Big Sky – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

Big Exposition Sky

Korean content is miles ahead of most content produced in the West. If Big Sky is any indication to go by, network TV has a long, long road to travel before it can even come close. From huge exposition dumps and unrealistic dialogue to hilariously silly characters, Big Sky goes from big promise to big disappointment in 40 minutes… until a final twist that could save this show yet.

The episode itself begins with an irate woman named Jenny racing across town to confront a woman called Cass. Wasting absolutely no time, she cuts straight to the chase – “You’ve been sleeping with my husband right?” Well, it turns out Cody is actually Jenny’s ex-husband.

They’re separated but given there’s a kid between them, there’s obviously a lot of baggage here and Jenny isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. Colleague Denise can only sit and watch from her desk – silenced by Jenny who knows her nosy neighbour will no doubt have a clever quip to throw her way.

Meanwhile, 38 year old Ronald (the 38 being something we’re told repeatedly here) heads home to his Mum who berates his lack of ambition. After all, driving a “really big truck” isn’t something she can brag to the other Mums about.

Heading back to work, Ronald picks up a hooker by the side of the road. While sat on his lap, he opens up to this woman and calls her beautiful. As they start kissing, he suddenly uses a taser on her and knocks the girl out. As we cut across to him driving, the camera pans back and shows this woman tied up and not breathing.

Elsewhere, Mitchell Banks arrives in town from San Francisco. A dollop of exposition is delivered, including the fact this man’s married but it seems to be pointless chatter given the real character here is state trooper Rick. He helps the man out and watches him leave after making a pretty weird comment about making love to Montana dirt.

As the revolving door of characters continue, we cut across to Cass who clearly isn’t happy with Cody, Jenny’s ex. Apparently he misled her and is being unfaithful. On a side note here, it’s good to see Ryan Phillipe reviving his Cruel Intentions character!

Well, all of this spills over to these two ladies fighting in the bar to the ironic song lyrics of “Stand By Your Man.” It’s a little on the nose but one that doesn’t really see any winners in this strange love triangle. Cody brings both girls home, telling them they need to be on the same page.

For now, Cassie is dropped off at her house and says good night to her kid.

We then cut across to sisters Danielle and Grace who are out on a 12 hour road-trip and talk at the same time, reinforcing that they are in fact sisters.

Danielle’s boyfriend Justin calls and lets them know there’s a crash on the highway ahead. Taking a detour, they head off on a road nearby and almost get hit by a truck. A truck driven by Ronald. Instead of letting this go, Danielle decides to take matters into her own hands and races up the road to teach him a lesson. Despite Grace’s pleas not to, Danielle races up like a maniac, swearing at the man and passing him on the road.

Laughing about her revenge, Danielle turns off on an exit…. which Ronald takes too later on and heads in the same direction as the girls. The predictable happens and the sisters’ car overheats, leaving them stranded by the side of the road.

With nowhere to go, they watch helplessly as Ronald pulls up behind them and tasers both girls. As screams pierce the air, both of them awaken tied up in the back of Ronald’s truck. It turns out Danielle’s boyfriend Justin is actually Cody and Jenny’s son. Alas, the plot thickens.

Anyway, Cody heads out to try and find the two girls while our ladies undo their binds and find the body of the hooker in the back. Grace gives her CPR, resuscitating the woman as everything rests on them being found by the police.

That police officer shouldering the responsibility of finding them is state trooper Rick; the screws-loose cop from earlier who told Mitchell to make love to the earth.

It turns out Cody is a private detective and phones Rick to go over the possibilities of what may have happened. He asks Rick to head down but on the way learns more about what’s happening. Apparently there was a previous case swept under the rug regarding missing prostitutes killed on the road but no leads were found. t

Now that their own family is involved, Jenny and Cassie are forced to bring up those cases again to look more thoroughly at what they may have missed.

Meanwhile, the girls do their best to try and overpower Ronald but it’s no good. His taser is no match for the trio and he successfully tasers all three and knocks them out. Despite being stabbed in the neck with a comb, he nonchalantly removes it and continues on, bringing the girls to a dingy basement where they awaken chained up and with seemingly no escape.

Cody meets Rick in the middle of the night at an abandoned diner. Checking his phone, Cassie feeds back that 12 females have gone missing in a 100 mile radius. As Rick asks exactly how Cody came to find out, he suddenly brandishes a gun and shoots him in cold blood. As Rick steps out, blood staining his cheek, he phones Ronald and tells him he’s been sloppy.

The Episode Review

Based on the Highway series of books, Big Sky gets off to a pretty mediocre start. And mediocre is being kind. The abundance of exposition for the characters we meet feels really amateurish and everyone here is pretty archetypal.

The bad guys are very obviously bad – almost comically so – and it’s obvious that Jenny and Cass are now going to have to find common ground to avenge the lover that’s come between them. I’d imagine this girl-power angle will continue with the trio of captors trying to stop Rick and Ronald no matter what.

And just why are they capturing these young females? Why did Danielle race after this unstable truck driver on the road for no reason? What was she possibly hoping to gain? Hopefully we’ll find out sooner rather than later as right now there’s lots of unanswered questions surrounding this one.

Thankfully the first episode is just about saved by a nice little twist at the end but it almost feels like a last ditch effort to save what’s otherwise a pretty rough and bumpy pilot. Hopefully it’s just early season jitters and there’s still plenty of time to turn this around but right now, Big Sky starts off with a pretty underwhelming opener.

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