Rick tries to keep a level head while Ronald navigates a different approach in Big Sky Episode 4.
The hunt is on for the missing girls in Big Sky Episode 4, “Unfinished Business.” Overall, this episode is much stronger than the last, as it feels like the characters are actually making some progress, and we learn more about Cassie’s backstory.
We begin with a frustrated Rick driving around while listening to the radio. Every channel is about Grace and Danielle. On television, their mother gives an impassioned plea toward anyone who has any information on their whereabouts. She promises to find them. Feeling the heat, Rick phones Ronald to let him know that they’re moving the girls. A syndicate out of Ontario is going to take them off of their hands for a while.
Ronald is facing his own form of pressure at home in the shape of his persistent, nosy mother, Helen. She knows Ronald has “urges,” and those urges might correspond to the missing girls.
“I continue to believe that there’s more good in you than bad. But the day I come to believe otherwise — that there’s more bad in you than good, that’s a terrible day. For me. For you.”
She encourages Ronald to do the “right thing” because she will always do the right thing. “Trust that.” “Sometimes doing the right thing has to give way to doing what’s necessary. I will do what’s necessary.” Their entire relationship is comprised of thinly veiled threats and weird tension. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ronald kills her in the end.
That isn’t the first vaguely threatening conversation Ronald has in this episode. When he regroups with Rick, their chat takes a turn for the worse when Ronald mentions that his mother accused him of having something to do with the missing girls. He doesn’t think it’s a big deal, she’s always suspicious of him. “If somebody shot the pope, she’d ask if I’d done it.”
Rick — who is already under increasing stress from the viral search underway for the girls and the recent call from Sheriff Tubbs regarding him being the last person to see Cody — doesn’t think it’s as under control as Ronald seems to think. “I’m beginning to think you’re a loose end, Ronald.” He’s itching to pull the trigger, just like he did to Cody. But Ronald claims he has an insurance policy in place so that if he dies, the trail leads straight to Rick.
His meeting with Tubbs goes exactly the way you might expect. At first, it looks like Tubbs might actually put the hammer down and seriously question what Rick was doing with Cody, but then Rick gets defensive and plays the victim. He accuses Tubbs of listening to Cassie because she’s Black, and he doesn’t want to be called a racist. He is nothing if not a master of deflection.
Later, we get to see a potential glimpse of Ronald’s so-called “insurance plan” when he visits Rick’s wife, Merilee, at her small brick-and-mortar quilt shop. He tries to charm her and invites her to a dance, just for fun.
At the All in Bar pit stop, Ronald and Rick frequent, discuss moving the girls with Grace wounded. Rick wants to be sure she’s not faking it (dude, you shot her with TWO arrows.). Ronald assures him that she’s not, but they both agree they need to get them on the truck with their contacts and be done with it.
Surprisingly, Merilee does make an appearance at the dance Ronald invited her to. She’s curious as to why he was interested in her. “You seem really lonely. Gives us something in common.” As idiotic as Ronald can be, he is skilled at subtle manipulation. Merilee has a nice time with him and is happy to brag to her husband that she actually spent a night out dancing with a customer from work.
In the final moments of the episode, we see Rick climbing the stairs in the dark with a hammer in his hand toward a sleeping Merilee. Is he going to murder his wife?! I think there are some interesting parallels to draw between Ronald and Rick and how they treat the main woman in their lives: Merilee and Helen.
Grace makes a painful decision to try and save herself, Danielle and Jerrie in Big Sky Episode 4.
Since Rick didn’t help patch up Grace’s leg after shooting her with multiple arrows, she now has a serious infection. To fix it, they leave a can of SPAM out long enough to attract maggots so they can use them to disinfect Grace’s wound. Hey, it’s not pretty, but it’s also not unheard of.
As Grace points out, the gnarly wound might also present an opportunity for her to try and escape again. If they’re meant to be trafficked, they have to look presentable, and right now, Grace’s wound will put a hitch in Ron and Rick’s plan.
The maggots don’t work, and Grace’s condition plummets, fast. If she doesn’t get serious help soon, she will die. Ronald attempts to give her some pills to quell her fever, but when she vomits on him, he panics and balks, leaving Jerrie and Danielle screaming after him to help save her.
After finding out how bad a shape Grace is in, Rick visits her to give her some antibiotics. And, as if he couldn’t get any worse, he tells the girls that they’re “wholesome” and unfortunately just got caught up in his web as he tries to clean up America’s moral decay, “the ick” and “the rot.” He’s specifically talking about Jerrie.
Big Sky Episode 4: Jenny & Cassie start to make headway in the case by taking things into their own hands.
Jenny makes more headway with Sheriff Tubb (Patrick Gallagher) in this episode than Cassie did in the last. As her former mentor, he’s inclined to give her theory on Rick being involved a shot, even though he doubts its veracity.
Over family breakfast, Cassie’s dad, Joseph Dewell (Jeff Joseph), apologizes for giving her some bad advice on how to handle her husband. He thinks she’s coming undone because this case is dredging up something from her past. We don’t find out what happened yet, but this is the first significant mention of Cassie’s past.
Her dad thinks she’s been running ever since the mysterious event involving her husband. He believes it’s why she went tumbling toward Cody. Joseph wants her to slow down and let herself feel sad for a while. Cassie assures him she’s okay.
Back at Dewell & Hoyt, Cassie and Jenny concoct a plan to plant a tracker on Rick’s car when he meets with Tubbs at the sheriff’s office. Denise doesn’t think it’s a good idea since it is a crime, but also — does anyone else think Denise is weirdly attached to Rick? I’m not sure I trust her.
Jenny and Cassie’s next plan is to infiltrate the truck stop where Jerrie was last seen before she vanished. Their favored suspect is a man named Brad Gunther, who has a substantial rap sheet and drives a route along where the girls went missing. While Denise tracks Rick’s vehicle, Jenny will go undercover as a prostitute, with Cassie as her back-up.
Before the outing, Cassie takes a moment to collect herself at home after reminiscing about Cody. She asks her dad how he got on after her mom committed suicide when she was 11. We also learn that Cassie’s husband was a soldier who died in Afghanistan. She’s seen a lot of tragedy in her life. “I went on ’cause of you just like you go on because of Kai.”
At the truck stop, Jenny successfully infiltrates Brad’s truck in her disguise. The guy’s a full-on germaphobe and makes her fully sanitized before things progress, so Jenny cuts to the chase. She’s a cop, and she’s taking some stuff to test his DNA. Well, Brad doesn’t like that, so he chases her down and pulls a knife and a gun. But between Jenny and Cassie, he doesn’t last long. Brad is put in a cell for breaking his probation with the weapons. However, Tubbs isn’t happy with Jenny and Cassie’s underhanded police work. No more favors from the sheriff, and it’s unlikely they’ll run the DNA.
When they’re done, Denise tells them she tracked Rick to a deserted plot of land in the middle of nowhere. In the most frustrating scene so far, Cassie and Jenny find the deserted farmstead, but they don’t realize there is an underground section. Not seeing a trap door, they assume the place is empty while the girls — realizing someone is there that isn’t Ronald or Rick — start screaming for help from down below.
Check out the teaser for next week’s episode, which also doubles as the winter finale:
What did you think about Big Sky Episode 4? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!
New episodes of Big Sky air Tuesday nights on ABC.