‘Big Sky’ Returns: Your Guide to Where Things Left Off

Big Sky Jenny Cody Cassie Photo Gallery
ABC/Kharen Hill

The winter finale of the ABC crime drama Big Sky literally ended with a bang as one character met the business end of a bullet in a scene that mirrored the big twist of the series premiere.

The show, which, in a vote of confidence from ABC, recently got its first season extended by six episodes, returns with new installments on Tuesday, January 26. But if you need a briefing on the events of the midseason finale, read on…

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In “A Good Day to Die,” which aired on December 16, kidnapping victims Danielle (Natalie Alyn Lind), Grace (Jade Pettyjohn), and Jerrie (Jesse James Keitel) are still being held captive by trucker Ronald Pergman (Brian Geraghty) and state trooper Rick Legarski (John Carroll Lynch).

But local law enforcement is on the case, as are private eyes Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), who are already suspicious of Rick. So much so that they’ve already put a tracker on his vehicle.

After tracking Rick to a barn, Cassie and Jenny get their hands on a blueprint of the property and realize the barn has underground space where the victims could be held. They head to the scene and see Rick’s Montana Highway Patrol SUV parked outside.

But when they raid the barn, they find Rick eating a sandwich. That’s not a criminal offense, of course, and the kidnapping victims are nowhere to be found: Ronald has already moved them.

Big Sky Season 1 Episode 5 Rick

Darko Sikman/ABC

Sheriff Tubb (Patrick Gallagher) gets reprimanded by Rick’s boss, and he’s ready to arrest both Cassie and Jenny for criminal stalking — i.e., planting a tracking device on Rick’s vehicle — but Jenny takes the fall and ends up in handcuffs.

After Ronald locks up the victims in the basement of the All In bar, Danielle mocks him, saying she probably represents “all of the pretty girls who couldn’t even be bothered to look at you, and if they did, they’d just laugh, call you a freak.”

Speaking of Ronald, we learn in a flashback in this episode that it was Rick who got him into the human trafficking operation. But in the present day, Rick is preparing to get out of the business and turn over a new leaf.

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'When our characters are in jeopardy, people will care even more,' says executive producer Ross Fineman.

Later, Ronald’s mother, Helen (Valerie Mahaffey), accuses him of being involved in the kidnappings, calling him a “sexual pervert” with “prurient urges.” He starts choking her, but eventually loosens his grip. As she recovers, he tells her that Rick, his “business associate,” is the one behind the kidnappings.

Elsewhere, Cassie questions Rick’s wife, Merilee (Brooke Smith) — who is very much alive, despite Rick’s murderous fantasy at the start of the episode. Merilee defends her husband and tells Cassie that Rick “a creature of habit.”

With that observation in mind, Cassie heads to the All In bar alone knowing it’s a favorite haunt of his. And sure enough, she finds Rick at the bottom of the basement stairs, his kidnapping victims just out of sight. She hears their screams, though, and after Rick draws his gun and taunts her, Cassie shoots him in the head. “My, my, my,” he says before collapsing.

It’s a moment of parallelism: The series premiere ended with Rick shooting Cody (Ryan Philippe) in the head. But have we seen the last of the nefarious state trooper? “We’ll find out whether or not Rick is dead,” actor John Carroll Lynch told TV Insider. “Certainly, in the circumstances, one would think so.”

And as for the next 11 episodes? “Let’s just say Cassie and Jenny will keep on the trails of the bad guys—both new and established,” executive producer Ross Fineman said.

Big Sky, Midseason Premiere, Tuesday, January 26, 10/7c, ABC