ABC’s Big Sky returns January 26th after its winter break and in preparation for the return of TV’s best new drama, we have a detailed recap of the first five episodes. Going forward, we will have episodic recaps of the rest of the season.
Jenny Hoyt confronted Cassie Dewell, her estranged husband’s detective partner who has been having an affair behind her back with Cody Hoyt. The confrontation with Jenny shook Cassie, who got mad at Cody as she took off to pick up her son Kai. Meanwhile, 38-year-old trucker Ronald Pergman and his mother Helen had an uncomfortable conversation about his lack of ambition while Trooper Rick Legarski helped a California tourist in a Tesla get out of the mud.
Aspiring singer Jerrie supports her dreams through prostitiution and entered Ronald’s truck cab, where she found him to be a sweet romantic. Turning on a dime, Ronald tased her, tied her up and hid her in his truck. Sisters Danielle and Grace Sullivan were on a road trip to see Danielle’s long-distance boyfriend, Justin Hoyt, the son of Jenny and Cody. While driving at night, Danielle got mad at Ronald for almost hitting them, chasing after him with road rage and messing with the driver on a winding mountain road. The girls exited the highway to head to Justin’s house, but their car stalled after overheating and they were attacked by Ronald, who abducted them both.
When Jenny and Cassie got in a bar fight, Cody picked them up and tried to calm the tension between them. Rick Legarski returned home to his wife Merrilee, recently empty nesters, to find that his wife is feeling neglected by him. When Justin called Cody to say his girlfriend is late and her mom can’t reach her, Cody heads out in the middle of the night and calls Cassie for assistance. Their receptionist, Denise, called Rick Legarski to make him aware of the potential missing persons case as well.
Connected with Rick Legarski by phone, Cody is informed that there’s actually been a string of missing women in the area. Rick’s wife got mad that he was heading out in the middle of the night, but he was adamant that he must go. Having met Jerrie in the truck, Danielle and Grace pretended Jerrie died when Ronald came back, trying to overpower him and failing in their first attempt to break free.
Cody met Rick at The All In, a closed bar. When Cody checked the database and found that twelve females went missing from truck stops within a 100-mile radius in the last two years, Rick suggested that it could be connected to The Church of Glory and Transcendence, which has secretive, cult-like behavior. Getting in Cody’s truck to go check it out, Rick realized that Cody was too close with his theory of missing women being connected to long-haul truckers and shot him in the head.
Rick and Ronald buried Cody’s truck and the Sullivan sister’s car near the abandoned farm, where the girls are locked in a truck in a sublevel of a barn. They had a tense conversation because Rick was only supposed to abduct women that nobody would miss, like lone prostitutes, but abducting the sisters means families are now searching for them. While arguing with his mother, Helen noticed that Ronald had a wound on his neck from his first physical fight with Denielle and Grace.
Jenny and Cassie reunited when Cody went missing, assuming that while at the bar with Rick, he fell off the bandwagon and got plastered. Jenny found out that Cassie ended her romantic relationship with Cody and worried he may have done something rash. As Danielle and Grace learned more about Jerrie while trapped in the truck bed, they discovered that she is trans. Using what they know about Ronald, they decide to sing religious songs together to appeal to his religious sense.
Cassie met Rick at The All In and told him that the last time she spoke to Cody, he was going to The Church of Glory and Transcendence with Rick. Covering, Rick told Cassie a lie about Cody going off by himself and she asked if they could go to the church together. He tells her they would need a warrant and she says she will go visit some truck stops instead.
Meanwhile, Jenny went to her favorite breakfast spot where Jerrie also ate everyday. The waitress told her she’s worried because Jerrie moonlights as a prostitute and didn’t come in that morning. With the name of the truck stop that Jerrie was working at, Jenny and Cassie reunited and shared the information they’ve learned between Rick and the waitress.
Ronald learned that Grace is only 16 and a virgin and got attacked by them again. Having thought that the girls were unmarketable because of the media attention, with this new information, Rick thinks they may be able to make a sale.
Jenny went to the truck stop Jerrie was working at when she went missing and paid an employee who confirmed that he saw Jerrie there. Jenny bribed the employee for access to the security footage. When Ronald went to clean Jerrie, she revealed that she has male genitalia and he told Rick, which ruined their plans to sell her.
Noticing Ronald’s weird behavior, Helen told her son she’s suspicious of him. Merrilee also revealed that she feels like Rick is keeping something from her. Cassie talked to Merrilee and Sheriff Walter Tubb, getting on Rick Legarski’s bad side when she met him again at The All In. He tells her he can arrest her if he wants for any reason, attempting to intimidate her into shying away from the case.
Discovering a loose panel in the side of the truck, Danielle and Jerrie were able to pry it open enough for Grace to sneak out but the other girls wouldn’t fit. Jerrie told Grace how to get out of the barn, knowledge she gained when Ronald took her to get cleaned up. Unable to get out of the locked door, Grace decided to use a sewer drain to try and get to freedom. Ronald arrived just in time to chase Grace into the tunnels, but a collapsed portion separated him from Grace, allowing her to get further away.
Jenny arrived at The Church of Church of Glory and Transcendence without a warrant to speak to its leader, Mr. Edwards. Surrounded by older men with younger women, the lead that Rick Legarski was sending Cody on proved to be a dead end with no connection to the missing women. Given full access to the church’s security cameras and grounds, Jenny confirmed that Cody never made it there. Arriving home, Justin told her he felt like Cody was dead and the two cried together. Reconnecting, Cassie told Jennie that she couldn’t find anyone willing to believe her theory about Rick Legarski or any shady business in his past. Cassie also began to grieve the loss of Cody, who she also believes to be dead.
Ronald called Rick, who headed to the outflow to see if Grace died in the collapse or made it out. He followed her to a lake where she found a fisherman and shot him, stopping Grace from getting away by firing an arrow into her thigh. Rick brought Grace back to the trailer. Danielle and Jennie thought they were being rescued when Rick opened the trailer to put Grace back in, realizing that their chance of escape is now very low with a police officer involved.
Grace and Danielle’s mom put a plea for her daughters to return on the news, which Ronald and Helen saw while Ronald was eating his cereal. When Helen told him she thought Ronald may be involved, he dumped his cereal on her head. Rick called him at that moment freaking out about the nationwide media attention. Rick has found someone who will take the girls off their hands for no money, just wanting to be rid of them. With an infected wound, Grace asked Danielle and Jerrie to put maggots from expired meat onto her wound, which could eat the infection, but would also make it look worse when Ronald comes to check on them.
Jenny made a plea for Sheriff Walter to look closer at Rick Legarski, who called him for a meeting. Rick and Ronald’s partnership became tense when Rick told him about his meeting with the Sheriff and Ronald revealed that his mom thinks he’s involved. Ronald told Rick that if he gets caught, he has a trail that leads back to him. He threatened to make his own insurance plan. When Ronald returned to the truck bed to check on the girls, he looked at the wound and poured hydrogen peroxide on it.
Cassie found the part of the truck stop footage where Jerrie went into a truck cab and disappeared from view, but the tape wasn’t clear enough to read license plates. She and Jenny went to the sheriff’s department as Rick got questioned. While there, they put a secret tracker on his SUV.
Ronald entered Merrilee’s Quilt Craft and charmed Rick’s wife, inviting her to a dance. Later that night, Merrilee arrived at the dance, but started to leave when she saw Ronald dancing with another woman. He met her in the parking lot and convinced her to stay for one dance, which they both enjoyed.
Meanwhile, Cassie and Jenny found the information on a trucker with a conspicuous record they think could’ve been the one who abducted Jerrie. Jenny decided to go undercover as a prostitute and entered his cab, causing a scene when she took some items to get DNA samples. The event landed both in Sheriff Walter’s office again, severing their working relationship with him. Denise picked them up with printouts of an abandoned farm Rick’s SUV was tracked to.
Rick visited the girls in the truck with some antibiotics for Grace that he got from a vet. Waiting at home, he got mad when Merrilee returned home at midnight and told him she went dancing with a customer. Meanwhile, Cassie and Jenny searched the abandoned farm at night, but didn't find the hatch to the truck below. Accidentally breaking a glass, the captives heard them and screamed, but Cassie and Jenny mistook the sounds for someone coming and ran.
Grace and Denise’s parents have arrived in town, meeting with Sheriff Walter. When Ronald went to tell the girls that they’re being moved today, he noticed the broken glass and called Rick. The trooper immediately assumed it was Cassie and Jenny and vowed to stop them. Cassie obtained blueprints for the abandoned farm and noticed an underground space. Just then, Denise saw the tracker was back at the farm and the two took off.
In a flashback, we learned that Rick Legarski is the one who recruited Ronald into the sex trafficking ring. He was pulled over by Rick with a prostitute in the passenger seat, pulling Ronald aside and convincing him that he’s on an evil path but can cleanse his soul by helping him reform women like her.
Revealing that they put a tracker on Legarski’s SUV, Jenny called Sheriff Walter as Cassie drove them to the abandoned farm. Having just talked to the missing girls’ parents, he met them there with backup. Inside the barn, they found Rick Legarski eating his lunch as they went down the hatch, searched the basement and found an empty truck. Ronald had already brought the girls to The All In. Sheriff Walter decided to arrest Cassie and Jenny for the illegal tracker when Jenny took the blame, leaving Cassie free.
In the basement of The All In, Ronald cleaned up the girls. Having had a moment of understanding with Jerrie, when he got upstairs, he asked Rick what would happen to the girls. Rick didn’t give him details, but shared that Cassie and Jenny looked through the security cameras in an attempt to intimidate Ronald from having a change of heart. At home, Ronald attacked Helen when she called him a pervert.
Denise discovered that the dead fisherman’s truck was found less than two miles from the abandoned farm and Cassie realized it must be connected. When Denise asked what Cody would do, Casie tried to think like Rick. Meanwhile, Ronald went back to Merrilee’s Quilt Craft and she told him they won’t be dancing again. As he left, Cassie arrived to ask her some questions. Merrilee said Rick’s a creature of habit and Cassie headed to The All In, his favorite hangout.
Apologizing to Helen, Ronald revealed that he is involved in the disappearance of the two girls and he has a plan to fix it. Recently freed from jail, Jenny also went to The All In to meet Cassie. Downstairs with the girls, Rick heard a truck pull up and thought it was the transfer to take the girls off their hands. It was Cassie, who saw Rick at the bottom of the stairs. She told Rick to put his hands above his head, but he continued to talk down to her. The girls started screaming and Rick told her that he arrived just in time to rescue them, but Cassie didn’t believe him. Having grabbed his own gun, Cassie shot him in the forehead.
Is Rick Legarski dead? Will Cassie and Jenny save the girls from being transferred? What will Ronald’s mom do with the knowledge that her son helped kidnap the girls? The exciting sixth episode of Big Sky premieres Tuesday, January 26th, at 10/9c on ABC.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.