Ronald emerges from his farm house on a dreary day, staples still in his forehead. Taking the black Tesla Model 3 that belonged to Father Ted Maynord, whom he just killed, he conceals it in a makeshift garage, walking back into the house as he mumbles “Too much to do.” So begins the ninth episode of Big Sky on ABC, titled “Let It Be Him.”
With 12-year-old Erik locked in a roller cage in the basement, Ronald solders something at his workbench, a dangerous act because he just recently covered the basement in what appeared to be gasoline. Still clutching the taser he stole, Erik tells Ronald about a serial killer who got off the hook because he only killed people nobody cared about, but killing a kid would likely get him killed by a jailmate. Annoyed, Ronald pulls a gun on him. “Don’t say a word,” he threatens the boy.
We find Merilee arriving at the house she’s shared with her husband, Officer Rick Legarski, walking upstairs to look into the eyes of his cardboard cutout. She has a happy memory of him singing as they set the table together for lunch. In his hospital bed, Rick has a nightmare where his bed is surrounded by the women he trafficked, including Jerrie. He starts to cry, facing up to what he did and saying “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, it just got out of hand.” Merilee wakes him up, asking “Who were you apologizing to?” Rick was talking in his sleep, his eyes watery, but he tells her he doesn’t know.
Brassy lawyer Penelope enters the room and Merilee tells her what just happened. Penelope pulls Merilee out for a private chat where she asks her if she’s going to stay with Rick. She tells Merilee that she can do her job to fight for Rick’s innocence either way, but just wants an answer. She reminds Merilee that if Rick is deemed incompetent, he will spend some time in a rehab mental facitlity and likely be freed after that. Penelope asks Merilee what side she’s on. “My own,” she replies.
The police have orchestrated a door-to-door search for Erik through his delivery route, recruiting Denise and Cassie to help. It’s Cassie who ends up on Ronald’s doorstep, who appears through the cracked door with a black baseball hat on to cover up the staple wounds on his forehead, concealing a gun behind the door. The exchange is surprisingly normal for Ronald, but when Cassie asks for Helen by name, she being the name their newspaper subscription is under, he tells her she’s away and offers to pass Cassie’s number to her. Cassie hands him her business card and turns to leave. As she steps off his porch, she has a moment of realization, recognizing Ronald’s face from the first time she visited Merilee’s store and realizing he looks like the profile sketch of the trucker.
At the detective office, Cassie talks to Denise, who tells her there’s no online presence for Ronald Pergman, who also doesn’t have any property to his name. Looking through Helen’s social media account, she finds a photo of her son and Jerrie confirms him to be her former captor. Cassie asks Denise to hold Erik’s mom’s hand as she gets the police involved.
Taping a taser to a stick, Ronald goes back downstairs. “I’m out of your range but you’re not out of mine,” he menacingly says to Erik, tasing the cage twice before the boy tosses his own weapon out of the cage. Ronald goes nuts, sliding the cage around the basement, enjoying the fear in Erik’s eyes. When we next see Ronald, he is checking the house and goes back downstairs, letting Erik out of his cage and binding his hands with what sound like handcuffs.
Cassie and Jenny join Sheriff Tubb and Commander Sosa near Ronald’s house as they review the plan. Cassie and Jenny are deputized by Tubb, given bulletproof vests before the trucks and police cars pull into the driveway and teams of armored police surround the house. Sheriff Tubb calls on a megaphone for Ronald to exit the house with his hands over his head or they will be coming in.
With no response, the police ram through the front door where a trap gun shoots the officer at the front of the ram. As the police enter the house, Jenny proceeds down to the basement alone. Cassie is the first to smell gasoline and notices vented metal boxes in corners making a sparking noise. Realizing a trap was set for them, the police evacuate the house, Cassie calling on the radio for Jenny. In the basement, she finds a short person in a blue hoodie handcuffed to a hook on the cement floor. She uses an axe to break the chains and carries the body out just in time before the house explodes. Removing the hoodie, they discover Helen’s cold body was put in Erik’s hoodie. “This has been a diversion,” Jenny exclaims.
As Jerrie and Rachel, Erik’s mom, watch the live news report, Denise gets a call explaining that they haven’t found Erik or Ronald. Rachel breaks down upon hearing that the police don’t know where they are.
Cassie scolds Jenny for going rogue in the house, telling her she won’t be the one to tell her son she’s not coming home. While outside, Sheriff Tubb learns that Father Ted Maynord missed his sermon and his last known location was an appointment with Helen at her house, knowing her to now have been dead for some time. As the police look into what kind of car the priest drove, we see Ronald driving the black Tesla listening to “Yummy Yummy Yummy” by The Ohio Express.
Rick is quoting baseball stats in his hospital room from 1967 when the Boston Red Sox won the pennant. Penelope gets his attention, “Now you listen to me.” Showing him a picture of Ronald, she tells him that a little memory could go a long way because Ronald is on the run with a captive child. He tells her he doesn’t know him and Merilee observes him tapping his fingers once again. Penelope asks if Rick has any idea where he might go and when he says no, Merilee says he’s lying. “You know, you know,” she disappointedly says. Looking her in the eyes, he once again starts quoting baseball stats.
In the office, Denise tells Jerrie that she likely knows more about Ronald than anyone. She tells them that Ronald had issues with his mother, but didn’t strike her as a killer. Rachel isn’t so convinced. “What if he’s desperate?,” she nervously asks.
Back in her house, Merilee sits on the floor looking up at Rick’s standee as she looks back on more memories. In each of them, Rick is singing. A happy one finds him interrupting Merilee at the stove to waltz with her around the kitchen. In another, he’s slicing an apple pie, this time singing “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.” She asks him what’s wrong and he says “I’m fine, mother.” She looks confused by it, perhaps it’s the first time he used that name with her. When we first met Merilee, she asked him not to call her that anymore, appearing annoyed by it.
Ronald is now singing to himself while driving, “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah.” Pulling over, he opens the trunk and let’s a blindfolded Erik out, telling him that if he’s nice, he can ride in the front.
Flying in a helicopter, Sheriff Tubb and Commander Sosa search for the Tesla while Cassie and Jenny drive on the ground, communicating with them by radio. By pure chance, Cassie and Jenny end up right behind Father Maynord’s Tesla. The chopper connects with them from the sky to assist as they call for police backup, which is 20 minutes away.
Merilee returns to Rick’s hospital room, telling him that she’s been reminiscing about their marriage. “That’s nice, mother,” he replies. She tells him about the romantic songs he used to sing and how he would sing “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” when he had a problem to solve, singing it back to him with emphasis on the line “Perhaps she’ll die.” She then brings up another song he sang to her in a time of trouble, “If I Had a Hammer,” recalling the night he scared her in bed with a hammer in his hand, promising to be a new man. She tells him she knows he was thinking about killing her that night, withdrawing the hammer from her purse. “I was a problem and this was your problem solver,” she proclaims. “I don’t like your tone, mother,” Rick replies as Merilee starts singing “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” personalizing the lyrics and ending it with “Perhaps he’ll die.” Looking alarmed, Rick says “This is your menopause talking.” And with that, Merilee knows everything she needs to know. “That is the wrong answer Rick,” she says. “Means your memory’s back.” From outside the hospital room, we see Merilee’s silhouette bashing Rick’s head with the hammer as his heart monitor flatlines and a team of nurses come running. When they enter, she’s sitting on the bed, her face splattered with blood, Rick’s blood all over the pillow and wall behind him. She’s singing, “I don’t know why she married the fly…”
Cassie tries several times to get side-by-side with the Tesla on the two-lane highway, trying to confirm that Erik is in the car. She narrowly avoids a crash, but gets to see Erik, confirming he’s alive in the passenger seat. Getting in the other lane, Jenny’s plan is to shoot one of the tires to force them to stop but as they get on the driver’s side, they see dead Father Maynord at the wheel, the car on autopilot. Commander Sosa has the idea for Cassie and Jenny to get in front of it, remembering a story of a drunk driver in California who was asleep at the wheel of his Tesla and an officer who pulled him over by using the car’s ability to keep distance and pace with the car in front of it to slow it to a stop. Trying to avoid a detached bumper in the road, Cassie almost crashes, but the Tesla safely stops just in time.
Cassie hugs Erik as she gets him out of the car, telling him he’s safe now. Jenny asks what happened to Ronald and Erik tells her he saw him climb over the guardrail on the bridge where he set up the car to drive off, believing he jumped. Sheriff Tubb takes a phone call, coming over to tell Jenny and Cassie that Rick Legarski is dead. They look at each other disappointed. “Well, that’s some kind of Justice,” Jenny tells Cassie. “Yeah, not the kind we were looking for,” Cassie replies. The search is still on for Ronald and now they know his name.
Erik has a tearful reunion with his mom in Cassie and Jenny’s office. Rachel wants to thank them and Cassie gives her a hug while Jenny shakes her hand and exits. “She’s not into taking credit,” Cassie tells her as she looks off in Jenny’s direction. “The best ones never are.”
Merilee is escorted out of Rick’s hospital room in handcuffs by police officers, followed by a stretcher with her husband in a body bag. The scene dissolves into a memoriam of people who have died on the series thus far, showing Helen, Cody, and now Rick.
The last shot is a big rig driving down the highway. Inside the cab, we find Ronald as he removes his black baseball cap. He smiles as he drives.
Wow, what an episode! It appears the show is about to take another break as ABC hasn’t released any information about the tenth episode yet, which is how they first alerted us that there would be a break for the series in December. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long to dive back into the action because I have so many questions. Rick called Merilee “Mother” because she was the mother of their kids. Where are they and will we meet them in light of what just happened? Will Merilee be able to argue her way out of jail time and will Penelope take her case? There must be an employer who knows who Ronald is and the truck he drives, will they be able to help Cassie and Jenny track him down? I can’t wait to find out the answers to all of these burning questions.
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.