Welcome to the Montana reimagined by David E. Kelley.
Kelley is the man who brought you Big Little Lies, so the expectations were high for Big Sky on ABC.
The series delivered a solid pilot episode with plenty of jaw-dropping moments mixed with some soapier moments to lighten the mood a bit. After all, this is a show where the central mystery is the kidnapping of two young women who run into car troubles.
The episode doesn’t start off too menacingly as it focuses on establishing the relationships between the characters.
And when I say things are complicated, I’m talking love-triangle complicated.
Jenny Hoyt finds out that her bestie and co-worker at the private investigator firm, Cassie, is sleeping with her maybe ex-husband, Cody. I say maybe ex because Cassie swears that Cody told her things were over between them, while Jenny was under the impression that they were “working things out.”
And Cody, who seems to be the embodiment of self-destructive, seems just about fine sleeping with both of them and doesn’t truly know what he wants out of life.
While their personal lives seem to be quite a mess, the show establishes early on that each of these characters is not only cutthroat and dedicated to their craft, but they also have kids, which makes a case of missing women something they become personally invested in.
In a different vein, we meet Ronald Pergman (and how great is it that Brian Geraghty finally got a solid role? Though, after this, I don’t think I’ll ever look at him the same way!), a 38-year-old truck driver who still lives with his momma.
His mom is overbearing, calls him “boo boo,” and takes any chance to point out that he’s a failure in life, so naturally, audiences feel for Ronald.
However, any and all sympathy we may have felt for Ronald fades rather quickly when he picks up a sex worker at a truck stop, seduces her, and then tasers her.
Turns out, Ronald isn’t the kind of man his mother thinks her is.
The whole scene, even prior to Ronald revealing that he’s an absolute creep, gave me such weird vibes, so props need to be given to Geraghty for naling the essence of the character.
The audience is led to believe that Ronald killed the prostitute as we see her wrapped up in plastic in the back of his truck, but it’s unclear what his intentions are until his nasty run-in with Danielle and Grace, two sisters making the trek from Colorado to Montana.
The sisters make the mistake of taking a deserted road to get to their destination to avoid a pile-up on the highway. After a road-rage incident with Ronald, he finds their car broken down and attacks them with, you guessed it, a taser.
Big Sky has taken a different approach than we’ve seen in other thrillers by revealing the killer/kidnapper early on. The mystery goes from wanting to know who is behind the crimes — though Jenny and Cassie will still have to work that one out — to finding out what Ronald’s intentions are.
It doesn’t seem as though he fits a serial killer profile since he doesn’t kill any of the women (yes, even the prostitute ends up alive, and I know you jumped at that scene) even though it may have seemed like the easier alternative. This means there’s a reason he wants them alive.
At one point, it seems as though the women might outsmart and overpower him, but he still manages to take them down.
And once they regain consciousness, they’re chained up in some lair and wondering, much like the audience, what his next move will be.
Is Ronald more into psychological mind games?
Justin, Danielle’s boyfriend, informs his parents, Jenny and Cody about his missing girlfriend and they leap into action.
Cody’s secretary connects him with Montana’s Sheriff, Rick, who we meet briefly in a pretty strange scene where he makes a sex analogy to help a man in a Tesla out of a ditch. Something immediately feels off about Rick, but a later scene of him eating dinner at home seems to prove that he’s just a quirky, small-town man.
Though, the fact that he calls his wife “mother” should have been the second telling sign.
She’s practically beginning for a divorce when he gets a call about the missing women, but again, we brush it off as Rick being a man that’s just too preoccupied with his job and neglecting his wife.
Once Cody and Rick connect, he immediately talks about sending him information about a local church that may be involved because “this has happened here before.”
Again, we should have seen the signs, but instead, we trusted Rick because he’s a Sheriff.
This leads us to an uneasy scene where Cody and Rick are about to embark on a journey together. Rick is making some quirky comments, Cody is ready to get on with, and then bam, Rick shoots Cody point-blank and presumably kills him.
Anyone who was tuning in solely because of Ryan Phillippe — the show’s star power — likely reacted the same way: jaw-drop.
Also, the fact that Rick is calling Ronald sloppy while coming out of the car covered in another man’s blood is truly a sight to behold.
Big Sky’s pilot episode delivered a major shock in the final moments of the episode by not only killing Phillippe (who seemed so central to the plot) but by also revealing that Rick is in cahoots with Ronald.
Now, Rick likely thought Cody was working on this alone, so it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out once Jenny and Cassie realize Cody is missing and connect it to Rick.
With its Montana scenery, Geraghty’s truly traumatizing portrayal, and that shocking twist, did the pilot hook you enough to make you want to come back for more? ABC surely hopes so.
In the time of COVID where primetime TV pickings are slim, I think Big Sky is a promising pilot.
What do you think Rick and Ronald are doing with these women?
Are they just into kidnapping them to exert some power? Is it a sex trafficking ring? Do they murder them?
And who else is in on it? If Rick was in cahoots with Ronald, there may be others who are involved!
Big Sky Winter Finale Review – A Good Day to Die (1×05)
Just a mere five episodes into Big Sky, the series is going on a hiatus.
My biggest gripe with the episode throughout much of the hour was that not much was progressing in terms of storyline, but that all changed in those final few seconds of the winter finale.
Yes, a bit of backstory was revealed and the tides were changing between Rick and Ronald, but other than that, Cassie and Jenny were still hitting dead ends despite being hot on the trail of the missing girls.
It was frustrating to say the least, but then, something amazing happened — the series took a much-needed turn and raised the stakes.
The Big Sky pilot was proof that this show isn’t afraid of killing off characters, which either means it’ll be a short-lived series or the writers and producers have a good game plan in place. Let’s hope its the latter.
Since day one, Rick hid behind the “Sheriff” persona because no one would ever question someone that decorated. He abused the badge and he abused his power, and through it all, he convinced himself that he was some kind of American hero.
Rick had an ego-complex and even in his final moments, when he was pinned against a wall, he genuinely thought that he could weasel his way out of the kidnapping by gaslighting Cassie. It’s the same erratic behavior he displayed when they closed in on him at the shed and he began to deflect and bring up Cassie’s personal failures to get the heat off of himself.
It’s a good tactic, but not one that works on strong-willed women who see past the bullshit. And that’s what made Cassie’s shot so brilliant. She was relentless in her quest to find the missing girls, and even more relentless in her pursuit to prove that Rick was the responsible party.
She didn’t fall for his party tricks and clever words. But he totally underestimated her and her abilities. When she shot him, she shot to kill. Just like he shot Cody!
— Big Sky (@BigSkyABC) December 16, 2020
Of course, there was no reason for her not to. Yes, Rick could have played the “I just came to rescue these girls” card, but that would have been easily debunked by the very fact that this closed bar was “his” known hangout spot.
And let’s not forget the girls who would testify against him.
This was a dead-end for Rick. He would’ve been better off just accepting it.
However, the shot could have also been the series shooting itself in the foot because… what happens next?
Killing Rick makes every other storyline that was introduced pointless. They found the fisherman’s truck near the storage unit. Who cares? Rick’s dead.
There’s no point in caring about his relationship with Merilee anymore, or the fact that he wanted to be a better husband, because he’s dead. And he’ll never find out that Ronald was macking on his wife — though, I would have liked to see his reaction to that.
The search for Cody is less of a priority because the killer is dead. And all of those flashback scenes have contributed nothing to the story.
Rick’s death kills so many other storylines that it truly makes you wonder what the series has planned next.
Depending on who arrives at the bar next, things can get a bit murky. Is it whoever Rick called to get rid of the girls? Is it Ronald? Is it Jenny, who said she was on her way?
That is unless Rick doesn’t actually die. The chances are slim, but if anyone was going to survive that, it would be a misogynistic ass like Rick.
One of the better parts of the episode was some backstory that gave us insight into Rick and Ronald’s relationship, specifically, how they met. In previous reviews, I mentioned that it was hard to understand their dynamic since we didn’t know how they got into this “business” in the first place.
And while I never want to call someone responsible for a kidnapping a victim, but in a way, Ronald was also Rick’s victim.
Rick hunted him down and called him out on his sexual weakness – which is a whole other story itself – and then basically didn’t give him much of an option but to join this crusade of “cleaning up America” by selling prostitutes. The justification is a stretch, but Rick seemed to think he was doing the world a favor and helping these women and managed to convince Ronald of the same.
Because of this, Ronald has never truly gotten the help he so badly needs to deal with his sexual compulsions.
And honestly, his mother is at fault here for knowing that he’s a pervert and staying silent.
Of course, Rick is the guy to blame the women for engaging in these acts rather than the men who can’t seem to keep it in their pants, which also just tells us everything we need to know about the Sheriff. Good riddance.
With Rick now out of the picture, it’s unclear what the future holds for Ronald. Does he get a clean break? Will he somehow get wrapped up into this mess? Will further investigations into Rick reveal his connection to Ronald?
Will Ronald’s mother finally come clean and stop contributing to the problem?
Will Cassie and Jenny continue investigating to find all the other missing girls? Because at this point, that’s the only way I can see this show continuing on.
There’s also the whole creepy situation with Merilee and Ronald. She’s clearly smitten by him and likes the attention he’s giving her, but what she fails to realize is that she’s simply attracted to toxic men.
However, with Rick dead, I could care less what happens to Merilee, so there’s that. I’m just glad she didn’t get whacked with the hammer, though, Rick really considered it for a hot minute.
While the series exceeds with delivering big punches that are jaw-dropping and unexpected, it’s simply hard to see how it will sustain itself. The fact that it hailed from the creator of Big Little Lies was promising, but honestly, aside from those unexpected moments, there aren’t many redeeming qualities.
The only good part about the series is seeing how the girls have bonded in captivity. They’re fearless and strong and supportive of each other. While it’s Grace that was always the kickass one standing up to Rick and Ronald, Danielle really came through by calling out Ronald for doing this because he was rejected in high school.
Cassie and Jenny may have been breaking the rules to find them, but Jerrie, Danielle, and Grace’s will to survive has also been instrumental.
What did you think of the winter finale?
Big Sky Review – One Step Closer to the Truth (1×04)
The Sullivan girls have been missing for 4 days now, and everyone is feeling the weight of this case on Big Sky Season 1 Episode 4, particularly Ronald and Rick.
You know we’ve reached a turning point when partners begin turning on each other. Rick even called Ronald a “loose end” while he contemplated taking him out of the equation. We’re awfully close to an “every man for himself” situation.
Rick is doing his best to get the scent off of them, but Jenny and Cassie are not stepping off that gas pedal. They may not be “cops” cops, but the law needs dedicated detectives like them because honestly, I don’t see anyone else taking this case seriously!
Sure, we finally (after four episodes) saw Grace and Danielle’s mother make a public plea to find her girls, but other than that, there hasn’t been urgency from any other units.
Walter only intervened and questioned Rick at Jenny’s behest, which leaves Jenny and Cassie as the only two people actively looking for the girls and Cody. Without any additional support, it’s not surprising that they keep bending the rules to get answers.
In kidnapping situations, time is money.
Rick isn’t only a murderer and an asshole, he’s also a racist who tried to use the victim card to pull the attention off of himself. I think I speak for everyone when I say absolutely no one was shocked by this development.
I’m surprised that Walter didn’t figure out something was up by Rick’s feeble attempt at distraction. His rant about police being targeted by bigots was made only more suspicious by his lack of empathy or care for the missing women also raised a few flags.
Again… where is the concern for these girls and Cody? How is no one else connecting truck drivers?
Attention to detail is one thing, but going the extra mile even if it involves doing something illegal is clearly paying off for Cassie and Jenny, even if they aren’t completely aware.
The tracker they pinned on Rick’s car led them to the barn in the middle of nowhere. Sadly, they didn’t find the girls and gave up after searching a few rooms of junk.
Don’t they know you’re always supposed to look for hidden floorboards and secret rooms?! My guess is that they’re going to arrive at the barn with backup, but by that point, Rick and Ronald will have moved the girls from the underground truck.
Even though they weren’t successful in finding the girls this time, you have to admire Cassie’s gut feeling because so far, it hasn’t steered her wrong.
She may be shaken up by this case, and the prospect of losing Cody may have brought up the death of her mother and husband, but she’s still thinking more clearly than anyone else on this show! She’s damn good at her job!
BIG SKY – “Unfinished Business” – Unsatisfied with the investigation now that the girls’ disappearance has made headlines, Cassie and Jenny take things into their own hands, tapping into their individual strengths to make headway in the case. Meanwhile, Legarski attempts to keep cool, but Ronald takes a different approach to protecting himself. Still captive, Danielle and Jerrie tend to Grace, who makes a painful decision in an attempt to save them all, on an all-new “Big Sky,” TUESDAY, DEC 8 (10:00-11:01 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC/Darko Sikman)
KYLIE BUNBURY, RYAN PHILLIPPEAnd thanks to her flashbacks, we were given a teeny-tiny appearance from Ryan Phillippe!
I’m not sure what game Ronald is playing at with Rick’s wife Merrilee. He’s lonely, sure, but he targeted and pursued her only after telling Rick that he’ll do whatever is necessary.
This is about more than just dancing. Does he want to get close to Merrilee? Did he want to seduce her? Did he think that if Rick saw his wife was exploring the option of having an affair, he’d slip up and kill her? Because he just might. I had to rewind my DVR a few times, but yep, it’s confirmed that he was walking upstairs with a hammer!
He made it seem as though he regretted killing two people to cover up this mess, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about killing his wife. This man is even more unhinged than we thought!
And that poor woman who was constantly begging for his attention finally found a way to enjoy herself without him, and she might die because of it. Let’s hope she sleeps with a taser!
It would be pretty reckless of Rick to kill his wife and bring all that attention onto himself.
His whole relationship with Merrilee is confusing, but it’s not the only one.
It’s unclear where Rick and Ronald’s motivation stems from mainly due to the lack of knowledge about their character’s.
We see bits and pieces, but none of them make much sense in the terms of bigger picture. We don’t know why Rick and Ronald teamed up or how long they’ve been involved in sex trafficking.
It’s also hard to grasp the relationship between Ronald and his mother. Since she flat-out asked Ronald if he had anything to do with the missing girls, it means she wouldn’t put this kind of behavior past him. What does she know?
What was that comment about kidnapping coinciding with his urges? And why didn’t she even flinch when he spilled cereal on her head?
We’ve known the two have a strange dynamic, but this just took it to new heights. I was convinced we’d see Ronald kill his mother before we saw Rick kill his wife, but that might not be the case.
Grace is a true gem. Despite the circumstances and the fact that she’s running a fever from her leg infection, she still has so much fight left in her. (Also, the maggots scene was vomit-inducing!).
She’s the glue holding them all together. But her feistiness is very clearly going to be an issue for Rick. He thinks unloading them to a Canadian syndicate is the answer, but they aren’t going to go down without a fight. Grace will seek out help at the first chance she gets.
And it begs the question — how does Rick plan on silencing the girls since they’ve seen both of their faces and could very well identify them in a lineup?
Next week is the winter finale of Big Sky, so hopefully, things start to become clearer and Cassie and Jenny actually make some headway before they start feeling crazy.
Also, what’s the deal with Denise? Is she just a stickler for rules or is purposefully trying to steer Cassie and Jenny in the wrong direction? She’s been on my radar since the very beginning, but if she was truly working with Rick, I don’t think she’d have given them the location of the farm. Maybe we’ve misjudged her?!
What did you think of this week’s episode of Big Sky?
What are you hoping for the winter finale? Let us know in the comments!
Big Sky Review – The Great Escape (1×03)
“You kidnapped the wrong girls.”
Not only is that the quote of the year, but it’s also the understatement of the year. I’m surprised that Rick Legarski continues to be involved with this situation knowing just how badly Ronald botched it up on Big Sky Season 1 Episode 3.
Think about it (and not that I’m rooting for Rick here at all, but he seems like the brains of the operation), if Legarski just started ignoring Ronald, he could wash his hands of the whole situation. He could at least try to pretend to help Jenny and Cassie instead of coming up with some lame excuse about worrying about his pension. The best-case scenario for him is that he leads them down the wrong path, the worst-case is that they catch onto Ronald. Even if Ronald talked, the chances of someone believing a somewhat deranged truck driver over a “respected” Sheriff that’s squeaky clean would be slim-to-none, regardless of Cassie’s “bad feeling about him.”
But instead, he exposed himself to all three girls, particularly Grace, who can now identify him if they’re ever rescued. Both Rick and Ronald are being sloppy in trying to fix their mess.
The truth is that they are in way over their heads here and have no plan — they can’t let them go without incriminating themselves, but they also don’t want to kill them.
Rick and Ronald have never been involved in a “kidnapping” kidnapping. Their operations always seem to involve selling off women into trafficking, particularly women who don’t have anyone looking for them, and never thinking about them again.
But they can’t sell two wholesome girls that have a whole search time without raising any flags. Especially since they’ve already raised so many flags.
Cassie has made it clear that Rick is her prime suspect even though she has zero credible evidence. I love that she’s not backing down, even when Rick tries to spin some tale about being a good and respect cop. She is not fooled and she doesn’t care if he knows it. And while Rick isn’t letting on, her intimidation tactic is getting to him.
To be honest, I’m impressed with the intuition that all these women have. Not one of them, Cassie or Grace for now, have come across Rick and been fooled by his uniform; their gut tells them that something’s off and they listen to it.
At this point, it’s even worse for Rick and Ronald because Cassie and Jenny motivated by their personal quest to find out what happened to Cody. It’s such a bummer how little Ryan Phillippe we get in this show that hinged its promotion on Ryan Phillippe. I’m still not over his death on Big Sky Season 1 Episode 1.
The pace ticked up a bit this week with Grace’s bold yet disgusting escape. She really is a trooper for climbing into the drainage system.
Grace is nifty, brilliant, and brave, but even with all that determination fueling her, there was too much working against her, particularly knowledge of the area and a cop with a vehicle.
If Rick hadn’t found her, she would have definitely been able to get help from the fisherman, but sadly, it ended with Rick raising his body count as she was tossed back into the underground truck. And even after being shot twice, the girl still had fight left in her.
Also, can anyone tell me where he got that acid in the middle of the forest?
Law enforcement hasn’t been much help for Cassie and Jenny as it has been less than 48 hours, which means the girls aren’t even officially declared missing. Imagine how much more difficult it’s going to be for Ronald and Rick once the general public begins looking for these women!
The teaser for next week shows Cassie and Jenny planting a tracking device on Rick’s vehicle, which leads them right to the barn, but if I know anything about procedural shows, something will prevent them from finding the girls.
Thus far, much of the episode is spent in the present, and we’ve yet to fully dive into Ronald or Rick’s background too much. We know both men have issues with the females in their lives — Rick with his wife and Ronald with his overbearing mommy — but how does that play into their “career path.” What makes Ronald’s mother question if he had anything to do with the girls’ disappearance in next week’s teaser?
And how did “Big Rick,” who swore he always did the right and moral thing, end up in sex trafficking anyway? Also does he not take care of any other business, or work with anyone else? I know he’s a Sheriff, but how is he just able to come and go as he pleases? Are there no other crimes in Montana?
We also haven’t seen the girls’ mother/parents, which I’ve found odd. Jenny briefly mentioned being on the phone with Grace and Danielle’s mother, but you would think they would be in town looking for their kids and raising hell when the cops refuse to assist. Make it make sense.
Do you think the Church of Glory and Transcendence was just a red flag or are they somehow connected? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a cult-like church that essentially marries off young women to older men was mentioned during talks of sex trafficking. William Edwards did seem to “know” that the Sheriff was always “up to something,” but it’s unclear if the two are connected at this point.
- Why did Ronald’s tooth come out? Is he sick? I can’t see that happening from a single punch!
- Grace did all that for them, and yet Danielle and Jerrie can’t come up with successful sneak attack? It’s two against one! Danielle keeps saying she’s just the pretty face, but I’m going to need her to step it up!
- I said it before but it needs to be said, the receptionist, Denise, who gave them Rick’s number is shady.
Big Sky had a captivating pilot, but the fact that we’re asking so many questions means one of two things… either ABC has a compelling mystery-driven thriller on their hands or the show is losing steam quickly. Despite the rollercoaster of emotions and the palm-sweating anxiety, the fact that there’s been zero character development since the first episode makes me think it’s the latter.
It’s unfortunate because they have some promising female leads and some great material to work that could make bold, necessary statements in terms of sex trafficking, cult-y churches, corrupt law enforcement, transgender issues, and more.
But the bottom line is that we’re three episodes in and not much further along than we were at the end of that first episode. For the show’s sake, I hope it picks up the pace quickly.
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