Big Sky has taken us on an incredible ride since it started last night, but the excitement ended tonight… for now. The season finale is titled “Love is a Strange and Dangerous Thing” and even though the show took an unexpected turn midway through the season, this episode gets us back where everything started with an episode centered around Ronald Pergman. Here’s a detailed recap of the season finale.
Ronald and Scarlet are in Mary’s basement, sharing one last kiss before Ronald gives his girlfriend detailed instructions. He tells her about a harddrive taped under the bathroom sink and whispers more details to her. He takes off his red Arthur wig and he tells her “Love is a strange and dangerous thing. It is a ring of fire and now we must jump through it.” Pretending Scarlet is Ronald’s victim, he holds her with one hand and holds the taser with the other. At the top of the stairs, she bites his hand hard, making it bleed, to give the illusion that she tried to struggle free. Mark and Jerrie split up and Ronald enters the kitchen in an effort to escape out the back door, but comes face to face with Jerrie. “Miss me?,” she asks as Mark approaches from behind and handcuffs him. Ronald smirks.
Sheriff Wagy is being arrested on the Kleinsasser Ranch, with Sheriff Tubb’s team escorting him to the state capital to make sure that justice is served. Cassie gets the honor of putting Wagy in the back of the police car, telling him to “Enjoy the ride.” Jenny tells Sheriff Tubb that they’re likely to find more bodies on the ranch if they keep looking. He reaffirms his belief that she would make a great sheriff. Their conversation is interrupted by a phone call that Tubb answers, telling Jenny that she and Cassie should get back to Helena. “There’s been a break in the Pergman case,” he tells her.
In the back of Mark Lindor’s car, Ronald tells him that he needs to see a doctor about his hand. “Well, I’m deeply concerned for your wellbeing, Ronald,” Mark tells him. Ronald calmly tells Mark that human bites are more likely to get infected than animal bites and he switches the topic to his inevitable interrogation, saying that he would like Jenny and Cassie to be there. Mark tells him the FBI will be doing the interviewing, but he says “With Cassie and Jenny present, there’s no telling how much you might learn.”
With the police gone, Margaret brings Horst his pills, holding the glass of water for him as she asks him if he remembers their wedding. He says he remembers that it rained and ants got in the cake. Margaret talks about how hard her mom worked to make the lace roses for her dress as Horst chokes on his pills, reaching out for the water glass. She steps back and keeps talking about how happy she was that day. “And when she pinned that lace on my dress, she poked me and said I was making the biggest mistake of my life.” Margaret drops the glass and it shatters on the wooden floor as she continues to talk, with Chayenne coming downstairs and watching Horst writhe on the floor. “I gave you everything,” Margaret continues. “I gave you everything. And Horst, I ain’t got nothing left to give you.” Horst goes still on the floor and Cheyenne approaches her mom, taking her hands and saying “It’s over.” Margaret looks at her dead husband and says “Time to clean up.”
Cassie and Jenny arrive at the Helena police station and hug Jerrie, telling her to get some rest. Mark fills them in on everything he knows, that Ronald used the alias Arthur and was dating Mary’s sister Scarlet, and that he also killed her ex boyfriend Steve. Scarlet has been brought in for questioning and is still there. “She’s pretty rattled, as I’m sure you can’t imagine.” Jenny and Cassie ask if they can join.
Scarlet cries as she recalls the phony story of how Arthur took her to the basement to tell her that he killed Steve. Mark tells her that they believe Ronald kidnapped her sister and for a moment, she looks like she’s thrown off by this reveal. “Is she dead?,” Scarlet asks, with Mark telling her they’re not sure. “I let that man be alone with my daughter,” she adds, returning to her fake grief. Jenny looks like she’s not buying the performance, but Mark and Cassie don’t see through it. When Mark tells Scarlet she can go, she calms down pretty quickly. “How could she not know?,” Jenny asks Mark when the door closes behind Scarlet. “People believe what they want to see,” he tells her. Mark lets Cassie and Jenny know that Ronald requested their presence for the interrogation, but a team is on their way from Denver to take over the case from Mark. Jenny asks if she can see Ronald and Mark shows her a live feed from his cell. Ronald looks up into the monitor and smiles as Jenny watches.
Jenny gets home and pours herself a glass of white wine. Her son Justin hears her and comes into the living room to give her a hug. He already knew that Ronald was caught because Denise called him. He asks his mom if she’s okay and she says “I am now.” “I’m really proud of you mom,” Justin tells her, making her tear up. She tells him that the case in Lochsa made her realize how much has changed since Cody died and she hasn’t been there for him. She confesses to running from her feelings, but promising not to do that again. Justin offers to make his mom some dinner.
Mark sits outside Ronald’s cell, telling him that he’s going to figure him out. “We’re all strangers, even to ourselves,” Ronald tells him, adding that he’ll never be able to figure out what makes him tick. Ronald decides to drop a breadcrumb, asking Mark to play “Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis on his phone. Mark is reluctant, but Ronald tells him if he plays it, he will tell Mark what the song means to him tomorrow. Mark pulls up the song on his phone and presses play.
Returning home, Scarlet finds the hard drive under the sink and plugs it into her laptop. A file opens with a lot of names, phone numbers and addresses and she recalls the name Ronald told her to call, John Milton. A male voice answers and says “What is the frequency Kenneth?” and she goes blank, the receiver hanging up. She calls back, remembering the code phrase Ronald shared with her and answering the question the second time with “I ate the fruit.” The voice says “Standby” and hangs up again. Confused, Scarlet calls back and now the number is unreachable.
The next day, Mark finds Cassie at a horse barn as she returns from a ride. He hands her a coffee and tells her that he thinks she makes it difficult for people to get to know her in order to weed out the people who don’t deserve to be in her presence. “Well, maybe when this Ronald thing is over we can try again,” she tells him. As they leave the barn, she tells Mark that she doesn’t think Ronald will give them anything useful in the interrogation. Mark bets her she’s wrong, saying the loser has to pay for dinner on their first date.
At Dewell and Hoyt, Jerrie tells the team that she had her first night of good sleep in a long time. Jenny asks Denise and Jerrie to look into Scarlet’s background as Cheyenne surprises them by dropping in. She made thank you cupcakes for Jenny and Cassie, decorating them like white lions. She tells Jenny that Horst is dead, saying she doesn’t know how it happened. She also adds that Rosie changed her statement with the interim sheriff and Blake’s name has been cleared. Jenny is cold towards Cheyenne, saying that she could have helped her when her brothers and father held her captive. Cheyenne tells her that she did help her and that if she’s ever in Lochsa and in need of a place to stay, she can stay on the ranch. “Well I owe you one, now you have a good day,” Cheyenne says before taking her exit. Jenny cautions everyone not to eat the cupcakes.
Scarlet is making breakfast for Phoebe in a daze, accidentally burning the toast and setting off the smoke detector. Phoebe asks her mom why she’s acting funny. “Is it because of Arthur’s secret?,” she asks, making Scarlet worry. She asks her daughter what secret she’s talking about. “I saw him burying something on the camping trip. He said it was a deer, but it didn’t look like a deer.” Scarlet thinks for a moment and responds, “If Arthur said it was a deer, then I’m sure it was a deer.” Scarlet dismisses Phoebe’s question about when Arthur is coming back by telling her it’s time for school.
Chained to a desk, Ronald is surrounded by Mark, Jenny and Cassie, who tell him the FBI are on their way. He offers to share information about Rick Legarski’s sex trafficking syndicate in exchange for the death penalty being removed from the table. Jenny asks Ronald where Mary is and he calmly tells him that Mark played him “Chances Are” last night and he promised to share what the meaning of the song is to him. Using the blood on his hand, he spells out “Kelli” on the table, Cassie remembers it as the name etched into the back of Ronald’s abandoned truck cab. “It’s a two-for-one, Mary and Kelli. Who knows what you might find?,” Ronald teases.
Scarlet anxiously watches her phone when someone knocks on the door. She opens it to see a state trooper. “You called for some help?” Scarlet tells him he has the wrong address but he pushes past her. “No, I don’t think I do.” He asks her where “It” is, putting a hand on the handle of his gun in his holster. “Where is the harddrive?,” he demands when he realizes Scarlet is clueless. She begs him not to hurt her as she tells him it’s in the kitchen.
Ronald tells Mark that he can show them who Kelli is if they take him to her. He talks about his creepy system for remembering all of the girls he abducted. “If you find Kelli, you find Mary, perhaps more. This could be a real jackpot.” He then tells them a story about how his mom was allergic to cats but he once found a cat and brought it home as a pet, keeping it in the basement. When it bit him and his hand got infected, he stopped visiting it in the basement, leaving it without food and water. Cassie interrupts his story and asks “Where is this heading?” Ronald looks up at her and says “That depends on you.” Mark asks him to tell them where Mary is. “I HAVE TO SHOW YOU!,” Ronald yells.
The state trooper pockets the harddrive and Scarlet lies, telling him that Ronald made a copy. “Get him, get the drive, or do I need to call John Milton, tell him I ate more fruit?,” she threatens. He steps closer, asking if she knows what this is. She tells him he has no idea who he’s dealing with and he pulls out his phone, showing her pictures of Phoebe playing at a park. “Popular kid, I’m told,” he says. “Sociable. I was more of the loner type.” He tells Scarlet to come with him and that her daughter will only be safe if she complies.
Jenny reaffirms her belief that it’s not a good idea to let Ronald lead them someplace as Mark puts himi in a squad car. He tells her that he can’t take the chance if Mary could still be alive. She reminds him that this is the same person who once led police to a house full of explosives. “He’s always one step ahead,” she concludes. Mark tells her it’s happening whether she comes or not and the choice is hers. Cassie thinks they should see where Ronald wants to take them and she rides with Mark while Jenny gets in a separate car with Sheriff Tubb.
On the drive, Mark asks Ronald what “Chances Are” means to him, but he pivots to talking about how much Rick Legaarski loved music compared to how bad he was at romance, bringing up Merilee. “Did you know he had a brother? A twin, as a matter of fact,” Ronald tells them, adding that he might share more fun facts today.
Riding with Sheriff Tubb, Jenny tells him she doesn’t understand why they’re taking Ronald out and Tubb tells her Lindor outranks him. Denise calls Jenny to tell her that Jerrie found that Scarlet’s records have been erased, but they were able to find a copy at another department. They learned that Scarlet spent time in a facility for the criminally insane when she was 16, but they will need a warrant to learn why. “I knew it, something about Scarlet was off,” Jenny says. Sheriff Tubb commends Jenny on her good instincts.
Scarlet is led to a black minivan on the side of the road and the state trooper tells her the keys are in the ignition. He gives her instructions to wait there, taking her phone and smashing it. He gives her a small flip phone. “You use this one from now on.” He drives away, leaving Scarlet with the minivan in the middle of nowhere.
Ronald has led the team to a garage, but only told Mark that there was a “Surprise” inside. When they open the garage door, they make Ronald lead the way and find a plywood box that’s locked with a chain. The police break the chain and open the doors, making everyone cover their noses from the rotting smell, except for Ronald. The interior of the room is decorated with feminine touches and a table has several rotting cakes on it. It’s the same place Ronald previously brought a cake to in episode 11, “All Kinds of Snakes.”
“Well it was my happy place and then some unexpected clouds came,” Ronald tells them when they ask what this place is. Mark says he doesn’t see Mary or Kelli. “Kelli’s here, keep going,” Ronald tells him. Shining more light, we see a bed and the silhouette of a person under a sheet. He reveals that Kelli was an abductee that he fell in love with and wanted to keep for himself, but she wouldn’t love him back. Legarski wanted him to turn her over but he couldn’t. Jenny asks what he did to her. “I did nothing, just like the stray cat. I just stopped coming.” He suggests they play a game of “Hot or Cold” and Cassie asks if he did the same thing to Mary. “Colder,” he responds. Mark gets angry and tells him they’re done playing games, escorting Ronald back to the car.
Outside the garage, Sheriff Tubb tells them that forensics are on their way to examine Kelli’s body. Mark is going to take Ronald back to the station for questioning and Jenny and Cassie confess to Tubb that this feels like it was too easy. Tubb suggests that maybe Mary is nearby. Cassie gets back in the car with Mark and Ronald, the captive singing “Chances Are” to himself in the backseat.
Driving along the two-lane highway, an approaching big rig swerves into their lane and hits the corner of Mark’s car, causing them to roll over. Following behind, Sheriff Tubb slams on the breaks and he and Jenny almost crash into them. Mark is unconscious and bleeding from his head, but Cassie is moaning in pain in the seat next to him. Jenny looks back and sees two men dressed in black get out of the big rig, both covered in bullet proof vests and carrying automatic guns. They start shooting at their car.
Sheriff Tubb has been shot in the arm and Jenny waits for the shooters to reload before stepping out of the car and fires back. Inside the other car, Ronald is alive and the partition cage is bent, allowing him to reach for Cassie’s neck and strangle her. “You don’t learn!,” he yells. Outside, Jenny plays dead, making one of the men approach her so she can shoot him at close range, killing him instantly. Moving to take down one of the other cops, Cassie breaks free of Ronald’s hold and stumbles out of the car just in time to see Jenny get shot in the middle of her chest, just below the rib cage. She runs to her friend and partner. “Stay with me, you understand? You’re gonna stay with me.” Ronald is out of the car with the other gunman, taking one last look at the destruction as he gets into the big rig and drives away. More police cars arrive on the scene as Cassie holds Jenny, blood pooling on the pavement around her.
Scarlet is waiting in the minivan when the big rig carrying Ronald pulls up behind her. She and Ronald hug and get in the back as the other gunman gets in the driver's seat and starts to drive away. He tosses Ronald a bag with new IDs and passports and Scarlet asks about Phoebe. “We have to get my daughter,” she tells the driver. “Not anymore, it’s too messy.” Ronald tells the driver they have to go get Phoebe, but he says “Not my call.” Scarlet looks at Ronald, saying she can’t go. They both quietly unbuckle their seatbelts and Ronald whispers to Scarlet to grab the steering wheel. He lunges forward to strangle the driver as she takes hold of the wheel to keep the van on the road.
Sheriff Tubb has been bandaged up, having survived the shot to his arm, and Jenny is on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance. Cassie tries to go with her, but Jenny looks at her and says “Get him.” Cassie tries to defy Jenny’s wishes, but she repeats it again. Cassie walks over to the body of the cop Jenny killed, finding his flip phone. She grabs his gun and walks away from the scene, getting into an empty police car, doing a donut, and racing off in the direction the Big Rig left.
The other driver from the syndicate has been murdered by Ronald and Scarlet, who dump his body on the side of the road and drive away in their minivan. We see them both looking relaxed in the van, presumably on their way to pick up Phoebe and escape to start a new life together. They hold hands, Ronald’s still bandaged from Scarlet’s skin-piercing bite.
“To be continued.”
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).