Why Jimmy Got Back Up On The Horse, Literally, In Yellowstone's Season 3 Finale

When thinking back to all of the calamitous events that punctuated Yellowstone's Season 3 finale, it's admittedly easy to focus mostly on Kevin Costner's John Dutton and the dangerous situations his children faced. But let's not forget that the episode ended without providing either a positive or a negative update about Jefferson White's Jimmy, who was last seen lying unconscious in the dirt after being thrown from a horse that he arguably shouldn't have mounted in the first place. While many fans no doubt judged Jimmy's fateful actions, the actor doesn't see it as merely a "good" or "bad" idea.

It's easy to understand why Jimmy had the urge to get atop a horse again, despite the fact that he'd previously promised John that he would no longer do any high-stakes rodeo riding. The character actually got a taste of genuine skill-driven success during his brief time at the rodeo, and won the belt buckle to prove it. Even though he grasps the risk involved, Jefferson White told TV Insider that Jimmy's choice to get on that horse wasn't so much about the horse itself, but rather the very notion that he was responsible for making the choice. In his words:

I don't think he's made a decision but for him, getting on that horse represents the possibility. It's not like he signed up for another rodeo. He wants to believe he can do it. He wants to believe he's free to make a decision. More than anything, he wants to feel some sense of personal agency, some sense of getting to choose. I don't think he's making a choice there, he's just trying to feel free to make a choice.

It's no mystery that Jimmy's upsurge in self-confidence is directly tied to his relationship with Eden Brolin's Mia, who seemed to be trying to drive Jimmy away from the Yellowstone ranch after she got a larger taste of what that life consisted of. She's definitely not into the branding process, even if her friend Laramie (Hassie Harrison) is into anything that isn't nailed down, and yet she would prefer for Jimmy to put himself in harm's way by trying to convince him that the rodeo life is what he needs more than being subservient to Rip and John.

Of course, that's part of Jefferson White's point. On the one side, there's his makeshift Yellowstone family on the ranch, which has probably taught him more about hard work, loyalty, and friendship than anything else in his life, even though he's basically just a worker ant at others' mercy. Then on the other side, there's Mia and all of the romantic promise that she represents, though she has a different way of trying to get Jimmy to adhere to a specific ideal. But all Jimmy wants is to be left alone to make his own decisions! I guess he had some quiet time to think to himself after waking up from his dirt nap, assuming he isn't seriously injured.

But would Jimmy make that same decision to get on the horse if he had the foresight to realize how badly things would go? Here's how he put it:

So getting back on that horse, I think, represents one possible future and then it goes so poorly, so quickly, that I think if he knew, obviously, what was going to happen, he wouldn't have gotten on the horse. I don't think he could possibly have anticipated that disastrous outcome.

The problem there, of course, is that we can never fully know how something will go unless we take the risk to try it out. (And if anybody on Earth is going to be given psychic powers, you're sure as shit it isn't going to be Jimmy.) Unfortunately, the cowboy-in-training is now once again a little too familiar with those risks, and he'll have to put a lot of consideration into what he wants to do with his future. Assuming he survives with all of his wits intact, that is.

Jefferson White previously lauded Season 4 as his favorite season yet, though, so that presumably means Jimmy will be back in the metaphorical saddle next year, if not the literal one. Yellowstone will definitely be returning to Paramount Network for Season 4, which wrapped up filming earlier this month in its new Montana shooting locations. While waiting to see whether Jimmy lives or dies, head to our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule and our Winter and Spring 2021 TV rundown to see everything coming to the small screen in the near future.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.