DEATH AT NIGHT:
The third season of Big Sky continues with its second episode, “The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, and Deep.” The show opens with a direct continuation of the final scene of last week’s episode as Reba McEntire’s character, Sunny Barnes, is speaking to her son in the woods at night. “My sweet boy, do we have a problem? A mom always knows.” The young man’s eyes looks haunted, but Sunny doesn’t give him much time to speak, telling him that they had a deal: he would stay in his place.
Her son tells her that he needs to show her something, and he brings her over to a bloody body sprawled on its back on the ground. To my horror, I realized the man was still alive. It’s the hiker who fell from Deadman’s Bluff. His breath is coming in agonizing pants, blood runs down his face, and one hand is clenched over a wound in his chest. Sunny’s son is upset; he explains that he brought him here after he fell. The hiker gasps, clutching his chest. “I’ll handle this,” says Sunny. She sits near him, her flashlight falling on his pain-wracked face. She remarks that his mother must be worried about him; sometimes, mother just means heartache. “Hospital,” gasps the man. “It hurts.” Sunny’s compassion is only verbal, however; she doesn’t rush to get help, instead telling him that she has a child of her own to protect. She begins to calmly sing, her hand resting on the wounded man’s chest, gently patting him. His eyes are tormented; then his face turns to the side and the light leaves his eyes. “All over now,” Sunny sighs.
The detective agency gets a tip about the missing hiker from two young women who met him on the trail. They’re talking about him to Cassie, when the receptionist Denise speaks up about the young woman who died near Deadman’s Drop, which frightens the witnesses into wondering if a serial killer is in the area. They’re concerned for the hiker as he seemed a nice guy. After they leave, Cassie determines that they need to hike up Deadman’s Drop Trail, but Denise pleads off due to her sciatica, suggesting Beau or Jenny go along instead.
Sheriff Beau is enthusiastically eating a sandwich brought to him by Deputy Poppernak. He’s showing the kind of relish Dean Winchester often displayed when enjoying food. Jenny is not impressed because the sandwich came from the Blue Fox Diner, which Tonya owns, and was made by Donno. That doesn’t phase Beau (as long as the meal won’t give him food poisoning), but Jenny starts ranting how Tonya belongs in jail, only to turn around to find the woman standing in the office, ready to report a crime – there is a squatter in the house she’s trying to sell. She needs him removed. Beau assigns Jenny to help her, much to Jenny’s reluctance, because Beau is going up the hiking trail with Cassie, and as sheriff, he gets to choose whom to help.
At the Sunny Days Excursions campsite, Sunny is showing Emily (Beau’s daughter) how to safely dispose of trash so the bears don’t get them. She reminds her to never get between a mama bear and her cub. She asks the young girl about her podcast: wasn’t it going to be about secrets? Emily isn’t sure; she’s still deciding. Sunny asks if her mom knows she’s doing the podcast; Emily says her mom likes listening to shows about murder. Sunny, on the other hand, prefers romance: “you kids can do that murder stuff.” Buck approaches as Emily leaves. He’s wondering where Sunny was last night, and she replies that she took a walk in the woods by moonlight. He notices blood on her hand, and she says she got scraped up getting wood. They exchange “I love you’s”, and Sunny walks off, sunny disposition still on full display. Guests are gathering to go hiking, and Luke takes offense at the way his girlfriend smiles at Cormac. Cormac tells him he could do with some manners.
Emily starts recording the drama, and soon the tourists are heading into the woods.
THE MYSTERIOUS HOME INVADER:
Jenny and Tonya arrive at the house which Jenny says was paid for with blood money. Hearing a scuffle, Jenny runs upstairs to find Donno forcefully trying to drag the squatter out. Jenny pulls a gun on Donna for him to back off. The squatter, who appears to be a man in his thirties, says his name is Jef with one F, and he lives here. He quotes the Homestead Act and actually has a utility bill with his name on it which means that Tonya is going to need a court order to get Jef to leave, that is, until Donno opens a duffle bag and finds money and a gun. Jenny, wanting to identify the man, finds several different IDs with his picture: “Who are you, Jef with one F?”
Both Jef and Donno are jailed, but Jef still won’t say a thing. A drunk gets put in the cell with them. Tonya arrives to demand that Donno be released. As they speak, Deputy Poppernak is looking up Jef online, but he’s not in the system. Suddenly, they hear a ruckus. Running down the hall, they discover that the newly-incarcerated drunk was trying to inject Jef with a syringe. Jenny plunges into the fray but isn’t successful until Donno half rips his shirt off in an act of distraction. They disarm the assassin, and Jenny looks at Jef: “Who are you? Who wants you dead?”
THE WATER BOTTLE IN THE ROCKS:
Cassie stands atop a rocky outcropping at the peak of the Deadman’s Drop Trail. She notices two different footprints in the dirt. Beau arrives panting with exertion: “I ever tell you how flat Texas is?” “You kept going on and on how you were born for the outdoors,” Cassie jokes as he tries to catch his breath. Beau spots a water bottle and thinks it might be the hiker’s since it has several stickers of different parks and trails, and he decides they should check in with Sunny Barnes. Cassie thinks he just wants to spy on his daughter, which he does not deny.
At the campsite, Sunny informs them that that trail has been closed so people shouldn’t have been on it. However, sometimes people want to disappear. Emily sees her dad but appears more amused than annoyed that he’s checking up on her. He jokes that over protective parents are the worst. Beau whistles at the well-apportioned tents which doesn’t seem like real camping. Avery approaches and the men greet each other, joking a bit. Beau sounds both defensive and critical when he claims that he’s a jeans and boots guy himself. He says that he can see that Avery has everything handled, that he’s taking care of it all. He pulls his daughter aside to whisper, “Don’t tell your mother,” and then tells her to never mind, gives her a warm hug, tells her he loves her, and walks away fast.
The unhappy young couple are hiking through the forest, arguing. He is bitter about her cowboy lover, but she tells him it’s nothing. She reminds him that they are only there because they’re in hiding. They’ll go back for the money later. (This sounds like the sort of secret Emily would like to learn about for her podcast.)
Jenny does a computer search and discovers that Jef is actually Paul Carlson, a senior legal counselor for the Redman Airline Company. He’d discovered that planes made by the company had failed safety inspections, but the company was still planning on putting them in the air anyway. He’d gone into hiding, but they’d sent an assassin after him anyway. He’s distrustful of protective custody and scared because the company is powerful and he’s just one man. The executive assistant for the company has also gone missing.
Paul’s plan is to get into Canada, but Beau, who is back at the office, wants him in witness protection since the company is looking for him. Paul has some kind of evidence that could be used against the company. “We’re not going to let anything happen to you,” he says. Wanting to save the lives of all the potential people who’d get on those planes, Paul agrees.
MORE MISSING HIKERS:
Sunny announces to guests that the young couple, Paige and Luke, didn’t return to camp. Emily holds up her cell phone to tape the conversation. Sunny says her bloodhounds, Cormac and Buck, are on the job. Avery, looking over at their closed-up tent, wonders why that young couple even came here at all.
In the darkening woods, Paige and Luke, miserably lost, walk and argue. Paige sees a light and starts hollering, hoping to be rescued, but Luke wants her to be quiet. She calls him a little boy pretending to be a man, and, enraged, he grabs her by the throat. Instead of being intimidated, she fiercely thrusts him away from her, stating that she’ll kill him if he tries that again. She turns and heads toward the light. Behind her, Luke picks up a large rock. Holding it in both hands, he begins to follow her. Unseen by both of them, on a nearby tree, a bloody heart has been carved into the bark.
Back at the luxury camp site, Avery unzips the couple’s tent, steps inside, and begins to open drawers. Inside a leopard print duffle bag, he finds a gun and a diary with highlighted words. Emily pops her head inside calling for Paige and is surprised to find her stepdad there. He laughs and says he went into the wrong tent.
The next morning, the couple has still not returned. Sunny is calling Ranger Mike to help search and several of the guests wish to search as well, including Emily.
A brown-haired woman, a deputy marshal, has arrived at the sheriff’s office. Beau calls her supervisor to check out her credentials; people could be pretending to be a fed. But she checks out. Jenny tells Paul to be safe, and the marshal turns down the escort Beau offers. But Beau isn’t backing down that easily: he’d promised that nothing would happen to Paul so, even though he and Jenny agree that it could be overkill, they send Deputy Puppernak (whom Beau calls Popstar) after her in his mother’s red minivan. “You need to up your car game,” Beau criticizes.
The deputy follows the marshal discreetly, but suspicions arise when she misses the turn for the airport. Beau thinks that the powerful airline company has corrupted her and he and Jenny head out to rescue Paul. They enter the large house Tonya is selling. Hearing voices, they approach with guns drawn, but the marshal puts a gun to Paul’s head. She never notices the deputy approaching from behind, who swings a pole lamp and knocks her down. Paul is safe! But Beau isn’t there. Hearing a noise, he’d headed down a stairway and kicked open a locked door. Someone screams. Jenny comes running to find Beau coming up the stairs with a woman – the missing executive assistance. She was the insurance that Paul was holding over the company; together they’ll testify against Redman.
THE WOODS ARE LOVELY:
Cassie, looking at pics online of the missing hiker, spots the water bottle they’d found. It HAD belonged to him; he HAD been on the Deadman’s Drop Trail. Denise brings up again the Bloody Heart Murders and the mutilated girl, adding that her body had been found at Deadman’s Drop. Cassie is unsure of the significance of this since it happened 20 years ago.
Sunny, alone, enters a clearing, calling for Walter. There are carvings and tools on some stumps but no sign of her son. Shortly after, she meets up with Cormac; when he says he’ll check the nearby path, she says she’d just been there with no sign of the missing hikers. She’s not happy that there are guests wandering around in the woods and tells Cormac that he should just do what she tells him. “You’re a man – start acting like it,” she criticizes, not realizing the irony of demanding that he prove himself a man by obeying her.
Avery is tired of searching the woods and wants to go back, but Emily doesn’t want to stop the search. They decide to split up, Avery heading back to camp while Emily continues to walk alone through bear-infested, Walter-infested, creepy-bloody-heart-carving infested woods.
HOUSEWARMING AND HORRIBLE DISCOVERIES:
Cassie brings Beau and Jenny into her newly-purchased house. Beau has some quirky gifts: a loaf of bread and some salt which he says is for protection. “Against demons!” she responds, smiling. Jenny, on the other hand, has liquor, and they sit and drink a toast. The discussion turns to the missing hiker and the murdered girl from so many years ago. One additional detail about her death: her heart had been cut out. Beau says, “Emily’s out in those woods.” He pulls out his phone but there’s no connection.
Walking alone through the woods, Emily spots some blood on a rock, then more on the ground. On a slope below her, a figure crouches by a wide stream, seeming to be washing his hands. Taking out her phone, Emily begins to record so she’s got a great view when the figure turns. It’s Luke with blood on his temple and blood all over his arms. He glares at her, and the episode ends.
- Why did Sunny make a deal with her son that he stay in the woods? Did he kill the young girl twenty years ago? Wouldn’t he be too young for that? But what else would cause his mother to hide him away like this (and be willing to let others die to protect him)?
- Do Cormac or Buck know about him?
- What is up with Avery? Why would he search the young couple’s tent? Why would he leave a sixteen year old girl alone in a forest full of bears and missing hikers?
- How is Beau, who has already listed Avery on his punch list, going to react if he realizes that Avery left Emily alone in the woods?
- How many Supernatural Easter Eggs did you catch in this episode? What has been your favorite Supernatural Easter Egg so far?
Catch up on all the Big Sky season 3 Episodes! Detailed recaps for Big Sky and Supernatural are listed on Emberlast’s Writer’s Page!
Illustrated by Nightsky.