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Spoilers for Season 3, Episode 7 of Yellowstone entitled “The Beating” are discussed below.
Yellowstone dealt a massive shocker to both Jamie and viewers when it was revealed that the Duttons adopted their second-eldest son. It took almost all of Episode 7 for the breadth of that revelation to wash over Jamie, who later confronted his father over the truth. Now, Kevin Costner is reflecting on John’s perspective on the bombshell and John and Jamie’s relationship.
When Jamie confronted John, the latter filled his son in on most of the details surrounding the Yellowstone secret. Jamie’s biological father killed his biological mother when Jamie was three-months-old, and after he went to prison for second-degree murder, Evelyn and John Dutton adopted Jamie. If you thought John would own up to never equally loving Jamie as Beth had affirmed to her father last season, think again. John was steadfast in defending himself as a loving father to Jamie, in spite of what might be considered evidence to the contrary, depending on how you look at it. For his part, Jamie seemed somewhat swayed by John’s impassioned speech.
Reflecting on John’s feelings towards Jamie, Kevin Costner told Yellowstone’s Behind the Story:
It’s really in my mind that when my wife was alive, I treated him no different. It doesn't mean I didn’t feel different, but I made a conscious effort to give him the same love and attention that his brother and sister did, and that had to do with my wife.
According to Kevin Costner, John Dutton feels as though there has been no difference in how he has treated Jamie versus the late Lee, Kayce, and Beth, at least when both parents were in the picture. I am sure that John believes that in his heart, but his eyes should tell him another story. Albeit Yellowstone did see John hold back from hurting Jamie after the reveal about what he did to Beth.
John recently learned that Jamie gave the okay for an unwitting Bet to undergo a hysterectomy as part of getting an abortion as a teen. How different would John’s reaction have been if Evelyn Dutton were still alive? Yellowstone viewers are unlikely to know unless a dream sequence around such a scenario were to get dramatized. Flashbacks have revealed that Evelyn was not the gentlest mother, after all, and the depth of her bond with Jamie is as yet unclear.
Evelyn did have a soft spot for Kayce, as evidenced in a story John told earlier this season. By my memory, Jamie has not shared any such heart-warming stories about his own childhood. Could John possibly hear Jamie’s side and be moved by it enough to accept that there's truth beyond his own? On how John handled parenting Jamie, Kevin Costner said:
But he was supported and Jamie's manufactured that I had never liked him, that I was never good to him, that's something that he's made up. My world was shaken up and how I dealt with things, I'm sure I dealt with him the same, but probably things started to bleed in. A level of bitterness and a resentment and he could've been the recipient of some of that. I do the very best I can for my children and if they want to tell me someday why I wasn't a great father, I guess I'll listen, but you know lots of luck to them. You know, when they try it themselves.
Interestingly, Jamie is on the precipice of learning this for himself. It has yet to get touched on during Season 3 of Yellowstone, but Jamie is secretly expecting a child with his ex-girlfriend, and the cost of having a relationship with that child, per their mother/Jamie’s ex, is choosing them over John. Will Jamie do that now?
Has John actually treated Jamie as well as he has Kayce, Beth, and Lee before his death? Kevin Costner has shared John’s clear perspective on his attempts at fatherhood, and to John’s credit, he has given Jamie a second chance after he betrayed his father on Yellowstone. Perhaps, that had to do with Jamie going above and criminally beyond to “correct” his course.
Jamie killed the reporter he had done the tell-all interview with about John to squash its release after she refused. After doing that on Yellowstone, John said that Jamie could have killed himself instead of Sarah to “right” things. Jamie went off to do just that when his father talked him down. From there, things seemed to improve between father and son.
Jamie got back in touch with wanting to work on the ranch, which he stepped away from (a bit willingly) after John called on Jamie to replace John as Livestock Commissioner. John did warn Jamie that one more betrayal would mean being dead to him, and viewers will have to see if the adoption bombshell pushes Jamie over the edge in that regard.
Do you think that John has treated Jamie as well as Beth and Kayce? Vote in the poll below to share your feelings on the topic. My personal opinion is that John may be blinded in some ways concerning how he has genuinely treated Jamie. His intentions might have been there, but I do not think he has been as forgiving of Jamie as he has Kayce.
It would be nice if Yellowstone surprised with the adoption revelation bringing John and Jamie closer together. I just do not see it happening at the moment. Jamie has reasons for why he feels alienated by John, and I do not think either party is all-wrong in their opinion about the relationship. It does need mending, though.
Find out how John and Jamie move past the adoption bombshell when new episodes of Yellowstone air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount Network. After Season 3 finishes airing, this fall’s premieres will arrive to keep fans busy entertained as they wait for Season 4. You can check out John and Jamie’s past blow-ups by binge-watching the first two seasons on NBCUniversal’s new streamer, Peacock.