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Few TV finales attempt to pull off as many finale cliffhangers as Kevin Costner's Yellowstone did when the Paramount Network drama closed out its third season over the summer. The neo-western had already given viewers some insanely tense moments before that installment, thanks in part to the introduction of Josh Holloway's sleazy antagonist Roarke, but all the stops were pulled in order to put the Dutton family through several different potential tragedies. And somehow, after all that craziness, Yellowstone star Jefferson White is putting the word out that the upcoming Season 4 is the best one yet.
Because Yellowstone has been a ratings goldmine for Paramount, the network confirmed the Season 4 renewal months ahead of the third season's debut, and principal filming appeared to wrap in November. While not much is known about what to expect, given the secrecy behind the cliffhanger reveals, Jefferson White opened up to TV Insider about Jimmy's rodeo arc in Season 3 and offered his vague-but-highly-exciting thoughts about what fans will see next. In his words:
It's incredible. I think Season 4 is the best season yet. We shot it all in Montana, and that really has a transformative effect. I really think it's an incredible season. Season 3 had a kind of slow burn pace to it. It was like a slow, simmering build to that finale, which obviously had such a climactic explosion leaving so many of the Duttons in danger, and Season 4 just starts out at this breakneck pace. The first episode of Season 4 is my favorite episode of the show yet, so I just can't wait for people to see it.
Jefferson White's first reason why Season 4 is the best yet involves the show changing locations behind the scenes, with production shifting from Utah, where the first three seasons were filmed, to the area around Missoula, Montana. (More on that here.) Considering the series takes place in Montana, it makes sense that the cast and crew would feel even more of a connection to the material and their characters. The overall look will probably stay the same to viewers' eyes, but if everyone's performances pop that much more, the picturesque Montana settings might have something to do with it.
Second, Jefferson White talked Season 4's change of pace in comparison to Season 3. Ostensibly, nearly the entirety of Yellowstone's first three seasons would fall under the "slow burn" distinction, save for some particularly harrowing sequences along the way, as well as the aforementioned Season 3 finale. But White kind of makes it sound like Season 4 will lean more into the kind of slam-bang narrative pacing that was a staple of a major TV series from co-creator Taylor Sheridan's past: Sons of Anarchy. Not that I think Yellowstone is trading in its horses for motorcycles, but it appears the new season won't waste any time in addressing everything that happened to the Duttons, as well as what's happening with Jimmy, Rip, Monica and the rest of this highly engaging character ensemble. (My money is on Beth surviving and then blowing up the rest of the world.)
Audiences won't even need to wait long to see Jefferson White's favorite Yellowstone episode, since he gave that accolade to the Season 4 premiere, which will hopefully offer some answers about who was behind all of the attacks. That said, fans probably shouldn't expect to see Jimmy quite as happy-go-lucky as he's been in the past. The events of Season 3, from meeting Mia to suffering his big rodeo injury, had a grand effect on Jimmy, and it sounds like his reactions to Rip's violent brand-related actions will be visible in Season 4.
Jimmy obviously has a sort of rough background, but he's not a killer, he's not a violent person, and so I think that also seeing what Rip is willing to do and really intimately seeing Rip involved in that violence, I think, changes his perspective on Rip, too. Rip has been a sort of older brother figure who's taken care of Jimmy and been so kind to Jimmy, but he's seeing a new side of Rip he's never had to confront before. It really complicates that relationship, too.
To be sure, Rip probably doesn't have very many relationships that haven't been complicated by his own violent impulses, but Jimmy is one of Yellowstone's key optimists, with a smile as wide as the ranch is. So here's hoping that doesn't change TOO much, and that Jefferson White's excitement about Season 4 isn't because he can't wait to dig into Jimmy's dark and brooding side.