Yellowstone seasons are so short that we've already hit a bridge.
Between what Beth discovered about Roarke and Ellis, the Jamie situation, and John's happiness to be away from it all, we're beginning to see a convergence that will ultimately rain hellfire down on the Duttons.
Their happiness is always short-lived, and by Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 3 Beth hasn't even had time for her bruises to heal before she's fighting evil again.
Let's start with Jamie, who miraculously handled the Hendon situation much better than anticipated.
Wes Bently does an incredible job in the role, making it very easy to feel Jamie's anxiety and the swift relief when the conversation with the rancher dad went in his direction.
Beth didn't know how suited Jamie was to the job. The thing she hates most about him might very well keep the family out of the hot seat, at least for a while.
Jamie: Eighty years ago, we coulda hung 'em from a tree. But today, this is the best I can offer. I can promise this, they're never gettin' arraigned.
Father: You should run for governor.
Jamie: Let's just focus on today.
Father: You did that for me?
Jamie: I did that for every father that would be sacrificing their family if they did it.
Jamie has spent so much time covering his ass that he had a brilliant story to take the heat off of of the livestock commisioner's office.
Randy (is he the new Sheriff?) wasn't thrilled to embrace the blame for two deaths, but when they realized the guys were outsiders, it was only a matter of convicing their victim to remain silent about what happened to her.
The reality is that cowgirls are smart and tough. She must feel pretty shitty having been roughed up like that, and her father loves her dearly. And it wasn't too much of a lie that Jamie directed the villains get payback, either.
Sure, it wasn't his idea, nor was it the intent that they should die, but if all three factions work together, it isn't a bad outcome. Yikes. Did I just say that? Well, it's Yellowstone. Vigilante justice is just.
Father: Between you and me? The time will come when you need a favor. I can't wait to give it.
Jamie: I might ask for it.
Some outliers could be that Jamie jumped the gun contacting Randy when he heard from the governor and whether Hendon can adequately deliver the story, bit IS his life, so he should jump at the opportunity to save himself with all the artistry required of a seasoned actor.
Jamie has been in the office for two days, and Lynelle is already suggesting that he get promoted to interim Attorney General. Timing is everything!
John went to great lengths to keep his son from the job he will rightfully get, just as he desperately wants Kayce to step into his former role as Livestock Commssioner. Lynelle, of course, has plans for both.
I'm not as convinced as Lynelle that sprinking sugar onto her request will be the turning point for Kayce, but something tells me that once he hears the problem awaiting his family that he'll take it.
That could put him at odds with Monica who is eager to get back to their historical roots with a life lived under the stars and semi off the grid, but she did say she'd wait for him to make it happen and would try to be patient.
It's impossible not to fall under the spell of John and Lynelle, too. They dance around each other with their respective positions in the valley, but Lynelle is interested in moving the heavens so that John Dutton can stay happy on earth.
Lynelle: I'll make you a deal.
Lynelle: I'll give you the solution tonight and the problem tomorrow. You agree to the solution, and we can play teenager for the remainder of the night.
John: Alright. What's the solution?
Lynelle: I appoint Jamie interim Attorney General and Jamie appoints a person of your choosing to run the livestock commission.
Lynelle: Is what I'm proposing best for the state? I don't know. Is it best for you? Yes. Is it best for the people in this valley? I think so. In my heart, I think it is.
John: And we do all this with what goal in mind?
Lynelle: To negotiate an acceptable surrender.
John: What are we surrendering?
That she considers his needs right next to those of the state says a lot about their relationship and how much she values what the family contributes to Montana.
Ellis Steele might be unimpressed with a seven-generation ranch and its contributions, but Lynelle knows that without the Duttons and the Yellowstone, her state wouldn't be the same.
It's unclear what Lynelle has in mind for John to surrender, but she's seen the savagery in Ellis Steele's eyes. The man will not back down. Beth, too, looked more frightened talking with Roarke than she did when her life was on the line during her attack.
Lynelle: That's a seven-generation ranch. He'll never sell.
Ellis: Then you'll invoke eminent domain.
Lynelle: It's been attempted. He beat it.
Ellis: Um-hm. For a 300-unit apartment complex. That was a land grab. Did a seven generations ranchers infuse $6 billion into the economy? That's progress, governor, and progress has a price.
Beth sees in Roarke her same fire, and she knows better than anyone that it cannot be tamed. While Beth's energy is spent protecting her family, Roarke is driiven to make money. One of them has admirable goals, and the other is a greedy bastard.
Beth has finally found happiness with Rip, though, and I'd like to think she'll fight to the ends of the earth to perserve what she now has in her grasp.
Rip helps her to see both sides, and his suggestion that they've been trying to wrestle the frontier out of their hands for hundreds of years might help guide her to a win.
Rip: You now, when you boil life down, it's funny just how little you need, isn't it?
Beth: Shame that in a few more generations this won't exist.
Rip: [chuckles] People have been saying that for a hundred years, Beth. I mean, they thought that barbed wire was going to ruin the frontier. There it is. The frontier is all around us.
Beth: It's not frontier, Rip.
Rip: Well, you can call it what you want, but that's what it is.
It was so adorable thtat Rip thought for a single minute that John wasn't aware of his relationship with Beth. Still, it must have hurt Beth to believe that Rip was more interested in looking good in John's eyes than treating his lady well.
Speaking of ladies, Teeter is already on the prowl! She's got her eyes on Colby, but he's already shut her down. Given John's reluctance to allow another stunner like Avery into the bunkhouse, it will be hilarious if Teeter worked her way though the men, setting them at odds.
It's always fun when the wranglers get into precarious situations and fight amongst themselves.
What wasn't fun was Jimmy being so smitten with Mia that he wan't adequately prepared for a ride on a very dangerous bronco.
Jimmy: You ever have a girl look at you and your whole world just stops?
Lloyd: Every Saturday night. Now come on; focus!
The plus? Jimmy was so proud to have everyone there to watch him, and especially that John made it a whole outing. The negative is that he found a girl so close to his ride.
But Mia is set to be a recurring character, so any damage Jimmy suffered must be short-lived. He's like family, dammit, and being severly injured or dead just isn't an option!
We're in for a wild ride on Yellowstone Season 3, but what should we expect?
The wolf was spotted again, and this time he had an elk calf on his menu. Please tell me that by keeping him from a tasty meal, John didn't give him license to go after the herd.
I'm feelin' a little sentimental, grandson; I'd like to see that little elk live. What do you say we tip the scales in his favor?John
As much as I'd want an elk to live, I root for the wolf, too. And keeping him from food could put the herd in danger. Would they take it out on the wolf, then? It's so prevalent that it feels like there's a significance we cannot overlook.
That's one lesson that I don't think Tate needs to learn so soon. He's enjoying so much about their summer life that it should continue a little longer.
Alright! If you've already taken the time to watch Yellowstone online and are ready to join the discussion, let's get to it below!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.