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Yellowstone John Dutton Kevin Costner Paramount Network

Spoiler Alert: The Season 3 finale of Yellowstone is discussed full-tilt below, so proceed at your own peril.

Yellowstone has sent fans into a frenzy of speculation and theorizing as they try to piece together that game-changing Season 3 finale. John Dutton nearly met his maker, as his stop to help a mother and her child turned into a roadside massacre. Cue one finale theory about what happened that makes a lot of sense.

It was a moment straight out of John Dutton’s literal nightmares. In Yellowstone’s finale, he pulled over to help a mother and her son, who had been stranded by a flat tire. Before long, a van pulled up, and the people inside asked about John’s identity. After John confirmed who he was, the van’s back doors flew open as gunfire broke out, striking John and the mystery mom.

Who is the culprit? It is a question many are asking, and there are no shortage of suspects. Could the answer lie in the opening minutes of Yellowstone’s Season 3 finale? Possibly. EW’s theory points to Jamie’s biological father, Garrett Randall, as a prime suspect, and they note some robust evidence to support the contention.

In Yellowstone’s finale, Jamie had a foreboding conversation with his biological father, who makes an eyebrow-raising assertion. Garrett not-so-subtly suggests that for Jamie to win the Dutton’s empire (the ranch), the king has to be killed. Following that conversation, I thought the guilt would be on Jamie’s shoulders. However, this theory suggests that Garrett is the one behind the attack.

The theory makes a lot of sense. First off, Garrett has killed before. He openly admitted to killing Jamie’s mother earlier on Yellowstone, and while he blamed the crime on being under the influence of drugs, he still managed to give away the calculated nature of the murder. Garrett told Jamie it was the only way to save him.

So, this is a guy who can rationalize murder for what he believes are justifiable ends. If Garrett thinks that Jamie is entitled to Yellowstone’s eponymous ranch and that John Dutton is not correct in keeping him from it, I could see him wanting to kill John to procure it for his son. Is this the “awful” thing that Wes Bentley feared would occur?

There is merit to this idea. But, the caveat to all of this speculation is that Jamie’s dad is out of prison, and one would imagine that he would want to stay that way. There is also no indication that he is connected to a criminal group, which is what appeared to attack John on Yellowstone.

Plus, I really did interpret Garrett's conversation with Jamie as him whispering in his son's ear to influence Jamie to do it. Garrett’s days of getting his hands dirty are probably over (see: prison), and Yellowstone could be pushing credulity by having that conversation mean nothing. The likelihood that they would discuss John needing to die, only to have it almost happen, and there be no connection to either of them is tough to believe.

Of course, there is another Yellowstone fan theory that the California bikers are behind the attack on John. This hypothesis makes complete sense, but when you consider the number of enemies John has, the list of suspects is pretty long. I cannot wait to hear the police ask, “Do you know anyone who would want to hurt you?” They could be listening to him for a while.

If the shooters had said, “The Randalls send their regards.” I would be all-in on this theory. Yellowstone did not go that Game of Thrones with things, so viewers are left to speculate for at least another year. Thank goodness filming has started on Season 4, or I could not take it.

While we are all in suspense, what do you think about this theory? Did Garrett orchestrate the attack on John Dutton? Vote below! Yellowstone Season 4 will arrive well after this fall’s premieres. Hopefully, in 2021. While you wait to learn if Garrett is behind the mind-boggling cliffhanger, re-watch the first two seasons on NBCUniversal’s new streamer, Peacock.

Do you think Garrett was behind the attack on John Dutton?
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