Major spoilers below for Yellowstone's third season finale, so be warned before reading on.
Fans knew that Yellowstone was heading for dangerous standoffs with its Season 3 finale, but creator Taylor Sheridan pulled a fast one on everybody by dropping a variety of character cliffhangers, with three of the biological Dutton family members seemingly knocking on death's door. Adopted son Jamie, however, made it through the episode physically unscathed, though his mind was definitely being warped by his "real" father, the murderous and manipulative Garrett, who urged him to kill the king, as it were, and take over the Yellowstone empire.
Star Wes Bentley was just as blown away as viewers were by how the finale turned out, both for Jamie and for John, Beth, Kacey and Jimmy. Of course, he got an inkling about what was coming whenever he got the script from Taylor Sheridan, and Bentley showered praise on Yellowstone's creator when discussing the episode with EW. In his words:
When I read the script, I was like, 'Oh?!' With Taylor, we'll be on a path down one way and he'll cut the branches on the side so we're going to tumble down with him. I think big, big, dramatic things happen, violent things happen, and in a lot of ways it defines the show because that's who gets the ultimate say. It comes down to that [brutality]. Outside of aliens landing, I don't know where Taylor is going to go from here. He gave himself the ability to go from any angle now. To restart or refresh, he definitely has left himself an open door for a lot of options. I think that's clever. He has a plan, so I think he was ahead of it. As an audience, it feels like the board got wiped and we can write some new things on that board.
To Wes Bentley's point, Taylor Sheridan set up more than enough major catalysts in the Season 3 finale that could bring about a completely different-looking fourth season. If Kevin Costner's John actually does die after being targeted by hitmen, that would obviously throw the show's land battle up in the air (among other things), but where would it go from there? Beth's office was blown up, and I can't imagine she'll get out of that situation without suffering at least some minor injuries. Plus, Kayce was last seen being approached by some potentially malicious gunmen, but thankfully without any shots getting fired. A season ago, Jamie would have looked like the prime sibling to swoop in as family head – well, probably behind Rip – but he's got other family members to deal with now.
When asked about Jamie's mental state in the aftermath of the Season 3 finale, Wes Bentley does not mince words when it comes to taking his character down a peg. Here's how he put it:
Jamie probably somewhere in him was always afraid something like this was true. He's a smart guy. Maybe he's fantasized about being from a different family; maybe if that family was there for him, he could connect with them and truly have a family connection that he felt was on a deeper level. But then to find out his [biological] dad is not a good guy, I mean, where do you go from there? I don't know. I have a great mom and dad. I'm lucky. Where I get my spine is from my family. You know what I mean? I stand up because of my family, right? For Jamie, who is he now? He has no spine or legs to stand on. I think Jamie finds family important. He wants that. He wants the love that comes with it.
For Jamie, it's a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation when it comes to his heritage. For as much as he might have hoped for a more pleasant origin story than the overbearing John being his real family, coming face to face with his biological father wasn't exactly a blue ribbon prize. Sure, Will Patton's Garrett says certain things that carry Jamie's grasp for power and respect, but the way Wes Bentley is talking, it sounds like he thinks Jamie might end up siding with the devil he knows, as opposed to the dude who had zero qualms with killing Jamie's mother all those years ago and then telling him all about it now.
Jamie has definitely been through some shit on Yellowstone, and has had to come to terms with the fact that he is perhaps destined for a life without a ton of ethical fortitude. But whose side will the so-called spineless and weak-legged Jamie fall on when Season 4 arrives?
Paramount Network's Yellowstone is now finished with Season 3, but fans can catch up with the first two seasons on Peacock while waiting to hear more about Season 4, which just started production this week. As well, bookmark our 2020 Fall TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.