy has been an integral part of the show, and Jefferson White’s terrifically genuine portrayal of him has made him a scene-stealer. More than a simple slice of comic relief, Jimmy has also been at the heart of a lot of drama on the Dutton ranch.
Similar to my thoughts on that Jamie theory, I think there is just too much story there to think Season 3 would abandon Jimmy so soon. In particular, he's has connected Yellowstone to the rodeo, which seems to be a burgeoning storyline, as opposed to a throwaway arc. Plus, Jimmy just met Eden Brolin’s Mia, and it's tough to imagine that Jimmy’s new love interest would be a one-episode wonder. Indeed, Yellowstone seemed to be setting up another lovable romance as Jimmy and Mia lit up the screen with their awkward and mega-cute meeting.
That said, the Paramount Network drama is no stranger to shocking twists that emphasize the fragility of life. John Dutton’s eldest son Lee, played by well-known TV regular Dave Annable, was killed off in the series premiere, which immediately set up the idea that anyone could go.
Do you think Jimmy will survive the massive cliffhanger? (Vote below!) I would obviously prefer it if Jimmy survived, since he brings way too much to Yellowstone, and the show seems to know it. So, my guess is that he will survive. But since it wouldn't be very interesting the show only killed off characters that viewers don't know that well, it's hard to know for sure.
In terms of behind-the-scenes info, I believe there is some reason to hope. (Which may not mean anything, but it just might.) Cole Hauser posted a picture celebrating Jefferson White’s last day of filming on Yellowstone Season 3. It was posted on October 17, 2019. Hauser and White’s co-star, Kelly Reilly, posted a picture about her wrapping filming five days later on October 22, 2019. I fully expect Kelly Reilly’s Beth to make it to the end of Season 3, and since Jefferson White only stopped filming five days before her, it would seem to indicate that Jimmy could make it almost as far into the season as Beth. Of course, filming can happen out of order, so this is just my personal speculation.
Find out if Jimmy survives, as well as what will happen in the aftermath of his accident, when the new episodes of Yellowstone air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount Network. Season 3 will be airing throughout this summer. If you want to revisit Jimmy’s journey so far, you can watch his story evolve when it becomes available on NBCUniversal’s upcoming streamer, Peacock, which launches nationally on July 15.