Big Sky needs to tone it on down on the “big” when it comes to its plot.
The promos for Deadly Trails hooked audiences because they provided one singular focus—a mystery involving a Sunny Barnes’ camping adventure where hikers go missing under mysterious circumstances.
It felt like the series was hitting refresh after two thrilling yet muddled seasons. Unfortunately, the writers seem to be repeating the mistakes of the past, packing all too much into one season in a way that’s overwhelming for audiences.
There’s the mystery of Mark, the hiker that we saw fall off of a cliff when he encountered Walter, a strange man, at the top of Deadman’s Drop. The beginning of the episode reveals that Walter, a recluse who lives in the woods, informs his mother about Mark, claiming he accidentally fell from a cliff. She goes into protective mama bear mode, telling Walt she’ll handle it, but when she’s alone with Mark, she just lets him die a slow and agonizing death. When Cassie and Beau come around investigating, she pretends that she knows nothing about Mark’s whereabouts when that’s clearly not the case.
There’s also the mystery surrounding the campers at Sunny’s, including Paige and Luke, a couple who clearly didn’t mesh well when it came to vacation plans. After the premiere, it seemed as though they simply didn’t see eye to eye about glamping, but a little time in the woods is beginning to unravel them as they mention that they are hiding out until the money comes in. Paige even mentions that Luke would be in jail for what happened. The campers at home base get concerned when Paige and Luke don’t come back, but it’s even more concerning that Luke grabs a rock after he gets into a fight with Paige and attempts to choke her.
When Emily, Beu’s daughter who is camping with her stepdad Asher, sets out to find the missing couple, she sees Luke covered in blood and makes a run for it. It’s good podcast material… if she survives. The teaser also talks about a missing woman from Sunny Day Camp, which could be Paige or Emily. Did Luke do something to Paige? Or was she the dangerous one since she threatened to kill him if he ever laid hands on her again?
There’s also Asher, who didn’t seem suspicious at first, but he started becoming way too invested in Paige and Luke’s relationship, even sniffing around their room and finding a gun in Paige’s duffel. Why would she leave that behind? Why did she have it in the first place?
There are clearly a lot of concerning things happening at Sunny Day Campgrounds, and it doesn’t seem to be a first. Sunny is great at burying her secrets, but it does make me wonder if Mark’s death at Deadman’s Drop is connected to the case Denise mentions from 20 years ago, And was Walt responsible?
Sunny seems to have everyone fooled, but Cormac hesitated when he stumbled upon his mother in the woods and questioned her carefree plan to find the troubled lovebirds. Does he know something he’s not letting on? Is he aware of Walt? Or is Walt a child from a previous relationship?
Jenny and Beau also team up to deal with a squatter situation at one of Tonya’s properties. They encounter Donno manhandling Jef with one F, who isn’t exactly forthcoming about his true identity or why he’s living inside the home. Jenny arrests him, along with Donno and another drunk that they pick up on the side of the road, who actually attempts to assassinate Jef. Donno and Jenny save the day, and while I know Jenny does a good amount of kicking butt in this scene, Donno is such a gem. I can see why they chose not to write him out. He brings a sort of flair to the series that continues to be interesting even as he tries to walk a straight and narrow path these days,
Anyway, the near-attack forces Jef to come clean about what’s really going on—he’s a whistleblower for Redmond, a jet company that’s allowing a fleet that failed inspection to hit the skies, putting all of their passengers in danger. Since he knows too much, they want him dead. Jenny persuades him to go into Witness Protection, but the agent that comes to get him raises some red flags. Technically, it all checks out, but Jenny and Beau have played this game before, so they send Poppernak to make sure that Jef gets to safety. When they see Weaver’s car divert from the road to the airport, they leap into action, saving Jef in the knick of time. They also find Camille, the CEO’s executive assistant that went missing, hiding in the basement ready to corroborate Jef’s story. It’s unclear why this new storyline was introduced, but it does beg the question: how does it connect to the hikers at Sunny Day Camp?
Also, did anyone else catch the subtle nod to Jensen Ackles’ Supernatural character when Beau gives Cassie bread and salt as a housewarming gift to “fend off the demons?” Classic.
Does Asher work for this company? Are Paige and Luke somehow involved?
And if Walt didn’t kill Mark, why is Sunny so eager to cover for him? Has this happened before? What’s her story?
Do you think there are too many threads to follow this season when it should have been more simplified?
Share your thoughts about the episode in the comments below!
Will There Be a Season 4 of ‘Big Sky’?
Big Sky ended on a high note on Wed, Jan. 18, wrapping up a whirlwind season filled with murder, mystery, and deception.
And naturally, fans are already craving more, especially as each season of the series delves into a new storyline centered in Helena, Montana, and involving Dewell & Hoyt’s Cassie Dewell and Jenny Hoyt.
Unfortunately, ABC decided not to renew Big Sky for a fourth season.
In terms of ratings, the series kept steady with 2.4 million viewers and a 0.2 demo, which seemingly wasn’t enough to convince the network despite a very dedicated fan base and some A-list actors joining in the third season, including Reba McEntire and Jensen Ackles.
The third season wrapped up many lingering storylines, giving fans closure to the mystery plaguing the season, however, there’s always more to explore when it comes to the dynamics between the core characters. And something tells me, there’s no shortage of criminal activity in Helena.
While Cassie and Cormac finally made things official, fans were likely hoping to see a bit more romance for Jenny and Ackles’ Beau. The show has been toying with their chemistry, sparking a “will they or won’t they” debate, but when it finally came down to solidifying their relationship, they left it open-ended.
When TV Insider asked Ackles if he’d return for a fourth season, he explained, “I don’t know. They haven’t even picked up the show yet for Season 4, so I don’t know if anybody’s coming back for Season 4 yet. That’s above my pay grade.”
However, he added, “But if they do decide to pick up a Season 4 — which I would hope they would, I think the show’s really great, and I think it’s got a lot of story left to tell — I don’t know. They had me for one season. They were probably like, well, let’s just bring him in for one, and we’ll see how it goes, and then we’ll go from there. So they’re waiting to hear what happened with the show, and then they’ll probably talk to [showrunner] Elwood [Reid] and try to figure out what to do with the characters, those that are returning and those that they want to return.”
It was fun while it lasted, I guess. Keep the good times rolling by reading our review of the Big Sky Season 3 finale right here.
Big Sky Season Finale Review – That Old Feeling (313)
And just like that, Big Sky brought another absolutely bonkers season to a close.
Big Sky Season 3 Episode 13 picked up with the hunt for Buck (Rex Linn), who kidnapped Denise and Emily and was holding them hostage as leverage.
The whole kidnapping storyline with the women trapped in a trailer was reminiscent of Big Sky Season 1, bringing everything full circle and subtly reminding viewers of what drew us to this series in the first place.
Buck sent us all on a frustrating goose chase. The old man had nothing to lose, which made things all the more difficult, but there’s no denying that the unhinged man who was also badly injured should’ve been taken down way sooner. It was annoying to see him wield the upper hand just as it was tiring to see him overpower person after person who got in his way or tried to stop him. Killing one innocent bystander was fine, but in his state, he shouldn’t have been able to overpower Walter or Beau.
Though, I guess when you have the streak of a cold-blooded killer, it’s different. Buck went off the deep end, and there was no bringing him back. And with the way he was just snapping necks left and right, you’d think this was an episode of The Vampire Diaries.
Buck thought he was playing the long game, but he underestimated Sunny. He tried to manipulate her by using the love that they once had for each other, but it didn’t work. While she was his blind spot, Sunny no longer saw him as the man she married—all she saw was a liar who broke her heart in unimaginable ways. He was convinced that she was on his side after everything he’d done—it was evident when he told her to “shoot them” right before she shot him in the heart. Poetic.
The thing about Sunny is that she always has a plan. It wasn’t a smart plan throwing Walter to the wolves, but I guess she felt as though she owed him this much. And when she realized that Buck was like a cat with nine lives, she knew the only way to make sure he never hurt anyone again was to take the shot, even if it meant that she’d spend the rest of her life in prison. Honestly, something tells me she’s going to really thrive there. She’s resourceful and not above getting her hands dirty.
Sunny may have been fed up with Buck for lying to her and turning her against Walter (because he knew exactly who Buck was), the last straw was when Buck bashed Walter’s head and nearly killed him. At that point, Sunny knew that he was unpredictable and she’d never be safe, despite his promises that he’d never hurt her. If that was true, he wouldn’t have messed up their lives and attacked her boy.
No one even blamed Sunny for what she did as both Jenny and Cassie acknowledged that they’d likely make the same choice if they were in her shoes. Sunny may have been questionable throughout the season, but she came through when it mattered.
Buck and Sunny left behind a trail of victims—thankfully Emily and Denise weren’t included—but the biggest one had to be Cormac. Not only was his whole life a lie, but he found out that his father was one of the worst serial killers of his time, found out that he had a brother, and lost both of his parents in one fell swoop.
And he was crucial in helping Cassie locate Emily and Denise by leading her to a cabin where he used to camp with his dad. It’s a chilling thought to know that Cormac was present for so many of his father’s crimes as a child without even knowing it.
If it hadn’t been for Cormac, however, there’s a huge possibility that the women would’ve never been found. I know that in many cases, loved ones don’t get such good news, but I’m glad Beau didn’t have to endure the pain of losing his child. He went through a father’s worst nightmare when Emily was kidnapped, feeling as though he failed to protect his daughter, and it was painful to watch him feel so helpless.
While I don’t think that Beau was in the right headspace to make his romantic feelings known to Jenny, the series has been playing the “will they or won’t they” game the whole season, so I wish we got some kind of moment. However, it’s understandable that Beau simply needed time to process; he was in a fragile place and needed a friend more than anything.
He went through a rollercoaster of emotions, which were topped off by Carla’s announcement that she’s returning to Houston and taking Emily with her. It’s a bummer to lose Emily because I feel like she was such a great intern for Dewell and Hoyt, but it makes sense that her mother doesn’t want her to have anything to do with it after what transpired.
Plus, the fact that he has no plans to reunite with his wife may just be the sign we need that he’s considering pursuing something romantic with Jenny. And the hand holding definitely solidified their feelings. Both of them deserve happiness, so I’m hoping they find it with each other.
As for Cormac, it’s a good thing he had Cassie in his life, who seemingly even got his mom’s blessing as she asked the detective to “keep an eye out on her son” while she was in prison. Cassie was also on hand to support him when he finally met his half-brother, which is likely a moment Sunny dreamt of for quite a long time. Walter didn’t end up being this season’s monster as we all thought in the begging, but there’s still something off about him. It takes a monster to be able to identify a monster, and I’m not convinced that Walter was completely innocent. The series also gave Paige closure as she popped into the hospital to “thank” Walter for allowing her to escape this hellish nightmare and giving her another shot at life. She’s one of the few that made it out semi-unscathed.
Since the series tackles new mysteries each season, they also put to rest Tonya and Donno’s storyline. The good news is–Donno lived. The bad news is that he’s in a wheelchair, which kind of feels like necessary karma for all the terrible things he’s done. And still, I have a soft spot for him, and his cozy friendship with Tonya has been the highlight of the season. They weren’t exactly pivotal to the storylines, but I’m glad the writers saw value in them and did their best to keep them around. They’ll always have a presence in Helena, so it’s wise to keep them looped in. And they may just be the richest people in town now that Tonya managed to cap the $15 million! I hope they finally hit pause on their life of crime and actually just live.
And that’s that, friends. Cassie and Jenny are Helena’s monster slayers, bringing justice to the worst of the worst like Ronald Pergman and Buck Barnes.
What did you think of the season?
Big Sky Part 1 Season Finale Review – Are You Mad? (312)
Big Sky is pulling out all the stops for its two-part season finale.
This season has been a beautiful mess, with one intriguing and twisted mystery after the other.
And somehow, they had us all thinking that Emily and Denise were kidnapped by the men coming after Avery. Oh, how naive of us.
The series pulled off the mother of plot twists, shocking even Beau Arlen himself, when it was revealed that the kidnapper was Buck Barnes.
Of course, Buck would survive the whole ordeal with Paige. I was naive to think that she had succeeded in killing an evil man.
While Paige managed to get herself to safety, so did Buck, and when Jenny, Cassie, and Beau finally located the bunker in the woods, it was Buck-less.
They did, however, find themselves completely disturbed by the hearts in jars, proving once and for all that Buck is the Bleeding Heart Murderer.
Sunny was shocked to learn all about her husband’s dark side, or, at the very least, she wanted everyone to believe she was shocked. But somehow, I’m not buying it. I don’t believe that she didn’t know anything about it, especially when Walter revealed that he told her that he’d seen Buck the night of Blaire Lucan’s murder.
Who would have thought that after everything, Walter would’ve turned out to be the normal one? Upon finding Paige alive at Sunny’s wielding a huge kitchen knife and covered in blood, the police released Walter. And while he didn’t kill Paige, didn’t they find out that he did murder his foster parents? How was he able to walk free? And what about Luke? Are we just going to forget about him? My guess is that Buck also killed him, but why hasn’t that been made clear?
Walt realized that this whole time, his mother made him feel like he was different and dangerous when in reality, she and Buck were the rotten apples. He said his goodbyes, which didn’t sit well with Sunny, but I doubt that their paths will diverge for long as they’re both going to be motivated to find Buck now that they know he’s alive.
Walter will want revenge for what Buck did to Paige, while Sunny, well, I have no idea what card Sunny is going to play now. She’s always been loyal to Buck, but she’s also a force, so I feel like she might finally do the right thing once she realizes Buck kidnapped the Sheriff’s daughter.
Throughout all of this—and while injured—Buck still managed to kill another innocent victim. Gabriel, much like the Mark the hiker, was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was heartbreaking to see his dog, Lulu, whimper and stay behind with the body after witnessing such brutality.
But for now, enough about Buck as he’s going to be the star of the second half of the season finale.
The first half tied up the whole $15 million/Avery storyline with a bloodbath. Avery, Tonya, and Donno showed up for their meeting with Tony, but things took quite a nasty turn. Avery should’ve known better than to get into bed with a bunch of reckless criminals, but by being greedy, he sealed his own fate. There was no way he was going to get out of this alive. He was constantly in way over his head, and as Beau explained, he thought he was smarter than everyone else, which was his biggest flaw.
The moment he gave up his control of the money, Tony shot him dead. Rest In Peace, Avery.
Avery wasn’t the only one who let greed get the best of him as Tonya’s money-hungry ways led to Donno’s untimely death. I know that Donno was a terrible person who killed people for a living, but god, his death was a gut punch. He went out in a blaze of glory. How is it possible that the sweetest love story coming out of season 3 was between Tonya and Donno? The kiss broke my heart!
In the end, they all lost.
Other Notable Moments
- Jenny put her full support behind Beau to help him find his daughter. Her feelings for him are evident, even though this definitely ins’t the right time. However, with Avery out of the picture and Beau going the extra mile to protect his girls, does Jenny stand a shot against Carla?
- Carla truly is a boss babe. She may have been terrified, but she didn’t let on in the slightest when confronting her stalker.
- Cormac finally found out the truth about his family, and I feel for that boy. His whole life has been a lie, he has a half brother he never knew about, and his dad is a serial killer. And now that he knows it, it jogged a traumatizing memory of when he was a kid and sort of witnessed his dad commit the crimes. He’s going to need a lot of therapy.
- I really bet all those people wished they’d never went glamping.
It’s unclear why Buck kidnapped Denise/Emily, though it definitely seems like he’s not even doing anything with a purpose anymore. He kills for the thrill of it—and he found two people that would motivate everyone to hunt him down.
Will they get to Emily and Denise in time? Will Buck finally get what’s coming to him? The second half of the season finale airs next Wednesday!
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