Big Sky resumed on ABC tonight with a double-episode spring premiere after a nearly two-month break. The gap is almost justifiable when you consider that the story picks up three months after Ronald Pergman escaped, making it feel like we as viewers have been waiting as long as Cassie and Jenny have. Since the 10th and 11th episodes of the series aired back-to-back, this recap will cover both “Catastrophic Thinking” and “All Kinds of Snakes.”
We find Ronald with red hair, glasses and a hat outside of a gas station with a convenience store, apparently spying on a pretty blond girl working the counter. As she is relieved of her shift, we see her pocket a figurine of a dog sold at the store and as she walks out into the parking lot towards her car, Ronald sneaks up on her. She’s startled, but recognizes him and calls him Arthur. He was watching her daughter Phoebe while she was at work and we see them kiss before they get in the car and drive away, singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” When Ronald passes a big rig, he has a sudden flashback of tazing Grace and Danielle.
Cassie and Jenny are on a stakeout at the Hillcrest Motel, now working domestic cases and watching a man named Alan enter a motel room with a metal box. Paid by his wife Naomi, they’re waiting to see who he’s cheating on her with when a big truck pulls in and two men get out, entering the same motel room armed with guns and a weird-looking weapon. Cassie and Jenny get their guns handy as they get out of their truck and approach the door to listen.
Inside the room, the deal is going badly for Alan, with one of the two men grabbing the metal box and the weird weapon turning out to be an electrified ramming device. They’re about to rob Alan when Cassie and Jenny storm in, identifying themselves as private investigators. Cassie tells them she’s called the cops and they’re here for Alan, not them, asking them to flee. While they talked, Alan got his box back and went into the bathroom, closing the door behind them. After the armed men leave, Cassie and Jenny run to the bathroom to find that Alan escaped out of a back window with whatever was in the metal box. Cut to Sheriff Tubb on the scene as Jenny and Cassie fill him in on what they saw.
At the Lochsa County Jail, the warden gets a call from a man named Horst asking to speak to his son Blake. The warden informs him that Blake already used his one phone call on a lawyer. Horst says he’s coming down there to speak to him.
Alan has safely made it to another motel, this one with mounted deer heads on the walls. He gets a text from a woman who says she will come and get him. Jenny and Cassie call Naomi to tell her that it appears her husband is involved in crime rather than an affair. The two men who were supposed to meet Alan at the Hillcrest Motel find his car outside of his new motel.
Jerrie is now employed by Dewell & Hoyt, helping Denise answer calls from a desk at the window. Someone keeps calling from a blocked number, breathing heavily a few times before hanging up. Jenny gets a text from Naomi letting her know that Alan still hasn’t come home, so she and Cassie go to her house. Her father, Bruce, pulls the detectives outside and tells them that Naomi doesn’t have the money to afford their services and he will have to pay it in the end, asking them to drop her as a client. He tells them he just spoke to Alan and that he isn’t missing, but has been selling his collectables on Craigslist to make ends meet and doesn’t want Naomi to know about it. As they leave, Jenny tells Cassie that Bruce doesn’t pass her smell test.
Back at Dewell & Hoyt, a man walks in and moves past all of the women to look at their board with Ronald’s wanted ad. His name is Mark Lindor and he’s a U.S. Marshal assigned to the Ronald Pergman case. He asks Cassie to take a walk with him, telling her it’s better for the flow of information. She learns that he put in for a transfer specifically to work Ronald’s case and she is suspicious. All he knows is that Rick Legarski’s name came up in a Canadian sex trafficking syndicate and he has a contact who will notify them if Ronald becomes involved. Cassie tells him that’s not really a lead and he says that’s why he wants to work with her. “We can get this one together,” he says, handing her his business card. “Just text me when you’re ready.”
Jerrie is looking through Alan’s credit card records when another call comes from a blocked number with more heavy breathing on the other end.“It’s him,” she tells Denise. “It’s Ronald.” Meanwhile, we see Ronald in the middle of nowhere breaking a flip phone and burying it as he recites the mnemonic “Every good boy does fine.”
Cassie enters the office asking Jerrie about Alan’s financial records when Denise informs her about the blocked calls with heavy breathing. Jerrie tells Cassie she thinks it’s Ronald and she immediately takes that information to Mark. “That’s not nothing, but it’s not something,” he frustratingly tells her, saying his theory is that Ronald will go back to his old ways and become easier to find. Mark says something triggered him before and he’s looking for a pattern or action that Ronald can’t stop doing. Cassie reveals that she’s researched Mark’s history and once again questions his motives for taking the case and moving there. “People who come to Montana are either fleeing from something or looking for something,” she tells him, turning around and noticing a picture of a man on his corkboard who looks like one of the two men that tried to rob Alan. Mark warns her that he’s very dangerous, saying “You tangled up with him, you’re gonna need some help.”
It’s dinner time at Scarlet’s house where she has shelves full of dog figures like the one she stole. During their dinner, Scarlet’s aunt Mary stops by unannounced and Ronald introduces himself as Arthur, offering to take her coat and secretly smelling her hair as he does it. Meeting Scarlet in the kitchen, he anxiously says “I thought you don’t speak to your family,” saying it’s bad manners that Mary showed up unannounced. Scarlet is surprised she came, too, as Ronald goes into the bathroom, does a fake scream into the mirror and pulls his taser out from under the sink, using it on his own leg. Returning to the dining room, Ronald holds his phone and says he got pinged to work, now working for a food delivery service. Scarlet said she thought he turned it off and he says he must have forgotten, acting like he can’t not take the order now. After he leaves, Mary tells Scarlet that he seems like a good guy, but he looks familiar.
The two men are sitting outside Alan’s motel listening to country music when the one says he’s going in, turning to kiss the other and saying “I love you, bro.” When Alan gets a knock on the door, he opens it expecting it to be the woman he had texted. Instead, it’s the man with the electric weapon who demands he hand over the case. A scuffle ensues in which Alan throws the metal box and it opens, scattering vials around the floor and knocking a mounted deer head off the wall as the man falls backwards, getting impaled on the antlers and dying almost instantly. The other guy watches Alan run out of the room and goes inside with a look of dread on his face, finding his partner dead. He searches the room and finds Alan’s phone, which fell during the commotion. He tries a few security codes to access it and “1234” works. He closes his partners eyes.
Cassie and Jenny received a tip that Alan’s credit card was used recently to buy a candy bar and they’re on their way to the nearest motel with Mark in the backseat. Inside the room, they find that the bed sheets have been taken and the deer head is on the wall. The case is still there with its scattered contents, which Mark recognizes to be thoroughbred horse semen based on the labels, saying the total contents are worth around $100 grand. Noticing that the floor is damp, they look around and see blood on the antlers of the deer head. “You might want to talk to that sheriff friend of yours,” Mark tells them.
Shooting cans with Sheriff Tubbs, Jenny learns that Naomi hasn’t filed a missing person’s report yet for Alan. She tells him her research on the horse semen ring has led to a warehouse registered to a blind LLC and she needs a warrant to search it, which Tubbs says he’ll grant her. He tells her he’d like her to think about joining his team s a sheriff, but she says she feels like Dewell & Hoyt is Cody’s legacy and she doesn’t want to leave it.
Back at the office, Jerrie has obtained Alan’s cell phone records, which reveal that he tried to call Naomi’s dad 7 times since he got to the motel. Cut to Jenny and Cassie knocking on Naomi’s door who answers, keeping the door open only a crack and telling them Alan just got home, saying she’s busy and can’t let them in. “Where’s his car?,” Jenny asks, Naomi just says “It’s not a great time” and they realize something is wrong, drawing their guns and saying they’ll come back later as they walk around the house and see Naomi’s father tied to a chair with the other guy from the motel saying “Where is he?” Just then, Alan pulls into the driveway and the man hears a car, taking Naomi at gunpoint and leading her to the door as Jenny sneaks in the back and unties her father. They end up with Cassie and Jenny on both sides of the situation and Jenny shoots the armed criminal. The police arrive and Alan tells Naomi about his side hustle, which her father was also involved in. Jenny approaches, telling him she’s angry that she had to shoot someone because of his schemes. Sheriff Tubb tells Alan to get a good attorney.
Horst limps into the Lochsa County Jail using a walker, approaching the desk with a gate and asking the officer on duty to go get his son, Blake. He bangs on the cage and startles the officer when he’s told it’s past visiting hours. and banging on it when the officer on duty tells him it’s past visiting hours. “Don’t mess with me, boy,” he commands, “Go tell him I’m here.” The warden steps out and allows it, with Horst criticizing the officer and calling him a “Snowflake.” Blake is brought to the cage and Horst says he needs to see him face-to-face. They sit Blake down on a bench and Horst asks him to hold out his hands, saying he brought him a memento. He drops dirt in his hands, telling him it’s from their ranch. “Take it… That’s all you’re gonna get of it.” He gets emotional and limps back to his cane to walk out.
At Dewell & Hoyt, Denise has several offers for Jenny and Cassie including a divorce and a repossession case when another block call comes. Jerrie answers it on speaker phone and they hear the heavy breathing before a voice says “Jenny.” It’s Blake Kleinsasser, Horst’s son, who somehow has a cell phone with him in his jail cell. “I need your help,” he tells her. A silver minivan is parked on the street outside of their office and as the camera zooms closer passed the glare, we see Ronald’s face looking into Dewell & Hoyt at Jerrie at her desk by the window.
“All Kinds of Snakes”
Mark and Cassie are at a junkyard when Cassie tells him that she and Jenny have taken a personal case and will be out of town for a little while. They’re at the junkyard to check out a truck cab, which has been painted blue and has had its VIN removed. Inside, Mark shows Cassie a part that Ronald missed where “Help Me” and the name “Kelli” have been keyed into the side.
Ronald (as Arthur) is working under the kitchen sink when Scarlet enters holding a taser, which she tells him she found under the sink. He denies knowing anything about it, but she’s not fooled, squatting on his lap and asking “Do you have a secret you want to tell me, Arthur?” He says he doesn’t have any, but she offers to tell him a secret, revealing that she steals things and it makes her feel powerful. “Like a God,” she says, which makes Ronald’s eyebrows raise. “I don’t think we should be talking about this,” he says. Scarlet makes him kiss her to get the taser back.
Cassie and Jenny arrive at the Lochsa County Jail, meeting a special counsel out front who hands them a case file. He warns them that people in Lochsa County won’t be happy that they’re poking around. Inside, they meet Blake, who doesn’t look well. He had left Lochsa County, but returned because his dad had a stroke and needed help on the ranch. He was arrested for allegedly beating a girl named Rosie, who he met at a bar and had drinks with. Rosie is the daughter of his family ranch’s former caretaker, who was fired abruptly after 25-years of service. Blake offered to sneak her into the caretaker’s cabin to grab some things and he recalls seeing lights through the trees and then he believes he fell and hit his head. “Something was off,” he tells them, saying he woke up in a motel room with a broken lip and scratches all over his body, later told that he attacked Rosie, who he says he never even made a pass at. “I’m not that guy, Jenny. You know me,” he tells her. To add complexity to the situation, he tells them that as the eldest Kleinsasser son, he was to inherit the ranch, which he wanted to sell. “You are the only person that can help me. I didn’t do this. Please,” Blake pleads, with Jenny telling him she will take a look, but can’t promise anything.
Walking out, Jenny tells Cassie that she suspects Blake was set up by his family. Cassie, on the other hand, thinks Blake is guilty. As the two head to their truck to go find a motel, a big truck pulls in that Jenny recognizes, cautioning Cassie to get in the truck. It’s driven by Blake’s youngest brother Rand, whom Jenny describes as “Sick.”
At the Kleinsasser farm, Rand and his brother John Wayne enter to find their mom washing dishes, asking them if they saw Blake. The conversation gets interrupted by family game night, which gets heated when the brothers make jokes about Blake being in jail. Horst gets angry and Rand quits, holding a knife in his father’s direction. Horst pulls a small gun out of his pocket and shoots a mounted buck behind him, yelling at him to sit down. “Kleinhauser’s finish what they start and we’re going to finish this game,” he yells at Rand.
Inside Dewell & Hoyt, Mark and Jerrie are having coffee when he asks her to tell him something about Ronald that he won’t find in any report. She tells him about the moment when she had to get naked in front of him to be cleaned. “I felt safe with him, I don’t know why,” she says as Denise listens in on their conversation.
Back at the Kleinsasser farm, the daughter, Cheyenne, finds her mom in the bathroom sitting on the edge of the tub. “I need one,” she tells her daughter, who produces a pill. Cheyenne consoles her distressed mother, saying “Everything’s gonna be okay.”
Jenny enters the office at the Grey Cliff Inn, asking for a room with two beds. The man working the desk asks her where they’re from and why they’re here. He gives her a weird look when she asks for two keys. “Room 15, last one on the right,” he tells her.
John Wayne is looking for something in Horst’s office when his father walks in. “The ranch is gonna go to you and you’re gonna have to man up,” he tells him, instructing him to take care of his mom, sister, brother and even Blake. John Wayne tells his dad about the investigators as his mom enters, who says she remembers Jenny Hoyt. “She’s got no business out here,” Horst says. “We don’t need anybody poking around in our business.” John Wyane tells his father he’ll take care of it.
Laying in bed, Scarlet gets off Arthur (Ronald) and says “It’s okay to say what you like, Arthur.” He gets mad that she wants to talk about his kinks. “Can you please shut up?,” he says, before realizing he made a mistake and rolling over to spoon Scarlet and apologizing.
Inside their room at the Grey Cliff Inn, Jenny tells Cassie that the guy at the front desk was a creeper. She’s called Sheriff Wagy and was given the runaround, so Cassie suggests they ambush him tomorrow and try to find Rosie. Just then, they hear tires screeching in the parking lot and a man yell “Get the Hell out of here.” Running outside, they find their tires have been slashed and cow blood has been poured all over the truck.
The next day, Cassie and Jenny arrive at the sheriff’s office and ask to meet with Sheriff Wagy from a reluctant looking receptionist. Entering his office, his attitude is cold, telling them how sad it was that a sheriff was shot in Helena, referring to Rick Legarski, who was shot by Cassie (but ultimately killed by Merrilee). They tell him about the vandalism to their truck and he says “It’s probably just some local boys having fun with lasses like yourself.” He eats food during their conversation and offers to open an investigation into their truck, almost jokingly. They ask to see the evidence collected from Rosie about the assault allegations against Blake and he tells them they haven’t come back from the lab. He suggests they leave their number with Angela so she can call them when it gets back, which they do on their way out.
Just a few steps outside the police station, Angela follows them out and nervously asks Cassie and Jenny where they’re staying, surprised when they say they’re at the Grey Cliff Inn. “I’m sure Sheriff Waggie gave you all the pertinent,” she says, to which Jenny asks “What do you consider pertinent?” Looking behind her, Angela sees an officer watching them and she nervously goes back inside.
John Wayne finds Rand laying on the couch instead of working, who puts his hat over his crotch and puts his phone down when his brother enters. John Wayne finds a needle on the ground and gets upset. “It helps me focus,” Rand tells him, saying they need to figure out what to do about Blake’s old girlfriend, referring to Jenny. Playing with his knife, he talks about how pretty she and her friend are. “I bet she smells like peppermint or something nice.” He confesses to having spied on Jenny and Blake skinny dipping and how seeing her naked made him think about what she would look like in the waste pit with the dead cow carcasses. John Wayne confronts his brother, telling him that he knows what he’s up to and if their dad finds out, he’ll shoot him. Asking for his knife, Rand relinquishes it to John Wayne and in a closeup, we can see that he wears a lot of big rings.
Jenny pulls up to the Kleinsasser farm alone and the mom, Mary, comes out to meet her. “I don’t know if you remember me,” Jenny starts, with Margaret telling her she does and inviting her in for tea. Sitting down, Margaret says she heard about Cody and shares that she worries she won’t see her boys again every time they walk out the door. Jenny tells Margaret that she knows Blake didn’t do anything wrong when Horst comes stomping in, asking why Jenny came instead of calling. She tells him she wants to see the caretaker’s cabin and he tells her she’s trespassing. Jenny takes her leave.
It’s a foggy night as Ronald pulls up to a detached garage somewhere, unlocking the door while holding flowers and a pink bakery box, removing his fake glasses. Inside, he lights a candle and sits down, talking to someone off camera. “I’ve met someone. Someone special. She’s not like you. She understands me. I wanted to come here and feel you one last time. To say goodbye. I know what we had wasn’t real. I know that now, but it could’ve been. They say light a candle and make a wish. I’m not going to tell you my wish. This is goodbye.” He lights a candle on a cake and then blows it out just as he’s about to cut a slice. We never see who (or what) he was talking to.
Horst is apologizing to the mounted buck he shot, turning around to lament to Mary. “Blake was the only one who was worth a damn and now I’m just bringing in the cheese.” She brings him some medications and she asks him if there’s anything he wants to tell her. “The moon is looking dull tonight,” he says, keeping her in the dark. He asks what happened, saying they used to have the nicest horses, cattle and kids and now everything is “Lackluster” in his final days. He starts to choke while swallowing a pill and Margaret hesitates to give him the glass of water she’s holding, which he has to reach out for. She rubs his back as says “Careful, sweetheart.” She asks if they can talk about Blake. “I told you, I’m taking care of that. Don’t you worry, sweetheart.”
Cassie is at a bar where a man named J.W. is hitting on her. Ignoring him, Cassie asks the bartender for information about the night Blake was there and met Rosie. He recalls that Blake was pretty drunk, seemed to be having a good time and got a bottle of whisky to go. When the bartender offers Cassie a drink, Cheyenne Kleinsasser approaches and says “This one’s on me.” Cassie asks Cheyenne if she thinks her brother did it and she says “Doesn’t matter what I think.” She tells Cassie that Blake came back with ideas for the ranch, but gets defensive when Cassie asks about Rosie. “Him beating on her like that, it’s despicable, that’s what it is,” Cheyenne says.
Cassie’s phone rings with a call from Jenny and she steps outside to talk, telling her about Cheyenne. Jenny shares that she was run off the ranch but she knows how to sneak in. She sends Cassie a pin so she can join her to try and sneak into the caretaker’s cabin Before leaving, Cassie tells Cheyenne that if she ever wants to talk, she can find her at the Grey Cliff Inn. J.W. hits on Cassie again, following her outside and watching her drive away.
At Dewell & Hoyt, a man comes in with a flash drive for Mark, who had a camera set up to record Helen Pergman’s grave. On the flashdrive, mark not only sees Ronald visit his mother’s grave, but even spend the night camping on top of it. Grabbing his notebook, he writes “I’m always with you” on a piece of paper and signs it with a heart. That night, he goes to Helen’s grave and places the note on top of her tombstone with a rock on top as a paper weight.
Jenny has arrived at the perimeter of the Kleinsasser farm and Cassie hasn’t arrived yet. She sneaks through a wire fence as we see Cassie getting pulled over, breathing heavy with anxiety. The same officer who watched Angela speaking to her and Jenny says “I saw you swerving back there coming out of a bar.” He tells her he needs her to take a breathalyzer and she says it’s her right to refuse. He tells her to get out of the car, pushing her against it and handcuffing her, pushing her into the back of his car. “This would go a whole lot better if you do not fight,” he tells her.
Blake is getting let out of jail, stepping outside to see Horst waiting in his truck. “I can walk,” Blake tells his father. “You can, but you won’t,” Horst commands. At the farm, Jenny finds a trailer with lights on and loud music playing. Through the window, she sees spiral hoses coming out of vials and it looks like a lab. A girl sitting upside down on a bed sees her and says hi, prompting Rand to look out the window and run out with an axe. He chases Jenny through the woods at the edge of the property and she trips and falls into a pit of cow carcasses. Standing at the edge looking down at her, Rand says “Ain’t you look pretty in there with all them dead things” Looking down at her, Rand asks Jenny if she’s trespassing or if she came to see him.
Cassie watches out the window of the cop car as the officer drives past the police station. She asks him where he’s taking her and he doesn’t give her an answer.
Well, it seems that Cassie and Jenny have gotten themselves into a fine pickle this time! Big Sky will return on April 20th with another new episode called “No Better Than Dogs,” which I can only presume refers to the Kleinsasser family. Here’s the official episode description from ABC:
Cassie and Jenny each face a dangerous attempt to run them out of town while Jerrie has a close encounter with a dangerous threat of her own. Back at the ranch, Blake returns home, where he receives anything but a warm welcome. This ain’t your typical family reunion.
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).