HOLLYWOOD—Well, talk about a premiere episode that knows how to hook a viewer. If you have NOT watched the pilot episode of the new ABC drama “Big Sky” stop reading now. I mean really stop reading right now, otherwise you’ll be disappointed. This series sure knows how to crank the crazy in just 1 hour of TV viewing.
I mean, a major character being offed, revealing who are kidnapper is and their connection to another primary player in town. Yeah, all that transpired in the first episode and I need to take a breather, because the final moments of the episode, left me shook in TV terms and that rarely happens people. Let us rewind a bit so I can give you an idea what this series is about. Montana, what do you think about when you hear that word? Peace, serenity, mountains, snow, that is what most Americans think, but “Big Sky” presents a darker picture. Noting that people in Montana might hold some secrets, some darker than others.
With that said, the series is crafted by David E. Kelley. This is the guy responsible for the comedy “Ally McBeal,” the dramas “The Practice,” “Boston Public,” “Boston Legal” and of course placed his touch on that hit HBO series “Big Little Lies.” The series has a hook: two teenage girls disappear while on the road to visit a friend. Those girls are kidnapped by a disgruntled trucker, that trucker is portrayed by Brian Geraghty, who is Ronald Pergram. Ronald seems like a loner when we first meet him, and it’s a truck stop that how can I say it, is a haven for soliciting sex. Yes, it feels like prostitute haven, people know it, or it’s at least rumored and no one seems to bat an eye about it. While waiting in his truck, Ron comes across a woman, who is obviously a man. It seems innocent at first, that’s until Ron uses his nifty Taser to abduct the woman. Yeah, things took a dark turn right away.
With that said, we meet private investigator Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury), who happens to be in business with Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe). The two are in a relationship, and all seem to be well, that is until Cody’s ex, Jenny (Katheryn Winnick) shows up in town. Yeah, Cassie was under the guise that Cody and Jenny were dunzo, seems Jenny never got that memo. The ladies get into a massive brawl, where bruises are riddled across the face and some stitches are part of the healing process. Cody is not perfection; he has a checkered past a former cop with issues, but is trying to get his life back on track.
We also have state trooper Rick Legarski (John Carroll Lynch), who just gives off a creepy vibe when he first appears on the screen. The guy seems a bit off his kilter at first, maybe it is just quirks he possesses, but as the episode nears the end we learn there is much more going on than expected. Lynch is notorious for playing the bad guy on the big screen and the small screen America, he has made a career out of it, and the subtlest taste of villainy we receive from him in the pilot episode says a ton about what is expected to come.
The teens looking to claw and fight their way to safety are Danielle (Natalie Alyn Lind) and her sister Grace (Jade Pettyjohn). These girls are not just damsels in distress, they fight and attempt to make a run for it, but Ron gets the better of the two with an assist by a third party. So we have our players in place, but what “Big Sky” does so well is punch the audience directly in the face without being afraid to do it. It’s a mystery and we don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle yet, but we do know some key details thanks to Rick.
After Cassie and Jenny’s brawl, the three start working on the string of missing women in the area. During a moment, Cody and Jenny sleep together, and their bliss is interrupted by their son who warns that Danielle and Grace never showed up and he’s worried. Cody, Jenny and Cassie go into detective mode. Let’s be honest, the teens would have been fine if Grace didn’t piss off Ron in her attempt to have a bit of fun. In the process of doing that, they raised Ron’s ire that used his Taser to abduct them. Inside that truck they discover Jerrie (Jesse James Keitel), that prostitute that Ron kidnapped earlier in the episode. She is wrapped in a bag and appears dead, but wait for it, she’s not!
The three implement a plan to garner Ron’s attention and they strike, stabbing him in the neck, but he gains the upper hand. The audience knows nothing about why Ron is kidnapping women, but we know he has a strained relationship with his mother, who doesn’t seem to care for her son that much, which could be a motivating factor for his behavior. Following up on some leads, Cody meets with Rick to disclose two girls are missing and that Rick mentions non cavalierly that it’s not the first time such a thing has happened. That should have been an immediate red flag for Cody, but it wasn’t, even though Cassie and Jenny warned him to let them tag along with him, he refused and it is a consequence he will pay dearly for.
Cody wanted to be the man of the hour and he paid for it dearly as Rick blew his head off in the final moments of the episode. Talk about a key character being killed in a series right away. Heck I thought Phillippe was the star of the series, well not anymore. He looks pretty dead, and if anything it seems that Cody will still appear on the series in flashbacks, unless there is some twin twist the audience does not see coming.
The killing of Cody was a shock, but I almost wish the series DID NOT reveal Rick as Ron’s co-conspirator. Why? It leaves a bit of mystery to the show that does not mean we don’t still have mystery to unravel because we do, it just would add another layer of the mayhem for the audience. So it seems our key characters are now Cassie and Jenny who will be solving the mystery, in addition to trying to piece together what happened to Cody and why he’s been MIA. This twist totally takes the series in a new direction, but I’m all for it America. “Big Sky” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.