Big Sky life post-Ronald Pergman continues to deliver.
With all things Ronald, Wolf, and the syndicate behind us (for now, at least), Big Sky is moving us into more of a procedural type of crime show. And that's a good thing!
Sprinkling in cases of the week alongside a long-form story has great potential. And that's precisely what Big Sky Season 3 Episode 1 is all about, as we meet our season villain, solve a separate case alongside the police, and have a lot of fun while doing so.
In general, Big Sky has excelled at the big, sweeping stories that take episodes upon episodes to be solved. It's their bread and butter, after all. But they've always struggled knowing when to pull the plug on said stories.
A half-season is probably the maximum amount of time we need to spend on a single case that dominates each hour.
But if they're going to continue down the path of long-form storytelling, then they made the right call in breaking up the episodes by adding in more cases of the week. It allows them to tease out the longer mystery, so it doesn't overstay its welcome and helps integrate everyone in a way that makes more sense.
It's sometimes easy to forget that Jenny and Cassie don't work together anymore because they still collaborate on many cases.
But it feels like it will be shaping up to be Jenny and Beau working together, with Cassie and Denise now the lone members of Dewell and Hoyt, with the foursome, I'm sure, still coming together for the larger case when necessary.
Beau was a welcome addition on Big Sky Season 2 Episode 18, and he's still a welcome addition here. With a months-long time jump between seasons, Beau has gotten more acclimated to his role as sheriff and his place within the dynamic that is Cassie and Jenny.
Look, Jensen Ackles probably has chemistry with my laundry room door, so it's no surprise that he fits in flawlessly on this show which relies a lot on the chemistry between the women. They are the biggest draw and introducing someone who could disrupt that connection would have been a death sentence.
But luckily, Jensen only adds to the series and takes nothing away.
Beau and Jenny team up for their case of the week involving a half-naked corrections officer, a criminal with a penchant for throwing men off balconies, and a salon showdown.
As far as cases go, it's unremarkable overall, but it's nice to see a case get wrapped up in under forty minutes.
Beau and Jenny make a decent team, even if Jenny is still Jenny and always marching to the beat of her own drum. Their car banter was pleasant and didn't feel flirty, which I thought it maybe would. Not that it would be horrible if the powers that be decided to go there, but I think a friendly colleague relationship would be nice to see.
We've already seen Jenny and Cassie involved with people they work with in some capacity, and it's ended terribly.
Speaking of Cassie, I like that she and Beau are friendly and that she seems monumentally happier than we've seen her in some time. I was a huge fan of Mark and Cassie, so hearing they broke up off-screen so Mark could go off chasing bad guys with Jerrie was extremely disheartening.
They put a lot of effort into that love triangle and then had Mark make a definitive choice, only to decide to change course and skip town? It's all very messy, and something tells me Jerrie and Mark will make their way back to Montana at some point, and it'll be interesting to see what kind of place Cassie is in then.
Big Sky loves a love triangle, so maybe they'll eventually pit Cassie and Jenny against one another for Beau's affection, only for Mark to swoop back into town and complicate everything.
There's a lot of soapy goodness here just waiting to be explored.
Outside of the case of the week and the would-be romantic entanglements, we met a whole host of people who will be spending their days and nights out in the woods, becoming one with nature.
Starting the hour off with the missing backpacker presumably falling to his death and showing us the creepy man in the woods is so Big Sky. They like a big shocking moment, but they're not always interested in the whodunnit of it all.
They'd much rather show you the bad person upfront and let you watch their reign of terror play out as Cassie and Jenny try to bring them down weekly.
A solid mystery will never go out of style, but it's also fun to spend more time with the baddies, like Sunny Barnes.
First of all, Reba McEntire is a LEGEND, and she will kill this role. Sunny is, well, sunny on the outside, but you can just tell something is brewing under the surface underneath that megawatt smile.
Sunny Day Excursions frankly looks cool as hell. It's like upscale camping in the middle of the beautiful mountains, and you can't really go wrong with that.
A family-run operation, everything about the place seems great, and the guests we meet here are nice enough. Naturally, danger will get them in no time, but at least we get a little time to get to know them first!
Sunny: Mighty big knife there, girl.
Emily: Father gave it to me.
Sunny: Sounds like a good father.
One of the guests is Beau's daughter, Emily, which adds an intriguing layer to things here and will give a reason for Beau to join the case eventually.
Right now, there isn't a case per se, but Sunny is hiding a pretty big secret with that knife man in the woods. So, what are the guesses about who this man is? Is he Sunny's son? Or is he just someone Sunny looks after when she's in this neck of the woods?
Even though he didn't necessarily kill Mark, he's clearly up to no good. Plus, now that we know there was another person who died out there near the same trails only increases the intrigue.
What Sunny knows and what she doesn't know isn't clear yet, but what is clear is that she's not at all concerned with helping Cassie or anyone track down poor Mark. She is much more content to make smores and bring them to creepy men in the woods, you know, as one does.
Sunny is already a trip, and we're just starting.
Odds and Ends
- Tonya becoming a wealthy real estate mogul is bizarre and does not fit with the rest of the stories. But Donno and Tonya are the chaotic duos we all need, and I will never count them out!
- Cassie following through to buy the ranch is bittersweet. I can't imagine she wants to actually live there, but maybe she can turn that land into something extraordinary.
- I feel it in my bones that this is the season they let Denise out of the office! It's happening, people!
- I genuinely hope we are in for a whole season of Beau calling Poppernak every variation of his name except the correct one. Papa Smurf takes the cake this week, but Popeye was a close second.
- Beau's airstream set up, with that outdoor projection and those cute little Adirondack chairs! SWOON!
- I will miss Ren Bhullar forever. Queen of the baddies.
- I'm sure Cormac will end up being evil like his mommy, but I saw those puppy dog eyes at Cassie! I firmly support a rebound!
Big Sky is back, baby! And this season is off to a fantastic start!
Let me know what you're most excited to see this season in the comments! Remember, you can watch Big Sky online anytime your heart desires via TV Fanatic!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.