Season one episode three of ABC’s primetime drama Big Sky begins with the ingenious Grace Sullivan (Jade Pettyjohn) figuring out how to free herself from her chains. She immediately begins working on Danielle and Jerrie’s restraints once she’s loose.
The scene switches to kidnapper/long-haul trucker Ronald Pergman (Brian Geraghty) being confronted by his mom, Helen (Valerie Mahaffey), in their kitchen. She thinks there’s something off about her son and of course she’s right. The fruit didn’t fall far from the tree in this case as she’s more than a little “off” herself.
The conversation’s equally tense over at Montana State Trooper Rick Legarski’s place. His wife, Merilee (Brooke Smith), is considering leaving him and he responds by recalling his high school nickname of Big Rick. He believes it was given to him because of his high morals and the fact he could be counted on to do the right thing. Clearly, Rick (John Carroll Lynch) is delusional which makes him the perfect partner for psycho Ronald.
The hunt for the girls continues with Cassie (Kylie Bunbury) visiting Sheriff Tubb to find out what he’s doing to actively find the missing teens as well as ex-cop Cody Hoyt. It turns out he’s not doing much since they haven’t been gone long. Tubb already talked to Jenny Hoyt and he’s not going to be badgered into launching an investigation.
As Ronald hits the road, Danielle (Natalie Alyn Lind), Grace, and Jerrie (Jesse James Keitel) are busy trying to break out. It seems a little hopeless, but Grace is determined to keep trying.
After her unsuccessful attempt to light a fire under Sheriff Tubb, Cassie confronts Rick Legarski in front of The All In bar and grocery store. He reveals he knows she visited his ex-wife and he’s angry she was prying into his private life. Cassie doesn’t back down and lays out why she’s so suspicious. His failure to follow up on Cody and the missing teens has set her spidey senses tingling.
Rick threatens to arrest Cassie, admitting he doesn’t need evidence. He’s the law – she’s a Black woman. Case closed.
Cassie asks about the search warrant and when he doesn’t answer, she prepares to take off. Rick seems to understand the position he’s in and tries to adopt a more congenial tone which doesn’t work. She’s done with this jerk and doesn’t mind if he knows it.
Back in the basement, Grace is able to squeeze through an opening neither Danielle nor Jerri can fit through. The container they’re locked up in is in a larger basement, and the trap door to escape is locked. She finds a drain opening that’s also sealed but believes it could still be a way out.
Using a shovel, she loosens the cement around the drain cover. Grace switches to trying to pry open the cover.
Cassie returns to her office where Jenny (Katheryn Winnick) is on the phone providing an update to Danielle and Grace’s mother. After hanging up Jenny announces she’s heading to the Church of Glory and Transcendence since that’s where Cody was headed. She declares, “I’m done messing around,” as she takes off.
A short while later, Jenny arrives at the Church to see William Edwards. She identifies herself as Special Agent Jenny Hoyt to the faceless voice at the locked gate and explains she’s there to inquire about missing teenagers. She promises it won’t take long and admits she doesn’t have a warrant. Jenny adds the FBI would react with force if they knew about a cult in the woods near where girls went missing, so it’s best not to escalate this if a simple conversation will suffice.
As she walks up to the main building, church members stare at her in distrust.
Back in the basement, Danielle screams at Grace that Ronald’s coming. The trap door opens as Grace falls through the floor into the tunnel. She moves quickly through the muck just as Ronald opens the locked container and discovers she’s missing.
Ronald’s the next to fall through the floor into the tunnel. He follows her and warns if she comes back, he won’t kill her sister. Just then the tunnel begins to collapse, forcing Ronald to return and Grace to continue on.
Jenny sits down for a chat with William Edwards and admits she’s an ex-cop turned private detective. She’s done her research and knows what his “church” is all about. Jenny confirms she’s searching for two missing girls as well as her ex-husband. William’s surprised about the husband, and Jenny says, “He’s missing too so I’m a bit of a wreck…with a gun…an armed wreck.”
Jenny explains Trooper Legarski told her this place is “an attractive nuisance for young women.” William claims the girls aren’t there and invites her to look around. He’ll also allow her access to his security camera footage.
Ronald informs Rick Legarski that Grace has escaped. He thinks she might have been buried alive, but Rick’s worried she’s made her way to freedom. He instructs Ronald to excavate the tunnel while he heads off to the end of the tunnel to see if he can spot her.
Danielle is worried Grace is dead but Jerrie’s holding out hope she got out.
Ronald uses a backhoe to dig up the tunnel. He finds her shoe but not Grace’s body.
Meanwhile, Rick’s in an ATV searching the woods while Grace heads toward the light at the end of the tunnel. She makes it out and takes off running. She removes her remaining shoe and gets off the dirt road, opting to run through the woods.
Jenny’s done with her church investigation and calls Cassie to let her know it was a dead end. There’s no sign of the girls or Cody on the security camera footage. They make a plan to meet at Jenny’s place later to compare notes.
Rick makes it to the end of the tunnel but he’s too late. Grace is already in the woods.
Ronald returns to the container and is immediately attacked by Danielle and Jerrie. He’s able to tase both before screaming at them that they don’t learn. (At least their attack knocked out one of his teeth so it wasn’t completely ineffective.)
Grace makes it to the riverbank, takes a quick sip of water, and sets off running again. She follows the bank while glancing back over her shoulder.
Rick’s on her tail, spotting her shoe where she entered the woods.
Jenny makes it home and her son, Justin (Gage Marsh), says he hasn’t heard any updates. She reminds him Cody’s disappeared before, but he knows this is different. He’s sure Cody’s dead this time. They hug and Jenny comforts him as he sobs into her shoulder.
Grace has to be getting chilly as there’s snow on the ground and now she’s without any footwear. She spots a fisherman in the river and calls out for help. He makes his way to the bank as she says quickly explains she was kidnapped with her sister and kept in a shed underground. She doesn’t know where exactly the shed is. Grace explains their abductor hit them with a cattle prod.
As Grace is rattling off her story, Rick listens in from the edge of the woods. The fisherman wants Grace to walk with him across the river to his truck on the other side.
Rick takes aim and shoots the fisherman with an arrow. The arrow hits its mark, instantly killing him. Rick then approaches Grace and tries to convince her he only killed the man because he thought she was in danger. She tries to run by him, but he catches her arm. Grace reacts quickly and stabs him with a fishing hook, escaping his grasp.
As she runs off, Rick shoots another arrow and hits her in the thigh. She continues running so he fires again. Both arrows are now piercing her right thigh and she’s forced to stop. She screams in pain as he breaks off one end of an arrow and pulls the other end out. He does the same with the second arrow.
She passes out from the pain and he carries her back to his ATV. Grace is gagged and bound with duct tape, immobilized in the open trunk of the ATV. Next, he wraps the fisherman in a tarp and binds it with duct tape. He places his dead body in water (but not the nearby river) and it sinks below the surface.
Cassie arrives at Jenny’s place to discuss what they’ve discovered. Jenny thinks Cody learned too much and that’s why he’s disappeared. She realizes the odds of finding the girls alive are decreasing by the hour and now thinks Cassie’s right about Rick Legarski.
Cassie lists Rick Legarski’s police record, which is squeaky clean. The Western Sheriff Association even named him one of their top cops. Still, that said, she knows he’s bad. Jenny agrees and suggests they focus all their attention on Sheriff Legarski.
They both confess they’re not doing okay.
Rick brings Grace back to Ronald who’s relieved to see her back. Rick reminds Ronald he kidnapped the wrong girls. (Rick apparently enjoys stating the obvious.)
It’s Rick who puts Grace back in the locked container, warning Danielle and Jerrie not to talk to him as he lays her limp body on the floor.
Rick instructs Ronald to seal up the container and give them enough food to last a couple of days. They’ll stay away from the area and let things settle. After that, Rick has no idea what they’ll do.
Ronald goes about sealing the container while inside Danielle and Jerrie attempt to care for Grace’s horrible wounds. Grace reveals the cop who just dumped her off killed a fisherman who was trying to help her.
Ronald yells at them to shut-up but Grace refuses. She screams she’s going to get out again and promises him she’s just getting started.
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