Yellowstone pulled out all the stops for its season four premiere, and fans were left in total shock after the unexpected death of a major character.
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The much-loved Paramount Network drama returned on Sunday evening with a two-hour special which finally revealed the aftermath of the explosive season three cliffhanger, which put several members of the Dutton family in fatal danger. While Josh, Beth, Kacey all survived their respective attacks, another character was not so so lucky and met their maker at the end of the episode.
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Antagonist Roarke, played by actor Josh Holloway, became the latest Yellowstone casualty. He found himself in a showdown with Cole Hauser's ruthless Rip who threw a venomous snake at him, which he had been concealing inside an ice cooler. After a bite straight to the face, Rourke could be seen collapsing before foaming at the mouth and turning lifeless.
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Viewers watching were left completely stunned by the surprise death which came out of nowhere. As one fan wrote on Twitter after the credits rolled: "WOW! What a season opener. So worth the wait and actually had me gawping at a few scenes. I really, really did not see THAT death coming!"
Roarke met his end in the season four premiere of Yellowstone
Someone else added: "Well I thought Roarke would last till the end of the season. That happened so quickly. He was only in it for about five minutes," and a third called the baddie's demise, "unexpected but welcome."
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It's not known why the former Lost star has departed the series and whether the decision was his or the writers; it could have been that Rourke's storyline had simply reached its logical conclusion or because the actor wanted to step away. Josh has been cast as the lead in the upcoming HBO Max series Duster, so that could explain his exit.
While fans bid farewell to Rourke in the premiere, they also welcomed a trio of new faces who will be popping up around the ranch quite a bit in the new episodes. Australian star Jacki Weaver, best known for her award-winning roles in Animal Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook, Coyote Ugly actress Piper Perabo and Nashville's Kathryn Kelly have all joined the cast in recurring roles this season.
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