‘Big Sky’ Season 1 Episode 15 Recap: “Bitter Roots”

Big Sky Season 1 Episode 15
Katheryn Winnick and Kylie Bunbury in ‘Big Sky’ season 1 episode 15 (ABC/Darko Sikman)

ABC’s Big Sky season one episode 15 begins seconds after episode 14 ends, with Phoebe questioning Ronald (Brian Geraghty) about his nighttime activities. Ronald lies and says the body he’s burying in the middle of the night in a remote location is that of a deer. He beckons Phoebe to come closer, explaining this deer burial needs to remain a secret.

Phoebe’s full of questions and asks why she can’t tell her mom. Ronald makes up a cockamamie story about things not going to heaven if anyone discloses their burial spot. (So, Ronald, cemeteries are a big no-no?) Ronald suggests she say a prayer over the “dead deer,” telling her to shut her eyes or it won’t come true.

Phoebe’s this/close to winding up in the grave with deer, but Ronald reconsiders at the last second.

Ronald and Phoebe walk back to camp in the middle of the night and find Scarlet (Anja Savcic) in a panic. She had no idea where her young daughter or Ronald wandered off to. Phoebe sticks with Ronald’s story that they were just looking around, even embellishing his tale by adding that they saw shooting stars.

Episode 15 also left off with Cassie (Kylie Bunbury), Jenny (Katheryn Winnick), and Gil (Carlos Gomez) caught examining the dump barrels in the Kleinsassers’ back pasture the night of Blake’s funeral. Gil tells Cassie and Jenny to run, realizing being caught working together will be worse for him than taking the blame alone.

Horst (Ted Levine) pulls up next to Gil and instructs him to get in. Gil has no choice but to do as Horst says, and Horst asks what he was doing on the ranch. Gil lies and says he was checking to see if any of the barrels were leaking. Horst reminds him it’s really none of his business.

Horst claims taking these toxic barrels onto his land was actually done as a favor to the county.

Gil reveals John Wayne and Rand beat Rosie; Blake never hit her. They pinned the blame on Blake to get him out of the way. Horst laughs, certain Gil’s lying. Gil sticks to his story.

Cheyenne (Britt Robertson) tells her mom it’s just going to be the two of them when this is all over. She reminds her mom they both want to be free of the men. Margaret (Michelle Forbes) appears to be losing her grip on reality as she talks about seeing a dark spot on the ceiling that’s expanding. Soon it will swallow her whole.

Cheyenne declares she’s done being a good girl. Margaret’s sure the Kleinsasser men will kill Cheyenne, but Cheyenne assures her mom that won’t happen if she kills them first.

Cassie and Jenny flee the back pasture at the Kleinsasser ranch and ultimately split up. Jenny’s sure she’s being followed by J.W. (Kyle Schmid), drawing her weapon and waiting for him to approach. She hears whistling but isn’t able to fight off her attacker and is knocked unconscious.

Cassie hears a car coming and Rand (Ryan Dorsey) speeds up as she runs down the road, attempting to evade capture. Rand’s closing in and Cassie decides her only option is to turn and shoot. A bullet strikes the cab and then takes out a tire. The car hits Cassie before veering off the road and crashing.

Rosie (Michelle Veintimilla) discovers Cassie the following morning, still knocked out on the side of the road. Cassie’s injured and remembers Rand hit her. Rosie asks about her dad and Cassie explains he left with Horst.

They search for Rand’s truck and find it rolled over and severely damaged. There’s blood on the driver’s seat but Rand’s nowhere to be found. Cassie thinks they need to deal with him first and then look for Gil and Jenny.

Cassie and Rosie follow the blood trail and come upon an area where it tapers off. They pause when a tree branch snaps, and then Rosie spots Rand’s house nearby.

Back at the main ranch house, Margaret tells Cheyenne that Rand still hasn’t come home. Cheyenne explains they caught Gil and Jenny on the ranch, and Margaret believes they should call the sheriff. Cheyenne’s certain they have to fix this themselves. She’s sure they can get Horst to turn on J.W. and Rand.

Jenny’s locked up inside a cattle trailer, screaming and kicking the sides until Horst and J.W. finally let her out. Jenny wants to leave but Horst insists she stay for breakfast. He’s decided they need to come to an understanding and Jenny lays it on the line. He needs to pay for what the Kleinsassers have done. She also admits she saw a dead body in one of the barrels and is sure there are more out there.

Horst isn’t easily intimidated. This is his land and he threatens to stick her in one of those barrels where she’ll never be found. Horst’s sure he can get by with it easily by claiming he’s never seen her.

Cheyenne joins them and Horst yells at his daughter to leave. She won’t and insists Jenny’s going to get up and leave with her. Jenny knows Horst won’t allow her to walk out alive so she hits him over the head with a glass. J.W. stops her as she’s about to walk out the door, thwarting her attempted escape with a rifle pointed at her face.

Big Sky Season 1 Episode 15
Anja Savcic and Brian Geraghty in ‘Big Sky’ season 1 episode 15 (ABC/Darko Sikman)

Ronald’s shocked when Scarlet’s phone rings as they’re walking in the woods. He assumed cell service was completely unavailable in the area. Jerrie (Jesse James Keitel), Denise (Dedee Pfeiffer), and Mark Lindor (Omar Metwally) are at the detective agency, and it’s Mark who speaks with Scarlet when she answers. Mark asks when she last spoke with her sister, Mary, and then reveals she’s missing. He’d like her to come in to answer some questions, but Scarlet doesn’t reply. Instead, she just hangs up the phone.

Mark and Jerrie try to ping Scarlet’s phone but it doesn’t work. Wherever she is, the signal strength must be really weak. A signal finally comes through and Mark heads out to the remote location. He doesn’t want Denise to call Sheriff Tubb fearing sirens will scare off Ronald. He promises he’ll have backup in the area.

Jerrie demands to be allowed to join him, but Mark doesn’t want to risk her getting injured.

Scarlet begins hurriedly packing up the camp and initially refuses to tell Ronald who called her. She finally gives in and reveals it was law enforcement with news that her sister’s missing. Scarlet wants to leave now and head over to Mary’s place. Ronald assures her the police will have already checked it out.

Scarlet makes Ronald swear he loves her. After he does, she confesses there’s something at Mary’s place the police can’t be allowed to find.

Scarlet and Ronald drop Phoebe off at Scarlet’s co-worker’s house while they head over to Mary’s.

Horst, J.W., and Cheyenne debate their next move. Cheyenne’s sure all of the family’s secrets will be unburied. J.W.’s equally sure their problems will be over if they get rid of Jenny and Gil. Cheyenne is done playing nice and informs their father J.W. killed Blake by cracking his head open with a shovel.

Horst takes Cheyenne’s side. He tells J.W. he’s no longer going to be in charge of the ranch when he dies. Horst believes they’ll be lucky if the Feds don’t come in and take everything away.

Horst motions J.W. to come closer and whispers instructions in his ear. J.W. leaves and Horst tells Cheyenne he has a job for her. He passes her a gun and says he needs to see if she’s got what it takes.

Rosie and Cassie approach Rand’s place, guns drawn. There’s blood on the door frame as they barge in and find Rand in horrible shape on the floor. Despite the fact he’s obviously dying, it takes all of Rosie’s self-control to not shoot Rand again. Cassie talks her out of it just as Margaret joins them.

Margaret comforts her dying son and blames Horst for what’s happening. Rand passes away in her arms.

Jenny’s back in the cattle trailer when J.W. fetches her, claiming he’s going to let her go. Jenny knows that’s a lie.

Meanwhile, Jerrie and Mark stay in contact while Mark’s driving to Scarlet’s location. He asks Jerrie to ping Scarlet’s phone again and she warns him he needs to call in backup soon. Mark’s not quite ready to, wanting to know what they’re heading into first.

Jerrie pings the phone and it indicates Scarlet’s heading back into town. She’s correct to assume they’re heading to Mary’s.

Jerrie grabs car keys and takes off.

It turns out Horst handed Cheyenne the gun so that she could take care of Gil. She finds Gil tied up and apologizes as she raises her weapon and takes aim. However, she can’t pull the trigger and warns Gil to run before J.W. and Rand show up.

She’s still pointing the gun at Gil when Cassie and Rosie rush up. Cheyenne explains they can trust her but Cassie’s not buying it. Cheyenne says Cassie will have to trust her if she wants to save Jenny’s life.

Scarlet tells Ronald that Steve was Phoebe’s father and he used to do “dirty things” to her. Ronald doesn’t want to hear this story, but Scarlet doesn’t stop. She claims she fixed the situation by stabbing him in the head with a screwdriver. She laughs as she admits to killing Steve and Ronald can’t believe this turn of events.

Scarlet claims Mary has held Steve’s death over her and is a bully. She then reveals she knows who he is, calling him Ronald and assuring him he can share all his secrets.

Ronald slams on the brakes, suddenly speechless. She asks him to tell the truth, claiming they shouldn’t have any secrets. Scarlet knows what he’s done and says she loves him anyway.

Scarlet confesses she has animalistic urges, just like he does. She demands to be kissed and Ronald complies.

Scarlet lets Ronald decide if they should keep pretending or just be who they are. Ronald chooses to stop pretending. (Truly a match made in hell!)

Scarlet needs to make sure the police don’t find Steve and Phoebe never learns the truth about her dad.

Margaret returns to the house to inform Horst that Rand’s dead. She stares at the black spot on the ceiling that only she can see and claims it came out of Horst.

J.W. takes Jenny out to the field of barrels and holds her down. His gun is pressed against her head as she asks why he’s doing this. Jenny doesn’t believe this is who he is and before he can pull the trigger, she tosses him off and grabs his gun.

Jenny demands he confess he and Rand beat on Rosie so that Blake wouldn’t inherit the ranch. She also tells him to confess to killing Blake. J.W. breaks down and screams an admission of guilt.

Jenny shoots him in the thigh just as Cassie and Cheyenne rush up.

J.W. blames everything on Cheyenne, tackling her and then pinning her to the ground as he grabs her throat. Cassie and Jenny are attempting to get J.W. off Cheyenne when a shot rings out. Instead of shooting Gil, Cheyenne shoots her brother in the middle of his chest.

Jenny thinks Horst will kill Cheyenne, but she knows he won’t. She’s his only remaining child and sole heir.

Jenny and Cassie have one last thing to take care of and leave Cheyenne in the barrel field with her dead brother.

Ronald and Scarlet pull up outside Mary’s house and discuss their plan. They’re going to go in quickly, retrieve the body, and get out.

Ronald’s sure he now knows what love is. Scarlet believes what they have is actually stronger than love.

Jenny and Cassie are standing at the entrance to Kleinsasser Ranch when Sheriff Wagy and Deputy Al Gregor pull up. Cassie warns the officers it’s no longer easy to make a Black woman simply disappear with no questions asked. “It’s that kind of world that made you two who you are…what you are. Word of caution: you mess with one of us and the rest will rise up and bring you to your knees,” says Cassie.

Cassie confirms she’s going to tell everyone about this, and Gregor finally speaks up. He says he was actually just trying to save Cassie’s life by kidnapping her. Wagy had given him orders to kill her and he disobeyed.

Wagy puts a nail in his own coffin by threatening Gregor. He demands Gregor get back in his squad car and adds, “You should have put her down when I told you to.”

Cassie stands aside as they drive through the gate. Jenny gets Wagy’s attention by playing a clip of the recording she just made of him confessing he ordered Cassie’s murder.

Jenny forwards the audio file and confirms Sheriff Tubb is on his way. Not only did she get the full confession, but she also held onto a sample from the back pasture.

Ronald and Scarlet discuss Mary’s creepy doll collection as they make their way through her house to the basement. The freezer’s gone and Scarlet realizes her past is catching up to her. She wonders why they were looking for Mary in the first place and Ronald doesn’t say anything.

Mark’s outside Mary’s house as Jerrie pulls up.

Inside, Ronald and Scarlet hear her car in the driveway.

Mark wants Jerrie to leave but she’s adamant she needs to finish this. He has no choice but to allow her to follow him in, warning her to keep her distance.

Ronald holds out his taser and gestures for Scarlet to be quiet.

Episode 15, the season’s penultimate episode, ends with Mark breaking through the front door and screaming Ronald’s name.