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 Season Finale Review – Ronald’s Great Escape (1×16)
The Big Sky Season 1 finale was better than the whole second half of the season!
Arthur, er, sorry, Ronald, knows how to takes us on an adventure.
And he always has a few aces up his sleeve.
When Lindor and Geri busted into Mary’s home, it seemed like he and Scarlet hit the end of the road, but Ronald always anticipated this moment, and he set quite the plan into motion.
It seems the only time that the feds have ever taken him by surprise is when Geri ambushed him with a gun. He didn’t see that coming, and he didn’t seem pleased to see her.
Ronald knew that above anything else, Lindor, Cassie, and Jenny wanted answers, so he knew exactly how to manipulate them. He laid one breadcrumb, and they followed just how he wanted.
Initially, I wasn’t sure what the whole John Milton plan was exactly, and neither was Scarlet, but she trusted her man and rolled with it.
Turns out, it was Ronald’s “get out of jail” free card as it notified the syndicate that he needed help. When a Sheriff came to Scarlet’s house, it was clear that Rick Legarski wasn’t the only Sheriff operating within this syndicate. And that’s a disturbing revelation for a different day.
Scarlet was picked up as set up with a getaway car, while Ronald led Lindor, Cassie, Jenny, and Tubb on a little field trip.
They probably would’ve been better off listening to Jenny about not giving Ronald so much free reign.
Lindor may outrank them, but he got played! Cassie and Jenny know exactly who they’re dealing with and how clever Ronald is. He managed to evade them once, so they really shouldn’t have risked it again.
While he led them to his creepy little garage where he hid Kelli, one of his first loves, it was also part of his escape plan as it allowed the syndicate to ambush them and free Ronald.
The whole action sequence here was truly exceptional. Jenny was a boss until she got shot, while Cassie held her own as Ronald tried to choke her out.
And Lindor was unconscious throughout the whole thing. Seriously, this guy.
Eventually, Ronald managed to escape and reunite with Scarlet. One of the men from the syndicate hooked them up with new identities and it all seemed to be on track, that is until he informed them that they would not be picking up Phoebe.
Scarlet and Ronald may be the unhinged versions of Bonnie and Clyde, but they would never leave behind her daughter, so they went with plan B and killed the driver instead.
And that, friends, is why you don’t help murderers and human traffickers.
Will they find a way to get Phoebe?
Considering Jenny’s gut feeling about Scarlet was right, I’m surprised they haven’t picked up Phoebe yet.
There’s no way a mother would ever abandon her child, so it would have led them right to Ronald and Scarlet.
Will their devotion to the little girl be their undoing?
Phoebe trusts her mother, but she’s also smart enough to know when something feels off like the whole situation with Arthur in the forest.
I wouldn’t be surprised if she blew their cover somehow.
At first, it didn’t make sense as to why Scarlet was so comfortable and turned on by Ronald’s psychotic tendencies, but the fact that she was committed to an insitution for the criminally insane does put things in perspective.
It also explains why she was so calm about killing Steve. Ronald tried to take the blame for that, but that should’ve been the first red flag for Lindor, Cassie, and Jenny. I mean, wasn’t Steve’s corpse older than 3 months? Did they know that the cops wouldn’t have time to verify their story?
With Scarlet and Ronald on the run, and Cassie pursuing them with a vengeance, I’m excited to see what season 2 has in store.
As I mentioned, the second half of the season, which focused on the Kleinsasser family, wasn’t as thrilling or captivating as all the drama with Ronald.
I’m glad he’s back at the wheel — no pun intended.
I didn’t expect to get any closure when it came to the Kleinsasser family nor did I think I needed it, but I have to say, it was nice to see Margaret finally get her revenge on Horst.
He was emotionally abusive to her for years, and she finally found her voice and silenced his.
In short, the family is full of murderers, but this is one that was deserved.
It doesn’t just set Margaret and Cheyenne free, it’s also payback for all the poor souls that never got to leave that toxic farm.
What did you think of the Big Sky Season 1 finale? Were you surprised by how clever Ronald is?
Let us know in the comments below!
Big Sky Review – I’m the Bad Guy (1×15)
Cassie and Jenny may have been responsible for the Kleinssasers’ undoing, but that family was always capable of destroying themselves all on their own.
Blood was spilled on Big Sky Season 1 Episode 15 as we saw the demise of Rand and JW.
And it was a long time coming.
After the Kleinsasser family caught Cassie, Jenny, and Gil on their property, it was every man (and woman) for themselves.
And thankfully, they all made it out alive.
The same couldn’t be said for Rand and JW, who deserved everything they got.
When Rand tried to run Cassie over, she shot out his wheels ensuring that he crashed. The next morning when Rosie found Cassie unconscious, they found Rand bleeding out inside his cabin.
He survived long enough to see his mother one last time before bleeding out.
JW died not long after his psychotic brother. Cassie and Cheyenne found him just as he was gearing up to take out Jenny. A wrestling match ensued and his little sister pulled the trigger.
While Cheyenne definitely knew that her family was disturbed and wanted to break free from them, she wasn’t all that different from them either.
She wanted the same thing JW and Rand did — she wanted the ranch for herself. And she wanted to be free from the control of the deranged men in her family.
And she got it. With JW and Rand eliminated, the ranch now belonged to Cheyenne.
We never saw Horst pay for his sins, but considering that Cassie and Jenny had a sample of the toxic chemicals on his land, it’s safe to assume he was held accountable for all the skeletons on his property.
Does anyone else feel a little cheated for getting invested in Margaret’s storyline only to see nothing come of it? If anyone deserved to kill anyone, it should’ve been Margaret killing Horst.
Cassie and Jenny made sure justice was served on all fronts by taking down Sheriff Wagy, who admitted on video to plotting to kill Cassie.
With the Kleinsasser family taken care of, Cassie and Jenny are free to return to their biggest problem: Ronald/ Arthur.
I’m much more invested in all the Ronald developments than I ever was in the Kleinssaser mystery, which made it feel like a completely different series.
It would’ve made more sense if Ronald was somehow connected to the Kleinsasser’s, but instead, we’ve just been following two separate storylines about people who are all too comfortable with killing for their own benefit.
I’m glad to be circling back to the former one.
The episode kicked off with Arthur burying Mary’s body and getting caught by Phoebe.
It was tense as he explained he was burying a dead deer, and then contemplated bashing Phoebe’s skull in with a rock.
I’m really glad he didn’t. Phoebe didn’t seem to buy Arthur’s story either — she’s a smart kid and knows that something is definitely up, which is why she lied to her mother.
Even when Arthur tried to remain normal, he gave off creep vibes.
Arthur was terrified of what would happen if Scarlet found out about his past, but much to his surprise, she didn’t even care.
It’s unclear how long Scarlet knew about his real identity, but I think that she knew the whole time Mary tried to warn her and just hoped Ronald would get rid of her sister.
She even seemed less concerned about what happened to Mary and more concerned with authorities finding Steve’s body.
Yep, turns out Scarlet was the one that bashed in her baby daddy’s skull (with a screwdriver!) as Mary helped her hide the body.
Scarlet explained that Mary held the crime over her head all these years, but obviously, this made Mary an accomplice.
Wouldn’t it just be easier to let the authorities believe Mary was the murderer? After all, the body was on her premises!
And Steve is the least of their worries since they’re really after Ronald!
However, Scarlet revealed she was cool as a cucumber with Ronald’s past crimes. In fact, she was even more attracted to him, which meant Ronald somehow met his perfect match.
If you didn’t think soulmates existed before, you definitely do now.
Scarlet may be even more deranged than Ronald since she owns up to what she’s done and is more than happy to give into her urges whereas he tries to tame them and is ashamed of them.
Having someone who shares his “interests” is bound to make Ronald much more dangerous.
Scarlet’s confidence likely won’t have a positive influence on him.
Will he go full-on psycho? And what does this mean for poor Phoebe?
Lindor and Geri — who is hellbent on revenge even if it might get her killed — were closing in on them, but Ronald’s storyline is far from over.
As the teasers for next week’s Big Sky Season 1 finale reveal, Ronald is going to get caught, and it will likely unearth something much more sinister than we ever anticipated.
Will Ronald take them to where all the bodies are buried?
What else was he involved in? And why do I have a hunch Scarlet will help him escape again?
Big Sky Review – No Better Than Dogs (1×12)
Big Sky has tackled a new mystery in the second half of season 1, but the shift has been pretty abrupt.
There are still plenty of jaw-dropping cliffhangers as Cassie and Jenny investigate Rosie’s disappearance at the hands of the Kleinsasser family, but the new plot has turned the show into more of a procedural so it just feels off.
Big Sky Season 1 Episode 12 picked up with Jenny getting ambushed on the Kleinsasser property by Rand, while Cassie was being kidnapped by Sheriff Wagy and his officers.
Something is really off about this little town. And something is off about the Kleinsasser’s.
While it’s unclear what exactly is going on, it’s evident that Rand is a bad guy.
Cassie and Jenny were dragged into the case at Blake’s request, but since he’s been released from jail, why have they stuck around?
Their lives have been threatened, they’ve been knocked unconscious, and it’s very clear that the family wouldn’t hesitate to take them out to keep them quiet.
Blake seems to know exactly what happened that night, so again, I’m not sure why he dragged Jenny into this in the first place.
Or even if he doesn’t know, he has an inkling as to what his family is hiding. He keeps saying that he’ll reveal exactly what’s happening on the farm, so why hasn’t he?
And while we don’t know for certain, after Jenny and Cassie found Rosie, she admitted that she remembered having flashes of Rand being there during the attack.
Rand seems to be the common denominator in everything.
Blake even revealed that Rand killed a kid named Cole back in the day and the family covered it up.
Why does everyone keep covering for Rand?
And what is up on the farm aside from Rand making drugs in his little trailer?
And more importantly, why do we care about any of this?
Yes, it’s the case that they’ve taken on, but it seems like even the cops are in on the family’s doings, so I’d just let sleeping dogs lie.
The family didn’t even hesitate to take out one of their own.
When Blake confronted John Wayne, about the sins of his family and threatened to expose them, his brother pulled a Rand and knocked him out into a ditch.
Blake is dead… right?
And their sister, Cheyenne, saw all of it. Why is she sticking around in this dysfunctional household?
It seems as though she’s only there to make sure that her mother is safe and sane, but you can’t help someone who can’t be helped.
Her mother may hate their father, but she doesn’t seem to want to break free from the toxicity either.
And again, why are Cassie and Jenny involved in all of this?
The best part about the new season is Lindor, who I’m guessing will have a romantic relationship with Cassie moving forward.
He’s also been involved in the Rosie disappearance, but in reality, he teamed up with Dewell and Hoyt to track Ronald.
I’m willing to bet that most of the audience continues to watch the series to see how Ronald’s (new name Arthur) storyline will pan out.
First of all, can someone please explain why Ronald thought that look was the way to go? I mean, what the hell is going on with his hair?
It’s shocking that he was able to score a girlfriend looking like that.
His relationship with Scarlet is super dysfunctional, and the poor girl has no idea that she’s falling in love with a serial killer.
The whole thing is like a page book ripped for the Ted Bundy chronicles.
Scarlet seems to want a man so badly that she didn’t mind finding Arthur’s taser or using it on him.
But considering how high-profile the Legarski case was, I don’t understand how she didn’t recognize Arthur as Ronald immediately.
Her sister mentioned that he looked very familiar, so I’m hoping she’ll make the connection before he takes her out. Unfortunately, knowing Ronald, that likely won’t be the case.
However, if Ronald really wants to remain under the radar, he wouldn’t draw attention to himself. They’re all waiting for one of his urges to get the best of him, but will it?
The series started off so strong in the first half, but a huge part of the success was the mystery and the cast.
This shake-up seems too abrupt, and while I want to know what the Kleinsasser family is up to, I’ll also be just fine if I never see any of them again.
And maybe part of that is that we don’t care enough about Jenny and Cassie as characters to follow them on these continued journeys with their P.I. firm?
It would be better if the writers explored their characters deeper, but instead, we’re being bombarded with this new family and all their secrets and issues.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below!
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