Be warned. Massive spoilers for Season 3, Episode 7 of Yellowstone entitled “The Beating” are discussed below.
Just when you thought Yellowstone had reached its zenith, Season 3, Episode 7 happened. “The Beating” was an emotional, finale-worthy installment that saw each of the Duttons reach a turning point in their respective journeys. Fresh off of John learning the explosive truth about his children’s animus, another blow beckoned.
This episode of Yellowstone had it all – secrets, romance, lethal conflicts, and more than one reckoning. In my book, the hit Western is the best show 2020 has seen so far, and it's because of episodes like this one. Three installments shy of the finale, “The Beating,” felt like a season-ender, thanks to its huge moments. Time to get into all of them!
Jamie Learned He Is Adopted
The moment that there was a mention of Jamie needing his birth certificate, I guessed what would happen next on Yellowstone -- Jamie learned that he is adopted. It's an all-elusive piece in the familial puzzle that configures his identity. At first, a shocked Jamie denied it, before the evidence became too overwhelming not to accept.
Towards the end of the episode, Jamie confronted John about it, and his father revealed everything. Jamie’s biological father beat Jamie’s biological mother to death when Jamie was three-months-old. His biological father went to prison for second-degree murder, and the Duttons adopted Jamie. John insisted he loves Jamie yet offered little in the way of compassion for his son.
Jamie was left to stew on the personal revelations by himself, while John lamented being too tired to want to continue living. If John thought he had made huge strides forward as a father since Yellowstone began, he took many steps back in his treatment of Jamie, in my opinion. I know he's still upset about what Jamie did to Beth.
However, I think that had little to do with his response. Despite what he said, John has never really loved Jamie. It's a fact that Beth confronted him about last season, much to my initial confusion. She said that John would never love Jamie like he does her and Kayce and, now, we know why. In John’s heart, he does not love Jamie because he is not his blood.
Beth And Rip Got Engaged
It finally happened! Beth got her father’s approval to marry Rip and took it upon herself to propose to him. This comes not too long after she had pulled away from the notion of marriage to Rip in a recent Yellowstone episode. I supposed her father, learning the truth about what Jamie did, led to her being able to take this step, even though Rip is still in the dark about it.
Heading into a marriage, it's a pretty big thing to leave out. Rip told Beth that he could not go down to the courthouse because every record of his existence has been destroyed. Beth did not get detoured though, sharing that an emotional commitment in front of her family was all she needed. Monica for matron of honor!
As thrilled as I am that Beth and Rip are getting married, I have two serious concerns. The first is that Beth keeping the truth about Jamie and why she cannot have kids from Rip could lead to him breaking up with her. Remember, Rip is entirely unaware of the situation. Beth got emotional during that memorable breakfast for a reason.
I think she may be scared to tell Rip everything and risk losing him. In related news, my second concern is about Rip -- period. When Beth essentially said that Rip needed to outlive her so she would never know life without him, I got a sinking feeling. What if it's not Jamie that Yellowstone fans need to be worried about dying? What if it's Rip?
Kayce Led A Bloody Confrontation
It wouldn't be an episode of Yellowstone unless Kayce was getting forced into yet another corner. In Episode 7, Kayce’s investigation into the theft of cattle from the Dutton ranch led to a bloody confrontation with the cow thieves. Kayce’s heart got ripped out, figuratively speaking, when he saw the possible daughter of one of the men he killed crying over his body.
Kayce looked devastated and despite the circumstances, will probably blame himself. It's the second time Kayce has seen a kid saddened by the crossfire of their father’s choices in Season 3. On that note, I wonder what this will mean for him going forward on Yellowstone. Kayce is a trained soldier who knows all about combat.
He probably never expected to return home and confront it on such a frequent basis. In the first season, situations like tonight’s had taken a toll on Kayce’s marriage to Monica. Hopefully, that's behind them, and Monica supports him in knowing he did what he had to do. She has done so in the past on Yellowstone. As for Kayce’s investigation, it will probably continue in the next episode.
In case I missed it, he still doesn't know who is behind stealing the cattle. Is it the newly introduced Dutton rival, Wade? That's my current guess, however obvious. Kayce learned a valuable lesson about accusing an innocent person last season. The Duttons thought it was the now-late Dan Jenkins who had poisoned their cows when it was actually the Beck Brothers.
John Hinted At An Ominous Theft
John’s children were not the only thing he had to deal with in tonight’s Yellowstone. He went to a nearby restaurant for some sustenance and was soon greeted by Wade. Fisticuffs erupted ,with John quickly putting down Wade’s son, and threats followed. It turns out Wade is the one who stole what no cowboy should, according to John in the midseason trailer.
Yellowstone finally shed a bit of historical light on the feud between John and Season 3 newbie Wade. Back in the day, John gave Wade a job, and betrayal followed by way of a mysterious theft. John vowed that he was going to get back what belongs to him. I have no idea what it could be at this point.
At first, I thought it could be a prized horse, only to have that quickly drop down the list. Whatever Wade stole is something very precious to John. Is it a prized belt buckle that John’s late father gave him? Does it have anything to do with John’s once-spoken-of brother? Or something without a physical presence?
Does it have anything to do with Jamie’s biological parents? The reveal of Jamie’s adoption dovetailing with Wade and John’s secret past has me wondering if the two are connected. It could be incidental. If Wade is somehow connected to Jamie, I would think the allegations of theft would work the other way around with Wade feeling John “stole” Jamie. So I'm probably off on that.
The bombshell of the night belonged to Jamie. Just as Yellowstone had made me horrified over what he did to Beth, I could not help feeling a sting of compassion for him. A lot more than anything, John expressed. It is clear that Jamie has been denied his father’s love and approval through no fault of his own, and he has been gas-lighted to believe otherwise.
Yellowstone seemed to draw some parallels that will doubtlessly be lost on Jamie as the dust settles over the revelation of his biological family. Jamie’s biological father killed his biological mom in a fit of rage. Much like Jamie killed Sarah last season after she refused to rescind publishing the interview that Jamie had given.
In light of learning about his biological parentage, will Jamie turn against John as punishment? He has not been loved for an exceptionally long time, if ever. Considering how Evelyn Dutton treated Beth before her death, I doubt she was all that loving towards Jamie, either. Kayce seems to have some sort of compassion for him.
As for Beth, I think she has known about Jamie's adoption for a long time. She probably knows about his biological father too, which is why she told Jamie that he's “evil” in the previous episode of Yellowstone. Beth can be cruel, and she may be too blinded by her brother’s biology to realize that.
Find out how Yellowstone moves past these jaw-dropping moments when new episodes air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount Network. After Season 3 finishes airing, this fall’s premieres will arrive to keep fans busy while they wait for Season 4. You can check out past jaw-droppers by binge-watching the first two seasons on NBCUniversal’s new streamer, Peacock.