We begin Yellowstone Season 3 shortly after the nightmare that was the Beck Brothers got eviscerated by the strength of the Dutton family and their supporters.
Tate is safely in his family's arms, and the family is working hard to get some semblance of normalcy again.
But no sooner have they cleared the horizon of one group of money-grabbing bastards than they discover they're plagued with others trying to change the beauty that is Montana.
Before they can get the monkeys off of their back, though, John Dutton has to resign from the Livestock Commissioner position.
For two seasons, John has had a lot of power in his community because of that position, but on Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 1, he realizes that he has plenty of control even without that seat.
I never wanted that office, Beth. I just wanted the control. I still have that.John
John's first inclination was for his youngest son to ascend to the position, but that's not where Kayce's heart lies. He's not a politician; he's a family man. But Beth put her money on Jamie with all of his charismatic ass-kissing to win over officials and ranchers alike.
It physically hurt John to invest in his son again, but his hands were tied. If they wanted to keep the position in the family, Jamie was the only alternative.
On his part, Jamie was trying hard to atone for his sins. Despite his advanced age (for a wrangler) and less-than ideal physical condition (he's an attorney!), Jamie was doing what he could to fit in and get the job done.
It's a lot to ask someone with a psyche as delicate as Jamie's to move in and out of roles, but one minute he was bailing hay, and the next, in all of his scruffy glory, he was representing his father to the governor and her cabinet.
Jamie's tail has been firmly planted between his legs as he tries to earn his father's trust again, but the jury is still out on whether he has any integrity to offer.
If John rolled his eyes at his son one more time, my mother would have told him they might get stuck that way.
But Jamie kept bringing up the issue of trust because he doesn't seem to understand his words are worthless without actions to support them.
Hopefully, we'll get more backstory on Jamie this season.
There are so many theories floating around about why he's the tortured soul that he is, so whether it's just a soft disposition that keeps him from earning his father's (and Beth's) favor or a secret regarding his paternity, it's time we learn about it.
Rainwater and Mo were quite impressed with John's decision to step down, leaving all that they had done right where it needed to stay -- between them.
Mo: How do you think this is gonna work out for him.
Rainwater: It depends on whether he's as smart as I think he is.
Mo: I watched him in a field. He had honor where most wouldn't.
Rainwater: What are you saying?
Mo: I'm saying maybe he's not the enemy we think he is.
Rainwater: When there's one thing that two men want, they can either share it or be enemies. Are you suggesting we share it?
Mo: Suggesting things isn't my job, Chairman. It's yours.
Mo offered offhand advice to Rainwater about the Duttons by planting the bug in Rainwater's ear that they all might not be as different as they thought.
With a new common enemy before them, it's becoming pretty clear that the people who own the land now and the people who once inhabited it might have a lot more in common than they care to admit.
Monica finally understands what Kayce tried to tell her about preserving their property. Outside, money-grubbing forces kidnapping her son opened her eyes.
Living with the family and being on the receiving end of John's generosity with family has given her a new outlook. While she could have held against them the terror that Tate suffered, instead, she's looking to John to help her son recover.
Monica realizes what the family are trying to preserve and how much it resembles the same thing her people have always wanted with the land. The Duttons are trying to preserve a way of life that many want to destroy.
And it was impossible for her not to see parallels to her people the more danger she experienced all in the hope of taking the land and razing it to the ground in the name of corporate profits.
Kayce used to tell me what a war it was for you keepin' this place. When this land belonged to my people a hundred and fifty years ago, children were stolen, men were killed, families herded away like cattle, and nothin's changed except you're the Indian now.Monica
She puts the blame for Tate's kidnapping right where it belongs, with corporate greed and the Beck Brothers, and she's putting her son's recovery into the man's hands on whose watch Tate was taken.
Not many people could have predicted that.
If nothing else, Monica has always known how Tate feels about John, but now that she's seen the lengths John will go to protect her son, she sees how his influence and a ceiling of stars will help Tate recover from his terrifying experience.
That responsibility fell squarely in John's hands, and with his masterful conversation, he even gave Tate the resources he needed to get through the night.
Children are very susceptible, and planting in him that he has control of his nightmares is a beautiful thing.
Ultimately, what Monica experienced has changed her at her very core. That was evident when she arrived on campus to a class full of students with their faces buried in their phones, ignoring each other and the beauty of the campus before them.
The world you live in is slowly shrinking. There's a tiny group of men who are buying it and stripping it naked and selling you what they extract. They're raping your world and selling you what they take. I mean, they sell you the water you drink, the air you breathe, and you line up for it like sheep. They will kill your brother, and steal your child, and pollute everything you love, and you'll never notice because you're so hypnotized by a world that doesn't exist. Man. What a waste of my fuckin' time.Monica
I wonder what that means for Monica's future in education. She took the job without a passion for the work, mainly to secure things for her and Tate so they didn't have to rely on Kayce.
But that was then, and now Monica trusts the family into which she married, and the bridges they're building seem strong.
Yellowstone Season 3 seems like a new beginning for Monica.
If Monica can stand with the Duttons after the trauma her immediate family has seen as others endeavor to get their hands on the Yellowstone property, then it's entirely possible that Rainwater and John can find a way to live amicably and share the land they all love so much.
Their land is more important than ever as outside forces try to impede their progress every step of the way.
If not for their need to take the cattle high up for the best feed, they might not have seen Ellis Steele and his band of merry businesspeople stomping much too close to the edge of their property.
And isn't it nice that Rip and Kayce are getting along, sharing their expertise with each other and leaning on one another so that the Yellowstone runs smoothly?
After the events of Yellowstone Season 2, Rip feels more secure in his place on the ranch. And John's faith in Rip inspires Kayce to work with Rip instead of in spite of him.
But they still have a lot to worry about. While Bob and Beth are buying as much land as they can, there are still great areas wide open for others to purchase and do with as they please.
It should be more difficult to change such splendor, but when the purse strings are open, people can be talked into doing just about anything.
I was a little confused about Bob's statement about easing off on the conversation liability.
What does he mean by bigger income on the horizon? Hopefully, Beth will not regret helping Bob. Is it possible that with the more land he owns, the greedier he could get?
That would be a nightmare for Beth, who stands proud on her own two feet.
Her encounter with the woman in the liquor store was telling.
Beth was victimized, and taking control to dispel that feeling is important to her, so she shared a little of her courage with the woman who was obviously being abused.
And while Beth and Rip are in a very good place, Roarke's introduction is worrisome.
Beth still fears getting too comfortable in a relationship. She needs sparks flying. She loves to toy with Rip and keep him guessing.
Rip has waited a long time for the woman he loves, and he seems ready to be in a real relationship without the games and pretense.
Still, he was incredibly turned on by Beth when she arrived to Christen his house.
She's everything he ever wanted in a woman. With as long as the two toyed with each other, are we absolutely certain she feel the same way?
Because the conversation, if you can call it that, between Beth and Roarke crackled.
They meet each other note for note and give as good as they get. He could spell trouble for her happiness.
After all, they say opposites attract, and Beth and Roarke might be too much alike to be tempted by the other. And with Rip, Beth has found a home.
As much as she likes to imagine life on the Yellowstone isn't what she ultimately wants, it's hard to imagine she will feel the comfort of Rip's arms and not want to stay there.
What are your thoughts on the Yellowstone Season 3 premiere?
Who do you think Ellis Steele represents, and what are their plans for the area?
What did you think about the way Monica is dealing with the trauma?
To see more of the story, you can watch Yellowstone online right here at TV Fanatic. I look forward to having a lot of good discussions about Yellowstone this summer, so let's get this party started!
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, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.